FV Discussion on Monday

Quite a goodly list of people are lined up to discuss the Federal Vision on Monday. Hosted by De Regnis Christi, an RPCNA pastor, this discussion will feature Douglas Wilson, John Muether, and Richard Lints.  

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471 Comments

  1. September 17, 2007 at 10:57 am

    [...] Week FV discussion begins today As GreenBaggins has noted, a two week FV “discussion” begins today, hosted “by De Regnis Christi, an RPCNA pastor, [...]

  2. Robert K. said,

    September 17, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    James Jordan just accused D. Hart of “sneering” at the Word of God. This on day one. The Federal Visionists, you see, are nothing if they are not the ones who actually value the Word of God…

  3. Tim Wilder said,

    September 18, 2007 at 8:03 am

    It doesn’t look that that discussion is going anywhere. They (both sides) started out crowing about their “high view of the church”. They mean a high view of institutions, of offices, of rituals, and of themselves. They also mean a very low view of the church in any Biblical understanding of the church.

    Also the participants immediately started to spout nonsense about gnosticism. Someone did try to bring in a definition, by reference to Eric Voegelin (although Voegelin is famous for misunderstanding gnosticism, and confusing it with world-affirming hermeticism). But then the writer who cited Voegelin then repented of having done so. It seems they have a rule that you can’t mention any writing outside the blog.

  4. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 18, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Tim,

    I’d be interested to see what would qualify in your view as “any Biblical understanding of the church.” It seems to me that the guys involved in this discussion are convinced that their view of the church is biblical. And I don’t think they’re idiots, so I find it interesting that you have such an easy time dismissing their opinion.

    So please, if you have the time, parse out your biblical understanding of the church so I (and others) can get a better feel for what exactly you mean when you speak in this manner.

  5. Tim Wilder said,

    September 18, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Here is one source to start you thinking:

    http://goodtheology.com/inventory.php?target=indiv_book&id=956&thesub=&themain=

    You might also look at Un-Inventing the Church: Toward a Modest Ecclesiology, by Andrew Sandlin.

  6. Keith LaMothe said,

    September 18, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Tim,

    I think the rule is to not cite anything outside the blog (and Scriptures, of course) for the first week.

    Keith

  7. pduggie said,

    September 18, 2007 at 8:56 am

    tim,

    Are you still rejecting the confessions view that the fifth commandment applies to authorities in civil and ecclesiastical government as well as family, or have you moved on?

  8. Tim Wilder said,

    September 18, 2007 at 9:18 am

    It is interesting that the confessional view of the 5th commandment does not fit with the five point covenant model, once (and still?) held by the FV boys, but the five point model could be harmonized with Nymeyer’s view.

    I myself never took a position one way or the other.

  9. Tim Wilder said,

    September 18, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Re: 6

    Vogelin came back rule or no rule, and now they have Augustine, G.C. Berkower, Luther, etc. being dragged in.

  10. Anne Ivy said,

    September 18, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    What, exactly, is meant when the term “high church Presbyterian” is used? A couple of the posters have referred to themselves as that, but I’m clueless as to what is included in it. Asked some Presbyterian friends and they didn’t know, either.

    Having been raised in a VERY ‘high church’ Episcopalian church, then spending a dozen years as an RC, to be honest the notion of any Presbyterian qualifying as ‘high church’ is puzzling.

  11. pduggie said,

    September 18, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Anne:

    I think it means agreeing with with D G Hart., at least in contrast to Frame’s more “anything goes” position w.r.t. worship and worship music.

    With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship and Harts book on Nevin would be go-to places for this.

    No, its not “high-church” equal to anglicans, where they made up a romantic RC liturgy that never existed.

    It is somewhat ironic for traiditonal “decency and order” presbyism to get the label high church, but that’s (mostly) in contrast to praise and worship trends in the PCA world.

  12. John Muether said,

    September 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Anne,

    Simply put: if a high-church Anglican takes Episcopalian practices seriously, a high-church Presbyterian takes Presbyterian practice seriously. Specifically, a high view of the visible church and its ordinances (see WSC Q/A 88). It also means resisting the corrosion of those practices from assimilation with low-church evangelicalism. See Darryl Hart’s article, “Is High Church Presbyterianism an Oxymoron?” in his anthology, Recovering Mother Kirk.

    Best,
    John Muether

  13. September 18, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Mr. Duggie, So a church that practices a strict RPW (i.e. Wminster Directory of Worship) and worships in reverence and awe and all in “decency and order” a high church? Would not the def. of high church include more than what you say here?

  14. tim prussic said,

    September 18, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    It seems that Ms. Nagle is correct. I think high-church involves more than doing all things decently and in order with reverence and awe. Those things are prerequisite, but not enough. There’s always a push in high-church toward more formal liturgy, to a focus on the externals, and ordinarily toward some stripe of sacerdotalism.

    Now, in a Presbyterian high church situation, all those things can be kept in their place and need not run amok. We can have a rigorously theological order of worship with responsive reading / chanting, antiphonal singing, etc. I think this is good and biblical. We can have focus on the external rite of worship and pay special attention to how they lead us to God in Christ. The externals never stop with themselves, but always lead us to our Master. We are, after all, physical beings, too. God’s give us physical and tangible means of grace in Word and Sacraments. Let us glory in them and benefit by them. We can have a focus, also, on the ordained ministry and their function in the life of the church. God’s given ministers to equip the saints for ministry. God’s given the ministers gifts and a calling to feed and arm us for daily ministry.

    This all seems very good and biblical to me.

  15. pduggie said,

    September 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Here’s an article by Hart where he goes into more detail

    http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-10-020-f

    some excerpts:

    “high-church liturgy is more formal and reserved, using approved forms and rituals, than is low-church worship, which tends toward spontaneous and folksy expressions of devotion. One searches in vain to find informality or room for individual expression in the Reformed liturgies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In fact, practically all the churches in the Calvinist wing of the Reformation produced and used written forms and followed a set order of service. In other words, liturgical unanimity prevailed as much among Reformed churches in the Netherlands or Presbyterian churches in Scotland as it did among English Protestants who followed the Book of Common Prayer.”

    “But Calvin had good reasons for writing out prayers, not just for families but also for pastors. “I highly approve of it that there be a certain form,” he declared, “from which the ministers be not allowed to vary: that first, some provision be made to help the simplicity and unskillfulness of some; secondly, that the consent and harmony of the churches one with another may appear; and lastly, that the capricious giddiness and levity of such as affect innovations may be prevented.”

    “For this reason, Reformed believers should also be comfortable with the language of the means of grace. To be sure, the low-church outlook of today’s Presbyterians makes them shudder at such a notion because of its associations with sacerdotalism. Nevertheless, the first expressions of the Reformed tradition in the sixteenth century were not hesitant to affirm that God used the means of Word and Sacrament, in the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, to “communicate the benefits of redemption” to believers. Not only does the Lord’s Supper nourish and build up believers in the hope of the gospel, but as the Shorter Catechism also explains, the worthy receivers, not corporally or carnally, but by faith “partake of [Christ’s] body and blood with all his benefits.”

    “And as is the case with other liturgical expressions of the faith, high-church Presbyterianism does not reject the church calendar as much as it offers an alternative, one that revolves around the week-in and week-out observance of the Sabbath. Reformed Protestants, then, have 52 holy days a year.”

    “Why is it, then, that when it comes to worship Presbyterians get itchy and let indecency and disorder prevail? If Presbyterians can assent to a detailed set of confessional and catechetical documents, why not a book of common prayer? And if Presbyterians can submit to the rigors of following proper procedure in session and presbytery meetings, why no set order of worship? Liturgical forms and written prayers may bind the conscience, but no more so than the Westminster Standards or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s form for ordaining elders. Yet, so wary are Presbyterians of liturgical formalism that they shun common forms for worship.”

  16. tim prussic said,

    September 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks. Post 14 reads like a fine footnote to post 13!
    The questions at the end are provocative. Also, I REALLY like Calvin’s terminology: “capricious giddiness”! It makes me think of Homer Simpson.

  17. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:07 am

    So far the de regnis Christi ‘conversation’ looks like it could use some of the types who were recently banned on this blog… Now you see why these false teachers demand to cleanse the playing field. They can only do their thing if the non-lukewarm aren’t around to confront and expose them the way false teachers need to be confronted and exposed.

    What is going on over there also shows up the uncomfortable fact that much of the FV nonsense is a village of morality civil war.

  18. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Barlow pulls off the first Federal Vision triple backflip with a half-twist in the discussion over at De Regnis Christi.

    The Bible doesn’t pit faith against works [he is confronted], ok, so then the Bible does pit faith against works, then at the end of the same paragraph Barlow agrees with himself in his original statement that the Bible doesn’t pit faith against works buoyed by an appeal too NPP doctrine for the half-twist.

    It’s going about just as one would have predicted over there.

  19. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Re: 15

    “high-church liturgy is more formal and reserved, using approved forms and rituals, than is low-church worship, which tends toward spontaneous and folksy expressions of devotion. One searches in vain to find informality or room for individual expression in the Reformed liturgies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”

    In the 1970s the seminary boys were pushing this informality and spontaneity as hard as they could. This was the right way, the Biblical way, the non-Western imperialist way to worship. Some faculty at Westminster even started a new congregation, I think called New Life, where they could promote this concept, which they named Body Life.

    Then denominations started pushing it. In the PCA the central elites kept telling everybody to act like the happy foreigners (the black ones) who were free of bad western traits and could worship in a more spiritual manner. Of course, the Japanese, not being black enough, were the bad guys because they were even more uptight than we are, so the missionary’s job was to de-Japanese them, and Africanize them.

    Now we have the reaction. The seminary boys and elites are saying that we are bad, bad people for being informal and spontaneous and have to be cured of this. Of course, this is just a humanistic fad, like the Body Life was. Both are part of Romanticism. Just as in the19th century there was a wave of Romantic gothicism that brought about tractarians and high church Episcopalians, so in the 60s and into the 70s we had the Rosseauian noble savage spontaneity and naturalism. Now the mystical and mumbo-jumbo side of Romanticism is coming back.

  20. greg janos said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Francis Schaffer in the 60’s and 70’s was closer to the mark than D.G. Hart et al.

  21. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:18 am

    So far the de regnis Christi ‘conversation’ looks like it could use some of the types who were recently banned on this blog.

    Exactly.

    Every conversation on the Federal Vision ought to include at least one person who is openly anti-nomian, and thinks that the Westminster position on the visible church is unbiblical. This would help greatly in keeping the FV vs TR vs Baptist argument in perspective.

  22. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Meanwhile the five solas are up for grabs… What actually saves. What actually demands from an individual the recognition of Jesus as King and the Triune God as sovereign in creation, providence, and grace. Federal Visionists say: “When we are pinned down on our Beast doctrine regarding justification start talking about baptism and visible church.”

  23. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:35 am

    I noticed an interesting contrast with what is being pushed by the FV people in the De Regnis Christi discussion.

    James Jordan, the überVantilian said:

    “September 17th, 2007 at 3:36 pm”

    “in my opinion the so-called FV amounts to this: “The Word of God in the words of God.” That and that alone is what was controversial about the original conference at Auburn Avenue called “Federal Vision.” To use Biblical language rather than the rarified technical vocabulary developed in one culture over 400 years ago was controversial. To assume that God knows the best way to express His truths was controversial. That’s it. When the Bible says “washing of regeneration,” so-called FVers say, “well, we will say that and find out what regeneration means in this context,” and the reaction is “you must not say that.” When the Bible says “abide in the vine” (an organic analogy) or “abide in the olive tree” (another organic analogy), the so-called FVers say, “yea, amen, those who fall away were organically united to Jesus for a time” and their critics say, “no, never. It’s merely an external semi-union; etc. etc.” That’s the issue. The Word of God in the words of God. Everything else is secondary.”

    But over on his blog, James White quotes from Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology:

    “It is but natural to expect that, if the church is strong because its ministry understands and preaches the whole counsel of God, then the church will be able to protect itself best against false teaching of every sort. Non-indoctrinated Christians will easily fall prey to the peddlers of Russellism, spiritualism and all of the other fifty-seven varieties of heresies with which our country abounds. One-text Christians simply have no weapons of defense against these people. They may be able to quote many Scripture texts which speak, for instance, of eternal punishment, but the Russellite will be able to quote texts which, by the sound of them and taken individually, seem to teach annihilation. The net result is, at best, a loss of spiritual power because of loss of conviction. Many times, such one-text Christians themselves fall prey to the seducers voice.”

  24. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Re: 22

    How does antinomianism recognize Jesus as King?

  25. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Alright guys. Good discussion… but please… it’s “De Regno Christi,” not “De Regnis Christi.” “Regnis” is plural (Lit. “The reignS of Christ”), and it is not the name of the website, either.

    Sorry if I’m being nit-picky, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. :-)

  26. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Oh, and on the “high church calvinist” issue. Not presuming to speak for Dr. Hart or anyone else here, but I think what is essential to this is giving due heed to the high manner in which the Reformed confessions (following the Reformers themselves) speak of the church and her sacraments (e.g. “outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation”, “means of grace”, “the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ”, “effectual means of salvation”, etc.), and attempting, in one way or another and to at least some significant degree, to incorporate this “high” view into one’s faith and practice.

    As I’ve said before both here and elsewhere: governmental structures, polity, and liturgy are all secondary issues, and not essential to what it means, at least in my opinion, to be a “high church calvinist.” This is the case because these secondary issues do not touch on the essence of the church, and thus may change and adapt to given cultural contexts. But what the church *is* always remains the same. And the importance which God has ordained her worship, fellowship, preaching, and sacraments to play in the life of both the community and the individual, as well as in God’s purpose for the world, remains unaltered through all generations.

  27. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:24 am

    19:

    I think Hart is pretty much standing on his own in this, and the “seminary guys” are still informalists, by and large.

    There’s a bit of pendulum swing to it, but I wouldn’t accuse Hart of it. He seems like an honest Machenite.

  28. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Re: 26

    “But what the church *is* always remains the same. And the importance which God has ordained her worship, fellowship, preaching, and sacraments to play in the life of both the community and the individual, as well as in God’s purpose for the world, remains unaltered through all generations.”

    The church is the people of God, and it is important as the church when it is farming, banking, manufacturing, and doing the other things it does most of the time. It isn’t just the church on Sunday and profane the rest of the time.

    Sunday replaced the Sabbath (the seventh, covenantally representative day) when the work of the whole week is dedicated to God. Separated from the life of the week as some ritual, clergy bosses and their doings, event, Sunday worship becomes worthless. That is why this high church stuff represents a dualistic, pagan mentality.

  29. jasonvanb said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Federal Vision: I launched a new blog to further the discussion. I want to invite all interested parties in the FV controversy to come and participate: http://prochristorege.wordpress.com

  30. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Tim,

    Why do you assume that I would say that the church is just the church on Sunday? I cannot for the life of me begin to understand the mentality demonstrated by you and others which always assumes the worst possible thing about what someone else is saying. I say something like, “the church is good,” people like you respond, “get out of here with that papistic nonsense.” What gives?

    And what you say about a pagan, dualistic mentality really is silly. Who has ever advocated “separating” Sunday from “the life of the week” or from the life of the individual worshipper? Sunday is set aside for the Church to dedicate entirely to the worship and celebration of Christ *corporately* in a manner not possible during the rest of the week. This in no way means that it is “separated from the life of the week.” Rather, how I see it, corporate worship invigorates the life of the community to most fully live out what it truly means to be a Christian (love of God and neighbor) throughout the week, both individually and together.

    The church really is more than just a collection of individual believers. As the confession puts it, it is “the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” To deny this is and dismiss it as dualistic and pagan, is to impute the Reformers and the Reformed confessions with a dualistic, pagan mentality. You are free to do so, of course. But please, don’t presume to call yourself Reformed in the midst of heeping such insulting charges upon the good name of my forefathers.

  31. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Re: 30

    “Why do you assume that I would say that the church is just the church on Sunday? I cannot for the life of me begin to understand the mentality demonstrated by you and others which always assumes the worst possible thing about what someone else is saying.”

    We’ve been reading you people for fifteen years, that’s why.

  32. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Tim,

    Who is “you people,” and why do you feel justified in presuming things about my beliefs without even knowing me?

    I state things that can be understood in a number of ways and taken in a number of directions. You take these statements and–instead of seeking intelligent discussion and trying to understand what I might be getting at–simply read the worst possible meaning into them and proceed to pontificate on how “pagan” they are.

    This is instructive. And it also demonstrates a glaring inconsistency to see one who is often seen voicing loud objections against any form of “authoritarianism” speaking out of the other side of his mouth as though his own word is final, even when it comes to assessing the private beliefs of a fellow brother.

  33. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Jonathan, it comes down to authority (vain intellect or Word of God) and the discernment of the Holy Spirit. What we value as well. When you are a Christian who is able to know the truth you have little patience for people who value the culture of the academy more than the Word of God and the sound doctrine found therein. We like to see people come into Reformed Theology with a humble approach (i.e., for instance, not coming into the Reformed camp mocking things like the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, not mocking the Covenant of Works, not mocking the heart of Federal Theology, not redefining justification by faith alone, not turning everything in the direction of Rome, consciously or ignorantly). Less mischief and vain talk. Either you value Reformed Theology or you don’t. If you don’t don’t call yourself Reformed. If you don’t value the five solas then don’t call yourself a Calvinist or Reformed. Don’t play games saying if Reformed theologian X didn’t hold to Reformed doctrine Y then it is Reformed to not hold to Reformed doctrine Y. Not when it effects the doctrines of grace and the five solas. Don’t exploit the fact that Reformed doctrines were in early stages of being defined in the 1500s and pretend that that means they didn’t exist then or that, because the language used then didn’t take into account the existence of every troll that would appear in the centuries to come you can then read them like one would read a confession (not that you give any good will to the meaning in the confessions themselves).

    When you are able to know the truth you just sit back and observe all this nonsense and have no patience for it. It’s a game for you. For us it’s life and death. We already have the truth, but we can see how you can fool those yet to come into the truth. You can’t keep God’s own out of the Kingdom forever, but the devil knows all he can do is stall for time, and this is what Federal Vision is about. An age-old tactic to throw confusion into biblical doctrine and stall for time.

  34. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Bobbles, regarding #18 – I agree. How is one to walk away from Romans and Galatians without, in some sense, pitting faith against works? That’s a strange one. Can.. can we b-be friends?

    Mr. Wilder, re. #22 – Jesus reigns “in our hearts” and that prefigures his earthly millennial reign from Jerusalem when he institutes the sacrifices again. Haven’t you read your Darby? For shame!

    Re. #33 – huh?

  35. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:04 am

    By “Re. #33 – huh?”, I actually meant:

    “Re. #31 – huh?”

  36. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Alright, re. 31 and 33 – huh?

    Bobbles saith, “When you are able to know the truth…” Dude, you sound like an age-old gnostic. Hast thou “the truth” and no other? Whilst thou sittest in thine mother’s basement, dost thou impugn ministers of the gospel lawfully ordained, the ones that actually be *working* among the sheep? Dost thou, a Baptist, somehow have the corner on Reformed verity? All the voluminous truth of the Reformation and the Scripture, be it so neatly summarized in five mere slogans? Thou art a sage, indeed!

  37. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Five mere slogans? Scripture alone, Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. And you write ‘mere’.

    As for “impugn ministers’… Doug Wilson is a ‘minister.’ Leithart is a ‘minister’. Benny Hinn is a ‘minister.’ This is why a central doctrine of the Reformation is the priesthood of all believers (it’s a doctrine of the Word of God). We Christians don’t fear/revere man. We fear/revere God only. This angers those who serve the system of the Beast, whether it is going by the name Roman Catholicism or the name Federal Vision.

  38. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Tim. Make that the last time you mock my name.

  39. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:37 am

    And my mother’s on her deathbed. Don’t reference her and call her son ‘bobbles’ in the same sentence. Got it? My father died four months ago. Don’t mention him either. Yeah, I’ve officially lost patience with you.

  40. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    We’re supposed to care about your personal feelings Robert?

  41. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    “Separated from the life of the week as some ritual, clergy bosses and their doings, event, Sunday worship becomes worthless. ”

    Since part of the point of FV covenant renewal worship is to reckon with the sins of the people during the last week through confession, absolution, exhortation, and communion, I don’t know why that would stick in your craw

  42. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Robert,

    Why, thank you for that most edifying display of exactly the sort of nonsensical “hermeneatic of suspicion” for which I was admonishing Tim. You truly are an edifying bird… I can almost sense the joy, love, and peace of the Spirit moving through your fingers to the keyboard and onto the screen.

  43. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    “When you are a Christian who is able to know the truth you have little patience for people who value the culture of the academy”

    “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient”

    Robert versus the bible, part 4, for those keeping records

  44. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Tim,

    “Re #31, huh?” and “Re #33, huh?” indeed. ;-)

  45. Stewart said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I wonder if Lane is reading this thread?

  46. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Re: 34

    “Mr. Wilder, re. #22 – Jesus reigns “in our hearts” and that prefigures his earthly millennial reign from Jerusalem when he institutes the sacrifices again. Haven’t you read your Darby? For shame!”

    Darby? You mean the guy who makes the same arguments against the Covenant of Works and the imputation of the active obedience that the Federal Vision does?

  47. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    #37:

    “The system of the Beast… Federal Vision.” Bwahahahahahaha!!!!

    Just noticed that one… too much!

  48. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Re: 36

    “Whilst thou sittest in thine mother’s basement, dost thou impugn ministers of the gospel lawfully ordained, the ones that actually be *working* among the sheep?”

    It’s only the clergy who work in this FV view, not the common herd. And so he answers his #35 post himself.

  49. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Mr. K., I “mock” your name because that name is right above such worthless nonsense all too often. You never seem to respond to legitimate arguments, so I feel forced to resort to things a bit more childish. I don’t wanna cause you to be angry, so I’ll stop playing. We’ve all lost patience with you LONG ago, but you continue to press your nonsense, irregardless of how anyone else feels. You don’t engage in argument but merely pontificate and bloviate. Why don’t you do unto your neighbor what you’d have them do unto you?

    If, Mr. K., you’re under so much stress, why don’t you stop wasting time on blogs? I’ve found they cause undue stress and are mostly fruitless. Did I mention your parents? Good golly, miss Molly! You sound pretty unstable.

    It’s abject foolishness to equate the ministries of Pastors Leithart and Wilson with the likes of Benny Hinn. It’s clear that God appointed ministers in his church, correct? Maybe we should take seriously that double honor thing.

    Yes, the solas of the Reformation are slogans by definition. They are shorthand for specific and important doctrines which are basic to biblical Christianity. They’re basic, but folk who ONLY see the basics are basically blind.

  50. Joe Brancaleone said,

    September 19, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Just read Leithart’s latest post on Election and reprobation. As much as I try to remain charitable in my reading of him, some of his assertions sound outright Arminian to my ears. And he seems to misapply the texts he appeals to. This is a PCA minister?

  51. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Re: 50

    Not only a PCA minister, but on his presbytery’s committee to examine other ministers, and also a CREC minister, a speaker at pastoral conferences, etc.

  52. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Mr. Tim W., it would appear from post #48 that post #14 slipped by ya:

    “We can have a focus, also, on the ordained ministry and their function in the life of the church. God’s given ministers to equip the saints for ministry. God’s given the ministers gifts and a calling to feed and arm us for daily ministry.”

    You were saying?

  53. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    RE: 51

    Is it possible to be a minister in both the CREC and the PCA? Wouldn’t a congregation be part of one or the other?

  54. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Joe, #50, would you please provide a link?

  55. Joe Brancaleone said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/19/election-and-reprobation/

  56. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Sam, I don’t know if I’d take Mr. W. as an authoritative source on much… he just *might* not have his facts straight.

  57. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Oh! thanks, Joe. I was looking at Leithart’s blog. :)

  58. Tony S said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Joe, I can’t agree with the way you see this post. I assume you’re objecting to the way Leithart describes the ‘tragic reprobate’. Is what he says actually Arminian, or is it orthodox but ‘leans’ Arminian? Does Leithart actually make election conditioned upon the individual’s choice or not? Can you point to an actual contradiction between his affirmation of double predestination and his descriptions?

  59. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Leans Arminian nothing!
    Reformed theologians have ALWAYS spoken of the common operations of the Spirit. If you doctrine of Election and Reprobation doesn’t include real operations of the Spirit on the reprobate, then don’t call it Reformed. Joe, if it’s the union with Christ that’s got you worked up, we’ve been discussing that here for months. We’ve all tried to work with a distinction between covenantal election and eternal election. It might be a bit tricky to nail down the specific nature of each, but the simple distinction is easy enough. It’s also historic enough. There’ve been about 100 Calvin quotations in support of such a distinction (not to mention lesser divines).

  60. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Re: 52

    But what? Jordan has already explained that if the priests just do their ritual correctly, God will zap the world right. And God will provide the ritually correct priests, if everyone else grovels enough before the clergy.

  61. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Re: 53

    “Is it possible to be a minister in both the CREC and the PCA? Wouldn’t a congregation be part of one or the other?”

    A pastor is one thing and a congregation is another. In the PCA a pastor is not a member of a congregation anyway. R.C. Sproul is in the PCA and his congregation isn’t. Lane Keister is PCA and serves the RCA congregations.

    Leithart has a CREC church.

  62. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Leithart’s taken the most dismal bits of Arminianism and the most dismal bits of Calvinism and put ‘em together in a hideous hybrid.

    That has to be one of the most hands-down depressing things I’ve ever read. Every bit of assurance has been removed. RC’s are better off.

  63. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    60: does God honor churches/people who follow his instructions? yes/no?

  64. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Calvinism has dismal bits? say it aint’ so :-)

  65. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    I think orthodox believers have called the common operations of the Spirit “resistible grace”. If that’s valid, what would happen to the recipients of that grace if they DIDN”T RESIST?

  66. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Ms. Ivy, I really don’t follow you. Textbook Calvinism maintains that God chooses his people eternally and unconditionally. Textbook Arminianism denies at least the unconditional nature of eternal election. In that he clearly maintains that historical Calvinistic distinctive, what did Pastor Leithart write that includes the “most dismal bits of Arminianism”?
    Reactions here, I fear, seem to be more emotional than one would expect.

    Mr. W., no comment on post #52?

  67. Tim Wilder said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Re: 63

    According to Jordan, only if they are priests, and then only the instructions on how to do rituals.

  68. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Anne,

    To be fair to Leithart, it’s probably not best policy to judge a man’s entire system of thought by three paragraphs. In practice, Leithart would point his people to Christ and the promises of the Gospel for all their assurance. He said the following in a comment thread of a separate post:

    “It seems to me that this search is actually motivated by unbelief, since it seems to be looking for a ground of assurance deeper than the promises of God in the gospel. God has addressed His promises to me as publicly as can be – and I don’t need anything more. I just need to trust Him.”

    Too, he was speaking in the above linked post of something which all Reformed theologians through history have acknowledged: the existence of those who believe for a season and then ultimately demonstrates themselves to have been reprobate. These types of discussions are never “comfortable,” but I fail to see how it can label the term “hideous hybrid.” Leithart is using there historic Reformed terminology in Reformed ways to speak of a Reformed concept: reprobation–something no Arminian would do.

    I don’t like the way Leithart chose to discuss the matter either, but I definitely can’t say that it is anywhere near one of the “most depressing things I’ve ever read.” Jonathan Edwards can be seen speaking in very similar ways, and I don’t think anyone would accuse him of being a Calvinist-Arminian hybrid.

  69. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Mr. Duggie,

    The offer of the gospel is gracious, no? That offer is the same to eternally elect and reprobate, no? The grace of receiving the Gospel and believing on Christ is not a common grace but a special/salvific grace. Men can and do resist the grace of God all day long until the uncommon grace of regeneration (or, if you prefer Edwards’s terminology: the holy rape of the soul). God MAKES that grace irresistible to those whom he calls. That irresistible grace of regeneration is never offered to the eternally reprobate. How could it be? Do we agree on these things?

  70. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Yes, I agree. I;m trying to clarify what I understand Leithart to be saying when he says “At the same time, the Spirit is also working within his life-story, striving and wrestling with the reprobate, wooing and convicting.”

    we can pish-posh it and say that those common operations are non-salvific, but don’t we also have to say that if they weren’t resisted by the reprobate (if he had no thorns, etc) he’d bear fruit?

  71. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    67: I don’t think JBJ ever says that. Got any quotes?

  72. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    pduggie,

    I just noticed from your blog that you live in my home town! I’m up in MA right now, but will be moving back to the good ol’ city of brotherly shove in about eight months… I can’t wait! No place like home.

  73. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Then shame on Jonathan Edwards.

    It makes a mockery of Calvinism. All those given to Christ will be kept safe? Not one of them will be lost, save the son of perdition? (“I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.” John 17:12)

    Well, not ONLY the son of perdition; there’s this guy, and that woman, and….

    He who begins a good work in you will be faithful to complete it? (“…He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6)

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    All those who look to Christ lifted up on His cross will live eternally, as the snake-bit Israelites who looked to the bronze serpent survived the venom? (“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.” John 3:14)

    Um, not exactly.

    It’s the assurance that He who begins a good work in us WILL complete it that provides the counterbalance to predestination. NO ONE turns to Christ on their own. ALL are born dead in their sins, natural God-haters. It’s the inworking of the Holy Spirit that changes our nature so that the God we first hated we now love.

    Saying that the LORD begins a good work in some people but then abandons it, is not only depressing, it’s unbiblical.

  74. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Anne,

    That’s all fine and good. You’re free to express your opinions on the teachings of the Bible. I was just warning against calling something a “hideous hybrid” which has been accepted amongst the Calvinistic Reformed churches from earliest days. No one is saying that those predestined, given to Christ, etc., will be lost. The reprobate (the group of which Judas is the type), however, are.

    This is standard Augustinian/Calvinist thinking. You don’t have to agree with it, but you shouldn’t go around taunting those who do as closet Arminians either.

    And just for the record: John 17:12, though it may be applied to subsequent believers, has specific reference to the twelve apostles.

  75. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Anne, are you saying that Judas WAS united to Christ and saved, but then Lost, and he stands an a unique unrepeatable example of someone loosing salvation?

  76. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Ms. Ivy, is it possible to say that the Lord began a work in one guy and a good work in another guy? The first guy experiences only common operations of the Spirit, but it sure looks similar to the second guy who’s eternally elect and is regenerate, struggling with sin and slowing gaining victories? The first guy is reprobate, but God is rightly said to be working in/on him. The second guy is eternally elect, God is working in him and he will and must come to glory. Those two fellows are not the same. God’s working in both of them, but in differing ways and to vastly different ends.

    If you’ve interpreted Pastor Leithart as denying the perseverance of the saints, I would suggest a closer look, because I didn’t see that at all.

  77. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I find it interesting that in our nation’s early colonial history, before the Revolution, King Charles II tried to put down any colonial resistance and love for freedom by attempting to replace Puritan ministers with Episcopal priests. Now why would he do that? Could it be that the Church of England had replaced Christ – our only true source of freedom – with the authority of the church? When the church becomes Christ, there is no freedom. The Puritans understood Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again in the yoke of bondage. They successfully resisted because of God’s intervention – Read the amazing story yourself.

    Now 400 years later, the Episcopal priesthood rears its ugly head again in the form of the Federal Vision. Its goal is the same – to take away our freedom in Christ by replacing Him with the church.

    The formalism by whatever name you call it – high Presbyterianism – high church may look like pretty worship packaging but in reality it is what Paul describes in Galatians – You observe days and months and seasons and years… Paul’s response – But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?…I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Galatians 4

    To the Federal Visionist, baptism is no more than circumcision. And, Paul says, if you become circumised, Christ will profit you nothing. Galatians 5:2
    And this fancy covenant renewal ritual is a return to the weak and beggarly elements that only put one in bondage.

    You may not like Robert K’s manner, but he is right and that is why so many of you oppose him so violently. Paul came on pretty strong with the Galatians because he knew the gospel was at stake. Should we not follow his example in defense of the gospel and our freedom in Christ?

  78. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    nobody I know of opposes Robert K violently.

  79. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Why not get rid of clergy altogether an be Plymouth Brethren?

  80. Mark T. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Peter Leithart says,

    the Spirit is also working within his life-story, striving and wrestling with the reprobate, wooing and convicting.

    But this is an equivocation, a fiction, a non-existent biblical category. The Spirit of God does not work in “life-stories”; He works in lives. Furthermore, Scripture summarizes the life-story of Judas in 21 words: “But woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:21)

    And the Son of God did not pronounce a woe upon Judas’ eternity because he “cared not for the poor and was a thief” (John 12:6); the Lord Jesus condemned Judas for the very same reason that He chose him to become a disciple: God foreordained him to betray the Saviour of the world into the hands of sinners. “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70)

    Thank you.

  81. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Paul, there was ONE exception, so as to fulfill Scriptural prophecy.

    Keep in mind, BTW, that exception occurred prior to Pentecost. I’m a dinosaur, no doubt, but I believe there’s a difference between pre- and post-Pentecost, and how the Holy Spirit interacts with people. It’s a huge mistake to take Judas as normative.

    Mr. Prussic, your interpretation of the ‘common operation of the Spirit’ can scarcely be called ‘common’ if it involves the Holy Spirit performing an interior work on someone, so that they believe in and have faith in the Christ who is, and not a “Jesus” of their own devising. People appear to believe for all sorts of reasons….because everyone around them does, or because they’ve fashioned a Jesus that fits them to a “T”, or whatever. If someone actually DOES believe in the Jesus of Scripture, really and truly, and has faith in Him, it’s a sign they’ve been reborn via the washing of regeneration.

    This ain’t rocket science. There are sheep, and there are goats. Goats do not put their faith in Christ at any point, they are never redeemed, never regenerated, never are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    Mr. Bonomo, I’ll willingly acknowledge I’m not the best-read Calvinist in the world, but I’m not the worst, either. As do most people who first come to Christ and then to an understanding of the doctrines of sovereign grace, I spent a couple of years almost exclusively reading Calvin, Luther, and other books explaining the DoSG and I never once ran across “God begins a good work in some people but then either allows Himself to be resisted or else simply quits, since He never actually intended to save them”.

    I’d have noticed.

  82. Kyle said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Pr. Leithart wrote:

    “That is, some reprobates hear the word with gladness, respond to it, grow in Christian faithfulness for a time, and have a real personal union with Jesus.”

    Is this solid, orthodox, Reformed theology?

    Union with Christ is a package deal. When one is united to Christ, he has become heir of all of the graces of the New Covenant. He has justification, sanctification, glorification. Faith is the instrument of this union–and here, friends, is where the distinction between a living, true faith and a dead, false faith is legitimate. The living, true faith by which one is united to Christ is that faith which rests on Christ. The dead, false faith, no matter its apparent genuineness, does not rest on Christ. A temporary faith is a false faith, a stillborn faith if you will. It never did rest on Christ, and so the temporary believer never had union with Christ. Had it been vitally united to the vine, it would have borne everlasting fruit.

    Judas had day-to-day fellowship with Jesus, sure; he just never had a vital, spiritual fellowship with our Lord.

  83. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Dave,

    I just have to shake my head when I read things like that. The misrepresentations, charicatures, historical fallacies, category errors, and not to mention horrific distortion of Galatians (e.g. making it of one issue with what FV and others of a “high church” mentality are trying to address) is simply breath-taking. It really is amazing to me that there are Christians out there who actually think in the manner which you have expressed yourself.

    Some quick points:

    1. The Puritans did not want a completely free system: they wanted to be able to establish a “pure” church as they understood it. And when they got the opportunity, they enforced ecclesiastical laws in their lands just as violently as the English state church had.

    2. No one has made a “high” view of the church something essential for one’s salvation.

    3. Paul does not put circumscision and baptism in the same category in Galatians.

    4. I’ve never heard this supposed sentiment from FV and high church folks that they want to replace Christ with the church. Some folks however think that separating the two is just as errant, and therefore a faulty (and not to mention an un-Reformed) alternative.

  84. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Bless you, Kyle! That did my heart good, so it did. ;^)

  85. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Anne,

    I understand your criticism. I’m just trying to give Leithart a charitable reading. I don’t think he was wanting to say that God salvifically regenerates some folks who wind up eternally lost. He was speaking of those who have entered into the church and placed themselves in relation to Christ *in a certain sense*, but demonstrate themselves in the end to be reprobate. There are biblical passages which do speak to this (Heb. 6:4-6 being just one of many).

    The Reformed position is that no one is saved or predestined or sovereignly regenerated by God who then becomes unsaved, unpredestined, or unregenerated. But this does not do away with the possibility of those having a false, shallow faith for a time, but then ultimately falling away from Christ. Again, this is an idea which has ample support in both Scripture and the Reformed tradition.

    And please, call me Jonathan (or Jon, if you prefer).

  86. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Oh, and Anne, since you mentioned Luther I should also point out that Luther, for one, did believe that one could be truly regenerate and justified and lose one’s salvation. He believed in an ex opere baptismal regeneration, and that anyone who forsook Christ after baptism had lost a salvation which they truly possessed. This is one of the main areas of dispute between the Lutheran and Reformed traditions.

  87. Kyle said,

    September 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Jonathan,

    It is incredibly hard, after this length of time and the amount of criticism that has been levelled, to read “charitably” Pr. Leithart’s statements that so-called “tragic” reprobates have real, personal union with Jesus Christ. UNION. It may be that he doesn’t mean that God “salvifically regenerates” some number of reprobates. Fine. Does He “non-salvifically regenerate” anyone? He non-salvifically justifies and He non-salvifically sanctifies and He non-salvifically edifies? He non-salvifically unites reprobates with Jesus Christ?

    This isn’t mere lack of clarity. It is error, theologically, ecclesiologically, pastorally. A “charitable” reading in this case is really nothing better than wishful thinking.

    Dr. Hart’s latest post, “Broken? Fixed? Whatever,” has struck on something important. “Reformed” Is Not Enough, after all. But it is surely useful to identify oneself as “Reformed.”

  88. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    You got me about Luther. I’ll give you that one.

    Of course, he also clung tenaciously to the perpetual virginity of Mary, IIRC, so clearly he had a few theological screws loose.

    As don’t we all, naturally! ;-)

  89. September 19, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    I am enjoying the discussion(s) there for the most part. I have sooo many questions though but I just keep reading hoping they get answered. :)

  90. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Ms. Ivy, I agree with sheep/goat view of reality. There’s God’s army and Satan’s. How about those who think they’re in one and are in the other? What about those in the church who are confused, in their own sin, unregenerate and headed to hell? That’s what Leithart’s after, not speaking of regenerate, eternally elect folk losing their salvation. That’s clear enough.

    “Common operations of the Holy Spirit” is my no means MY phrase, not my idea. I’ve never read ANYONE limit them to “external” works (whatever that means), but usually they’re distinguished from salvific ordo blessings. I’m sure you’ve run across these ideas and this type of language in many Puritan and Reformed authors who’re more trustworthy than me, as they’ve been dead a while. For some reason, that adds to credibility!

    Mark T., re. #80, you’ve missed the point. That you think Mark 14:21 summarizes the life experience of Judas says enough. It’d be difficult to construct a more truncated view of human experience than you comment betrayed. He’s a goat and a devil, without doubt. From there, of course, it’s important that we haul off and we impute all the goat- and devil-like thoughts we can dream up to him and remove from him any sort of humanity.

  91. Vern Crisler said,

    September 19, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    #73

    Hi Anne,

    I can understand your reaction to Leithart’s comments. I think the Reformed people early on probably also were depressed when they heard Lutherans claiming that regenerated people could lose their faith. So also the reaction to the Remonstrants. Lutherans (and quasi-Barthians) regularly mock the idea that you can derive assurance from predestination. This is also a main premiss of FV.

    Note: I liked what Van Til said above regarding biblicism, i.e., selective quotation of the Bible. It’s obvious he cannot be legitimately dragooned into Jordan’s theological program–which is based on a desire to go back to the Bible, apart from confessional context and systematic theology.

    With Christ’s love,

    Vern

  92. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Kyle, are non-salvific operations of the Spirit that, in significant ways, look like salvific ones really so hard to get? Honestly. I certainly read things in Hebrews that sound like salvific blessings but clearly are not. Cannot one clearly distinguish ‘twixt salvific union (belonging only to the eternally elect, once called) and covenantal union (belonging to all in covenant with God) and thus speak of union with Christ unto life on the one hand and unto damnation on the other?

    The distinctions of, say, Turretin are FAR more subtle than these rather simple ones. But once again, that Turretin guy’s been dead a good long while…

  93. Kyle said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    Tim, re: 92,

    Do reprobates have REAL, PERSONAL UNION WITH CHRIST? Shove off with the prattling about the common operations of the Spirit and “covenantal union.” REAL, PERSONAL UNION WITH CHRIST IS NO COMMON OPERATION.

  94. Joe Brancaleone said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    In his blog post, Peter wrote, “… some reprobates hear the word with gladness, respond to it, grow in Christian faithfulness for a time, and have a real personal union with Jesus. But then they grow cold, the cares of the world choke them out, there’s no deep root, and eventually they wither and die, branches cut off and fit only for burning … it’s a story-line that includes temporary faith and temporary union with Jesus. At any one moment, this reprobate might be living more faithfully than the elect guy sitting next to him in the pew. But he’s headed in the opposite direction.”

    “Real union with Jesus” and “temporary faith” and “temporary union with Jesus”??? Maybe I’m just a knucklehead. Why is a self-proclaimed Calvinist talking like this? If he’s truly a Calvinist, he doesn’t know how to communicate, at least not to knuckleheads like me. Having some saving benefits worked in the heart of a reprobate sounds like some kind of half baked regeneration to my ears. There is no biblical category for that, being “sort of” made alive in Christ for a little while.

    Among other passages, the parable of the sower and Jesus’ interpretation precludes going along these lines. Those who do not continue in the faith could not have had a real union with Jesus. They don’t persevere because they don’t have the life of Christ in them. And because they don’t have the life of Christ in them, they don’t really understand the word that they hear. It’s not true faith at any point. The parable of the sower teaches that only God causes true faith. Sometimes (i.e. reprobates) even the appearance of faith doesn’t mean true faith has resulted from the hearing of the Word. Sometimes God is going to prove that someone loves other things too much. Self, the world, money, reputation, whatever.

    Only with respect to the ones who receive the Word “with understanding” has the seed taken root in fertile life-producing soil — i.e. the regenerating work of the Spirit is present and brings about all the benefits of the only union with Christ the bible speaks of. That alone enables one to come to a saving faith. A faith which necessarily perseveres and produces good fruit, because it is the life of Christ at work. The other hearers who appeared to believe for a time never had the life of Christ at work in them, that’s why their “faith” was proven to be a sham.

    So what is Leithart really trying to say? The “tragic reprobrate”‘s temporary faith and faithfulness is the result and the fruit of a real regeneration that’s only temporary (from spiritual death to spiritual life to spiritual death), or of a half baked regeneration resulting from the Spirit’s “wooing and convicting” without actually working the life of Christ in them?

    Judas had no real union or fellowship with Jesus. Jesus categorized him as a devil straight up. He had no life in him.

  95. anneivy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Y’know what I’m wondering? Whose voice is it these “tragic reprobates” hear and follow?

    According to Jesus, His sheep hear His voice and follow Him,per John 10:

    “The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers….My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.”

    I’ve read before about how this works in practice, and that it’s really something to watch. In the evening when it’s time for the sheep to return from where they graze to wherever it is sheep spend the night, the various shepherds walk through them, calling. Each shepherds’ sheep recognize their shepherd’s voice and obediently follow him.

    It’s plain that what Christ was stressing was how HIS sheep, and His sheep only, hear His voice and follow Him.

    So how can the reprobate in any way be said to have been following Christ? They are not His sheep, so they are not following His voice.

  96. tim prussic said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Kyle, calm down. Try to treat people nicely. Seriously. Forceful assertions are not very effective.
    Whatever covenantal union consists of, it’s certainly real and personal, though distinct from salvific union. Was “Lo Ami” ever “Ami”? You know, personally and really? Are those in Christ who bear no fruit “in him” impersonally and not really? Are they cut out of the olive tree or are they not? Kyle, this is simple distinction and it’s old as the hills. Such ideas (that is, prattling) are found all though Reformed writing, contrary to Joe’s notion in #94 that Calvinists express themselves only within a limited bandwidth prescribed … by whom?

    This, however: “Judas had no real union or fellowship with Jesus. Jesus categorized him as a devil straight up. He had no life in him” sounds like a bit of teleological ontology!

    Was Judas ever regenerated? No. He was reprobate as they come. But that he had no fellowship with Jesus seems very juvenile. Come on, folks. This is a simple distinction to have in hand, even if it’s more difficult to pin down SPECIFICALLY what’s meant by covenantal union. Joe, I’m quite certain that Leithart doesn’t have “a real regeneration” tied in with covenantal union, certainly not in the sense in which you’re thinking of it. He probably does have a covenantal/nominal regeneration in there, though. That is, someone in covenant is grafted into the body of regenerate people of God, while they themselves are hypocrites and personally unconverted. But, once again, I think that’s easily distinguished.

  97. Kyle said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Tim, re: 96,

    Kyle, calm down. Try to treat people nicely.

    Cut out the patronizing tone. This is not merely some interesting discussion about matters of no great concern. Federal Vision is causing division in the church of God. To treat the issues with merely a detached, academic mindset is wrong. Shall I daintily sip my tea so as not to offend someone’s dainty feelings? I have not called you names nor have I impugned your motives or anything of the like. It is not unchristian or unkind of me to be forceful in my assertion. And if I am forceful in my assertion, it is because I cannot (and should not!) abide foolishness which ignores the heart of the matter. Whatever Pr. Leithart is teaching, it is NOT plain ol’ vanilla Reformed orthodoxy. You show me where Reformed divines have taught that there is a class of reprobate which temporarily enjoys a real, true, personal union with Christ by a temporary (living??) faith. Until then, your talk about common operations of the Spirit and (temporary, unalive?) covenantal union is vain prattling.

    Whatever covenantal union consists of, it’s certainly real and personal, though distinct from salvific union. Was “Lo Ami” ever “Ami”? You know, personally and really? Are those in Christ who bear no fruit “in him” impersonally and not really? Are they cut out of the olive tree or are they not?

    The reprobate are NOT REALLY PERSONALLY united to Christ. They may have the appearance of being united to Him, but they bear no fruit precisely because they have no vital union with Him. They are tares among wheat, goats among sheep. They will be gathered up and cast into the fire because they do not abide in Christ, and they never did.

    I’m quite certain that Leithart doesn’t have “a real regeneration” tied in with covenantal union, certainly not in the sense in which you’re thinking of it. He probably does have a covenantal/nominal regeneration in there, though. That is, someone in covenant is grafted into the body of regenerate people of God, while they themselves are hypocrites and personally unconverted. But, once again, I think that’s easily distinguished.

    No, Tim, that is not what Pr. Leithart has in mind. He specifically distinguishes hypocritical (“melodramatic”) reprobates from “tragic” reprobates; the former “enter the church hypocritically, and remain staunch unbelievers from start to finish,” while the latter “hear the word with gladness, respond to it, grow in Christian faithfulness for a time, and have a real personal union with Jesus.”

  98. Robert K. said,

    September 19, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Clearing up the record: somewhere up above Tim P. and Tim W. seemed to engaged in an exchange where the subject was my name and dispensationalism. Anybody who has read me knows I see Classical Covenant – Federal – Theology to represent biblical doctrine. Issues of sacraments and church polity are not in the category of Reformed distinctives other than to keep baptismal regeneration and sacerdotalism contained to the devil’s kingdom where they belong.

  99. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    “Lutherans (and quasi-Barthians) regularly mock the idea that you can derive assurance from predestination”

    I’m not sure why that would be, since the WCF always talks about being assured OF your predestination, not being assured BY predestination; if people are being assured by the bare fact of their predestination rather than the right use of ordinary means (like the Word and sacrament), that would be unconfessional.

  100. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    “There is no biblical category for that, being “sort of” made alive in Christ for a little while.”

    parable of the soils “beleive for a time”. Hebrews 6 “once enlightened” “taste of the heavenly gift”

  101. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    81: “Paul, there was ONE exception, so as to fulfill Scriptural prophecy.”

    That’s an interesting view, and you may be right. Calvin took it as just a ‘manner of speaking” IIRC

  102. pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    its attending the will of God and rendering obedience that assures you of your election.

  103. Vern Crisler said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:06 am

    #99

    Really, that must mean the WCF is more Lutheran the right.

    Vern

  104. Vern Crisler said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:07 am

    “more Lutheran than right”

  105. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Christians have assurance by the very fact that they are in battle with their Old Man, the world, and the devil. And they turn to the Word of God for guidance and boldly claim the name of Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, for protection.

    They’re on the battlefield. They’re not walking around wringing their hands wondering if they are saved or not.

  106. pduggie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 6:56 am

    wow. I agree with 105. Whoodathunk.

  107. GLW Johnson said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Jeff Meyers and I inhabit parallel universes. I had an experience that somewhat resembles the one he mentioned -the one that revolutionised his whole point of reference as a result of the conversations with men from his church in the parking lot. Mine, however ,took place in the dining hall on the campus of Princeton seminary back in the early 90’s. I was spending every spare day that I could working in the archives of Speer library with the archivist Bill Harris on BB Warfield. During a lunch break I found myelf sitting at a table with a half dozen or so students who were raving about the insights of the leading advocates of the New Perspective, especially E.P.Sanders and ‘Jimmy’ Dunn and heaping vulgar mocking contempt on the likes of Charles Hodge and BB Warfield as hopeless morons who actually believed the nonsense contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith. I said nothing, but finished my lunch and returned downstairs to the secluded catacombs of the archives. I relayed what happened to Bill Harris,( who retained a warm devotion for Old Princeton) and he told me that the seminary once had a large painting of Charles Hodge hanging in the dining hall, but had to take it down because students keep peppering it with food.Like Meyers, this marked a turning point in my way of seeing things.
    Meyers , sounding alot like the students at that table ,has once again expressed his own particular contempt for this noble tradition, urging a complete overhaul of the Westminster Standards.This is not all that surprising in light of recent events. You will remember that Meyers launched a last minute one man crusade to try and get his fellow PCA elders to reject the study committee’s report. That failed thankfully-the report passed by an overwhelming majority. Meyers and his fellow FVers are still upset ,and under the banner of ‘Sola Scriptura’ are once again attempting to force their views on the Reformed community, by demanding that the standards be amended to accomodate their distinctive views, because ( in what should be obvious to all) they realize that (despite strenuous attempts by FVers like Doug Wilson) the Federal Vision theology is NOT compatible with the WS. And since Meyers & co. are absolutely convinced that their views are correct, then the WS is wrong-and not just abit here and there-but at it’s core, i.e. it’s bi-covenantal structure. Like Charles Briggs before him, Meyers wants to ‘update’ the confession and bring this 500 year old relic up to speed with the latest insights from Biblical scholarship(read here NT Wright). This kind of thing is not new and Briggs wasn’t the only person to attempt to get his fellow Presbyterians to change the WFC to suit his liking. Back in the 1940’s Lewis Sperry Chafer of Dallas seminary fame made a passionate plea for the Presbyterian church to revise the WS to accomodate dispensational distinctives. The church refused and Chafer left the denomination. I hope two things would happen here. One, that the PCA and other Presbyterian bodies like the OPC stand firm in their committment to the WS .Second,Meyers would have the same intergrity as Chafer and take a similar course of action. Go off and join the CREC or form ‘Th Federal Presbyterian Church’or ‘The Wright Presbyterian Church’ , and then you can put the WCF through a paper shedder and draw up a mutulated version in the same way the Cumberland Presbyterians did way back when.

  108. anneivy said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:41 am

    The way the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints provides comfort to a believer is because it assures him that IF the Lord has begun a good work in him, THEN He will be faithful to complete it. It assures him that if he has faith in Christ, then his faith will be sustained to the end. It assures him that if he united to Christ, then he will always be united to Christ, and even though he falters along the way, the Holy Spirit will not permit him to fall away.

    Leithart’s post eliminates assurance even as a theoretical construct, as he says reprobates can be united to Christ, with a real faith in Him, etc.

    It’s interesting how the focus as switched in the FV view from “the saints” to “perseverance”; what I mean is, traditionally the doctrine has been “IF one is a saint, THEN one is certain to persevere to the end”, whereas for the FV it’s been turned around to “IF one perseveres, THEN one will remain a saint to the end.”

    Well, that or “some saints persevere while some don’t”, but what I’d been taught was that perseverance is an innate quality of being a saint. A “non-persevering saint” would be an oxymoron.

  109. September 20, 2007 at 8:06 am

    [...] we have another bull’s eye at GreenBaggins. __________________ Chris Coldwell Lakewood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Member Naphtali Press: [...]

  110. Vern Crisler said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Re: 99 & 103:

    It should of course be noted that the WCF does not support FV views, or the Lutheran view. See the section on the “Perseverance of the Saints.” The immutability of the decree of election is only one of the foundations of perseverance, but it is still a foundation (along with the love of God, the merits of Christ, etc.). The section on the “Assurance of Grace and Salvation” rightly comes after the section on perseverance.

    Vern

  111. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Rev. Johnson,

    Very interesting (both you experience and subsequent remarks). Thanks for sharing. Yes, the seemingly haughty biblicism of FV (esp. Jordan) is very much a turn off.

    And it grieves me to hear of people at Princeton hurling food at an image of the Rev. Dr. Hodge, of blessed memory. Most who know me know that I have some issues with Hodge’s thought, but I’d never want to see the Old Princeton tradition die out, much less would I ever stand idly by while unrully sorts mock the giants who have gone before us.

  112. GLW Johnson said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:47 am

    JB
    Actually I was sitting down, not standing up. Chock it up to my Southern upbring. Never argue at the dinner table-especially when you are a guest.

  113. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 20, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Rev. Johnson.

    Sorry for the confusion, but I was not referring to you “sitting by,” not engaging others in argument during a meal. I was just imagining if I had been there while people were hurling food at a painting of Hodge in a dining hall (or whoever else). The former situation I take to be much different than the latter.

  114. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 9:55 am

    This could be part of the problem. The defenders of orthodoxy are writing posts (and comments) like this.

    dogmatomachy…dogmatomatic — ahh. I actually, though, thought the poster was getting close to the third rail subject of regeneration in parts of the beginning of his post…

  115. Tim Wilder said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Re: 98

    “Issues of sacraments and church polity are not in the category of Reformed distinctives other than to keep baptismal regeneration and sacerdotalism contained to the devil’s kingdom where they belong.”

    To see where you are wrong read The Sacramental Teaching and Practice in the Reformation Churches, by Geoffrey W. Bromiley
    available in print:

    or online:

    http://www.contra-mundum.org/books/Sacramental.pdf

  116. Tim Wilder said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Re: #102
    pduggie said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    “its attending the will of God and rendering obedience that assures you of your election.”

    But Jordan says that you could have a one hour election, a one day election, a three month election, etc. So assurance of election is no assurance of final salvation in the Federal Vision scheme.

  117. September 20, 2007 at 10:17 am

    RE: #108

    “When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favourites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God’s call is founded upon His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out His people’s sins, but not their names.”

    ~ Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

  118. anneivy said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Re: #116

    Exactly! Much better explained.

  119. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Kyle, #93, I agree that the FV has caused division in some ways. I oppose that. I think that attitudes like yours have caused and always will cause far more division and strife. Purity AND unity.

    Ms. Ivy, just because the plant that grows and is choked out and the plant that grow up and produces fruit share *some* experiences and graces don’t blow perseverance out of the water. That a fruitless plant destined to hell thinks he’s on the way to heaven doesn’t mean that an elect fruitful plant can’t have assurance.

  120. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:50 am

    re 114, so you are saying baptismal regeneration and clericalism *are* Reformed distinctives?

    If you’re saying a particular church polity or philosophy of ritual water baptism are Reformed you have a problem with history and reality. And you will have to be pitting your current authorities against the Owens and Bunyans and Puritans of Calvinist/Reformed history.

  121. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Dr. Kear, #116, I’m sure no one is calling into question the effectual nature of the inward, effectual call. I’m speaking of a common work of the Spirit upon the non-elect that, in some ways, resembles the effectual call of the elect, and I think Dr. Leithart is, too.

  122. pduggie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:57 am

    telling me the WCF puts Assurance after Perseverance in chapter order doesn’t tell me that I can be assured by my perseverance, since I haven’t persevered yet, now have I?

    What it does say is I can have assurance by ordinary means of attending to God’s word and obedience. Not knowledge of the decree, which I don’t have access to, not being in heaven and reading the Book of Life and all.

  123. September 20, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Re; #120

    I think that the basic argument is that some cannot see the “common work of the Spirit upon the non-elect” as synonymous with an “eternally predetermined … real personal union with Jesus.” (Leithart).

  124. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Why don’t you just engage the Word of God and ask God to send the Holy Spirit into your heart? Does that embarrass you? Do the men you fear and revere mock such a thing? Calvin was known – as was Owen – as the theologian of the Holy Spirit. He had a real life *conversion experience.* Enough to embarrass scores of generations of seminary students and ritualists no doubt.

    Why don’t you just get serious about the Faith. Think of things like death and the fact that you are thoroughly corrupt from the womb. Embarrassing, un-fun things like that.

  125. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Dr. Kear, #122, I think the idea is NOT a material equivalence, but a nominal/covenantal one – something close to a judgment of charity along with the nominal/covenantal (not ontological) application of the distinctives of the group to all individuals in the group. I’m not trying to sound like an idiot, but I’m trying to give words to the notion of the nominal/covenantal application of ordo language to non-elect covenant members.

    For those who care or are actually here to discuss, I don’t know that I agree with Pastor Leithart, but I think this is what he’s saying.

  126. pduggie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:18 am

    common work of the Spirit upon the non-elect

    that common work was also determined from eternity right
    And the Spirit is a person, so his work is personal work
    And his work involves communication and togetherness with his subjects, which has to be SOME kind of union
    And the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and all of God does all that God does. so Jesus is involved too.

  127. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:28 am

    If you’re saying a particular church polity …[is] Reformed you have a problem with history and reality

    I’m don’t see anyone saying that a “particular church polity” is required. What we all agree on, and agree with the Reformers and Puritans on, and disagree with you and the other antinomians on, is that outside the visible church, with its characteristics of Word, Discipline and Sacraments, there is NO ordinary possibility of salvation.

  128. Tim Wilder said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Re: 119

    Read it and see.

  129. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:40 am

    >”I’m don’t see anyone saying that a “particular church polity” is required. What we all agree on, and agree with the Reformers and Puritans on, and disagree with you and the other antinomians on, is that outside the visible church, with its characteristics of Word, Discipline and Sacraments, there is NO ordinary possibility of salvation.”

    If wherever the call that is potentially effectual is made is defined as visible church then as a born again, regenerate, elect of God Christian who has been effectually called and experienced regeneration, being born again, conversion, and boldly walks as an elect of the Living God of all creation effectually called into His Kingdom, experiencing it now, knowing it by experience now, on the battlefield regeneration puts God’s elect, of which I am one, on, fighting the flesh (my Old Man, of which I experience in battle as he fights the Holy Spirit in me, I being a temple of the Holy Spirit and experiencing that in my born again, regenerate state) and fighting the world, which battle I experience and engage in directly, and fighting the devil himself, pure evil, of which I experience in the children of disobedience in this world has experienced salvation in the visible church. If your definition of visible church is a building “the paint of which you can gnaw off with your teeth” (as Doug Wilson would put it) then you don’t understand the faith because you havn’t experience regeneration by the Word and the Spirit.

  130. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:47 am

    >Read it and see.

    Read it and I too will believe in baptismal regeneration and clericalism? Probably not… Stay to the old paths…

  131. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Regeneration by the WORD and the Spirit? Mr. K., how dare you limit God to a means of grace – especially so ritualistic as the weekly preaching of it! You sound as if you’re mere steps away from being Reformed and speaking of the ministry of the Spirit by Word AND Sacrament.

  132. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Robert K.,

    But many whom you would label “ritualists” HAVE had conversion experiences (I being one of them… should we start a “testimony time” in order to figure out whose is superior? Good grief).

    Problem is, the Word of God does not tell us to put our trust in experiences, nor does it tell us that a certain experience is what is required. What it does tell us is to place our trust in the Gospel promises of Jesus Christ, and thereby to trust that he is faithful and will fulfill his promises to we who believe. These promises are given in the form of both word and sacrament (I remember something about seals). Nothing can be more un-Reformed than to deny this.

    I’ve had enough of you dude. You are free to spout off your opinions on what the Scriptures teach, but you are not Reformed. You. Are. Not. Reformed. You have no lot in the Reformed tradition. You are a sectarian Anabaptist who thinks it’s cool that God has predestined people. Great. This does not make you Reformed. And I fail to see how your opinion should be exalted above the majority of scholars in the world on the history of Reformed thought. You have some silly idea that you are right based on the presumption that only you and those who agree with you are “led by the Spirit,” and that therefore there is no real possibility that you could be mistaken. Well, I really fail to see how this makes you any better than the Pope.

  133. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    >”I’ve had enough of you dude.”

    Who are you?

  134. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    J-Bo, it’s a lot more worth while (and a good bit more fun) merely to answer Mr. K.’s comments with the silliness they deserve. In any event, Anabaptist, sectarian, predestinatarians have proven difficult to reason with in general, and this one in particular. As they say, forget about it. :)

  135. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    >Regeneration by the WORD and the Spirit? Mr. K., how dare you limit God to a means of grace

    If you knew Reformed doctrine you’d know it teaches, as the Bible teaches, that the Holy Spirit is not limited by anything in effecting regeneration in God’s elect. He, the Holy Spirit, by the common experience of God’s elect, works with the Word of God, but is not limited to working with or through the Word of God.

    The magisterial reformers knew this. As I’ve written before here: Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin all knew their main responsibility was to proclaim the WHOLE Word of God to all they were able to reach. Not, as Calvin says, like a Romanist priest intoning biblical formulas while engaging in ritual. The ENTIRE Word of God. This, and only this, is what effects change. Zwingli said he wouldn’t be called away from that activity to engage in polemics at some conference because he knew it was the only way to change his city. Allow the Spirit of God to work through the Word of God. The whole Word of God. Spoken and read (Jesus my Saviour and Lord and King and Prophet and High Priest said more than 10 times in the Gospels “Have ye not read, have ye not read, have ye not read?” and he wasn’t talking about books written by man).

  136. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Please guys–don’t associate the Anabaptists with Robert K. The Anabaptist tradition is probably stronger on the visible church, and the necessity of obedience, than the Reformed.

    And Robert–my visible church isn’t a building, but an organized organism with the marks of the church–Word, Discipline, and Sacrament.

  137. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Who are these “reformers” of which you speak? They can’t be magisterial, as they seem to have taught you very little. ;)

    FYI, that smiley face means a joke, just so sensitive souls (who can dish it out but can’t take it) don’t get all hot and bothered.

  138. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Sam, go get regenerated and come back… we’ll talk then. Okay, then? Bye bye, now.

  139. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    By the way.. that was a joke, Sam. See, I was tryin’ to sound like Mr. K., but with a mix of Ace Ventura….

  140. Tim Wilder said,

    September 20, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    This business of playing off today’s movements against the Puritans like Robert K. and Mark Horne do is silly. Robert K. thinks the Puritans are glorious, but they represented a big mix of ideas. I don’t know whether The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience by Geoffrey F. Nuttall is well know any more. He argues that Puritanism represented an entire spectrum of views from those who denied the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit at one end right up to Quakerism at the other. Many of them were certainly into experiences, and we have the Banner people and their unction and revivalism representing a strand of it today.

    On the other hand, there is Horne, who ripped off the PC vs. Apple ads to do a Presbyterian vs. Puritan version. Only Horne, in typical FV fashion, got history backwards, attributing the proto-FV postures to the Presbyterians, when they were really held by the Puritans. For example, Who wanted the baptismal font at the door of the church building because baptism is the door into the church? The Puritans did. The Presbyterians wanted the font up in front below the pulpit to show the subordination of baptism to the preaching of the Word, and the Presbyterians got their way. Some Puritans wanted a culturally English service (“a church with an English face”) and Presbyterians wanted the severe Geneva model.

    Puritans in their English context were to diverse to gives us a model of 17th century Reformed identity. Much better to see which of them found acceptance on the Continent, if you want Puritan examplars.

  141. Robert K. said,

    September 20, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    >This business of playing off today’s movements against the Puritans like Robert K. and Mark Horne do is silly. Robert K. thinks the Puritans are glorious, but they represented a big mix of ideas.

    The Puritans represented practical level Calvinism, to put it generally. The admiration for the Puritans is hardly restricted to your examples of – I’m sure – cranks (me and Horne, the first and probably last time I’ll be put in the same category and Mr. Horne). Is J. I. Packer a crank? Joel Beeke? And what the Puritans were is not a mystery these days. People interested in the Puritans tend to read books on the Puritans, of which many excellent ones exist.

    >I don’t know whether The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience by Geoffrey F. Nuttall is well know any more. He argues that Puritanism represented an entire spectrum of views from those who denied the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit at one end right up to Quakerism at the other.

    That book is still considered to be useful in illuminating neglected aspects of Puritan belief and practice. Personally I don’t know of any Puritans who denied the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but I suppose anybody can call themselves anything and believe anything. That is not generally something one would associate historically with the Puritans though, it’s safe to say. It is true Quakers were less quirky early on than is popularly known. They were Calvinists and very much valued the Word of God. Some of them, anyway. Some seemed to not need Scripture. I’m sure they had other distinctives I would find strange, but I’m not a Quaker.

    >Many of them were certainly into experiences, and we have the Banner people and their unction and revivalism representing a strand of it today.

    You sound FVists here. What is your problem with experience? I know the boilerplate, but have you thought it through? Do you also disapprove of God dealing with individuals? Anyway, nobody is going to show up the Puritans in the area of intellect or reason in their approach to the faith.

    >On the other hand, there is Horne, who ripped off the PC vs. Apple ads to do a Presbyterian vs. Puritan version. Only Horne, in typical FV fashion, got history backwards, attributing the proto-FV postures to the Presbyterians, when they were really held by the Puritans. ‘

    Actually, their appropriation of the Puritans (a recent phenomenon, by my reckoning) is as off as their appropriation of Calvinism in general. Don’t smear the Puritans by associating them with Horne or FVists in general. That’s not nice.

    >For example, Who wanted the baptismal font at the door of the church building because baptism is the door into the church? The Puritans did. The Presbyterians wanted the font up in front below the pulpit to show the subordination of baptism to the preaching of the Word, and the Presbyterians got their way. Some Puritans wanted a culturally English service (”a church with an English face”) and Presbyterians wanted the severe Geneva model.

    You don’t sound too knowledgeable of the Puritans, it seemeth to me.

    >Puritans in their English context were to diverse to gives us a model of 17th century Reformed identity. Much better to see which of them found acceptance on the Continent, if you want Puritan examplars.

    Well, if it’s the Continent you admire then you might gag on this: the Dutch Second Reformation, or Nearer Reformation, was directly influenced by English Puritanism. Yes, the Puritans are more representative of the faith once delivered than you seem to want to accept. They knew regeneration too. And spiritual warfare. As did the Dutch Calvinists…

    The father of the Dutch Second Reformation, Willem Teellinck, became something of a mystic late in life, if I recall… Another bad word… Calvin had some of that in him too, but don’t tell anybody…

  142. September 20, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Leithart on assurance: ” I only seek a back door {to assurance} when I think God might have a trap door or portcullis lurking behind the front door.”

    Might not such a “trapdoor” be the Jordan/Leithart doctrine which teaches that election, faith, union with Christ, faithfulness, sainthood, wheathood, and sheephood might well be “eternally predetermined” to be temporary?

    Source: http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/20/assurance-3/

  143. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Dr. Kear, you’re merely persisting in equivocation. We can speak of a covenantal election, faith, union with Christ… that is indeed temporary, from which NECMs fall away unto further condemnation. Folks can, after all, trample the blood of the covenant under foot; the blood by which they were sanctified. However, we can also speak more properly of election, faith, union with Christ, etc, which are impossible from which to fall away. God’s inwardly calls his elect to these blessings IN ADDITION to the common ones. He NEVER calls the eternally reprobate into the special ones. Am I being too clear?

    Once again, this is a fairly simple distinction. We should all be able to keep it in mind.

  144. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Ok, ok, Mr. K., we’ll stop calling you an Anabaptist and simply call you a Katabaptist mystic…

  145. Tim Wilder said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Re: 140

    “Well, if it’s the Continent you admire then you might gag on this: the Dutch Second Reformation, or Nearer Reformation, was directly influenced by English Puritanism.”

    They were influenced by certain Puritans, and not by others. And that is my point.

  146. Kyle said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Tim, re: 118,

    I agree that the FV has caused division in some ways. I oppose that. I think that attitudes like yours have caused and always will cause far more division and strife. Purity AND unity.

    O Timothy. “Attitudes like yours”? Well, the way I see it, attitudes like yours allow false brethren to come in, freely distort the truth for awhile, and create division and strife when those with discernment pick up on their distortions. After a century of the American church being racked with liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, charismaticism, and a broad evangelicalism deeply compromised with our surrounding culture, I am not interested “academic tolerance” or “charitable readings” (which are not so much charitable as wishful-when the same things are spouted over and over and over again, without substantive change, after so much criticism). Our unity is only as good as the purity with which we maintain the gospel of truth. Although each FV doctrine, taken in isolation, may not in itself strike at the gospel, the fact of the matter is that they have constructed-haphazardly, half-deliberately-a system which DOES strike at the gospel.

    I am sorry you do not see it that way.

    God have mercy on His Church.

  147. Kyle said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    “O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee, turning away from the profane babblings and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you.” I Timothy 6:20-21 (ASV).

  148. September 20, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Re: #142

    Tim, my “persisting in equivocation” is, to me, needed until someone in the FV can show me any possiblilty of having a biblical assurance of ultimate salvation when it is impossible by FV definitions to find unequivocal the two kinds of election.

  149. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Kyle, post 145 makes it clear that you affirm that attitudes like yours do rend the unity of the church. This is clear enough from the “yeah.. well, you…” response.

    Tell me, what’s the point in blogging (or engaging in any other kind of discussion) if you’re completely unwilling even to exchange ideas with folks? If you really think I’m a heretic, why not engage and argue your points instead of merely belligerently asserting them? That is an honest question. If, however, you’re going to brow beat me. I’ll let you have the last word.

  150. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Eternal election – Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

    All Calvinists got that one, right?

    Covenatal election – That group of people (a mixed body as their eternal election/reprobation) called out in history. Usually referred to the visible church, the church militant, the covenant community, or the people of God. Scripture uses the metaphor of an olive tree for this body, into and out of which people are grafted and cut. All branches in that tree are called elect IN A COVENANTAL SENSE, not in the eternal sense.

    Now this works historically: All those in the tree who are not elect will, in due time, be cut out and thus manifest their reprobation. All those in the tree who are eternally elect have been given the special graces of the ordo and will be kept and persevere by God’s special grace. In the last day, after all the cutting and grafting, that is when Christ’s bride is presented without spot or blemish, the covenantally elect will match the eternally elect person for person, head for head; all the eternally elect will be there and none else.

    I see no equivocation. I see high Calvinism maintained. I see the covenantal function maintained. I’m pretty happy with it, in fact, I’m downright excited about the whole thing! Is it okay for a Calvinist to be excited, or is that the road to Rome, too?

  151. Kyle said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Tim, re: 148,

    Kyle, post 145 makes it clear that you affirm that attitudes like yours do rend the unity of the church. This is clear enough from the “yeah.. well, you…” response.

    Is this the charitable reading? Hahaha!

    Tell me, what’s the point in blogging (or engaging in any other kind of discussion) if you’re completely unwilling even to exchange ideas with folks?

    Richly ironic, Tim, but no cigar. If you’re going to get on my case for making assertions, one would think you might pony up something more than your assertion that what Pr. Leithart is saying is merely the stuff of the Reformers. Who has the greater burden of proof? I, who say, “I don’t see it,” or you, who say, “It’s all there”?

    If you really think I’m a heretic, why not engage and argue your points instead of merely belligerently asserting them? That is an honest question.

    Where have I called you a heretic, Tim? I haven’t because I don’t think you’re a heretic. I do think, however, that you are falling for the rhetoric and equivocations of the proponents of FV.

  152. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Kyle, thanks for that response. I also appreciate your not thinking me a heretic. Honestly, the jury’s still out on it… :)

    I maybe falling for FV rhetoric, but maybe not. Maybe you’re falling for another party’s rhetoric. Maybe the both of us. Honestly, I’ve quite openly opposed certain errors that I’ve read in some FV writers. Don’t think you’re blogging with Rich Lusk here.

    I have, however, done far more than assert on this string. Not with you, as your first response put me off. I’ve tried to interact with Ms. Ivy’s concerns and also with the good Dr. Kear. Please examine #149 and find the equivocation. You may not agree with the covnenantal aspect or with what NECMs share with ECMs. That’s fine. We can work on that in time. But you’ve said you think I’m falling for the rhetoric and equivocations of FV proponents. Please identify the equivocation specifically.

    Again, thanks for the kind response.

  153. Vern Crisler said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    #121
    “telling me the WCF puts Assurance after Perseverance in chapter order doesn’t tell me that I can be assured by my perseverance, since I haven’t persevered yet, now have I?”

    You should base your assurance on the immutability of election, among other things.

    “What it does say is I can have assurance by ordinary means of attending to God’s word and obedience. Not knowledge of the decree, which I don’t have access to, not being in heaven and reading the Book of Life and all.”

    At worst, this is papist thinking. The emphasis on “ordinary” means (conducted by Mother church) instead of the comfort of predestination is meant to enhance the power of Mother church. FV is all about ecclesiastical absolutism. When you guys have figured that out, then you’ll know why FVists emphasize “objectivity” and deemphasize predestination. At best this is Lutheranism, but I think Reformed theology is better. Assurance is based on the fact that the saints will persevere, and that because of the immutability of election.

    Vern

  154. September 20, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Re: #149

    Tim, thanks for the response. I don’t remember mentioning anything about Rome, though. Anyway, my follow-up question would be: Can you or I tell the difference between the two elections you describe in real everyday life? If not, then there is no possibility of assurance in the Jordan/Leithart doctrine. Hence, I sound like I’m equivocating when really, I’m just trying to see how FVers find thir way around the many Bible texts that I believe tell me that I can know I’m secure in Christ.

  155. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Dr. Kear, how does the Bible tell you to know that you’re secure in Christ? What route does the Bible map for that security and assurance?

    I’m happy to answer your follow-up question, but I feel like I’m on the defensive here trying to play clean up and answer objections to someone else’s assertions. The only reason I’m doing that is that is looks like folks are immediately running to the worst possible interpretations, which is foolish.
    The deal with assurance is that I don’t want to pretend like it’s only an FV problem among Reformed folks. I’ve studied the Calvin, Ames, Shepard, and Edwards on calling (and assurance) and know that there’s some pretty wide divergence even among those divines. For instance, assurance was a REAL touchy issue among New England Puritans – it was huge. Their answers to the questions I found slightly different from Calvin’s answers to the questions. What are, pray tell, your answers to the questions?

  156. September 20, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Dr. Kear, how does the Bible tell you to know that you’re secure in Christ?

    I like what Jesus says in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” Add to that the commentary note on this verse from the 1599 Geneva Bible: “”The gift of faith proceeds from the free election of the Father in Christ, after which everlasting life necessarily follows: therefore faith in Christ Jesus is a sure witness of our election, and therefore of our glorification, which is to come.”

    I also like Romans 8 and John 10:27-30 and Jude 1 and 1 Peter 1:1-5 and… well, you get the picture. I think the Geneva commentators were right. Faith in Christ Jesus is the sure witness.

  157. Andy Gilman said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Peter Leithart says:

    [BOQ]
    In addition to these “melodramatic” reprobations, there are also “tragic” reprobations. That is, some reprobates hear the word with gladness, respond to it, grow in Christian faithfulness for a time, and have a real personal union with Jesus.
    [EOQ]

    And WCF 10:4 says:

    “Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,[p] and may have some common operations of the Spirit,[q] yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved…”

    Since Leithart subscribes to the WCF, surely he (or maybe Tim P. will lend him a hand!) can explain, without equivocation, how someone can enjoy “a real personal union with Jesus,” yet “never truly come unto Christ.” I suppose he will have to say that “really” does not equal “truly,” or that a “personal union with Jesus” does not equal “coming unto Christ.” But unless Leithart has registered an exception with the WCF at this point, I’m forced to conclude that this is just more sophistry.

  158. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Dr. Kear, re. 155, your helpful post raises the question of how one can identify faith. It’s clear from the parable of the sower that there is a temporary (non-justifiying) faith. How can I tell my faith’s true and real? What if my faith’s weak? Faith and assurance are not graces that always come together?

    I’ll be outta commission probably till tomorrow, fyi. G’night, all.

  159. tim prussic said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Mr. Gilman, I’m only making serious attempts to UNDERSTAND what’s said and written on both (or better, all) sides of this debate. It’s real easy for folks to think they’re right and dismiss the other opinions, usually by way of misunderstanding them. So, yes, I’m happy to give Pastor Leithart or anyone else a hand. I’d like to see more people doing the same.

  160. pduggie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    152

    Amazing. I quote the WCF, and you accuse me of papism.

    “men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election”

    Sure, there’s a logical step of “oh, if i’m attending to the word, one of the things I learn is that election is immutable.” But I don’t read the decree that was given about pduggie in the word. I learn that Jesus died for my sins, and if I trust him, I’m saved by grace. Attending to the word and being obedient are the things that ASSURE me I’m in the state of grace. knowing that states of grace are immutable isn’t the ASSURANCE, that’s just a logical deduction. I’m assured of being in grace, which means I am elect. So I’m assured OF election, not BY election.

  161. pduggie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    “therefore faith in Christ Jesus is a sure witness of our election, and therefore of our glorification, which is to come.”

    Faith in Jesus assures us OF election. My point.

    Of course, that seems a bit prewestminsteran, in that it unites faith and assurance as inseparables.

  162. September 20, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    (I am writing this comment without reading through the 161 comments above.)

    I don’t know about you guys, but I am really enjoying the discussion going on over at De Regno Christi. I think it is going great so far and I am learning alot from everyone that has contributed so far.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Terry W. West

  163. Kyle said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Tim, re: 151,

    I have, however, done far more than assert on this string. Not with you, as your first response put me off.

    Your first response to me ignored my concerns, which were initially expressed in #82, and subsequently in #87 (a response to Jonathan in #85). All you did in #92 was assert, by way of rhetorical questions, a “covenantal union” with Christ in which some reprobates receive some elusive salvific-like graces that are actually non-salvific. You didn’t really enumerate those graces (I suggested a few possibilities in #87, none of which you dealt with), nor did it seem to occur to you that Pr. Leithart himself never used the term “covenantal union.” He said “a real personal union with Jesus.” Hence my response to you in #93.

    My next response to you in #97 challenged you to show from some Reformed divines that Pr. Leithart was actually expressing “plain ol’ vanilla Reformed orthodoxy.” You never answered to that. I also answered your direct question(s):

    Whatever covenantal union consists of, it’s certainly real and personal, though distinct from salvific union. Was “Lo Ami” ever “Ami”? You know, personally and really? Are those in Christ who bear no fruit “in him” impersonally and not really? Are they cut out of the olive tree or are they not?

    The reprobate are NOT REALLY PERSONALLY united to Christ. They may have the appearance of being united to Him, but they bear no fruit precisely because they have no vital union with Him. They are tares among wheat, goats among sheep. They will be gathered up and cast into the fire because they do not abide in Christ, and they never did.

    I furthermore corrected your misapprehension of what Pr. Leithart was saying from your response to Joe; this you did not acknowledge.

    You then went on in #118 to accuse me of having a schismatic and contentious attitude, to which I replied that your attitude allowed false brethren to come into the church and freely distort the truth, illustrated with brief examples from history, and a fuller explanation of the relationship between purity and unity than you expressed. In response, you reasserted in #148 that I have a schismatic and contentious attitude and that I wasn’t interacting with your ideas.

    Frankly, I can’t see how I haven’t interacted with you, Tim. But non-interaction is a frequent accusation of yours toward others.

    Please examine #149 and find the equivocation.

    Is a reprobate’s membership in the covenant community a “real, personal (non-salvific) union with Jesus,” obtained through the instrument of a “real, personal (temporary) faith in Jesus”? (And is this “faith” a gift of God wrought by the Holy Spirit?) If so, of what non-salvific graces are they recipients? Non-salvific regeneration? Non-salvific justification? Non-salvific sanctification? (Since these graces, in their salvific forms, are received by those in salvific union with Jesus.) Also, can you explain how a reprobate person, who is an eternal covenantal union with Adam as the fallen head of mankind, enjoys any sort of “real, personal union” with Jesus?

    But you’ve said you think I’m falling for the rhetoric and equivocations of FV proponents. Please identify the equivocation specifically.

    Their equivocations on grace, faith, works-all of which I have identified in previous threads on Green Baggins-and now union (real, personal!).

  164. September 20, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Re: #158

    Thanks for the dialog, Tim. I appreciate your willingness to discuss this topic.

    As to the issue of faith, this is where I find a real rub with the FV things I’ve read. I think that biblical faith is both objective and subjective. Faith, on an corporate level, is ultimately (as you have rightly pointed out) objective and without doubt. But I believe that the Bible also teaches an individual faith that is recognizable by the one in whom God has caused it to be born. This is subjective. I understand (I think) the FV point about objectivity. But objectivity offers no real assurance until the last day. Subjective faith offers assurance in our everyday lives as “a sure witness of our election.” Of course this faith must be lived out in covenant. But objective faith without any subjectivity is, in my opinion, not justifying faith, and offers no assurance of election.

  165. Dave H said,

    September 20, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Robert K is Reformed? An Anabaptist? A Presby on anabolic steroids? Heck, I’m just eternally grateful he’s not a Muslim. *Boom*

  166. Grover Gunn said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    #107

    I appreciate the post. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer appears in the “Ministerial Necrology” found in the minutes of the 1953 PCUS General Assembly; he is there listed as a member of Dallas Presbytery.

    Some of Dr. Chafer’s comments in Bibliotheca Sacra during and after the PCUS report on dispensationalism do have a contemporary ring to them:

    “It is tragic when the leaders of any denomination are unaware of the greatest spiritual movement of the century. … It also seems incredible that sincere men can assume that there has been no progress in the understanding of doctrine in twelve generations since the Confession of Faith was formed. … It is time for any theological Rip Van Winkle to awaken to the recognition of that which has developed doctrinally since a company of good men drew up the Confession of Faith.” 1943 BibSac, page 341

    “Would it not be a wiser course, in the view of the present accepted liberties to revise the standards of the Church, so to reconstruct its text that a latitude may be accorded to the large number of men who can accept only a dispensational theology and thus allow them to remain in the fellowship of their brethern? It should be remembered that basic Presbyterian doctrine existed before Johannes Cocceius was born.” 1943 BibSac, p. 345

    “… since the Confession of Faith is no more than an attempt to interpret the Scriptures, and written by men no more qualified to interpret the Bible than scholars of our own day, it is certainly germane to this and all other questions to discover what the Bible actually teaches. The Confession of Faith, since it is three hunderd years old, could not incorporate the great flood of light which by the Spirit has since been thrown upon the text of the Bible. It will be the beginning of a sad chapter in Presbyterian history when on pure creedal ground the expositor is condemned for adhering to that larger comprehension of the Word of God which is his heritage from enduring study of the Bible itself and from those who have gone before. The issue is clear, and no other approach to the problem of the correctness of dispensational distinctives than to test them by the Scriptures themselves is worthy of men who are called to ‘preach the word.’ Incidentally, the great Apostle gave his son Timothy no intimation that he should defend anything other than the Sacred Text itself.” 1944 BibSac p. 258

    “Inventing Heretics through Misunderstanding”
    1945 BibSac, p. 1

    Grover Gunn

  167. Robert K. said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:14 am

    >I maybe falling for FV rhetoric, but maybe not. Maybe you’re falling for another party’s rhetoric. Maybe the both of us.

    This is the hall of mirrors existence of one who has yet to become able to discern and know the truth. It’s not a crime to be in that situation, but it’s not good to be a part, or to support, the redefining of Reformed doctrine from that position.

    Obviously it shows a lack of humility. The same thing that is keeping one from having the Word and the Spirit come into one’s heart and changing one. The Word of God is the wildcard in that process. One can read it humbly. God says move close to Him, and He will move close to you. But you read that in His Word.

  168. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Dr. Kear, re. #164, very good. So we have an objective Christ and objective and public means of access to him. We MUST subjectively appropriate that Christ and his benefits. There’s an objective way in which people are united to God in Christ in covenant that is only external and makes use of the objectives without the subjective appropriation of Christ and his salvific benefits. These folks partake of Christ, indeed, but to their greater and covenantal cursing.

    The road to assurance is to seek personally to be united to the objective Christ by the objective and public means of grace (this is not to deny private prayer/worship, but to stress the corporate nature of the Christian faith). This is EXACTLY what I think Pastor Leithart’s after.

    The subjective growth in faith comes by attendance upon the objective and public means of grace. Faith feeds and grows on divine promises published in Word and Sacrament. Faith sees Christ alone and clings to him. As a man examines himself and understands that he clings to Christ alone, as he sees the fruit of his faith (that is, increased commandment keeping), his faith grows as does his assurance.

    Where can we go from here?

  169. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Kyle, when you begin the discussion thus…

    ‘Do reprobates have REAL, PERSONAL UNION WITH CHRIST? Shove off with the prattling about the common operations of the Spirit and “covenantal union.” REAL, PERSONAL UNION WITH CHRIST IS NO COMMON OPERATION.’

    …let’s face it, you lose your audience. Who wants to be spoken to that way? It’s really hard for me to take ANYTHING after that seriously. I’ve recently started trying, and I hope to continue.

    I asked you to point out my equivocations. You said, “Their equivocations on grace, faith, works-all of which I have identified in previous threads on Green Baggins-and now union (real, personal!).” By “their,” I suppose you mean FVers. I’ll take that as me. Here’s the problem, I’ve gone out of my way to define my terms SO AS TO AVOID equivocation. You may not like my terminology, but “equivocation” means something, and it doesn’t mean: “I don’t agree”! I’ve been quite careful not to commit that error, and I’d invite you to point to an infraction or give me a clean bill of health (in that specific area). Then we can move on.

    I’d like focus in on the nature of the NECM, if you will. Will you tell me what temporal benefits are afforded a NECM and how those differ from and elect and called covenant member? I’ve tried to be quite clear in post #150 on this score.

  170. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:35 am

    Mr. K., teach us how to have the same mystical experiences that you have, so we can trust in our gnostic knowledge of the unadulterated and cask-strength truth. Ahhh… that world of airy verity in which you live and move (spiritually – bodies are bad, remember) and have your being. It must be nice ne’er to be deceived, to know all divinity and church history by way of intuition. Please, please… lead us, O humble one.

    By the way, Dave H., #165, I’m grateful, too!

  171. Andy Gilman said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Why does Leithart’s presbytery let him get away with this?:

    [BOQ]
    Bill, I don’t see it that way. Quite the contrary in fact. I’ll try to write something more substantive on assurance later, but for now, only this incomplete and unsatisfying fragment: The search for INDIVIDUAL assurance in predestination is hopeless, since none of us has access to the decrees.

    It seems to me that this search is actually motivated by unbelief, since it seems to be looking for a ground of assurance deeper than the promises of God in the gospel. God has addressed His promises to me as publicly as can be – and I don’t need anything more. I just need to trust Him.
    [EOQ]

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/19/visible-church-again/#comment-1610

    In light of WCF 3:8:

    “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.”

    I wonder what Leithart would say about WCF 18:2?

    “This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises 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 the children of God, which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.”

    Would Leithart say we were “motivated by unbelief” if we were assured by the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God? After all, we ARE children of God. We are baptized. We don’t need the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirit, to give us assurance. We have the promises of the gospel. We don’t need anything more. Just trust Him! Would it also be an act of unbelief to regard the Spirit as “the earnest of our inheritance whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.”

    Leithart and Jordan’s claim that we can’t find any assurance in God’s decree, and that the attempt is motivated by unbelief, is clearly unconfessional. Why does Leithart get away with it in his presbytery? On top of that, the argument is juvenile. “Unless I have a copy of the decree with my name on it, I can’t know that I’m destined for the New Earth. I cannot think as God thinks, and to try and do so is blasphemy, as we all agree,” says Jordan. Yeah, and unless I have a copy of my birth certificate with my name on it I can’t know that I was born.

  172. Robert K. said,

    September 21, 2007 at 2:43 am

    >”Mr. K., teach us how to have the same mystical experiences that you have, so we can trust in our gnostic knowledge of the unadulterated and cask-strength truth. Ahhh… that world of airy verity in which you live and move (spiritually – bodies are bad, remember) and have your being. It must be nice ne’er to be deceived, to know all divinity and church history by way of intuition. Please, please… lead us, O humble one.”

    This type of language doesn’t concern me as much as the false doctrine supporting language, Tim. In the above you are just expressing where you are currently at in your development regarding the faith, you’re not redefining Reformed doctrine. The mocking tone is common, the boilerplate throwing around of the term ‘gnostic’, and ‘cool’ allegiance to flesh and world, it’s all common group-think political-correctness of the mainstream churchmen kind.

  173. Vern Crisler said,

    September 21, 2007 at 4:19 am

    WCF, “Of the Perseverance of the Saints”

    “from all which arises the certainty and infallibility thereof.” (2)

    This phrase has reference to human psychology. While absolute assurance of salvation is not of the “essence” of faith, one can still have–contrary to papist thinking–psychological certainty about it. And per the Confession, this certainty arises, inter alia, from the immutability of the decree of election.

    The Confession goes on to explain that the comfort of assurance can be lost “for a time” due to sin and hardening of the heart, etc. But at least a minimal assurance of faith can never be lost–“never utterly destitute.”

    The emphasis on predestination as a ground of assurance is only over against Lutheran or FV caricatures. The Confession rests assurance on more than just the decree, but it does not denigrate it either, as FVists do on a continuing basis. This despite being rebuked by both individuals and presbyteries regarding their unReformed errors.

    Vern

  174. Vern Crisler said,

    September 21, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Actually, the “certainity” mentioned in Sectioin 2 is an objective certainty, not a psychological certainty. My bad. However, one of the scriptural proofs is Hebrews 6:17-20 which speaks of “strong consolation” based the immutability of God’s counsel. Thus, assurance is based on the concept of immutability, and so away with all the FVist, Lutherans and quasi-Barthians (e.g., Berkouwer) who delink these concepts.

    Vern

  175. GLW Johnson said,

    September 21, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Grover
    Thanks so much for the supporting quote from Chafer. The language he used does ring familiar to that used by Briggs and more recently by Meyers. I am reminded of the words I cited in my chapter in the book recently released by P&R, ‘B.B.Warfield:Essays on His Life and Thought’ from W.G.T. Shedd. Here is what he said: “But heresy is not so great a sin as dishonesty. A heretic who acknowledges that he is such, is a better man than he who pretends to be orthodox while subscribing to a creed which he dislikes, and which he saps under pretense of improving it and adapting it to the times.” The title of Shedd’s book is also appropriate for this discussion,’Calvinism:Pure and Mixed: A Defense of the Westminster Standards’.

  176. kjsulli said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Tim, re: 169,

    Kyle, when you begin the discussion thus…

    As I pointed out in #163, that is not how I began the discussion. There were two comments prior to that. You did not address my concerns in those, hence the EXTRA EMPHASIS in #93. But, water under the bridge, right?

    I asked you to point out my equivocations. You said, “Their equivocations on grace, faith, works-all of which I have identified in previous threads on Green Baggins-and now union (real, personal!).” By “their,” I suppose you mean FVers.

    I asked some questions to clarify what you were saying in #149, which is where you had asked me to point out any of your equivocations. If you note how I quoted you (“But you’ve said you think I’m falling for the rhetoric and equivocations of FV proponents. Please identify the equivocation specifically”), I thought you wanted me ALSO to identify FV equivocations. Sorry if I misinterpreted you there, but I did point out where I thought some equivocations might be occurring in your #149.

    I’d like focus in on the nature of the NECM, if you will. Will you tell me what temporal benefits are afforded a NECM and how those differ from and elect and called covenant member? I’ve tried to be quite clear in post #150 on this score.

    Your #150 does not explain at all what benefits a “NECM” receives. All it says is that they are part of the covenant people. A “NECM” has the temporal benefits of regularly hearing the preaching of the word, access to the ordinary means of grace (the sacraments, prayer), fellowship with the community of saints, and, as part of the covenant community, the special care and protection of God. They do not receive the special graces that accompany union with Christ (justification, adoption, sanctification, and finally glorification), as they have no union with Him. Read WLC Q61-69.

  177. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:54 am

    “They may have the appearance of being united to Him, but they bear no fruit precisely because they have no vital union with Him. They are tares among wheat, goats among sheep.”

    dead branches in the vine, good seed choked out by thorns, etc.

  178. Andy Gilman said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Jordan makes his ridiculous claim about the decree while at the same time wanting to characterize himself as being more aligned with the TFU than with Westminster. Yet the TFU are extremely clear on this matter.

    Canons of Dordt, First Head:

    [BOQ]
    Article 12
    The elect in due time, though in various degrees and in different measures, attain the assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election, not by inquisitively prying into the secret and deep things of God, but by observing in themselves with a spiritual joy and holy pleasure the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God such as, a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc.

    Article 13
    The sense and certainty of this election afford to the children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before Him, for adoring the depth of His mercies, for cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of ardent love to Him who first manifested so great love towards them. The consideration of this doctrine of election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the divine commands or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption or of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election, in those who refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.

    Article 14
    As the doctrine of divine election by the most wise counsel of God was declared by the prophets, by Christ Himself, and by the apostles, and is clearly revealed in the Scriptures both of the Old and the New Testament, so it is still to be published in due time and place in the Church of God, for which it was peculiarly designed, provided it be done with reverence, in the spirit of discretion and piety, for the glory of Gods most holy Name, and for enlivening and comforting His people, without vainly attempting to investigate the secret ways of the Most High (Acts 20:27; Rom. 11:33, 34; 12:3; Heb. 6:17, 18).
    [EOQ]

    Rejection of Errors:

    [BOQ]
    Paragraph 7
    Who teach: That there is in this life no fruit and no consciousness of the unchangeable election to glory, nor any certainty, except that which depends on a changeable and uncertain condition.

    For not only is it absurd to speak of an uncertain certainty, but also contrary to the experience of the saints, who by virtue of the consciousness of their election rejoice with the apostle and praise this favor of God (Eph. 1); who according to Christs admonition rejoice with his disciples that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20); who also place the consciousness of their election over against the fiery darts of the devil, asking: Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? (Rom. 8:33).
    [EOQ]

    Then of course much more is said about assurance under the Fifth Head, like this in the Rejection of Errors which appears to have been written for Jordan personally:

    [BOQ]
    Who teach: That without a special revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in this life.

    For by this doctrine the sure comfort of the true believers is taken away in this life, and the doubts of the papist are again introduced into the Church, while the Holy Scriptures constantly deduce this assurance, not from a special and extraordinary revelation, but from the marks proper to the children of God and from the very constant promises of God. So especially the apostle Paul: No creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). And John declares: And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us (1 John 3:24).
    [EOQ]

  179. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:58 am

    166: as a member of a church pastored by Barnhouse, i appreciate that historical note, Pastpr Gunn. I wonder if the PCA stands for being a denomination that never would have ordained barnhouse.

  180. GLW Johnson said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:59 am

    pduggie
    Are you aware that the very same arguments that you and others are presently using to substantiate your case for NECM were used by the Remonstrants at Dort to advance their case against their Calvinistic opponents?!

  181. GLW Johnson said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Pduggie
    Regarding your question to Grover, are you suggesting that Dispensationalism, be it attached to Chafer or Barnhouse, is something that confessional Reformed denominations like the PCA should turn a blind eye to just because of the stature of someone like Barnhouse?

  182. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:04 am

    “We don’t need the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirit, to give us assurance. We have the promises of the gospel. We don’t need anything more. Just trust Him!”

    Those aren’t opposed to each other. The promises of the gospel ARE the Spirit’s witness. The Spirit’s witness is not extraordinary, but flows through ordinary means. It was only the independents who changed the WCF to say the “immediate” testimony of the Spirit. What do we tell the charismatics who “hear” voices in their head telling them stuff? That the Spirit speaks through the enscripturated WORD.

  183. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:06 am

    No I just want us to be public and bold and forthright in our denunciations. Instead, Tenth and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals broadcast Barnhouse and reprint his books.

  184. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:10 am

    180: theres 180+ posts here. Which arguments did I advance that are the same as the Remonstrants?

  185. GLW Johnson said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:13 am

    pduggie
    You asked if the PCA stands for a denomination that would never have ordained Barnhouse. I would like to think that,given his fond attachment to his Scofield Bible , he would have been grilled unmercifully by the Philadelphia presbytery and refused him ordaination.

  186. GLW Johnson said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:15 am

    pduggie #184
    All of them!

  187. Andy Gilman said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:57 am

    In #182 Paul says:

    [BOQ]
    Those aren’t opposed to each other. The promises of the gospel ARE the Spirit’s witness. The Spirit’s witness is not extraordinary, but flows through ordinary means. It was only the independents who changed the WCF to say the “immediate” testimony of the Spirit. What do we tell the charismatics who “hear” voices in their head telling them stuff? That the Spirit speaks through the enscripturated WORD.
    [EOQ]

    What do you mean Paul? The part I quoted said nothing about the “immediate” testimony of the Spirit. You say the “Spirit’s witness is not extraordinary, but flows through ordinary means.” That sentence doesn’t make sense. The Spirit’s witness can’t be extraordinary because of what it “flows through?”

    Do those who are indwelled by the Spirit, receive the Spirit’s witness in an “extraordinary way,” or do all who read and hear the word of God, receive the same witness? Does a blind man witness the sun in the same way a sighted man does?

    There is no reason the Spirit’s witness can’t be extraordinary, while at the same time “flowing through” ordinary means.

  188. September 21, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Re: #168

    “There’s an objective way in which people are united to God in Christ in covenant that is only external and makes use of the objectives without the subjective appropriation of Christ and his salvific benefits. These folks partake of Christ, indeed, but to their greater and covenantal cursing.

    “The road to assurance is to seek personally to be united to the objective Christ by the objective and public means of grace (this is not to deny private prayer/worship, but to stress the corporate nature of the Christian faith). This is EXACTLY what I think Pastor Leithart’s after.”

    If, indeed this is what Dr. Leithart is after, then he really needs to hire you to edit his writings, because I can agree with you (and even understand you!) while I still must disagree with him.

    Perhaps the major area of disagreement comes from Pr. Leithart’s failure to distinguish between those “without the subjective appropriation of Christ and his salvific benefits” (as you put it), and those with said appropriation. If the “real union with Jesus” he speaks of is NOT salvific, then I have much less disagreement with Dr. Leithart’s statement. But if the statement is left without distinction, especially in light of James Jordan’s doctrine of temporary election, then at face value there is no possibility of either an immediate or eventual assurance, but rather only a hope or a presumption. And it seems to me that the “real union” statements by Leithart are left purposefully vague in order to instill a kind of fear not unlike the Hebrews passages. But the Hebrews passages are balanced with passages about assurance and eternal salvation so that the believer, while duly taking warning, may still rejoice in the assurance of his salvation.

    Since God gives us His great and precious promises as well as His Spirit as a guarantee, we may have real assurance, an assurance that certainly ebbs and flows in time and history, but an assurance nonetheless. This assurance grows as we “seek personally to be united to the objective Christ by the objective and public means of grace” as well as through more subjective means (prayer, Bible study, song).

    Thanks again for the discussion, Tim.

  189. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:14 am

    I teach from Dr. Barnhouse’s “Teaching the Word of Truth” because he teaches and points out the need for one to be born again in the Spirit. And, he also teaches the correct relationship between faith and works. Two important truths that are missing from this warped FV covenant theology.

    So, if Dr. Barnhouse is considered unfit company for the PCA, then I guess that makes me unfit company too. I will wear that as a badge of honor and join him outside the camp where Christ is.

  190. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:16 am

    We don’t need to know how the eye sees to see with it. We don’t need to have an awareness of the experience of the Spirit to be witnessed to by the Spirit internally.

    All the metaphors for the Spirits work are ungraspable and unutterable ones.

    I don’t have to be aware that the Spirit is convincing me the bible is true to believe the bible is true. I confess that he does, but I don’t have to sit around and wait for a feeling that the Spirit is convincing me that the bible is true to know it is.

    I am highly suspicious of claims of awareness of the Spirit doing and prompting as if the person could actually always not post-facto determine when the Spirit was prompting and when not. I think its ultimately charismatic to think otherwise.

    And I don’t think Leithart saying that looking to the public and ordinary and mediated witness of the Spirit is a denial of the need for the witness of the Spirit, since that’s exactly what he said. A mediated witness by the Spirit is still a mediated witness.

    that’s all I’m trying to say.

  191. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I was reading Barnhouse’s Romans commentary to see what he said about the covenant of works (short answer: not much).

    He talked about how in Romans 4 God brings life from the dead. He said God has made this his constant pattern, ever since Genesis 1! Where satan had destroyed the first world, God brought life from that death by making a new one!

    wow.

  192. September 21, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Re: #190

    Not a big fan of Jonathan Edwards or Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Paul?

  193. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Not in their charismatic tendencies.

  194. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Or I have spiritual aspergers syndrome.

  195. September 21, 2007 at 11:40 am

    :)

  196. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 21, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    What moves a person to repentance? True repentence? The Holy Spirit. Jesus says Blessed are those who mourn.. those who are poor in spirit. How can a person truly mourn without any feeling? What about gratitude, rejoicing, weeping, tenderheartedness… those are all the work of the Spirit accompanied by feelings.. affections. Our emotions along with our minds and bodies are all to be controlled by the Spirit. Our emotions can be just as spiritual as our minds. If you are reading the Bible and your emotions remain untouched by what you read, I have to question whether you have been born again. Your version of intellectual faith only is no different from Islam, Hinduism, or any other religion that requires a mere assent to a set of doctrines.

  197. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    My emotions are touched by all kinds of stuff. Is the Spirit at work in all of those touches? Yes, in one sense, but then how to distinguish the touches that are salvific from the common? Merely the context of the event? Because I was reading my bible a touched, I got a salvific touch compared to when I saw a cute kitten and was touched (as much by the Spirit, right? Or if not, then how do I know when the Spirit is moving me or not)

  198. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 21, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    A person who is born again and living in the Spirit knows the difference.

  199. September 21, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Perhaps a reading of the second chapter of 1st Corinthians is in order here.

  200. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Amen 199! Thank you. And, I realize there are some out there who are not Jonathan Edwards fans, but his book “Religious Affections” is a great reference to the important place of emotions in those who have true faith.

  201. Robert K. said,

    September 21, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    People generally don’t know even that emotions can be noble and base, crude or refined. You say ‘emotions’ and they think ‘sentimentality’ or some sort of exaggerated, cartoonish behaviour in the direction of exhilaration, violence, or depression.

    In fallen man crude or unrefined emotion rules. Think of how, for instance, in popular culture and in just human nature itself *resentment* is considered to be noble.

    The image of God involves higher emotions. Sort of the difference between pop level music that stirs you in the usual way and Mozart’s 41st Symphony which is able to stir you, potentially, if you can hear it, but not in the way pop-level music stirs. And emotions at the level of Mozart or Bach or Beethoven carry knowledge.

    My main point though is most people never have stopped to ponder emotion to the degree of even seeing that emotions can be base or noble, more crude or more refined. Emotions are taken all at the same level.

  202. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I can tell you THAT the Spirit has enabled me to believe the gospel and trust Christ, but I can’t tell you that it felt different than anything else mental that’s happened to me. I’m raised in a Christian home FWIW.

    Did it feel different to you?

    “A person who is born again and living in the Spirit knows the difference.”

    Ok, so since I don’t I’m not? even though I believe in Jesus?

  203. September 21, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Paul, I don’t want to butt in too much on the discussion you are having with Dave, but my answer would be that of course you can be saved and not have any subjective assurance. You can be saved and doubt the assurance that you do receive. But I don’t believe that that is God’s highest will for His children. Whether I’m reading Lloyd-Jones on assurance or Thomas Watson on the SWC or R.C. Sproul’s new commentary on the WCF, they all admit readily that one may possess saving faith without assurance. But they also point out that assurance is something that believers are entitled to and should earnestly pursue. We may not necessarily find a full assurance unhindered by any doubt, but God does supply a subjective and growing assurance to His children nonetheless. The problem isn’t that some may not be able to discern true assurance from mere human emotion, the problem arises when those who do not have assurance demand that since they don’t have it no one else can either.

  204. pduggie said,

    September 21, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    No problem.

    I wouldn’t say I don’t have assurance.

  205. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Kyle, #176, thanks for the helpful response. I think I can understand your aversion to using the phrase “union with Christ” with application to reprobates. My problem with your problem is that it views covenantal connection ONLY from the decretal standpoint. I believe that’s God’s view of the thing and it’s true, but I also believe he’s give us an historical covenant and bound us to work in it, within it’s constraints. The two views come together at the last day (see #150 above). It seems to me that you want to view things only from the perch of eternity and that has some serious problems working in history. Does my concern make sense?

    If you don’t want to use the phrase “union with Christ” with any application whatever to NECMs, may we use the term connection? What connection, Kyle, do NECMs have with Christ and his body? From what are they cut away when the apostatize? What does it mean to be cut out of the Olive Tree?

    There has to be more than mere increased access to means of grace and a nebulous “protection” that you offer in #176. I’m not positing a silly Arminianism (and I don’t think Pastor Leithart or ANYONE else in the FV is either), where men can be truly and properly regenerated, justified, etc and then turn around and not be. There’s a covenantal way of speaking and a proper way of speaking regarding those blessings. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain throughout this lengthy string of posts. Anyway, Kyle, I’m quite interested to hear your answers to the questions just above.

  206. Andy Gilman said,

    September 21, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t know anything about Caleb Stegall, but he clearly has Jordan pegged.

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/20/what-is-tradition/#comment-1713

  207. September 21, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    #205 This is a helpful discussion.

  208. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Ms. Nagle – great to hear! I hope we can continue to discuss these issues and edify each other in the process.

    Mr. (Pastor?) Gilman – re. 206 – I think Jordan landed a jaw-splitting uppercut. What’s all this getting uppity about tradition and confession when significant portions of it are set aside by those getting uppity.

    That doesn’t apply head for head, of course. There are fully-confessional men that oppose the FV, but there are also a good many seminary men that, say, creation and then speak of being confessional.

    Also, I agree with Meyers that Coffin’s remarks (at least as quoted within that discussion – as I have no knowledge of them first hand) sound more like Eck than Luther.

  209. Andy Gilman said,

    September 21, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Tim, you can call me Andy, and no, I’m not a pastor. I thought the link would connect to the specific comment in that thread which I wanted to highlight, but it apparently doesn’t work that way. So here is the comment:

    “James, with this kind of reaction, it should be no surprise that people quickly get fed up with your infantile posturing. No one is whacking you on the head with any arbitrary rules other than the rule for basic honesty and integrity in debate.”

  210. September 21, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Well so far all the “FV” men involved in the discussion have affirmed WCF 11:3 without qualification. So if they strongly affirm justification then the heresy charges should be taken off the table right?

  211. tim prussic said,

    September 21, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    What!? Never! Terry, and lose such a powerful political and demagogical tool? :) By the way, nice pic!

    Andy, I thought Pastor Jordan’s reply to that was fair.

  212. Kyle said,

    September 22, 2007 at 12:21 am

    Tim, re: 205,

    I think I can understand your aversion to using the phrase “union with Christ” with application to reprobates. My problem with your problem is that it views covenantal connection ONLY from the decretal standpoint.

    How so? I’m perfectly aware that there are reprobates who are members of the covenant community in history. This does not change the fact that they never possess a “real, personal union” with Christ.

    I believe that’s God’s view of the thing and it’s true, but I also believe he’s give us an historical covenant and bound us to work in it, within it’s constraints. The two views come together at the last day (see #150 above). It seems to me that you want to view things only from the perch of eternity and that has some serious problems working in history. Does my concern make sense?

    Not at this point, no. And you’re still not addressing the so-called “real, personal union” which Pr. Leithart claims that “tragic” reprobates have, a union which he does not ascribe to “melodramatic” reprobates. But both of these groups are NECMs.

    If you don’t want to use the phrase “union with Christ” with any application whatever to NECMs, may we use the term connection? What connection, Kyle, do NECMs have with Christ and his body? From what are they cut away when the apostatize? What does it mean to be cut out of the Olive Tree?

    Why don’t you tell me, Tim? You’ve been vague all along on what exactly it means to have “covenantal union,” except to say that it looks something like the union the elect have with Christ, only it is non-salvific.

    There has to be more than mere increased access to means of grace and a nebulous “protection” that you offer in #176.

    Why? And what is it? (By the way, I was offering pretty much what the Westminster Larger Catechism offers, to which I pointed you. Sorry if that doesn’t satisfy you, but it looks scriptural to me. The “protection” is of the visible church as a whole; to the extent that the visible church is protected from her enemies, NECMs within the visible church enjoy that protection.)

    Anyway, Kyle, I’m quite interested to hear your answers to the questions just above.

    I’m waiting on your answers to my questions in #163.

  213. Kyle said,

    September 22, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Well so far all the “FV” men involved in the discussion have affirmed WCF 11:3 without qualification.

    Except the whole body of their work qualifies their affirmation.

  214. Andy Gilman said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:10 am

    Kyle, if you are waiting for FV proponents to define what they mean by “covenantal union,” you will no doubt be disappointed. They have been asked countless times to define what they mean when they make statements contradicting the Westminster Standards, telling us that the non-elect enjoy union and communion with Christ. They will say that they don’t mean union and communion “in the same sense” that Westminster uses that phrase, but they won’t give a positive definition. So whenever you see the phrase “covenantal union” in FV writings, you can safely substitute with “blahblahblah,” and nothing meaningful will be lost.

    This quest for a definition of terms has been taken up repeatedly on this blog and on numerous others. Quite recently Doug Wilson was asked on this blog what he meant by “corporate justification.” Doug gave an answer which, so far, I haven’t been able to decipher. I requested clarification, but Doug has been silent. This has been the case for the seven years I’ve been following the FV “conversation.” They simply refuse to give us a copy of their lexicon, while insisting that, whatever their words may mean, they do not contradict the Standards and are not heretical.

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/09/05/on-a-debate-with-wilson/#comment-30232

  215. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:18 am

    Leithart puts forth his view that the ground of justification is the resurrection of Christ rather than the truth which is that the ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ. Leithart thinks every Reformed theologian and body of Reformed Christians in the world today is too stupid to see what he is doing with that shift. Every aspect of the devilish, Romanist Federal Vision poison is to target each point of biblical doctrine all down the line that teaches justification by faith alone and deconstruct each of those points of doctrine – applying whatever tool in the sophistry bag of academic post-modern rhetoric needed for each particular target. These acts are too meticulous to not be driven by conscious mischief, which in this case is full-fledged warfare against Jesus Christ and God’s elect.

  216. GLW Johnson said,

    September 22, 2007 at 6:00 am

    DR #189
    I personally am very much in debt to the ministry of Donald Grey Barnhouse. My mentor, the late S. Lewis Johnson,Jr. was converted under the ministry of Barnhouse. However, when Johnson expressed an interest in going to seminary his first choice was Westminster, but Barnhouse told him he would be better off going to Dallas theological seminary because they were strongly premil and Westminster was not. When I started attending Tenth Pres back in the late 70’s the pew Bibles were still the second edition Scofield that trace their being there back to Barnhouse. I don’t have a problem with someone being a historic premil and seeking ordaination in the PCA or even the OPC-but not dispensational premil and all that goes with it-that position is not compatible with the WS-and in confessional churches, if the confession is going to be more than window dressing, then you have to maintain confessional integrity otherwise you end up like the PCUSA (which is where DGB was) and the confession is a wax nose and as a result all kinds of birds roost on the branches of that kind of tree.

  217. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 22, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Robert K.,

    I didn’t notice that “rather than… Christ’s righteousness” in Leithart’s treatment. Could you point me to it? I think he clearly stated that he was attempting to do justice to biblical passages which throw a different light on the term “justification.” Are you denying that the term is used in different ways in Scripture?

    And I’ve always thought of Christ righteousness and his resurrection as at least kinda related. I’m sure we’d all be interested to see your exegesis of what Paul is saying in Rom. 4:25, and your reasoning for viewing Christ’s righteousness as something separate from his resurrection.

    Thanks.

  218. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 22, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Oh, and just for the record.

    Calvin on Romans 4:25:

    “‘And was raised for our justification.’ As it would not have been enough for Christ to undergo the wrath and judgment of God, and to endure the curse due our sins, without his coming forth a conqueror, and without being received into celestial glory, that by his intercession he might reconcile God to us, the efficacy of justification is ascribed to his resurrection, by which death was overcome; not that the sacrifice of the cross, by which we are reconciled to God, contributes nothing towards our justification, but that the completeness of his favour appears more clearly by his coming to life again…

    “[A]s he is said to have died for our sins, because he delivered us from the evil of death by suffering death as a punishment for our sins; so he is now said to have been raised for our justification, because he fully restored life to us by his resurrection: for he was first smitten by the hand of God, that in the person of the sinner he might sustain the misery of sin; and then he was raised to life, that he might freely grant to his people righteousness and life.”

  219. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Wow, the merry-go-round of the FVists (and the “I’m no FVist, but I really admire their distaste for Reformed, biblical doctrine!”). Once again John Calvin is being used to defend justification by faith and works. Jonathan, you either have no shame, or you simply have a problem following this nonsense.

    The subject is WHAT IS THE GROUND OF JUSTIFICATION. Not, does Christ’s resurrection have any connection with his perfect righteousness vis-a-vis the justification of God’s elect.

    Leithart wants to DIVORCE Christ’s righteousness from his resurrection. He does this for the same reason he wants to wipe the Covenant of Works off the slate and the same reason he wants to take the spine out of Federal Theology by not recognizing the parallel between the first and the second Adam.

    He’s a liberal Lutheran that knows enough about Reformed Theology to be able to defile it towards Romanist doctrine. He’s a liberal Lutheran that has decided he wants to be a Romanist (that he wants to give his soul to the Beast), but being where he currently is he has decided he can do some damage for the Beast before he makes the transition to Rome in a public way. All of these Federal Visionists will be in Rome in no short time. ALL of them. Not one will not end up in Rome. They all have the spirit of disobedience in full measure. They can’t NOT go to Rome publically. They are only doing fifth column damage within the camp that holds to the truth prior to making their way to the Beast.

  220. Mark T. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Andy Gilman,

    Check out this quote:

    “In order to pin a liar down, words must be defined in the most careful manner available. In this context, the only man who needs to be more precise than a liar is the man who would catch the liar.” (Douglas Wilson, Angels in the Architecture, A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth [Moscow: Canon Press, 1998], 193)

  221. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 9:27 am

    “Jesus’ resurrection is the ground of our justification…” – Peter Leithart

    Leithart says this for the same reason FVists deny the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Their target always is justification by faith alone. Their demand always is to put man front and center and IN CONTROL, and to tell God that Satan has defeated Him. Irrational? Of course it is. Hallucinogenically irrational. Rebellion against God is irrational to the core. They’re called false teachers, apostates, and reprobates. And they want you in hell with them. (If one has to assign a motive to such losers it is this: the devil has convinced them they will be the ‘aristocracy’ of hell. The leaders in hell. This is enough to motivate them to pull as many dupes as they can hook along with them.)

  222. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 22, 2007 at 10:28 am

    “Once again John Calvin is being used to defend justification by faith and works.”

    Interesting. I didn’t realize that that was the question I was seeking to address. But then again, you are one of the few who are led by the Spirit, Robert, so I suppose I should defer to you.

    The venom which you write is so unbefitting a Christian man as to leave me utterly dumbfounded sometimes. I will pray that God will soften your hard heart and cause you to realize that you are blinded by hatred. And I’m not saying this to be patronizing: I mean it in all sincerity.

  223. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Yes, go mend your soul in conversation with Rowan Williams.

  224. Grover Gunn said,

    September 22, 2007 at 11:43 am

    “166: as a member of a church pastored by Barnhouse, i appreciate that historical note, Pastpr Gunn. I wonder if the PCA stands for being a denomination that never would have ordained barnhouse.”

    A few years ago, we had a debate in our presbytery regarding how strictly we should interpret our doctrinal standards. One minister stated that if we did not take care, we would become so narrow that we would reject St. Augustine if he applied for membership. Well, I have to admit that St. Augustine would have to adjust his theology a bit here and there before I would vote to receive him into my presbytery. He was a godly man whom God greatly used in history. I would like to think that if he were transported to our times and thus had access to our exegetical tools and the doctrinal development since his time, that he would make those adjustments, even as he made some in his own lifetime. Still all such appropriate adjustments are a gift from God and not the natural wisdom and insight of even a thinker such as Augustine. Yet that was not the point raised on the floor of presbytery. The question asked was whether the historical Augustine without any adjustments in his historically conditioned thinking would meet the admittance standards of our presbytery; and if not, whether that implies that our admittance standards are too rigid. I think such a line of thought is merely a rhetorical device in arguing for latitudinarianism.

    A lot has happened since Dr. Barnhouse was ordained. We should not return to the ordination standards of his day, and we can’t know where he would be doctrinally if here were alive today. As Paul said, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels.” The treasure is perfect, yet the vessels have their cracks and blemishes. We can receive the treasure without approving the cracks and blemishes.

    May God bless!
    Grover Gunn

  225. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    In this thread James Jordan reveals that there is a girl called Alice, and there is a place called Wonderland, and James Jordan is going to stand by that, by giddy, until tarnation.

    Notice a by-product of these threads over at De Regno Christi: Doug Wilson is demonstrating in real time his necessary android-like tactic of not only never criticizing any Federal Vision colleague, but not even giving a rhetorical wary side-glance to their most silly pronouncements being made right at this left and right shoulders…

  226. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Another good thing about what is going on at De Regno Christi is it is getting Peter Leithart to come out of the closet and show his real character. Leithart likes to put on a front of goofy, modest, ‘just bein’ a professer’ persona; but one can’t engage in what he has been engaged in without having dark, vain, and prideful elements active within. This is coming out in exchanges like this one.

  227. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    D. Hart writes: “JMyers: My reply to Peter applies equally to you. Why do you think that simply saying the Bible settles it, a la Billy Sunday, settles it? Doesn’t the Bible have to be interpreted by somebody? And aren’t some somebodies more authoritative than others? And while I’m at it, what are the bodies of Presbyterian denominations like the OPC and the PCA, chopped liver? Where is the high view of the church that I’ve heard so much about as the FV’s means for addressing the problems of Billy Sunday?”

    Not only that, but once you get these Federal Visionists on the territory of the Bible they turn into shameless sophists with the Word of God. They don’t care any more for the Bible than they do for Reformed confessions.

    And I wish there would be less reluctance on the part of the critics of Federal Visionists to make the appeal to authority something other than OPC or PCA, or whatever, councils. I.e. don’t be afraid to appeal to the authority of the magisterial reformers and the body of work of Reformed theologians down through time. The FVists are afraid of this which is why they spend so much time attempting to appropriate as many Reformed theologians from the past as they can. They fear this appeal to authority because THEY KNOW it is an appeal to the authority of the Bible. Repeat: Reformed Theology is nothing if it is not based on Scripture. The critics of FVists think they will sound like Romanists circa 1500s if they start appealing to the names of men of their tradition, but the difference is: Reformed theologians had the Word of God – which they actually valued – as their authority. I call myself a Calvinist and Reformed because Reformed Theology says what the Bible says.

    Also, notice how the Federal Visionists over there (at De Regno Christi), when pressed, just say rather bluntly dumb things. It’s like debating juveniles who havn’t thought their positions through deeper than the most surface level. Their entire movement seems to have a rule against self-reflection or criticism (knowing how shallow their formulations are and how vulnerable when confronted).

  228. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Blah. Give us better heretics. These FV delinquents don’t even afford us the opportunity to sharpen biblical doctrine. It’s like debating the “Don’t taze me, bro!” student…

  229. Tim Wilder said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Jordan still claims:

    “September 22nd, 2007 at 11:39 am”

    “I’m not going to fight about Shepherd, but I’ll reiterate that his views are those of the Swiss Reformers and are completely orthodox and the same as that in the Westminster Standards.”

    Even though Shepherd has repudiated the Westminster Standards! Not even Shepherd agrees with Jordan about what Shepherd believes!

  230. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Oh, methinks I’ve been banned again… Well, if so, so be it.

  231. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Apparently no so, yet… The Green Baggins software seems to not like Andrew Sandlin quotes…

  232. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Andrew Sandlin writes.

    These guys are just simply common shallow liberal theologians. They don’t understand that Reformed doctrine is *apostolic biblical doctrine.* They think it’s a *construct* put together in the 1500-1600s. Actually, they either think this or they pretend to think this. Either way they don’t value Reformed Theology for what it is: apostolic biblical doctrine.

    The apostle Paul stated the doctrine – the faith – had been delivered to the saints. Once delivered. The Reformation *recovered* it from the darkness and tyranny Rome had put it under. After darkness, light. Not “16th century light”, but Light.

  233. Vern Crisler said,

    September 22, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Over at De Regno Christi, the thread entitled “Frame’s Creative Children” is very illuminating. I think some are sawing off the limb they’re sitting on by agreeing with the assumption that there is no fact of the matter about what the Bible says, and how someone interprets. This just falls into the problematics of Sandlin’s post-modernism. It is in fact a form of interpretive Idealism and is self-stultifying, i.e., the claim itself would simply be another interpretation rather than a fact of the matter.

    We should never pit the Confession or Calvin or Reformed tradition vis-a-vis the Bible. That’s not what is meant by being opposed to biblicism. Opposition to biblicism simply recognizes that there is safety in a multitude of counselors, and that many wise men have gone down the road we are setting out on. No one deliberately leaves the map behind just to show his independence or his opposition to “influence.” So the creeds of the church and the Westminster and other Reformed confessions are like maps. Not always right perhaps, but safer than going it alone.

    The irony is that the FVists are promoting high churchism, medievalism, ritualism, ecclesiastical absolutism, and pre-Reformation traditionalism, and at the same time are accusing anti-FV Reformed people of being traditionalists.

    Go figure,

    Vern

  234. Mark T. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    You know that the FVers are in trouble when their only academic (as well as the ostensible detergent in their fetid brew) begins his response to a sound argument with the word “um,” as Dr. Peter Leithart did here.

  235. Robert K. said,

    September 22, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Yes, you engage the Bible and the Spirit enables you to see the truth in it; and the Bible says there will be teachers who have that gift from the Spirit as well. And we as believers discern the truth the teachers teach because Spirit speaks to spirit. And that truth is no more new or original than heresies are new or original.

    Calvin, Witsius, Hodge, Vos, Berkhof, etc. are teachers. They draw on teachers before them. You discern the on-the-mark teaching. (And would D. Hart please stop putting Vos in the category of troublesome influences. Not all biblical theology or theologians are shallow intellects wielding biblical theology as a tool to bring God’s Word down to their vain demands…)

    Basically, if you come to the faith (however it happens in your case) and you still have vain desires to indulge vain, prideful, self-centered intellect (i.e. you havn’t yet gotten through that stage and havn’t yet seen the limits of worldly influences) then the most glorious basic truth of biblical doctrine will be something you *have* to mock (or just insist on being bored with). Just to keep your vanity protected you have to do this. And of course, because you are in a stage and state of basically being clueless, you, like the person who doesn’t get the joke and so insists the joke wasn’t funny, you not only can’t see the truth, but you resent anyone who can and justify your lack of ability to see by telling yourself those people are *dull* or whatever (choose your own vanity-soothing projection).

    Just read the Word of God complete. There really is no other answer or advice a believer can give to someone in the state the Federal Visionists are in. Read the Word of God, humbly, complete, and ask God to give you understanding. Better yet, ask Him to help you to awaken to your vanity, worldly pride, and rebellious self-will, so that you can have a chance to begin to see the truth…

  236. Andrew said,

    September 23, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Would anyone agree with me (as an uncommitted party) that the only conclusion so far, though an important one, has been the absense of any heresy or serious error on the part of the FV chaps?

    I am not saying they do not teach such, but can’t see anything here. Specifically, when challenged on justification they gave clear, unambigous affirmations of the confession.

  237. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 7:39 am

    I won’t go into the qualifications and the redefining of words – the finger-crossing – false teachers and heretics use when making ‘clear’ affirmations, but just look at the statement by one of the putative leaders (Jordan) that Shepherd’s view of justification is orthodox Reformed doctrine, and the raging silence from the other Federal Visionists over there when this statement was made.

    Learn more about Reformed doctrine and common attacks made against it before you come to any conclusions about these people.

  238. GLW Johnson said,

    September 23, 2007 at 7:43 am

    In his section on ‘Combination’over at De Regno Christi, Doug Wilson points to a number of various strains of influence from things as diverse as the rejection of the Covenant of Works as advocated by Herman Hoeksema and the Protestant Reformed Church (by the way, is DW admission that despite his verbal gymnastics suggesting otherwise, he really does not accept the doctrine as stated in the WS?) to their supposed agreement with Richard Gaffin on Union with Christ ( odd, Dick claims otherwise and his role on the OPC study committtee certaintly does not appear congenial to the FV as well)that come together to create the FV. No doubt it slip his mind ,but he could have also appealed to another branch in the Presbyterian tree as evidence for a FV precedent-the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The CPC also taught (and revised the WS along these lines) that a person could be in possession of the redemptive benifits derived from Union with Christ, including justification, the forgiveness of sins, adoption, et. al. and yet lose those salvific blessings and end up reprobate. Oh, yes, they went on to say however, that all those who God ‘foreknew’ would perserve could never fall away ( substitue ‘decretal’ here and the result is the same). This convient lapse of memory by DW is strikingly similar to that displayed by the Open Theists, who like very much to go rummaging back through church history trying to find noteable examples of individuals who can be shoehorned into agreement with this or that aspect of open theiism-but , and most significantly,they avoid like the plague mentioning their direct relatives the Socinians. Now, I am sure DW is aware of the CPC, in fact, if you read the CPC revised edtion of the WS, you would be surprised how much the CPC and FV have in common, and I am can’t help but wonder why DW doesn’t acknowledge this the family resemblance?

  239. anneivy said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Doubtless I’m the last one to notice this, but ISTM there is a remarkable similarity between the 1924 Auburn Affirmation and at least some of the what the FV has been saying (the following found at Wikipedia):

    The Affirmation has six sections that can be summarized as:

    1. The Bible is not inerrant. The supreme guide of scripture interpretation is the Spirit of God to the individual believer and not ecclesiastical authority. Thus, “liberty of conscience” is elevated.
    2. The General Assembly has no power to dictate doctrine to the Presbyteries.
    3. The General Assembly’s condemnation of those asserting “doctrines contrary to the standards of the Presbyterian Church” circumvented the due process set forth in the Book of Discipline.
    4. None of the five essential doctrines should be used as a test of ordination. Alternated “theories” of these doctrines are permissible.
    5. Liberty of thought and teaching, within the bounds of evangelical Christianity is necessary.
    6. Division is deplored, unity and freedom are commended.

    Referring to the Five Fundamentals as “particular theories”, the Affirmation’s argument is succinctly summarized in two sentences:

    Some of us regard the particular theories contained in the deliverance of the General Assembly of 1923 as satisfactory explanations of these facts and doctrines. But we are united in believing that these are not the only theories allowed by the Scriptures and our standards as explanations of these facts and doctrines of our religion, and that all who hold to these facts and doctrines, whatever theories they may employ to explain them, are worthy of all confidence and fellowship.

    ==============

    “…these are not the only theories allowed by the Scriptures and our standards…”?

    Hmmmm. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Once again it’s proven true that there is nothing new under the sun.

  240. GLW Johnson said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:25 am

    anneivy
    Well put. Althought the FV crowd will adamantly deny any resemblance to the AA ( other than they share some a common association with the word ‘Auburn’) Meyers ,in particular, is most certainly parroting a very similar emphasis on liberty of opinion and resentment of the descendents of the ‘TRs’ as personified in Machen & co. to Machen’s warrior children who orchestrated the outcome of the OPC and PCA study reports. But, where as it took the AA followers almost 50 years to getting around to putting the WS in the dustbin with the Confession of 1967, some of the leading voices in the FV (Jeff Meyers is leading the charge) are demanding a over haul of the WS immediately. Like you said , nothing new under the sun.

  241. anneivy said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I also ran across BB Warfield’s civil refusal to serve on the Committee of Revision back in 1900, which was the committee that came up with the 1903 Revision (which I know you know, but since I’m not Presbyterian, it was new to me); tell you what, he would be banging his head against a wall in frustration were he alive today!

    http:// http://www.pcahistory.org/documents/subscription/warfield.html

  242. anneivy said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:36 am

    BTW, I thought I recalled that WordPress doesn’t permit URL’s so put a couple of additional spaces in the one above, meaning it’ll need to be cut and pasted into the browser window.

  243. GLW Johnson said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:43 am

    anneivy
    Thanks so much for the link to the Warfield. I hope others will benefit from Warfield’s wisdom-even those in FV circles who have sought to portray him as a befuddled gnostic, which, given their adversion to Old Princeton, this is not all that surprising.

  244. Andrew said,

    September 23, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Robert K,

    I readily admit my relative ignorance of reformed theology, and it is partly through study of blogs like this that I hope to find out more.

    I am aquainted with the various Reformed confessions of course, but my understanding of more recent controversies is limited. I hope to read more of and about Shepherd and see what the problem is.

    I would observe though, that the point of similarity between Shepherd’s view and the FV was said to be that faith in justification is ‘active’, which does not seem very alarming to me. But perhaps there is a subtext of which I am not aware.

  245. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    One of the things false teachers use is the ease with which doctrine can be mocked as ‘too intellectual’ or the ease with which central doctrine can be changed and then the false teacher can stand back and say: “What’s the big deal?” The connection between the intellectual undersanding of the doctrine and practical-level essential change and understanding and salvation is something it is easy to play with. I.e. doctrine can be manipulated with language without that connection to internal salvific change ever being addressed. The unregenerate also have the advantage in this world because it is *their* world, and when they self-identify as Christian where they are becomes, in Bunyan’s language, a *Village of Morality* where they have numbers and ability to mock real Christians who believe in things such as *justification by faith alone* *as if* it really means anything.

    This is why people like these Federal Visiionists are so disgusting to true believers. We can see them at work; they know we can see them at work; but they don’t care that God’s people can see them working, they just want to keep people in the darkness and bondage of the devil’s kingdom. And when a person thinks their works, to any degree, play a part in their salvation they are by default still in the devil’s kingdom. They have yet to die to the law and come alive in Christ. The devil know this doctrine is the central doctrine.

    You need discernment, and only the Holy Spirit can give you discernment. Without it you are by default in the devil’s kingdom. With it you have Christ and the armor of God and ability to see and accept apostolic biblical doctrine and desire to defend it.

  246. Kyle said,

    September 23, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    I would observe though, that the point of similarity between Shepherd’s view and the FV was said to be that faith in justification is ‘active’, which does not seem very alarming to me. But perhaps there is a subtext of which I am not aware.

    The subtext is that the activity of faith includes “faithfulness,” so when we are justified by “faith,” that faith is composed partly of our faithful obedience to God. The end result, although every FVer I’ve encountered will strenuously deny it, is that our justification becomes based partly on our own righteousness. This relates to FV’s discomfort (frequently minimization, sometimes outright denial) of the covenant of works.

    Here’s the deal: the faith which justifies is always accompanied by obedience; but obedience does not make faith justifying.

  247. Kyle said,

    September 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Andrew, re: 244,

    I would observe though, that the point of similarity between Shepherd’s view and the FV was said to be that faith in justification is ‘active’, which does not seem very alarming to me. But perhaps there is a subtext of which I am not aware.

    The subtext is that the activity of faith includes “faithfulness,” so when we are justified by “faith,” that faith is composed partly of our faithful obedience to God. The end result, although every FVer I’ve encountered will strenuously deny it, is that our justification becomes based partly on our own righteousness. This relates to FV’s discomfort (frequently minimization, sometimes outright denial) of the covenant of works.

    Here’s the deal: the faith which justifies is always accompanied by obedience, but obedience does not make faith justifying. Our faithfulness is never a ground or instrument of our justification.

  248. Kyle said,

    September 23, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Sorry about the double post there (246 & 247).

  249. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Obedience becomes being. We do good works not because the law says we should, but because it is what we are. The best way to see this is in spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare was a Puritan specialty because the Puritans knew regeneration (because they actually engaged the Word of God, humbly, at its level, not bringing it down to the vain level of man). You engage in spiritual warfare because it is what you are to do that. You exist to engage in spiritual warfare. You don’t have to force yourself to do it, you just do it the way a young horse just runs or a bird flies. It is what you are. The law is your heart. It corresponds to the image of God.

    Legalists know nothing of this. Federal Visionists who would lecture everybody havn’t a clue. They’re the most wicked because they would impose their own God-ordained ignorance on the entire church of God. All they have is the Kingdom of Satan, of which they are the chief tame slaves, and chief ministers. I would say God help them, but at this point I can see that they don’t want it.

  250. Andy Gilman said,

    September 23, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I just read this jewel from Jordan over at De Regno Christi:

    [BOQ]
    I mention this because one objection to “Federal Vision” writers is that they dare to read Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox theologians and thinkers!
    [EOQ]

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/22/frames-creative-children/#comments

    I really cannot understand why anyone would take this guy seriously.

  251. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    WILSON WRITES: “Darryl, believe it or not, I can accept this. But because our Reformed fathers overwhelmingly saw the COW as basically gracious, this means that it follows that those in the modern Reformed tradition who insist that the COW be understood in terms of raw merit have not erred on an incidental point, but have rather overthrown the whole system. Would you agree that a non-gracious COW requires folks to revise and reconstruct everything to make the claim coherent?”

    This is just, at this point, sheer stupidity. This is the dumbest students in the class getting up and demanding to teach the class.

  252. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    At this point you just pat the boy on the head and send him off. “OK, Doug, you go on back to your church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses go back to their churches, the Mormons go back to their churches. God is in control, and there’s a reason you all exist…”

  253. September 23, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Trueman says: “Deny the covenant of works, for example, and one implicitly denies the whole structure of justification taught in the standards.”

    The problem I have with this sentence, is that it makes the COW an essential ingredient in a proper formulation of the doctrine of justification. If this is true than how did Calvin for example have a credible formulation of justification in the Institutes when the COW doesn’t even appear one time in the entire text? As matter of fact not only is the COW absent from the Institutes but there is found a statement by Calvin in which he expresses his dislike of the use of the term “merit” as it relates to human works.

    Calvin says:
    First, I must premise with regard to the term Merit, that he, whoever he was, that first applied it to human works, viewed in reference to the divine tribunal, consulted very ill for the purity of the faith. I willingly abstain from disputes about words, but I could wish that Christian writers had always observed this soberness—that when there was no occasion for it, they had never thought of using terms foreign to the Scriptures—terms which might produce much offense, but very little fruit. I ask, what need was there to introduce the word Merit, when the value of works might have been fully expressed by another term, and without offense? The quantity of offense contained in it the world shows to its great loss. It is certain that, being a high sounding term, it can only obscure the grace of God, and inspire men with pernicious pride.

    John Calvin – From INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, Book 3, Chapter 15, Section 2

    So, if we are to say that the COW, defined in such a way that makes meritorious human works the bases of receiving favor from God, is essential to a proper formulation of justification, then how did Calvin get justification right?

  254. Robert K. said,

    September 23, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    *sigh*… Terry, I don’t know what you used to learn Reformed doctrine, or who taught you, but for you to be this confused and ignorant about the Covenant of Works is rather astounding. I mean, how can you even be involved in Reformed debate or discussion or reading a Reformed blog and referencing Calvin and so on and be this ignorant of Covenant – Federal – Theology?

    Where to start? First of all know that your Federal Vision teachers very well know what the Covenant of Works is. Their affecting of false piety regarding ‘merit’ is solely to give them cover to attack the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They are deeply wicked, reprobate souls, Terry. Don’t follow them.

    Second, read Vos on the history of the Covenant of Works in early Reformed writings and so on, including Calvin.

    Third, learn to distinguish between the state of man prior to the fall, and after the fall. Then remember Jesus Christ did not have original sin.

  255. Kyle said,

    September 23, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Terry, re: 253,

    Trueman says: “Deny the covenant of works, for example, and one implicitly denies the whole structure of justification taught in the standards.”

    The problem I have with this sentence, is that it makes the COW an essential ingredient in a proper formulation of the doctrine of justification.

    What it makes the Covenant of Works essential to is the Westminster Standards’ formulation of the doctrine of justification, which is precisely what Dr. Trueman says. The COW is essential to the structure of the covenantal theology explained in the Standards, as the Covenant of Grace comes in the context of Adam’s failure to fulfill the COW. Now, one might have a proper formulation of the doctrine without explicitly bringing in the COW, but it will not be quite so full without the COW.

  256. GLW Johnson said,

    September 24, 2007 at 8:37 am

    As has been pointed out many times on this blog by myself and others, the FV is the legacy of Norman Shepherd(as the discussion taking place over at De Regno Christi abundantly confirms). Andrew Sandlin,for example, says that he is not part of the FV,but he is sympathetic to some of the FV concerns.Which ones? The ones that take their cue from Shepherd. James Jordan is unabashed in his devotion to Shepherd. Meyers and Horne are equally unashamed Shepherd disciples and Baruch was one of Shepherd’s students. Another well known fact is Shepherd’s candid admission that he no longer thinks the WCF adequate, chiefly because of it’s bi-covenantal structure. FV advocates like Jeff Meyers are openly calling for confessional revision, while Wilson, the Idaho fox, is much more cory. He will use CoW language but impregate it with a totally different meaning. Confessional documents, in the hands of people like this,end of being treated like the U.S. constitution in the liberal activist judges, who could careless what the framers meant, they insist on reading their own agenda into constitution even if it means grossly distorted it in the process.

  257. anneivy said,

    September 24, 2007 at 8:52 am

    It’s been surprising to read the desire to either overhaul the WCF or replace it entirely. The LORD provides the means for creeds and confessions to be written, and today those means are not in place. How on earth would such creeds and confessions be constructed now? By whom? Who has the authority to call such a convocation?

    ISTM all that’d happen is several groups representing various strains of theological thought would each have their own new creed and/or confession, so that far from providing increased unity in the church at large, it would result in even greater fragmentation.

  258. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 24, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Terry,

    Notice that, as is usual, when you cite Reformed authorities, you get no actual answers, just the continual refrain that whoever reads these authorities in the manner which they would seem to imply, is a ” deeply wicked, reprobate soul.”

    Unfortunately this is pretty much par for the course here at Green Baggins. There are folks who seem to be self-appointed guardians of “Truth” on this blog.

    I really hope that Rev. Keister pays close attention to the vitriol that has been vomitted on this thread and considers reinstating the previous ban, because if this continues for long I fear that the comments here will soon turn into a one man show and thus damage the good which Rev. Keister and others have to offer.

  259. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Jonathan, go back to where the Gospel means nothing. There you’ll not find any people like me.

    And I did answer Terry’s citing of Calvin. I did it in shorthand because he’s got alot of studying to do to get to a place where he can begin to see the basics themselves. Meanwhile he’ll be preyed upon by the false teachers like the Federal Visionists because the only people they can dupe are those currently ignorant of the basics of Reformed doctrine.

    And I notice you have your own tactics: demand people who say things you don’t like get cleansed from the field. How weak is that?

    Anyway, you’ll most likely run into one of God’s elect wherever you go if you are pushing false doctrine in Reformed environments… Get use to it.

  260. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 24, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Robert,

    First, I’ve made no demands, only a suggestion. And that suggestion applied one person: you. There are many others here, includingKyle and Revs. Keister and Johnson, with whom I have disagreed vigorously, yet cordially, and who have good things to say and intelligent ways to say them, but whose reasonable words on these comment threads are unfortunately overshadowed by your dominating, hateful presence.

    Thus, your charge that I want everyone who disagrees with me cleansed from the field is utter foolishness. Why would I come here if I didn’t want to discuss important matters with those coming from perspectives different from my own? No, I just want you out, because you destroy the possibility of intelligent discussion. Your words are like cancer in every one of these comment threads, dragging the discussion into the realm of condemnations, pontifications, hateful mud-slinging, and vitriol unbefitting Christian discourse.

    Second, indulge me while I go your condescending route for a moment, Robert: Go read the Bible. Ask God to help and lead you. Read all those passages which talk about love and peace and unity, and yield yourself to the influences of the Spirit. Ingest the word of God. Feed on its exaltation of virtues such as humility and longsuffering, without which your religion is devoid of any worth. Specifically, meditate on passages like James 1:19-27, and ponder how this passage and similar ones might apply to your life in general, but more specifically to your conversation and demeanor in discussions such as these.

    Good day, sir. I assure you and others: this is the last comment I will leave on this site so long as your comments here remain accepted.

  261. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 10:31 am

    You’re disingenous, Jonathan. Imagine that, an FV supporter being disingenous. You can engage in any kind of discussion you like here with anybody and just simply ignore my presence.

  262. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 24, 2007 at 11:07 am

    At the risk of being insulted once more, let me go back on my last statement and make the following anecdote my final comment here as long as Robert’s hateful presence remains accepted.

    I had a problem with my cable provider a while back. For some reason, every other channel I received played nothing but extremely profane movies. I resolved to not engage in watching television at my home again unless or until the problem was rectified. Upon calling the cable company and informing them of the problem, they asked what I would have them do. I requested that they remove the obsene channels or else I would no longer use their service. They responded with the charge that this request was disingenuous, because I could choose to just ignore the objectional images and language whenever I came across them. Needless to say, I took this as a completely irrational and insulting statement, and I canceled my cable.

  263. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Go back and read my posts, Jonathan. I am writing things that get underneath much of what is being discussed in the FV vs. Reformed Christians debate. You are saying everything I write is some kind of filth. This is false witness. What you really object to is hearing the truth proclaimed in an unafraid, non-lukewarm manner. You’re basically a liberal Anglican who has as little care for apostolic biblical doctrine as you do for your Archbishop’s writing a glowing preface to a new translation of the Bible that deletes the Book of Revelation and has Paul telling people to engage in sex and that homosexuality is good. This is where you’re coming from. Of course you feel assaulted by someone like myself.

  264. Stewart said,

    September 24, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Robert, can you tell us a little about yourself? What is your real name? And what church do you attend?

  265. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    You go first, Stewart.

  266. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Oh, you’ve got a blog, I see. That means everybody knows who you are, I suppose. Here, let me make it easy for you: wherever Christians fear God more than they fear man, that is the gathering I attend. Wherever Jesus Christ is King, that is the gathering you’ll find me in. I belong to the Church of which Christ is King. And how do you know my name is not Robert?

  267. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I think I wrote a webpage awhile back for the inevitable policers that appear on these kinds of forums. Do a search.

  268. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Meanwhile I’m kind of astounded that D. Hart stated he’s “not a theologian.” All Christians are called to be theologians, at least on the basics. And I would imagine he is one despite his claim. Not all Christians have to be doctors or plumbers, but all Christians have to be theologians. Conversion itself is about getting understanding of what you are to have faith in and what you are to repent of. This calls for theological knowledge and understanding.

  269. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, on the subject of speaking truth boldly, bravo to the President of Columbia University. If you didn’t hear his opening statement in the presence of the psycho taxi driver President of Iran it will surprise you. Find it on YouTube or something. I didn’t expect it.

  270. Stewart said,

    September 24, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Robert, it’s obvious to everyone here that the power source of your juvenile bravado comes from your anonymity on this blog. For for whatever reason, Lane has chosen to give you a pass on this. I wonder if you would still hurl insults if your real identity was known. Since no one else here has a problem revealing their name, why do you?

  271. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    >”Robert, it’s obvious to everyone here that the power source of your juvenile bravado comes from your anonymity on this blog.”

    Or, that’s an asinine statement. I don’t know who half to more (80-90%) of the people are here on this blog. How would things be different if you knew my address? Would you intimidate me? More likely you’d put me in a situation of having to deal with you in a way I’d rather avoid…

    You don’t like truth told boldly. Most people don’t. Christians should.

  272. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Why don’t my critics stay on topic. The De Regno Christi conversation… Less about me; more about your FV leaders making fools of themselves…

  273. Tony S said,

    September 24, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Robert can you clarify something for me? Does this:

    wherever Christians fear God more than they fear man, that is the gathering I attend. Wherever Jesus Christ is King, that is the gathering you’ll find me in. I belong to the Church of which Christ is King.

    mean that you are not a member of a local church but are in communion with the saints only spiritually?

  274. Mark T. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Writing as a named member of the ill-famed Banned Gang of Four, I encourage Robert K. and Stewart to cool it and remember that we are all guests at Lane’s blog, which requires us to conduct ourselves accordingly.

    IMO, Lane has shown Job-like patience in the face of “rude fellows of the baser sort” from both camps (which includes me), and I believe it behooves us to walk carefully, not taking advantage of his kindness. Therefore, if you must blister, bite, or devour, then I encourage you to open your own blog, where you can exercise your First Amendment rights forever and ever, amen.

    On a personal note, Robert, I especially encourage you to open a blog and let ’er rip. You are a sharp and provocative thinker who is able to articulate his thoughts in tight, compact packages, and you’re well versed enough in Reformed theology that you could hammer the bad guys to your heart’s desire, without ever giving occasion for anyone to criticize you of wearing out your welcome here, which I would hate to see because it would mean that you pressed Job beyond his limit and I would no longer benefit from your good insight and excellent sense of humor.

    Thank you.

  275. Andrew said,

    September 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Kyle,

    Thanks for the comments. I suppose I am struggling to clarify several things. Firstly, of course, what the FV is teaching. Secondly, whether it is true or not. And thirdly, if in error, how serious an error it is.

    On the third point, would you agree that they always maintain that our works are not the grounds of our justification (however mixed up on the instrumentality of justification, which I conceed would be a serious error).

    Would it be fair then to to say that there is a substantial difference between the most fervant FV chap and a Romanist?

    More substantively, I would agree with you that faith is acommpanied by works, and produces works. I could see how someone could then say that justifying faith is ‘living faith’ or ‘obedient faith’ (I would see this in opposition to easy-believim). If I said this, but maintained this merely as a description of faith, rather than adding works as a means of justification, would I be regarded as FV? Would you regard this as erroneous, or merely stepping too close to the edge – or indeed, as quite orthodox?

  276. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    All this threat or sword of Damocles about being banned, so be it. Whatever.

    Tony S. (re #273): I gather with to encourage and edify fellow believers (and be encouraged and edified). And it happens naturally. The Spirit brings us together. There’s currently a thread on the Puritan Board that goes into this subject rather boldly. Mosey on over there and take a look. As for your notion of ‘church’ I’m a low church Puritan. Read about us in Ryken’s Worldy Saints.

    My focus as a Christian is evangelizing the faith in certain human environments (we all have our specialty) and encouraging other believers in the practical basics of the faith (hence Puritan, i.e. practical level Calvinism). Wherever two or more meet in His name, He is there. Be careful what you deem to be a ‘church’ or ‘not a church.’ If Jesus is there it’s enough for me.

    I suppose this is another comment one of you has gotten me to write about myself, but it was a question. Now, let’s stay on topic: the De Regno Christi conversation…

  277. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    >”On the third point, would you agree that they always maintain that our works are not the grounds of our justification”

    Kyle can go into this, but quickly the FV have a notion of justification ~and~ ‘final justification.’ And it is works that determine whether you pass the test for final justification. Yes, this kind of makes nonsense of the initial justification, but FVists have no problem with contradictory formulations. As long as they can corrupt justification by faith alone they have achieved their age-old objective.

  278. Robert K. said,

    September 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Mark T., I wrote to Green Baggins and said you and Sean Gerety didn’t deserve to be banned with me, for the record. I.e. didn’t deserve to be placed in my category. I notice Sean G. hasn’t been around since. The FV nonsense gets old. My focus elsewhere is on the practical level of the faith. But sound doctrine is part of the practical level of the faith…

  279. Andy Gilman said,

    September 24, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    In #258 Jonathan B. said:

    [BOQ]
    Notice that, as is usual, when you cite Reformed authorities, you get no actual answers, just the continual refrain that whoever reads these authorities in the manner which they would seem to imply, is a ” deeply wicked, reprobate soul.”

    Unfortunately this is pretty much par for the course here at Green Baggins. There are folks who seem to be self-appointed guardians of “Truth” on this blog.
    [EOQ]

    You’re painting with a pretty broad brush Jonathan. You might try entertaining some other possibilities. Maybe GB participants feel this is old ground which has been covered so many times that they don’t wish to waste the time covering it again. Maybe they feel that, no matter the answer, the response will fall on deaf ears. Maybe they have grown weary of FV advocates cherry picking from respected men, to shore up their discredited formulations.

    If Terry’s point is merely to say that Calvin *dislikes* the use of the term “merit” as it relates to *fallen man’s* human works, then I think most here will concede the point. If Terry is trying to make a broader point, that Calvin denies all possibility of *human merit,* then he needs to be a bit more thorough and account for other examples of how Calvin uses the word “merit.” For example, passages like these:

    [BOQ]
    Meanwhile, however, this is a settled point, that men are justified before God by believing not by working; while they obtain grace by faith, because they are unable to deserve a reward by works. Paul also, in hence contending, that Abram did not merit by works the righteousness which he had received before his circumcision, does not impugn the above doctrine. The argument of Paul is of this kind: The circumcision of Abram was posterior to his justification in the order of time, and therefore could not be its cause, for of necessity the cause precedes its effect. I also grant, that Paul, for this reason, contends that works are not meritorious, *except under the covenant of the law,* of which covenant, circumcision is put as the earnest and the symbol.
    [EOQ *my emphasis*] Commentary on Genesis 15:4

    [BOQ]
    I again repeat, if you do not understand that the promise is free, there will be no force in the statement; for the law and the promise are not at variance but on this single point, *that the law justifies a man by the merit of works,* and the promise bestows righteousness freely. This is made abundantly clear when he calls it a covenant founded on Christ.
    [EOQ] Commentary on Galatians 3:17

    In the same section from which Terry gleans his quote, Calvin commends this statement from Augustine:

    [BOQ]
    For Augustine says, “Let human merits, *which perished by Adam,* here be silent, and let the grace of God reign by Jesus Christ.”
    [EOQ]

  280. September 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Andy,

    Thanks for posting those quotes. I posted the citation from Calvin as more of a question. I will certainly look at those as I try to understand Calvin in regards to the use of the term merit.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Terry

  281. Kyle said,

    September 24, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Andy,

    On the third point, would you agree that they always maintain that our works are not the grounds of our justification (however mixed up on the instrumentality of justification, which I conceed would be a serious error).

    That is what they say. But then they make works constitutive of faith, thus contradicting themselves.

    Would it be fair then to to say that there is a substantial difference between the most fervant FV chap and a Romanist?

    There are plenty of differences between FVers and Romanists. One-to-one correspondence has never been the point. Otherwise, the entire FV would have swum the Tiber by now.

    More substantively, I would agree with you that faith is acommpanied by works, and produces works. I could see how someone could then say that justifying faith is ‘living faith’ or ‘obedient faith’ (I would see this in opposition to easy-believim). If I said this, but maintained this merely as a description of faith, rather than adding works as a means of justification, would I be regarded as FV? Would you regard this as erroneous, or merely stepping too close to the edge – or indeed, as quite orthodox?

    The question is how obedience relates to faith. FVers frequently make “faithful obedience” an ingredient of faith. But faithful obedience is NOT an ingredient of faith. The ingredients of faith are knowledge of God’s word, assent to His truth, and trust in Him to be our righteousness, holiness, life, and glory in Jesus Christ. Obedience flows out of this living faith; it is not possible that one who has this faith will remain disobedient. As breath proceeds forth from a living body, demonstrating the body to be alive, so works proceed from a living faith. Thus, when FV proponents and their sympathizers toss in “but such a faith must be a living faith” when a Reformed believer says “we are justified by faith alone, and not by works,” it is a pernicious qualification. They subtlely introduce works into the very essence of faith, so that they cannot be trusted to mean what they say when they claim that one is saved “by faith alone.”

    Robert briefly mentioned “final justification.” The idea here is that believers will be justified (in a final, eschatological, immutable way) at the Throne of Judgement-on the basis of their faithful obedience to the covenant throughout their Christian lives. This creates the problem of assurance which so many have pointed out. After all, one can have “initial justification,” but, failing to persevere in faithful obedience, not obtain “final justification”-one can have a “real, personal union with Jesus,” as Pr. Leithart says, and yet hear Jesus say at that Last Day, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

    “But,” they will be sure to remind us, “even this obedience is the result of grace.” The same “grace” which was bestowed upon Adam at the creation! (I wish I could find the comment, I think it was Pr. Leithart who wrote it, about the covenant with Adam merely being differently administered from the covenant of grace.) They wish to deemphasize or deny the principle of “LIFE FOR OBEDIENCE” that was the operating principle of the Adamic covenant. They wish, conversely, to emphasize the gracious condescension of God toward Adam, to the extent that I have seen certain promoters here say that Adam would have obtained the reward of life by faith alone and by grace alone. The catch is, whether intentionally or not, they smuggle the “LIFE FOR OBEDIENCE” principle (W)right into the Covenant of Grace in which God has promised to His elect to save them apart from their own obedience.

    The fundamental question: Are we, or are we not, justified by faith apart from works of the law? The answer given by the Federal Vision is: if by “apart from” you mean “partly constituted by.”

  282. Kyle said,

    September 24, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    And let me note, since undoubtedly someone will come along and ask about it, that I am far from denying the gracious condescension of God in the making covenant with Adam. As I have said in my own blog, commenting on WCF 7:

    The intrinsic relationship between man and God is one of subordination and due obedience. God owes man nothing; man owes God everything. But in this intrinsic relationship man could never enjoy God in His fullness unless God had willingly stooped down to enter into a special relationship of mutual obligation with man. This relationship of mutual obligation is called a covenant. The first covenant with man was made with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and is called the Covenant of Works. God promised Adam and all of his descendants life, if Adam perfectly and personally obeyed God. It is important to understand that this promise of life is not something that Adam would ever “deserve,” strictly speaking. He owed obedience to God regardless. But God, in His kindness, offered Adam a great gift if Adam fulfilled the terms of the covenant.

  283. Kyle said,

    September 24, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    And, my #281 is meant to be addressed to Andrew‘s #275.

  284. GLW Johnson said,

    September 25, 2007 at 5:58 am

    Rick Lints in his initial foray into the discussion (Wither Justification-Sept 21) asked this question: ” Do any of the FVers in our midst define faith in the act of justification to include Spirit-wrought sanctity and cooperation with grace.” He went on to ask if they could in good faith line-up behind WFC 11.1-3. Jeff Meyers was emphatic in his denial of this charge (one that is that frequently is lodged against the FV by their critics), and Wilson wrote: “I hold to WCF 11.3 also-no exceptions or qualifications. And yes, this has been much ado-but not about nothing exactly. It has been much ado about the wrong thing.” James Jordan response, however, was a bit cryptic. He simply said: “I affirm WFC 11.1-3″. Of course this same approach was taken Norman Shepherd as well. He readily affirmed the language of the WFC 11.1-3. But only in a restricted sense.Fast forward a couple of days to the entry on ‘More on Justification’ and in the comments Jordan comes out flying his true colors by declaring: “It can be no surprise then that the foundational justification is by faith alone, and yet there is a future justification in which God says that He likes us, and says ‘well done;. All the good stuff we do (WCF 16) is in union with Christ and by the Spirit, but it is still we who do it. The Judge approves of US and justifies US, not merely sees Jesus through us as if we don’t exist. The first justification is by faith alone…the final justification is God’s approval of who we have become in union withChrist and through faith.” None of the other FVers said ,”Wait a minute, James is not speaking for me here!” No, there was only silence. What are we to conclude from this ? Lints question was abundantly clear and the denials were emphatic by Meyers and Wilson. Why no objections to Jordan’s statement that did in fact fall into the catagory that Lints raised in his question? Are the FVers all on the same page with Jordan on this? I have read very similar things from Rich Lusk on justification and I am personally of the opinion that what Jordan is boldly affirming is exactly what Wilson affirms as well only in a less direct fashion, much like his spin on the CoW.

  285. Tim Wilder said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Re: 256

    “As has been pointed out many times on this blog by myself and others, the FV is the legacy of Norman Shepherd(as the discussion taking place over at De Regno Christi abundantly confirms). Andrew Sandlin,for example, says that he is not part of the FV,but he is sympathetic to some of the FV concerns.Which ones? The ones that take their cue from Shepherd. James Jordan is unabashed in his devotion to Shepherd. Meyers and Horne are equally unashamed Shepherd disciples and Baruch was one of Shepherd’s students.”

    Shepherd does not accept the NPP. Neither does Sandlin. The Federal Vision, though, is considerably influenced by the NPP.

  286. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:55 am

    The latest threads at De Regno Christi show that the FV side just can’t see the power of Reformed Theology (which is the power of the faith in general, of course). They can’t see that it all drives to the point where a person, internally, dies to the law and is then able to come alive in Christ. Going from acting from self-will to acting from God’s will, which is not ‘effort’ as we know it, it is more like ‘inspiration’ or a dawning upon one, which comes from God and from the heart.

    All the hard doctrine, the five solas, the doctrines of grace, that go against the wisdom of man (and make up the foolishness of the Gospel) are new ideas that when seen and acceptedon their terms – contribute to this effecting of internal change. This internal re-orientation that is dying to the law and coming alive in Christ.

    The FVists want to cling to the law. They refuse to die to the law. They don’t see that everything in God’s plan of redemption is designed to effect this dying to the law and thus coming alive in Christ.

    God could have created us perfect and totally awake and with total understanding, eternally, by fiat, but it wouldn’t have been real. He doesn’t want created beings who love Him because He put, by fiat, love for God into them. The covenants set up the mechanism, so to speak, for created beings to develop in a real way. Created with the image of God. Then a fall. Then recovering the image of God, so that rather than merely having been given it, and never losing it, one knows essentially, in being, what the difference is.

    Faith, repentance, and God’s will are the counterparts of vanity, worldly pride, and rebellious self-will. The latter are bondage in the Kingdom of Satan. The former are the only true liberty.

    You have to die to the law. The devil wants you to NEVER die to the law. Roman Catholicism teaches this system of the devil. Federal Visionism falls into it.

    But you can’t see any of this without regeneration by the Word and the Spirit. So engage the Word of God humbly (if you still demand to live by the law). Force the issue. It will either awaken or harden you. But if you’ve yet to die to the law you’re in little better a state than being harden anyway.

    You obviously can’t do anything to regenerate yourself, but God does say move close to Him and He will move close to you. Engaging the Word of God is moving close to Him. It has to be humbly, meeting God’s Word at it’s level, not bringing it down to man’s level. Not thinking you’re in a position to “grant” anything to God – “Yes, I tentatively can grant this, if it’s defined more correctly in my way of seeing it..” says Doug Wilson and the other Federal Vision people. That kind of language is the language of the currently unregenerate and possibly hardened. They are in God’s hands regarding their salvation, but it is in everybody else’s power to not accept their foolishness as teaching. As men they are what they are; as teachers they are deadly.

  287. Tim Wilder said,

    September 25, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Re: 282

    “And let me note, since undoubtedly someone will come along and ask about it, that I am far from denying the gracious condescension of God in the making covenant with Adam.”

    Notice, however, that the FV deny the condescension of God in making the covenant with Adam. They hold that man was created covenantal by nature and that the nature of the Trinity is a covenant, and that God and man are covenantally related by nature. Jordan, especially, is quite clear about this.

  288. Tim Wilder said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Re: 282

    To be more clear about 287 above, exactly the thing that some traditional Reformed writers say is gracious about God’s actions regarding Adam before the Fall, namely the condescension in making the covenant, is what the FV denies even took place.

    Therefore, though they like to say that in stressing grace before the Fall they are talking in a traditional Reformed manner, they in fact are being radically different in their use of the idea of grace.

  289. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:35 am

    JEFFREY MEYERS CAUTIONS:
    “It’s great to be precise and make clear distinctions. That’s just good communication. At the same time, we need to be careful to confess that God’s way of communicating with us in the Bible is the highest form of communication and therefore flawless. We ought not to try to bring God’s language and categories in line with Aristotle’s ideal of systemic clarity. Rather, we should be concerned that our way of speaking and communicating does not water down or otherwise distort the divine way of communicating with us in the Scripture.”

    Yes, Jeffrey, Reformed Theology missed this. We must go back and re-do it all. (The entire thread highlights the Arminian aspects of the DNA of the Federal Visionists. They’ve got alot of elements in their DNA, none of it Reformed.)

  290. Tim Wilder said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Re: 289

    Arminian? The Arminians were rationalists. That is why some of them ended up as Socinians. The FV claims to get these ideas from Van Til. Nor it is something that came after the FV in order justify it. These guys were talking this way before they invented the FV.

  291. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:54 am

    In terms of denying the Covenant of Works and regarding perseverance they have Arminian commonalities. You need to stop questioning me, Tim W. I am current holder of the Voetius Chair at the University of Utrecht.

  292. kjsulli said,

    September 25, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Tim, re: 287 & 288,

    I think you are correct. This is related to their desire to minimize the “distance” (specifically, spatial language about the relationship) between creature & Creator.

  293. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    ON BEING UNTEACHABLE

    Obviously James Jordan, Doug Wilson, Jeffrey Meyers, et al., are unteachable. One thing, a fundamental thing, that puts a person in the category of unteachable is this: they don’t value the teaching itself.

    You don’t have to talk about intelligence or common-sense. (And regarding biblical doctrine the Spirit is what is required above and beyond intelligence anyway.)

    This brings up another subject: why are people who don’t value the teaching involving themselves in the teaching? Truth attracts attacks. Wherever truth is being taught it will attract people who, for whatever reason (the spirit of disobedience coursing through their soul, whatever it is) feel a need to attack it. To distort and defile it.

  294. Vern Crisler said,

    September 25, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting tired of all these FVists and their bizarre ideas (Jordan especially), and philosophical naivete (Sandlin et al.). Why not move on (as the website has it)? Continuing to interact with FVists assigns to them more significance than they deserve. And there is certainly nothing impressive about their logical, historical, theological, or philosophical competence. In fact, its embarrassingly small.

    I for one have more important things to do, and don’t have time to read the latest lunacies from the FV bunch. So farewell to all. It’s back to archaeology and Flood geology for me, and more philosophical essays.

    Cordially,

    Vern

  295. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Vern, I had the very same feeling after reading one of Jordan’s latest comments over there today. The FVists are letting down their hair, stretching their limbs out, and what you hear coming out of their mouths is rather – as you say, in so many words – mediocre, dilettante theological ramblings.

    I don’t discount the darkness I’ve stated as seeing in their enterprise, but really just like Roman Catholic apologists they aren’t able to understand let alone see the power of Reformed doctrine, and they just simply don’t value it.

    (By the way, I nominate “dilettante” as being the hardest word to remember how to spell…)

  296. tim prussic said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Vern, then don’t read ‘em.

    Jordan’s ideas (so far as I’ve read) have always seemed to me to be a bit out of left field. I’ve often wondered where in the heck he’s come up with something. At the same time, while it’s REALLY easy to dismiss someone I don’t agree with/understand, it’s usually proved quite worth while to look more deeply in to what he says that I find odd. He’s proven to me that he doesn’t pull his ideas out of thin air.

    Mr. K., you are (without any doubt) the least teachable person I’ve interacted with in about five or six years. No joke. Post #293 is, thus, classic! Keep it up.

  297. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    >Mr. K., you are (without any doubt) the least teachable person I’ve interacted with in about five or six years.

    Tell that to Louis Berkhof. when I first came to Reformed Theology I had more arguments with him, more visceral disagreements, than with any theologian. He won me over. He’s a very persuasive guy. I was teachable. Oh, but, in Federal Vision Kool-Aid-ville Berkhof is a joke, I forgot. Bad example…

  298. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Reformed theologians enabled me to see that the Bible itself, alone, contained all and more than I was looking for in extra-biblical subject matter. It is difficult to give up ‘all we hold dear’ in the area of influences and beliefs and what not. Reformed theologians make strong arguments because they say what the Bible says. I value Reformed Theology for this reason. It helps that the Spirit has given me discernment and ability to understand apostolic biblical doctrine. My approach to delinquents who teach the darkness and rot Federal Visionists teach, while calling themselves Reformed, is a product of my valuation for Refromed doctrine.

    And, because the way you put it, Tim, you need to be told that being teachable doesn’t mean never arriving at the truth. The apostle Paul had something to say about that…

  299. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    And, Tim:

    The main point of my comment you reference was this:

    “One thing, a fundamental thing, that puts a person in the category of unteachable is this: they don’t value the teaching itself.”

    You probably read that and went blank in the way people do who never register anything that could possibly challenge them. You filter out things like that.

    So, in the context of Reformed Theology I obviously value it. I’m teachable regarding Reformed Theology because I actually value Reformed Theology. I don’t mock it. I don’t call people like R. C. Sproul a moron. I don’t call entire bodies of Reformed Christians idiots. I don’t say John Owen “must have been on drugs.” I don’t do these things like FVists do as they’re in the act of redefining Reformed Theology. This is all too obvious to even mention, but trolls force this. It’s one of successes trolls always have. And FVists and their supporters are trolls supreme…

  300. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 25, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Has anyone ever looked at the fruit of the federal vision teaching – have they looked at the families – the covenant children who have grown up with this garbage? Alcoholism, addictions, college dropouts, illegitimate children, unwed mothers, rebellion against the parents, pornography, child abuse. And, most of these come from elder families. It has become a PCA nightmare. How can presbyteries continue to sit back and let this teaching plague the denomination? What will it take to wake up this denomination? How many children are being sacrificed to this false teaching week after week?

  301. Mark T. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Dave,

    This is the ultimate litmus test of the Federal Vision, “for every tree is known by his fruit.” In fact, according to Wilson, concern for the children was one of the original pretexts for the Federal Vision:

    One of our fundamental concerns is this: we want to insist upon believing God’s promises concerning our children.” (Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros and Cons: Debating the Federal Vision edited by E. Calvin Beisner [Fort Lauderdale, FL: Knox Theological Seminary, 2004] page 2)

    But if you look at the corruption coming out of Moscow, it’s difficult to identify exactly what promises Wilson wants to believe. Here’s a short list of documented facts: police arrests for arson, recreational drug abuse (which includes trafficking hallucinogens), fornication, illegal gambling (not penny ante), serial pedophilia, child molestation, and (at least) one deadbeat dad (the last two were committed over several years by students in Wilson’s Greyfriars program).

    I could write more but these sad facts are enough to make anyone think twice about the fruit of Federal Vision. To be sure, this list probably looks fabricated, but it’s all true and some of these facts are worse than you can imagine.

    All of this is another way of saying that ground zero for the Federal Vision — Moscow — is the last place anyone would conclude that the children of believers (so called) understand the fear of the Lord.

    Thank you.

  302. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t want to pile on regarding this particular subject, but another element of it is Wilson’s and his inner circle’s style of attempting to at first keep such things ‘under the radar’ then engaging in political damage control once it escapes their ability to control the information. Some of this also involves hypocrisy (Wilson’s letter to the judge in the Sitler case). It’s a ‘whited sepulchre’ standard they live by and give to themselves. I think in many ways this behaviour by Wilson and his subordinate leaders is more telling of the fruit of Federal Vision since with the problems of the students and children any organisation or institution or what have you can be made to look bad by a bad apple or two or three… And young people, no matter how well they may be brought up, can go off the rails.

  303. tim prussic said,

    September 25, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Congrats! You WERE teachable. Well done… good show.

    Was Owen on drugs? I dunno. I still like him.

  304. September 25, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    Be good now Mr. Prussic! ;)

  305. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    >”Congrats! You WERE teachable. Well done… good show. Was Owen on drugs? I dunno. I still like him.”

    A slogan for the Federal Vision: Bored With Berkhof.

    Another: Too Cool for Louis

    For the record the John Owen/drugs line came from Mark Horne.

  306. Robert K. said,

    September 25, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    And if anyone out there who actually values Reformed Theology is still a bit unsatisfied, then the area to take out onto the open sea with is practice. Not doctrine. Doctrine is foundation. There is a world of practical teaching in the New Testament that is unremarked upon by systematic theology. Spiritual warfare being a big, overall general category. But individual practices as well. Watchfulness, for instance,. a Brakel will devote a chapter to this practice, but he was a Dutch Puritan, so it’s expected. There’s a world of teaching in the practice of watchfulness. Or an ocean of depth in it, maybe one should say. Ocean of depth, and celestial heights. Also, loving your enemies. Quite a prominent practice taught in the New Testament that has a world of meaning, psychological, emotional, volitional, etc. within it. These are areas a Christian who knows and values Reformed doctrine should move towards once you have the foundation. But getting bored with the basics – with the foundational doctrine of Reformed Theology – and setting out to change it (however you justify it as not being a change), is a left-footed move. And worse.

  307. September 25, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    If those FVers tinkerers who think they are so clever had actually read Berkhof, this whole controversy would have defused before it had ever started. Berkhof was not perfect. You can disagree with him, but at least show that you have read him. The FV consistently demonstrate that they have not. They really aren’t ready for prime time. They are amateurs, and anyone who has read the true masters and their works would not be impressed.

  308. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Mr. Gadbois, re. #397, maybe, maybe not. Are we sure that the “FVers tinkerers” haven’t read Berkhof? Are we sure that the TRs have? Is it just as fair/loopy to say that if TRs had read their Berkhof that there would have been no need to stress the objectivity of the covenant, and thus the FV would never have come about? I think the “FVers tinkerers” have read just as much of the “true masters” as you and I have.

    Mr. K., it gets tiresome continually being lectured about Reformed theology by a Baptist. Please stop beating your drum before we all go insane.

    On the other hand, there’s a great difference between being bored with the basics (which, you’re correct, we ought never be) and moving beyond them while retaining them. If we can’t BUILD on the solas of the Reformation, I have my doubts that we actually possess them. It’s more likely that we possess mere shadows of them, which we take for the real thing.

  309. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Mr. Gadbois, would you please see to it that post #397 says something quite similar to your post #307? I sure would appreciate that.

  310. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 26, 2007 at 9:03 am

    tim,

    Be fair to the Baptists. Robert K isn’t a Baptist; he’s an antinomian pietist. I would be beyond amazed if he doesn’t think that the chapter on “The Church” (26) in the London Baptist Confession is “anti-biblical.”

  311. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Sam, it is funny to listen to him act as if the Westminster Standards are THE theology delivered from God! Then again, I guess “Reformed” theology has only to do with the 5 points and 5 solas. If we blur our eyes enough, we can all be “Reformed” like Mr. K.

    Anyway, I guess we just need to go get converted and then we’ll share in his secret knowledge.

  312. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Sam, you don’t know what antinomian means nor do you know what pietist means.

    Many who make the common accusations you make are unknowingly speaking in pre-regeneration tones, like all formalists and ritualists and clericalists, and moralists.

    Reformed Theology is the five solas, doctrines of grace, and covenant – Federal – theology. These distinctives of Reformed Theology cross lines between paedos and credos, presbyterians and congregationalists and so on. The Bible is not dognatic on sacramental or church polity issues. And when the Bible is not clear on something it is not clear for a reason. Man wants to demand otherwise, but so be it…

  313. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    That’s great advice, Tim (311), to get converted – be born again by the Spirit.

    Who cares what books a person has read? The proof of true faith in Christ is not in the number of theological tomes a person reads – but in a transformed life. Take a look at the lives of families and elders who have submitted themselves to the false teaching of the Federal Vision. It’s horrifying and tragic – you can’t escape from this reality. And, reading Berkhof is not going to solve this tragedy.

  314. Sam Steinmann said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Robert K,

    I would define “antinomian” as “believing that one can be saved, and not be obeying the clear commands of God’s word as revealed in Scripture.” (Yes, those who find commands like “obey them that have the rule over you” painful tend to call the proponents clericalists and moralists.)

    I would define “pietist” as “believing that salvation is a matter of individual, inner experience.”

    If these definitions differ from the normal ones, enlighten me.

    Tim–see this comment by Robert on a quote from the Westminster Confession.

  315. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Reformed Christians know Reformed doctrine is apostolic biblical doctrine and hence is universal truth rather than merely another school of doctrine; but then most of the intellectual leaders (I’ll put it that way) of Reformed Theology think that universal aspect of Reformed Theology has to manifest in one church or denomination; but this is not how it works, and it didn’t work that way from the beginning. You have to see that God works with a remnant. Truth as leaven. Though the number of Christians who hold to Reformed doctrine may be small in comparison with the total number of believers Reformed Christians have the leaven of truth. Doctrinal knowledge that is biblical.

    Reformed Christians for this reason not only get the worst backlashes from other Christians and non-Christians in general (“Calvin’s system is the most inhumane poison that ever alighted on this earth!”), but they get the most attacks because the devil attacks the camp where the truth resides.

    So Reformed Christians have to see that the universal nature – the universal truth – of Reformed doctrine manifests, when it does, as leaven throughout all churches and denominations and schools and institutions, and that is how Reformed Christians have to see it.

    The five solas, the doctrines of grace, and Federal Theology are summit-level biblical doctrine. They are the universal elements of apostolic biblical doctrine that communicate across divides.

  316. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Mr. Rockwell, you’re comment (#313) is out of line. You’re holding up the ministers and their families as evidence they they’re unconverted? “Take a look at the lives of families and elders who have submitted themselves to the false teaching of the Federal Vision.” What utter foolishness. Why don’t you stop it.

    Mr.K., Reformed theology is vast, touching every area of life. Slogans are fine for popular distribution, but pretty soon someone is going to stop chanting the slogans and ask when they mean. The vast treasure of Reformed history has some great and persuasive answers to that question. Flag wavers like you (who, curiously, wave flags for teams your not on) just keep chanting: “So-Lah! So-Lah! …”

  317. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    >I would define “pietist” as “believing that salvation is a matter of individual, inner experience.”

    That’s a poor definition for anybody’s side. (Are you saying salvation is a matter of corporate, external experience?) Anyway, piety or pietist is a word like gnostic that is thrown around and is terribly ill-defined in the minds of the people throwing it around. They become totems. Adopt Calvin’s definition of piety. It’s pretty good.

    >I would define “antinomian” as “believing that one can be saved, and not be obeying the clear commands of God’s word as revealed in Scripture.” (Yes, those who find commands like “obey them that have the rule over you” painful tend to call the proponents clericalists and moralists.)

    This is a difficult subject for Christians. You may know that the apostle Paul was accused of antinomianism. The Roman Catholic beast accused Protestants, and still do, of antinomianism. You just have to see that with a new heart the law is no longer a chain about your neck that you have to follow but it something that emanates from your heart and is what you are. Spiritual warfare is the best way to see this. It becomes something you engage in without having to force yourself to. And that is the three-front battle against the flesh (your ‘old man’) the world, and the devil. And God’s perfect law is not on the side of the flesh, the world, or the devil.

    As for you reference to obeying them that have the rule over you, that is the first verse Roman Catholic apologists pull out of their bag. You have the same understanding of it as they do. You have to take in the whole counsel of God and know that there is but one Mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ. The Word of God always tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisodm. Not the fear of man. The Bible also speaks of the priesthood of all believers. And that a born again Christian is a king with the liberty of a son of God in the Kingdom of God. Then you need to know that Paul was referring to those who have the Word of God. Put all this together and you can see that Paul was not saying submit like a muslim to man and man’s teaching, but do what is obvious for any believer: value the Word of God and any teachers who are able to soundly elucidate it.

    We today are in a different position as the people Paul was directly speaking to. We have the Word of God available to us individually, and we have a multitude of sound teachers available to us in form of books. Calvin’s Institutes is not just available to his students in Geneva during Calvin’s lifetime, but is there for all of us today to engage and learn from. You have to value it though, and that is, in effect, recognizing something that is above you. But it’s based on the Word of God which is why it is above us. “who have spoken unto you the word of God.” That is what the Roman Catholic apologists leave out, and is what I sense you are leaving out.

    My comment you linked goes into this as well.

    Are you a Christian, Sam? Yes? Then you are a prophet, a priest, and a king. Live up to it. Start by fearing only God, it is the beginning of wisdom.

  318. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Tim, you are deep into nonsense now. When I say five solas I know what I refer to because I know the devil and his filthy, evil kingdom first hand, and I know what is the only thing that gives me power and liberation over and from that filthy, evil kingdom and it is faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone. Was that clear enough for you, because I can repeat in even clearer tones, if you can take it.

  319. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    There’s a liberal Christian for you. Saying: “Five solas, sure. But nobody actually believes that stuff. Or even understands it. They’re just words…”

    No, Tim, us true believers actually exist, and we know what we believe and why we believe it. Who are you congregating with?

  320. September 26, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    “Are we sure that the “FVers tinkerers” haven’t read Berkhof? Are we sure that the TRs have? Is it just as fair/loopy to say that if TRs had read their Berkhof that there would have been no need to stress the objectivity of the covenant, and thus the FV would never have come about? I think the “FVers tinkerers” have read just as much of the “true masters” as you and I have.”

    Since Berkhof’s views do not support FV, the answer is “no.” The charge is not simply reversible and something we could say about TRs. Berkhof, while teaching at Calvin, was squarely holding hands with Old Princeton in his work, and FV hates Old Princeton. That’s why you find FV quoting Murray or Schilder, never Warfield, Hodge, or Berkhof.

    When I read FV writings, I am reminded of the proverbial teenager who thinks he is the first person to discover sex. Clearly no idea that he is on well-trod ground. And so it is with FV. The evidence of their ignorance, Tim, is right in their writings and arguments. If they had read Berkhof, their arguments would at least be different. They would at least present arguments that take into account explanations that have already been given by folks like Berkhof.

    And, just to be clear, I am quite sure that FV folks have read Berkhof here and there. Maybe some read him way back in seminary, or keep his ST book on the shelf collecting dust, as a handy occasional reference. Maybe some read him and didn’t digest what they read, or simply forgot. Whatever the case, my point is that they haven’t taken him nearly seriously enough, and so the FV charges ahead with all of its bravado without first learning from the masters.

  321. September 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    You just gotta love it…

    CBrown
    September 26th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I guess I’d like to know more about Jim Jordan’s church affiliation. Who is this guy? I’d like to know what church he represents, since he’s such a high churchman.

    James Jordan
    September 26th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    If you don’t know who I am, you have no business in a discussion of the Federal Vision. Please, don’t come in here and offer opinions on things you know nothing about!

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/26/biblicism-and-tradition-in-the-dogmatomachy/#comments

  322. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 26, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    #316 Tim

    Where in my comment did I say anything about ministers being unconverted?
    I wrote that a person needs to be born again in the spirit – is that not true?
    I also wrote that the proof of true faith in Christ is a transformed life – is that not true?
    You are putting words and conclusions into my comments that are not there. That’s out of line.

    Our family has worked for with the youth in a former church that turned FV. Now our children are having to watch the devastation of the lives of their friends who are caught in this FV trap. Broken homes, divorce, suicide, alcoholism… And, the PCA leadership is standing by and not holding any of these elders accountable. It is sickening.

  323. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    #318 – some more good ol’ flag wavin’ – BRAVO!

  324. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Mr. Rockwell, I lose patience with folks getting on blogs and ad hom’ing the FV. Maybe I’ve not seen all the broken homes, divorvces, suicides, and crack smoking. Even if it were there to see as clearly as you make it out, I’d be hard pressed to find the connection between those things and FV distinctives.

    Mr. Gadbois, I think I’ve missed much of anyone quoting the Princeton boys. Although, I have seen Wilson point to their eschatology. By the way, did Berkhof share in the optimistic postmillennialism of the old Princeton boys? That’s an honest question.

    In any event, it seems that you’re reasoning thus: Berkhof was really, really like the old Princeton boys, FV writers don’t quote the old Princeton boys, therefore, FV writers have not read Berkhof. That is not exactly an impregnable fortress of syllogistic power. Actually, it seems quite silly, as does the likening of serious men to teenagers who just discovered that girls aren’t actually icky. Actually, that likening seems beyond silly to the point of arrogant.

    It’s fair to think, David, that serious-minded men who’ve been ministering for many years have read FAR more that you and I put together, young bucks that we are.

  325. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    On R. Scott Clark’s blog Doug Wilson stumbled into an admission that he’d never read Berkhof on the subject of the visible/invisible church. This is meaningful in that it was in the context of Wilson pronouncing his redefining of that particular Reformed doctrine.

    And it wasn’t just Berkhof. Wilson admitted he didn’t know the Reformed position on the doctrine of the visible/invisible church.

    In street language Wilson was talking out of his you know what.

    He still is.

    Tim states: “It’s fair to think, David, that serious-minded men who’ve been ministering for many years have read FAR more that you and I put together, young bucks that we are.”

    Read what? What does “minstering for many years” have necessarily to do with knowledge and understanding of biblical doctrine? You call them “serious-minded men”, but their sophistical language suggests they are a bit less than serious.

  326. kjsulli said,

    September 26, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    Tim, re: 324,

    In any event, it seems that you’re reasoning thus: Berkhof was really, really like the old Princeton boys, FV writers don’t quote the old Princeton boys, therefore, FV writers have not read Berkhof. That is not exactly an impregnable fortress of syllogistic power.

    If this is the extent of your reading comprehension, it is little wonder you haven’t taken the time to properly respond to all of my very purposeful interaction with you above. The actual number of quotes is not the issue, nor is the issue whether they have ever read and how much. The issue is that they don’t take Berkhof seriously enough or their arguments would be different. THAT is what David is saying.

  327. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 26, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    #324 Tim
    You never answered my questions. Should I take your silence as an answer? It certainly speaks volumes.

    No one is forcing you to stay on this blog. If you are losing patience with me and others, why not get off? After all, if one has to persevere to win his salvation in the end, why not make it easier to persevere by taking some time off from this blog?

    I think it’s time we all had a reality check with the FV. It’s not a matter of simply reading the right books – we are talking about real people and families that have had their lives and churches ruined by the lies and deception of the FV. When the truth is perverted, lives become perverted. And, the PCA becomes perverted and presbyteries never rise above the level of filthy politics. I don’t know how a PCA pastor can go to sleep at night knowing that he has done nothing to stop this perversion and tragedy.

    So, like it or not Tim – unless Lane decides to ban me, I will not stop putting out the truth on this blog. Read 301 again and let the truth start sinking in.

  328. tim prussic said,

    September 26, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Kyle, David said, “If those FVers tinkerers who think they are so clever had actually read Berkhof, this whole controversy would have defused before it had ever started.” Mr. K. clearly understood reading as reading (#325). Your spin of his clear overstatement (which he’s backed off of) has nothing to do with my comprehension. Neither does me taking time to write. I asked you questions that you either could or would not answer; you simply directed them back at me. I got better things to do than to attempt interaction and have it thrown back at me. Sorry.

    Dave R., your claims about the FV and all sorts of sin are what speak volumes. It’s childish at best. I lose patience with Christians mud slinging like GOP candidates. “Take a look at the lives of families and elders who have submitted themselves to the false teaching of the Federal Vision.” This, Dave, is foolishness. I can’t doubt that SOME men an all circles have abused their power. Those men should be dealt with on a case by case basis, and such cases are in no way limited to FV circles. You, however, attribute these horrible actions to the FV teaching, as if there’s some connection. You call this “the truth.” That’s all quite mind boggling, honestly.

  329. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 26, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Then, let’s get going and deal with these case by case. It’s not happening. The PCA report recommended that those elders who hold to any of the errors should make them known to their sessions and presbyteries. No one has stepped up to the plate and admitted to any of those errors. So either the PCA report is lying that these errors exist or those holding to these errors are withholding the truth or lying. There is corruption somewhere and if not dealt with soon, the PCA, will wind up on the ash heap.

  330. Kyle said,

    September 26, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Tim, re: 328,

    Your spin of his clear overstatement (which he’s backed off of) has nothing to do with my comprehension.

    My “spin”? Read #320. He clarified his statement. That’s different from “backing off.”

    Neither does me taking time to write. I asked you questions that you either could or would not answer; you simply directed them back at me. I got better things to do than to attempt interaction and have it thrown back at me. Sorry.

    Poor Timmo, can’t handle some real interaction, apparently, because I don’t allow you to continue to hide behind vague, meaningless phrases as though those were actually responsive to my points. (“But surely, covenantal union! Certainly, non-salvific graces that look an awful lot like salvific graces but are nevertheless non-salvific!”) Forget the fact that your first response to me in this thread was asking questions of my questions to Jonathan. Nevermind that I pointed out to you that you had MISUNDERSTOOD what you were attempting to defend. Who knows if you’ve even read all of my responses to you? But I really shouldn’t care, I suppose, because this is nothing new.

    If you’re so inclined, reread #163, #176, #212. Until you’ve answered my questions, Tim—which are quite germane to the whole “interaction” we have had in this thread—I’ll be “interacting” with you no further.

    I know, I know, so terribly divisive of me.

  331. Robert K. said,

    September 26, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    >Kyle, David said, “If those FVers tinkerers who think they are so clever had actually read Berkhof, this whole controversy would have defused before it had ever started.” Mr. K. clearly understood reading as reading (#325). Your spin of his clear overstatement (which he’s backed off of) has nothing to do with my comprehension.

    Tim, David Gadbois is not just referring to Berkhof as unusually sound and complete source for Reformed doctrine, but he is referring specifically to Berkhof’s knack for showing up such nonsense as the Federal Visionists are pushing by mentioning where it has occured before in time and by what groups. It is due to Berkhof’s knowledge of the history of doctrine and his adept insertion of that history into his Systematic Theology that makes his work, specifically, valuable to anybody flirting with redefining Reformed doctrine.

    And as Gadbois further stated, this knowledge of Berkhof likely won’t change any Federal Vision minds (they are intent on pushing false doctrine no matter what), but it *would* force them to formulate their doctrine to a degree that doesn’t come across to everyone who *does know* Reformed doctrine as the shallow ramblings of juvenile delinquents.

  332. tim prussic said,

    September 27, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Kyle, when I ask you question and you don’t answer it, but throw it back at me, it makes that interchange a WASTE of time, that’s all. If that’s “real interaction” for you, so be it. I’m sure I’ve demonstrated myself willing and quite able to work ideas back and forth with dozens of people on this and other blogs. I’d like blogging to be productive. Without give and take, it’s surely not that.

  333. Robert K. said,

    September 27, 2007 at 10:15 am

    This is disappointing. The canard that Roman Catholics create literature and Protestants don’t. It is lost on the people who write this that a Roman Catholic is defined not by their devoutness but simply by having been born into an RC family. Protestant writers, on the other hand, have to be active pastors of churches before they will be allowed to be called Protestant novelists (or whatever).

    Protestantism is in the foundation – the blood and bones and rock and soil – of the United States and western Europe. Of course anything other than Protestant will stand out just as ethnic minorities stand out. You tend to not notice the ground you stand on and the air you breathe.

  334. Robert K. said,

    September 27, 2007 at 10:23 am

    “The Bible does not teach that some people receive incorruptible new hearts, i.e., that some people are as individuals ‘regenerated.'” “My thesis is that there is no such thing as ‘regeneration’ in the sense in which Reformed theology since Dort has spoken of it. The Bible says nothing about a permanent change in the hearts of those elected to heaven.” “My position: everyone who is baptized has been given the same thing. No one has been given a permanently changed “regenerated heart,” James Jordan, Thoughts on Sovereign Grace and Regeneration: Some Tentative Explorations,” Occasional Paper No. 32 (Niceville, Fla.: Biblical Horizons, 2003), 1, 7, 7, as quoted by Carl D. Robbins, “The Reformed Doctrine of Regeneration,” in The Auburn Avenue Theology, 164.

    I’ve stated this from the beginning. Federal Vision is a push-back by the unregenerate who resent the fact that God regenerates individuals. To be currently unregenerate is one thing, to be the proud unregenerate, denying regeneration, and having the resentment of the devil towards God and His elect because of it is another thing.

  335. Robert K. said,

    September 27, 2007 at 10:43 am

    The reason Federal Visiionists are contradictory regarding perseverance (they claim one of their ‘pastoral’ goals – or justifications for their new doctrine – is to give people assurance, yet their doctrine does the opposite, etc.) is because they are really looking to assuage a proud heart – their own – who has not been effectually called and regenerated. It’s not about perseverance for them, it’s about regeneration. They just have to mask this by saying it’s about perseverance.

    These are proud individuals who would be better off not even self-identifying as Christian. They need to work off their vanity and worldly pride and get knocked down and begin to see their own nothingness. Right now they are exalting themselves within the temple and playing the role of the devil.

  336. anneivy said,

    September 27, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    I thought permanent, individual regeneration is basically the linchpin of Calvinist soteriology. Is it possible to deny that doctrine yet still be regarded as any sort of Calvinist at all?

    I don’t see how that’d work.

  337. September 27, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    I’m quite bored of the fruitless discussion over there. Way too much babble on programmatics and very little on doctrinal substance. I do not see any progress, although Jordan and Leithart have served to solidify the kooky elements of FV with their loopy teachings.

  338. Kyle said,

    September 27, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Tim, re: 332,

    I assume the particular question you have in mind is from #205:

    If you don’t want to use the phrase “union with Christ” with any application whatever to NECMs, may we use the term connection? What connection, Kyle, do NECMs have with Christ and his body? From what are they cut away when the apostatize? What does it mean to be cut out of the Olive Tree?

    To which I responsed in #211:

    Why don’t you tell me, Tim? You’ve been vague all along on what exactly it means to have “covenantal union,” except to say that it looks something like the union the elect have with Christ, only it is non-salvific.

    I wouldn’t “throw the question back” at you if you had bothered to answer my questions of you in #163:

    Is a reprobate’s membership in the covenant community a “real, personal (non-salvific) union with Jesus,” obtained through the instrument of a “real, personal (temporary) faith in Jesus”? (And is this “faith” a gift of God wrought by the Holy Spirit?) If so, of what non-salvific graces are they recipients? Non-salvific regeneration? Non-salvific justification? Non-salvific sanctification? (Since these graces, in their salvific forms, are received by those in salvific union with Jesus.) Also, can you explain how a reprobate person, who is an eternal covenantal union with Adam as the fallen head of mankind, enjoys any sort of “real, personal union” with Jesus?

    If you don’t want to explain what “covenantal union” with Jesus means, fine. If you don’t care to enumerate what “non-salvific graces” those NECMs in “covenantal union” with Jesus receive, fine. But I’m not going to let you pretend as if you’ve been the consummate conversationalist, giving a straight answer to every legitimate question put to you, fully engaging others’ ideas.

    But really, Tim, I’ve had enough of our “interaction,” as you apparently have as well. So until the next conversation.

  339. tim prussic said,

    September 27, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    TTYL, Kyle, BFF!

  340. magma2 said,

    September 27, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    I must be missing something, but it hardly seems like any debate at all. Jordon is correct though and the FV debate is really “the Clark controversy with feet on.” OK, there has been at least one good point made by the other side.

  341. magma2 said,

    September 27, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Oh, and for those interested, since I DO want to continue to explore the relationship of the Clark/Van Til controversy as it relates to the FV as the question arises, as Jordon has above.. FWIW I don’t find this question embarrassing in the least, so I’ve started my own blog at:

    http://godshammer.wordpress.com/

    This is at least one place where I won’t get the left foot of fellowship. Now if only I were a contortionist. Thanks Lane. =8-)

  342. Robert K. said,

    September 27, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    To battle what the FVists are doing you can only tell people to go to the classic sources for Reformed (apostolic biblical) doctrine. If they don’t value those sources the Federal Vision, or some similar group, has a new adherent. If they do value those sources, they are able to know the truth. Of course they have to be able to see sophistry and recognize when false teachers appropriate the classic influences, etc., etc. The stumblingblocks and detours are many, as Bunyan described well in Pilgrim’s Progress, but with the Spirit one will navigate one’s way truly…

  343. GLW Johnson said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:49 am

    David Gadbois
    Actually, I am finding the ‘conversation’ over at DRC very enlightening. The FV folk keep moving farther and farther out on the limb. It’s only a matter of time before the saw comes out. Here are some interesting things that shed a beam of light on the FV. First, Sandlin tosses a garland diadem on the head of James Jordon calling him the true progenitor of the FV. Jordon, however, passes the praise along to Norman Shepherd. Second, Jeff Meyers continues his assault on the WCF. Jordon, ever mindful that his mentor has catagorically thrown the WFC aside , wants to portray the noble Dutch roots of the FV-but this is very misleading. No appeal can be made here to Bavinck, who is considered the great dogmatician of the Dutch Reformed tradition. Oh, there is a link to the Netherlands alright, but not to the mainstream Dutch tradition, rather it is to Klaas Schilder and Herman Hoeksema ( and people who want to tie Van Til into this group are whistling in the dark. I can show you chapter and verse from VT writings to refute that misguided notion). Third, the most revealing are the entries of Leithart on his innovations over justification and regeneration where he is candid enough to admit he has struck out in an entirely different direction than that expressed ih the Reformed tradition. And then there is Doug Wilson, complaining as usual ,over how the FV has been mistreated. They did not start the controversy, they are innocent of all wrong doing, etc., etc. This very same line of defense could be said of all heretic groups, They were minding their own business reconfiguring the Faith and suddenly found themselves under attack from the mean-spirited orthodox defenders of the Faith. Why, this was exactly the same protest we heard from Clark Pinnock and his fellow Open theists ( as I remember, DW played a significant role in exposing the errors of this group-I co-edited the book that contained his chapter!).Finally, it appears that there is a mighty effort taking place to circle the wagons and portray themselves as being just a little bit out of the mainstream and that their critics are extremists and should not be listened to by the so-called ‘centerists’. As Anneivy pointed out earlier, the FV are beginning to look more and more a like in their tactics like the Auburn Affirmationists.

  344. magma2 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 10:17 am

    “Oh, there is a link to the Netherlands alright, but not to the mainstream Dutch tradition, rather it is to Klaas Schilder and Herman Hoeksema”

    While there is a definite relationship to Schilder and his conditional view of the covenant, you lost me on Hoeksema. Wasn’t he on the opposite end of that controversy?

  345. GLW Johnson said,

    September 28, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Magna2
    Strange bed fellows alright-but the FV,( like Wilson who recently over at DRC, pointed to the PRC- Hoeksema’s denomination- for reflecting that aspect of the FV that rejects the CoW) will frequently be found scurrring around trying to find support for their views from any possible source.

  346. Andy Gilman said,

    September 28, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Doug Wilson says:

    [BOQ]
    We are not trying to make the Reformed world all better by insisting that others conform to what we are doing. How many times have FV folks brought charges against non-FV brothers at presbytery? None. How many seminary professors have we tried to force out of their positions? Again, none. How many resolutions have we brought to our presbyteries or assemblies that condemn other brothers in the Reformed world? None. In short, when measured by ecclesiastical means, our manner of “fixing” what we believe to be deficient in the Reformed world has been largely to mind our own business, and tend to our own corner of the vineyard. If others are hungry for what has fed us, they can buy our books, or come to a conference, or something like that — but over 95% of all the action is happening in our churches.
    [EOQ]

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/27/the-center-of-my-world/

    The problem is that Doug’s “we” sometimes includes churches in the OPC, PCA, URC, etc. People walk into those churches expecting to find orthodoxy, but find another gospel instead. The problem is that most people who walk into an FV church are like the people in Doug’s church; they know nothing at all about the FV, and gradually end up inculcated by false doctrine without ever knowing it. If the FV consisted only of ministers in CREC churches, then there would be no charges (although they still might find trouble in the seminaries). The charges arise because FV ministers and teachers, surreptitiously advance their agenda in other denominations, aided by those denominations’ reputations.

    When snake handlers spring up in the CREC, with a “more enlightened” exegesis of Mark 16:18 and attempting to fix what they believe to be “deficient in the Reformed world,” will Doug bring charges against them in the CREC?

  347. magma2 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Can you cite some of those sources where those in the PRC are “scurrying” around trying to find support for their denial of the CoW’s even from FV teachers?

    I agree Hoeksema in his Dogmatics denied the idea of the CoW (his exact reasons for doing so, I don’t recall and will revisit it soon God willing), but everything I’ve read coming out of the PRC (say, from David Engelsma and others) on the topic of the FV has been pretty much spot-on. Unless you can point to something more concrete it seems to me the evidence there is incredibly slight. Besides, Herman’s name gets slammed around enough by moderate-Calvinists-in-name-only as being a “hyper-Calvinist” without being also unfairly attached to the heretics of the FV.

    OTOH Klaas Schilder is a different story and FV men have cited him as an influence. According to the PRC Schilder believed “that every baby is given the promise of the covenant at baptism” and that he “taught that the covenant was conditional upon the will of man.” While FV men are not exactly saying the latter at least explicitly, it is certainly implied in their doctrine of the covenant.

  348. tim prussic said,

    September 28, 2007 at 11:36 am

    It’s interesting that there’s been no caterwauling ’round here about Dr. Hart’s notion of tradition and the Bible. I was amazed by whole sting under the heading of “Frame’s Creative Children.” It sounded to me as if Dr. Hart had in mind some Reformed Magisterium while the FV guys spoke of the confession and tradition as being helpful guides that point us to the Scripture, the final arbiter. Dr. Hart responds by quoting WCF 31:2 (originally 31:3),and seems to think that section of the Confession gives “the church” some sort of final say of interpretation of Scripture, but the Confession EXPRESSLY denies that, as Peter Leithart pointed out.

    It’s already been decided that I’m obtuse as all get out, so maybe I’ve misunderstood a good deal of what’s gone on. If, however, I have understood it correctly, I’m amazed that there’ve been no cries from folk around this little water cooler.

  349. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 28, 2007 at 11:42 am

    346
    This week I met a young man who is Baptist and is interested in learning more about the PCA. He has heard that the PCA over the years has a reputation for sound doctrine with the WCF. He would like to visit a PCA church in the community. We have two – an FV PCA and a non-FV PCA church that tolerates the FV and has silenced those who speak out against the FV errors.

    Which PCA church should I direct him to?

  350. anneivy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Well, I’d say neither.

    How can a church be categorized as “non-FV” if it “tolerates the FV and has silenced those who speak out against the FV errors”?

    Sounds as if y’all have two FV churches, with only one of ‘em being honest about it.

    That being so, if he absolutely insists upon trying a PCA church and those are the only two options, point him to the openly FV alternative.

  351. Tim Wilder said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    RE: 344 and 347

    That the FV uses Hoeksema is beyond question. Jordan cited him in articles against the Covenant of Works as proof that denying the Covenant of Works is a legitimate part of the Reformed tradition. But more that that, Jordan lifted Hoeksema’s argument and Rhetoric.

    On the other hand, Hoekema, in his book on the Clark controversy, points out how the Van Til group develops Arminian exegesis in order promote its paradox doctrine, but in the end winds up teaching Arminianism. In this way Van Til is the father of Federal Vision exegesis.

    As for Schilder, don’t believe everything you hear. I know that some Liberated peole are very unhappy with what the Canadian Reformed have done with Schilder. Also when the seminary in St. Petersburg started to promote the Federal Vision–with PCA sponsorship–it was the churches in Russian that are associated with the Liberated Churches that stood against the Federal Vision. Also Schilder, unlike Hoekesema, continued to hold to the Covenant of Works and saw it as the fundamental covenant, so it was Hoeksema who was the radical.

    I also have another contact in the Netherlands who is incensed about the Federal Vision appropriation of Schilder and insists that Schilder was fully confessional.

  352. greenbaggins said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Tim, Nelson Kloostermann would agree wholeheartedly with you.

    http://auxesis.net/kloosterman/for_the_sake_of_accuracy.pdf

  353. September 28, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Lane! You’re home! (I thought I heard angels singing).

  354. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 28, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Let me qualify the options.
    The FV church is FV but won’t admit it as the report recommends. They have been lying for years that they are in conformity with the WCF. But for those who are aware of FV teaching, it only takes a few seconds to realize what page these elders are on.

    The non-FV church is against FV teaching but will not allow the elders or anyone to openly discuss it or speak out against it. They are waiting for life to become so miserable for the FV folks, now that the report is out, that they will choose to leave and go for the CREC. That’s what I call real pastoral care. And, I believe the Bible calls it lukewarm Christianity – the kind of church that God will spit out of His mouth if the leaders do not repent.

    Since God prefers a hot or cold church over a lukewarm one, I think I will direct him to the FV church. It might be good for the PCA to get a more honest evaluation from outsiders. One outsider I know visited the FV church and left halfway through the service. His comment? He thought it was a cult. Now there is an honest evaluation along with appropriate action.

  355. greenbaggins said,

    September 28, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Yes, give me a chance to catch up on this enormous comment harvest, and then I will weigh in a bit.

  356. magma2 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Tim (Wilder). I’ll have to look into that original debate between Hoeksema and Schilder again. As for Jordan and Hoeksema’s denial of the CoW’s I’ll take your word for it. I did come across this from an ‘05 Protestant Reformed Theological Journal:

    “James B. Jordan is the wildest hare started by Christian Reconstruction. His speciality is allegorical, fantastical exegesis. In comparison with Jordan, Origen and Harold Camping are pikers . . . If James Jordan is the exegete of the “federal vision,” the movement is not only heretical but also absurd.”

    :)

  357. Tim Wilder said,

    September 28, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    You might also want to check the view of the Trinity of Hoeksema and, especially, Henry Danhof. The Protestant Reformed magazine published a translation of Danhof’s 1919 speech not long ago, and he sounds a lot like Ralph Smith and James Jordan. This is more evidence that the problem is independent of Schilder.

    I think that Danhof, Hoeksema, and Schilder are reactions to errors of Kuyper, and they commit errors in the other direction.

  358. Andy Gilman said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Meyers is enlisting the aid of William Cunningham, and Chad Van Dixhoorn of course, to attempt to neutralize the FV critics with regard to the FV teaching on Christ’s active obedience:

    [BOQ]
    Consider also what the Scottish theologian William Cunningham has to say about the debate:

    It [the distinction between active and passive obedience] is to be traced rather to the more minute and subtle speculations, to which the doctrine of justification was afterwards subjected; and though the distinction is quite in accordance with the analogy of faith, and may be of use in aiding the formation of distinct and definitive conceptions,—it is not of any great practical importance and need not be much pressed or insisted on, if men heartily and intelligently ascribe their forgiveness and acceptance wholly to what Christ has done and suffered in their room and stead. There is no ground in anything Calvin has written for asserting, that he would have denied or rejected this distinction, if it had been presented to him. But it was perhaps more in accordance with the cautious and reverential spirit in which he usually conducted his investigations into divine things, to abstain from any minute and definite statements (The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1967], 404; emphasis mine).
    [EOQ]

    But in this article:

    http://www.the-highway.com/larger-catechism_Dixhoorn.html

    Van Dixhoorn says:

    [BOQ]
    Calvin actually notes this jump in the Creed between the birth and death of Christ and asks in question fifty-five of his catechism: “Why do you go immediately from His birth to His death, passing over the whole history of His life?” While this observation on his part is helpful, his answer is unusually disappointing: “Because nothing is said here about what belongs properly to the substance of our redemption.”21 This is rather shocking, particularly from Calvin. Christ’s life has a great deal to do with our salvation: he spent his life fulfilling all righteousness; he kept the law which the first Adam broke. It is because of Jesus’ active, life-long obedience that God the Father sees us as righteous in Christ. While Calvin clarified this at a later point in his life, his catechism, at least in this regard, remained inadequate.
    [EOQ]

    And then the footnote on this section reads:

    [BOQ]
    The Catechism may only be the midpoint of a development in Calvin’s thought on this issue. The first edition of Calvin’s Institutes, printed in Basel in 1536, does not recognize the Creed’s jump from Christ’s birth to death (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated and edited by Ford Lewis Battles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 50-55. The Catechism (1541) mentions the Creed’s move and makes the above observation. The final edition of Calvin’s Institutes (1559) does recognize, to a greater degree, the importance of Christ’s active obedience. See John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Library of Christian Classics ed., vol. XXI. Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), II:xvi:5. I was too critical of Calvin in the popular version of this article. Since that time I have noted this apparent development and read R. A. Peterson’s brief discussion of active obedience in Calvin’s commentaries. In addition, Richard B. Gaffin Jr. pointed out in conversation that Francis Turretin, no mean Calvin scholar, holds this passage in the Calvin as an adequate treatment of Christ’s active obedience. For R. A. Peterson’s discussion, see his Calvin’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Madison, New Jersey: Drew University, Ph. D. Diss., 1980), 83-85. For Turretin, see his Institutes of Elenctic Theology: Vol. 2. Edited by James T. Dennison. Translated by George Musgrave Giger. (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R, 1994), 14:13:xxii:454-55.
    [EOQ]

  359. Andy Gilman said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    James Jordan:

    “I’m justified because Jesus died for me.”

    W.H. Chellis:

    “James… according to FV doctrine, you cannot know that. You might commit apostasy and be seperated from Christ.”

    James Jordan:

    “Yes, I know it totally and fully. It’s true as long as I’m in union with Jesus. If I sin and apostatize, then it’s no longer true for me.”

    W.H. Chellis:

    “Since you cannot know the future, by your own standards, you cannot know that Christ died for YOU. You can only have a suspicion that He might have since you are presently confessing Him.”

    James Jordan:

    “Nope. I know that Jesus died for ME….I can say that Jesus died ‘for’ everyone alive in the world at present, for He is the Hilasterion, the Ark-Cover, which is the Firmament between heaven and earth. He is the New Sky. God sees all the world through Him and His blood/death. I can freely say to any person, ‘God loves you and Jesus died for you.’ That’s 100% true….Of course, if a person dies without faith, then he moves out from this world, out from under the New Sky, and is lost. But as long as he’s here, he benefits from Jesus’ death, which took place up in the air between heaven and earth and put blood on the four corners of the earth, covering it.

    I trust that, so Jesus died for ME. ”

    So here’s Jordan’s argument:

    1. He knows he’s justified because Jesus died for him.
    2. He knows he’s justified as long as he’s in union with Jesus.
    3. He knows he’s justified because Jesus died for everyone alive in the world at present.

    Either #2 is superflous, and Jordan doesn’t need to be in union with Christ in order to know he is justified, since all he needs to know in #3 is that he is “in the world at present” to know he is justified; or, everyone alive in the world today is in union with Jesus, and justified, until they sin and apostatize.

    It appears that Jordan can freely say to any person alive in the world today, “God loves you and Jesus died for you, and you therefore are justified.”

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/28/law-gospel-and-justification/#comments

  360. Mark T. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Should we attribute any of this lunacy to the full moon?

  361. September 28, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Jesus “is the New Sky”?

    “’You’ (the Chellis who asks, not necessarily the Chellis who exists)”?

    “When God says in Ephesians 1 that He has sovranly elected people from the foundation of the world to be baptized into His church, this by way of eminence also means that He has elected people to be found at the end.”?

    “sovranly”?

    “Eph. 1 is not about election for eternity”?

    HUH?

    THIS is the godfather of the Federal Vision?!!!!

  362. Dave Rockwell said,

    September 28, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    No, but perhaps this is a retread hippie reliving his days from the Woodstock festival.

  363. anneivy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    It’s amazing how New Agey it sounds, isn’t it?

    The “Emerging Conversation” would really riff on it.

    Saaaaayyyy! There’s a thought!

    Encourage a deep, intense “conversation” between the FV’s Godfather, Jordan, and the Emerging godfathers, such as McLaren and Pagitt.

    Ought to keep ‘em busy for quite a little while, I’d think. >;^>

  364. September 29, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Gary Johnson,

    I stand corrected. Jordan’s comments today have proven that this is, indeed, a profitable conversation after all. Profitable in the sense that we see just how kooky Jordan (and by implication, FV) really is.

    Of course we all know that no pro-FV character will distance themselves from this cutting-edge lunacy.

  365. September 29, 2007 at 4:31 am

    [...] wrote an interesting post today on Comment on FV Discussion on Monday by David GadboisHere’s a quick [...]

  366. GLW Johnson said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:28 am

    If Sandlin’s estimation is to be taken at face value and Jordon is to be looked upon as the wellspring for the FV, then this statement from Jordon says it all,” I see the WCF as a consensus document, with no ‘system of doctrine’, so I can’t quite accept the terms of your question. At the same time ,I freely admit that I would like to toss out all of Chapter7 and rework the matter from the bottom up. So, if for someone that means I have substantially different theology, then that’s okay. I don’t see it that way myself, but I really don’t care a whole lot what the present day ‘Reformed’ world thinks. When I was young, the Reformed world was a broad, scholarly, interesting place where all kinds of things were discussed. I can tell you that when I graduated from seminary virtually everyone took exception to the ‘covenant of works’ notion when examined for ordination. Now the Reformed world has become a shallow, tiny, dull, anti-scholarly, sectarian location. It has pretty much departed wholly from what it once was, and I’m not interested in it any longer’ ( comment ,Sept.28,2007 ar 10:05 under ‘For the Chilren’). Where to begin?! It is no secret that the massive influence of Shepherd is behind Jordon’s distain for the WFC, especially Ch.7. I was at WTS during the same period as Jordon- and not one of the professors at that time denied or spoke disparagingly of the CoW and most certaintly never suggested it should be ripped out of the WS! I can go down the list here: Godfrey, Davis, Reid, Logan,Poythress, Silva,Dillard, Robertson,Kline, Strimple ,Clowney and even Gaffin and Frame (who both defended Shepherd at the time but, as it is well known, Gaffin no longer does) and you can toss in VanTil-none of these men took the position that Jordon says was so wide spread. That is a bald unfounded assesrtion pure and simple. Jordon displays a fairly typical FV arrogance when he pures contempt on the Reformed world that he derisively describes as ‘shallow,tiny,dull,anti-scholarly and sectarian’. The implication, by contrast, is that Jordon & his FV off-spring are all deep thinking profound scholars. Since this so obviously self-evident,what are we waiting for? All in favor of appointing the Godfather of the FV, James Jordon chairman of the committee to revise the WS raise your right hand?

  367. GLW Johnson said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:54 am

    I forgot to mention John Muether ( I had him for theological bibliography and research) who is one of the participants in the ‘discussion’ over at DRC. I call John as my first witness.

  368. September 29, 2007 at 8:34 am

    [...] Zimmerman wrote an interesting post today on Comment on FV Discussion on Monday by GLW JohnsonHere’s a quick [...]

  369. magma2 said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Andy’s right above, that thread is the prize winner.

    Two-cents. While Barlow is basically correct and knowing that one is saved (epistemological problem) and having assurance (confidence that one is saved) are two different things, he writes:

    “In baptism he makes a conditional promise and if we fall short, it will be because we leave God and despise his covenant. And if we are faithful it will be because we are faithful to God and remain humble in his covenant.”

    Could the Arminian nature of the FV be more transparent? If we’re going to be saved, it’s up to us. I thought the supposed Wilsonian scheme of the “objective” and sensate covenant where baptism translates a person from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light was supposed to overcome the question of assurance by refashioning it from a psychological state of mind into a matter of epistemological certainty? Yet, in response to this question Jordan, Barlow and the rest can now only dance around the issue, and dance very badly I might add. Plus, Andy is spot on and aside from Jordan waxing on incoherently, could his damnable doctrine of saved one day lost the next be expressed any clearer? I wonder if he hands out tracts letting people know that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives? Or, does he just save that one for all baptized members of his congregation?

  370. Dave H said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I don’t watch TV (well maybe Funniest Home Videos occasionally) and have NEVER seen a reality TV show; which I guess is why I sometimes frequent this site and others like it. The cast of characters here is wonderful; and they provide the most unusual and entertaining experiences when one has the free time to peruse. Indeed, it consists of certain pastors (“teachers”) who appear to be lacking somewhat in the gift of reason or logic; Texan Baptists weighing in on matters far outside of their own world (e.g. Presbyterianism, let alone FV issues), and the regular and spectacular comments by the banned-few. Who needs Reality Television?

    But all is not lost, as the Cubs yesterday won their divisional title. This could be the year that the Cubs finally win the World Series, AND the CREC is accepted into the NAPARC churches. I’m such a postmillennialist.

  371. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Darryl Hart (apart from his consistent misspelling of Shepherd’s name) is right on target in this reply to Meyers:

    [BOQ]
    JMyers, you didn’t answer my question, which was why a denial of active obedience of Christ is so important to you other than on biblicist grounds — that is, the Bible doesn’t teach it. (By that criteria, why don’t you reject Rollock since he uses “merit” which is also unbiblical?) What do you gain by denying the active obedience of Christ, **which is what you do since what we are talking about in that phrase is the active obedience of Christ being imputed to us. No one ever accused FV of denying Christ’s sinless life.** So what is to be gained theologically or practically or liturgically? As I indicated, it seems to fit with the Sheperd project of teaching an obedient faith and avoiding anti-nominianism.
    [EOQ **my emphasis**]

    He clearly exposes Meyers disingenuous claim that he doesn’t deny the active obedience of Christ.

    Then of course you have Mr. FV, James Jordan (How dare you rise to discuss the FV until you have read me!), telling us that a denial of the active obedience of Christ is not a defining characteristic of FV, because, though he himself vigorously rejects the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, there are some engaged in the FV “conversation” who are “happy with that terminology!” Meyers is presumably one of those “some,” and Hart has shown that Meyers is clearly not at all happy with the real meaning behind the phrase “active obedience of Christ,” which is that Christ’s active obedience is imputed to us.

    But Jordan (you-can’t-know-FV-unless-you-know-me) has a sweet arrangement going. He can get on his FV soapbox and wax bombastic, and the moment his blather is criticized as non-Reformed, he finds one of the FV lesser lights who doesn’t agree with his crazy talk on that particular subject, and is, instead, “happy with the Reformed terminology;” and then Jordan tells us we can’t conclude that “the FV” is non-Reformed on that subject, because there are “some” among them who actually hold to the Reformed terminology, on the particular matter under discussion.

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/28/grace-merit-and-innocence/#comments

  372. kjsulli said,

    September 29, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Dave, re: 370,

    In defense of the Texan Baptist, the CREC supposedly admits Baptist congregations. So is it really far outside their own world?

  373. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    At De Regno Christi in the “Sectarians All” thread Jordan says:

    “Right, Peter. I wonder how many thousands of time we have to say this. There is no FV movement….Repeatedly, people in the present discussion insist that FV is some kind of Movement with an Agenda, and since we aren’t conforming to their idea of what a movement with an agenda looks like, we are criticized. The conversation is, frankly, rather bizarre. How can we get traction talking about something that does not exist? There is no movement. There is no settled agenda as such. There is no FV.”

    And in the “Was the Reformation a Church?” Doug Wilson says:

    “Andrew [Sandlin] offered the observation that FV is a classic movement — and he is exactly right. As a movement, it will suffer the temptations that movements do and exhibit the strengths that movements do. As it happens, one of the tenets of this movement is the need for a higher ecclesiology.”

    I think General Jordan needs to get the word out to his field commanders!

  374. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Alot of people are familiar with cults. You don’t have to have been in one to be familiar with them. With discernment one can see it in a gesture, a remark, what have you. Here is an example:

    “You also seem to assume that a serious movement for reform has to have a plan for taking over the direction of the church. But one of the many things that many of us learned from Jim Jordan is that Adam fell by seizing privileges rather than patiently waiting for them to be granted. Jim has taught us that patience is an essential quality of faith, and that grasping ambition is the opposite of faith.” – Peter Leithart (emphasis mine)

    Not just the public stating that “Jim” has taught him. That alone is strange language considering everything Jim has written in the last week or so. But the language of “us.” Jim has taught “us.” Professors don’t grant such language to just anybody, if anybody. Think about this: it would be strange to read D. Hart say: “One of the things R. Scott Clark has taught us is…” See how that puts Prof. Clark at just a little bit of a different level than a mere colleague?

    I grant that it’s not totally unusual, but usually the man being talked of that way is safely passed on from this life. “van Til taught us all…” I can see that. “One thing Vos taught us is…” I can see that. But van Til and Vos are no longer around to embarrass anybody with strange statements or position u-turns or what have you. Granting such language to a Jim Jordan comes across as cultish. The silence of the others is cultish as well.

    I.e., Federal Vision is not only shallow and poisonous and dumb doctrine, but there is also the sense of a cult there. Most likely the same cult that sprang theonomy. It’s just using a new marketing tool. It’s objective is the same: distort and defile Reformed doctrine and thus serve the devil in the most effective way: attacking truth and smothering it in good old Satanic darkness.

  375. Mark T. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    The judgment of charity requires us to interpret Leithart’s latest post, “Playful Calvinism,” to mean that Federal Vision — including the endless string of bizarre comments from its “Godfather,” Rev. Jim Jordan — is a really a conscious attempt on their part to keep things “buoyant and light.”

  376. Mark T. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    BTW: I notice that pduggie, a self-confessed disciple of James Jordan, has been in a self-imposed exile for 8 days, or since about the time that Jordan started letting his hair down. I wish Mr. Duggie would pay Green Baggins a visit to interpret Jordan for us or else explain his attraction to the man.

  377. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Just a quick clarification – Leithart (the younger) has long been friends with Jordan and Jordan had a hand in Leithart’s education – advising him along the way. It is sort of a Ambrose / Augustine type relationship. Nothing more sinister than that.

  378. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    By the way, there is nothing Arminian about my comments on assurance. It is a basic part of the Reformed faith that perseverance is necessary for salvation; the opposing point of view is called “antinomianism” – a position many men have embraced lately – hopefully without full reflection on the implications. Now, as Calvinists, we know that perseverance happens for the elect because God preserves them.

    As a thought experiment – ask yourself what baptism promises to the the non-elect who are baptized. As you think through the possible answers it will be clear that the baptismal promise is from God is conditional.

  379. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    That there are such connections within a cult doesn’t make it less of a cult. Nor does it make Leithart’s language less strange.

  380. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    A final comment – it sounds like you guys and I are reading a different debate. I see a debate where someone like Hart has contributed no positive proof or content and has, instead, daily lobbed sometimes mutually contradictory objections to various aspects of the Federal Vision like a heckler from the stands. Peter has made biblical arguments, I have made systematic theological arguments, Jeff has made historical arguments, Jordan has made biblical theological arguments, etc.. As exhibit A, look at the questions that Hart asks about union with Christ. This is theology 101 stuff that John Murray answers in “Redemption Accomplished and Applied” and Richard Gaffin answers in his “Resurrection and Redemption.” Hart’s facility with the categories of systematic theology is simply not where it needs to be to step out from behind the idea of having a Reformed Tradition and begin defending the substance of that tradition.

    As for Jordan’s eccentricity – consider that we were having this discussion and suddenly someone writes something that could essentially be interpreted as “who is this Jordan guy anyway?” So Jordan rightly begins thinking that an uninformed person has wandered into the room and demanded his credentials. His response was abrupt, but it had a context. It’s not something I or many of you would say, but a lot of you guys write a lot worse here to each other.

    Chellis’s interaction with Jordan on assurance is a good case of an argument where Jordan has the upper hand and Chellis asks questions that have pretty standard answers in the reformed literature that line up more with Jordan than he. I still maintain that it isn’t our theology that gives us assurance – unless our theology is universalism. Any protestant or catholic, Arminian or Calvinist, has the same foundation for doubt or assurance even if we doubt different things that relate to salvation.

    And then also I’m surprised that Hart gets a pass from most of you when he sets up a virtual magisterium. His position is as sectarian and authoritarian as I’ve seen. If Jordan is idiosyncratic, so is Hart!

    Anyway, have a good Saturday night.

  381. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Look how Barlow tries to reset everything in their favor. “Nothing that has gone on has gone on.”

    Do a search in this thread on ‘regeneration’. Barlow and the FVists are liberal theologians with a good dose of the spirit of disobedience which makes them want to attack Reformed doctrine because it is where the truth is. They don’t want to remain where liberal theologians mostly stay. They want to be the summit of the mountain.

    This is beyond tiring. I thank my Lord and Saviour that truth will win out and that He enables His elect to see and accept and know the truth, despite all the obstacles put in the way by the devil and the devil’s followers like these FV cranks with their defilement of language and their grinning chain-yanking. The second coming will be beautiful in many ways, not the least of which will be seeing all those who played the role of the devil during these times being cast into hell for eternity. Good riddance. False teachers deserve the worst.

  382. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    In #378 Jon Barlow said:

    [BOQ]
    It is a basic part of the Reformed faith that perseverance is necessary for salvation; the opposing point of view is called “antinomianism” – a position many men have embraced lately – hopefully without full reflection on the implications.
    [EOQ]

    It is a basic part of the Reformed faith that we can be certainly assured of our future perserverance. James Jordan clearly denies it. As I quoted earlier from the Cannons of Dordt:

    [BOQ]
    Who teach: That without a special revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in this life.

    For by this doctrine the sure comfort of the true believers is taken away in this life, and the doubts of the papist are again introduced into the Church, while the Holy Scriptures constantly deduce this assurance, not from a special and extraordinary revelation, but from the marks proper to the children of God and from the very constant promises of God. So especially the apostle Paul: No creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). And John declares: And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us (1 John 3:24).
    [EOQ]

  383. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    In #380 Jon Barlow said:

    “it sounds like you guys and I are reading a different debate.”

    Judging by your account of it so far, it would seem that we no hope of following the debate unless you stop in to interpret for us. We have been asking for the FV proponents to provide us a key to their code for quite sometime, but it seems well just have to trust you Jon.

  384. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Dordt assumes regeneration in God’s elect. Feveral Visionists deny regeneration in God’s elect. They are not merely the currently unregenerate and confused, they are the proud unregenerate who demand God and his ‘regenerate’ elect be defeated once and for all and that they the Federal Vision, the devil’s children, be exalted in the temple. Rome looks on and says: “I like what I see, Federal Visionists, but why not just come on over here and we’ll try to build Rome up for another go at God’s people. We need you guys. You are true kool-aid drinkers…”

  385. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Andy, I recognize the promotional claim in the Reformed tradition that our tradition provides infallible assurance and Rome (or insert your favorite non-REformed church here) does not.

    But look at Westminster XVIII.3 and 4 which makes it pretty clear that not every believer is going to have that kind of psychological assurance.

    Here is a place where our promotional claims are simply wrong even if our theology is right. The marks proper to the children of God can also be demonstrated by the non-elect for a time, and recognition of the Spirit’s work in oneself is far from sure – the Reformed tradition also has a notion of self-deception and a notion of temporary faith. It simply isn’t true that our tradition has been a boon to the assurance business. Just read any given Puritan’s diary.

    Knowing that God is faithful, and leaning on his promises is the essence of faith. Knowing that we will be faithful to God is hubris. Many men have been sure of the Spirit’s work in them but have been self-deceived and departed from the faith.

    If your attraction to Reformed theology is based upon its ability to give more assurance than Arminianism, then you will be disappointed. Both Calvinists and Arminians can only do one thing – rest on God’s promises in faith, and leave election and preservation to him.

  386. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Robert K – your rhetoric is like listening to David Koresh rant. Perhaps you could tone it down a bit?

    I believe that all of the quips about the FV “code” are a smokescreen for those irritated by the fact that FV people say what they mean rather than relying on old formulations that conceal as much as they reveal. Knowing the classic reformed formulations doesn’t mean that one understands them, and such understanding is required to understand the subtle questions that FV people are asking about the formulations and the underlying doctrines they express.

    So let’s take “regeneration” for a moment. What do you guys think Jordan is denying when he questions the idea of regeneration?

  387. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    This comment by Pr. Jordan has me a bit confused. I’m no Hebraist, nor am I a Greek scholar, but don’t the New Testament Greek words nomos and kyrios militate a bit against his claims about torah and YHVH?

    Frankly, he strikes me as a Judaizer. But then, the FV has always struck me that way.

  388. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    In #380 Jon B. says:

    [BOQ]
    As exhibit A, look at the questions that Hart asks about union with Christ. This is theology 101 stuff that John Murray answers in “Redemption Accomplished and Applied” and Richard Gaffin answers in his “Resurrection and Redemption.”
    [EOQ]

    Jon, what do you think of this sentence from Murray’s “Redemption Accomplished and Applied?:” “Justification is therefore a constitutive act whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account and we are accordingly accepted as righteous in God’s sight.”

    And what do you make of Gaffin’s more recent OPC committee work, and denial of the FV’s formulations regarding “union with Christ?”

  389. magma2 said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Just adding a little to what Andy already covered from this quote from Barlow:

    It is a basic part of the Reformed faith that perseverance is necessary for salvation; the opposing point of view is called “antinomianism” – a position many men have embraced lately – hopefully without full reflection on the implications.

    Oh my! Why is it that when FV men get tagged they start with the “antinomian” stuff? But, notice, rather than perseverance being one of the many blessing given to those who are already saved and justified, perseverance is, per Barlow, a necessary component to salvation. Yet, instead of being a “necessary for salvation” perseverance rests solely on the eternal decree of God and is the very nature of the covenant of grace.

    It is not the case that if you persevere you’ll be saved. That is as much Arminianism as it is Romanism. It is if you are saved you’ll persevere.

    And to think this man has the gall to lecture anyone on Reformed theology. He is the one who needs to go back to school and relearn the gospel, assuming he ever even knew it. Either that or perhaps Barlow and his friends are more living examples of those who have have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, but have fallen away?

    I find it particularly ironic that the central passages these FV teachers cite in an effort to give “full weight” to (something they universally claim Reformed believers failed to do in the past), are the very passages that condemn them.

  390. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    In #385 Jon B. says:

    “Knowing that God is faithful, and leaning on his promises is the essence of faith. Knowing that we will be faithful to God is hubris. Many men have been sure of the Spirit’s work in them but have been self-deceived and departed from the faith.”

    The point Jon, is that we can know that God will be faithful to us. “No creature will be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  391. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Kyle – the Judaizers told the gentile Galatians that they had to be circumcised and keep the ceremonial law in order to become Christians. Where has Jordan done anything of the kind? In fact, he’s got one of the few thin books I can think of on why it is that Christians eat pork. Are you using “judaizer” in a non-standard way?

    As for your first question, I can’t answer it, but then again, given what you’ve said about your facility with Greek and Hebrew, you can’t either, nor can either of us completely trust our ability to understand an argument for or against it. And anyway, Jordan is talking about the English rendering of the tetragrammaton and how it subtly affects the English reader who sees “LORD” all the time rather than Yahweh. Both of us can understand that argument without getting into the overlapping issues that would be required to answer your question – relationship between the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, issues of translation in the LXX that might give guidance to your answer, NT handling of OT yahweh passages, etc.

  392. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    Andy wrote:

    “The point Jon, is that we can know that God will be faithful to us. ‘No creature will be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'”

    Actually, I don’t see the name “Jon Barlow” in that verse. My ability to take that verse to heart depends upon my associating myself with those who are “in Jesus” and I can be wrong about that association even as Judas was and even as you can be. Right? We don’t solve this quest for religious certainty by stipulating certainty. We have to give up on “sight” and live by faith.

  393. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    In #385 Jon B. said:

    “Andy, I recognize the promotional claim in the Reformed tradition that our tradition provides infallible assurance and Rome (or insert your favorite non-REformed church here) does not. ”

    Then why do you presume to tell us about what constitutes a “basic part of the reformed faith?” It seems your spin on perseverance is “basic to the Reformed faith,” but what the Cannons of Dordt and Westminster Standards say about perseverance is merely a “promotional claim.” This is FV arrogance par excellence. And no, you don’t get to claim WCF 18:3-4 for your own. The fact that not everyone experiences perfect assurance, is not an argument against assurance, and in no way contradicts the Cannons of Dordt.

    And since you are here to interpret the FV conversation for us, can you follow the link from #214 above, and tell me what Doug Wilson means? I would like to know how the first and second sentences in Doug’s definition are connected.

  394. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Magma 2,

    You wrote:

    “h my! Why is it that when FV men get tagged they start with the ‘antinomian’ stuff?”

    In my case it is on the basis of my rather detailed interaction with R. Scott Clark on this matter – a discussion you can still probably find in his archives and a discussion that exposes that antinomianism was indeed a problem with his view. Or at least, that’s my interpretation of his problem. Obviously he wouldn’t agree.

    You continue:

    “But, notice, rather than perseverance being one of the many blessing given to those who are already saved and justified, perseverance is, per Barlow, a necessary component to salvation. Yet, instead of being a ‘necessary for salvation’ perseverance rests solely on the eternal decree of God and is the very nature of the covenant of grace.”

    I think you are bit confused on these issues. Perseverance is a blessing given to God’s elect. Nowhere did I deny it. But you speak of salvation as though it were a static thing one gets like a birthday present. Christians join “the way” – they are put “into Christ” – they are saved, they are being saved, and they will be saved. Justification is no doubt a discrete act of God’s free grace that takes no account of our works. But being in Christ, having him as Savior and Lord, is an ongoing life in the Spirit that is consummated fully at the resurrection of our bodies. Persevering in salvation is part of salvation. And something can be necessary for salvation without being meritorious for salvation. You want to say that perseverance is the fruit of salvation. But perseverance doesn’t happen “after” salvation; you’re bringing in a temporal metaphor unwittingly. Salvation is new life in Christ – an ongoing life – a persevering life. And fruit of salvation is ongoing fruit. See WCF XV.3 about repentance – it makes the proper, delicate distinctions that your response to my statement does not make: “Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is an act of God’s free grace in Christ, yet it is of such necessity to all sinners that none may expect pardon without it.” Notice the distinction between what is necessary and what “causes pardon.” That same paragraph would work if you put the word “perseverance” in for repentance.

    You continue, writing:

    “And to think this man has the gall to lecture anyone on Reformed theology. He is the one who needs to go back to school and relearn the gospel, assuming he ever even knew it. Either that or perhaps Barlow and his friends are more living examples of those who have have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, but have fallen away?”

    It is a worse sin to falsely judge a brother than it is to have bad theology, so I’d just be careful in following Robert K’s lead here, man. Notice how sectarian you’ve become – here I am, believing that salvation is only found by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and yet you’re saying I don’t know the gospel. I think if you spend more time thinking through these points I’ve made that even if you don’t agree with me, you’ll see why it is important to me to make these distinctions, and perhaps you’ll agree that the WCF makes the same kinds of distinctions.

  395. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    In #392 Jon B. said:

    [BOQ]
    Actually, I don’t see the name “Jon Barlow” in that verse.
    [EOQ]

    And the Reformed faith, which you were appealing to a moment ago to try to make a point about perseverance, says that you don’t need to see your name in that verse in order to have a certainty of future perseverance. And it condemns the errors of those “Who teach: That without a special revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in this life.”

    That condemnation could you been written for you and James Jordan personally. You don’t get to pick and choose which aspects of the Reformed faith are “basic” to it, and which parts are “merely a promotional claim.”

  396. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Andy wrote:

    “Jon, what do you think of this sentence from Murray’s ‘Redemption Accomplished and Applied?': ‘Justification is therefore a constitutive act whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account and we are accordingly accepted as righteous in God’s sight.'”

    I think it is a great quote, especially in the context of chapter 9 where Murray steps back from the ordo and writes, “It [union] is not simply a step in the application of redemption; when viewed, according to the teaching of Scripture, in its broader aspects it underlies every step of the application of redemption.”

    You ask another question:

    “And what do you make of Gaffin’s more recent OPC committee work, and denial of the FV’s formulations regarding ‘union with Christ?'”

    Yes, I have one comment – I think it is patently mistaken (not to mention nonsensical) to float the idea that union with Christ justifies us by means of imputation.

    How does God impute something to us? By means of uniting us with Christ. That any theologian would get this backwards illustrates that the committee had to use the word “imputation” however clumsily. I’m fine with the word “imputation” – but I think it makes no semantic sense to speak of union’s justifying us by imputation.

    The verb “justify” should always have God as its subject. It is God who justifies people. How does he do this? One answer is “he imputes Christ’s righteousness by an act of his free grace.” And that’s a great answer. But suppose 6 year old Johnny in sunday school class asks “teacher, how does God impute Christ’s righteousness” the obvious answer is that the means of imputation is union with Christ. For us to share in Christ’s verdict, we must be in him.

  397. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    In #394 Jon B. said:

    “Justification is no doubt a discrete act of God’s free grace that takes no account of our works.”

    I’m coming at you fast and furiously with questions (laced with many typos!). Please give priority to the questions in #388 and #393, if you are unable to get to all of them. What does this “discrete act” look like. Is it fiat? What is the mechanism, or means through which God acts to justify? If your answer is, “union with Christ,” then in what sense is justification a “discrete act?”

  398. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Andy wrote:

    “Then why do you presume to tell us about what constitutes a ‘basic part of the reformed faith?’ It seems your spin on perseverance is ‘basic to the Reformed faith,’ but what the Cannons of Dordt and Westminster Standards say about perseverance is merely a ‘promotional claim.’ This is FV arrogance par excellence. And no, you don’t get to claim WCF 18:3-4 for your own. The fact that not everyone experiences perfect assurance, is not an argument against assurance, and in no way contradicts the Cannons of Dordt.”

    Actually, to be clear, if this illustrates arrogance, it illustrates my arrogance, and not “FV arrogance”.

    Let me be clearer about the theology here:

    1. I do believe I’m right that the tradition is clear in its opposition to antinomianism, holding that perseverance is necessary for salvation, but of course with the caveat that perseverance comes only by God’s preserving grace.

    2. I think the tradition is wrong about assurance when it speaks of assurance as though one can know the future. If Westminster’s “infallible assurance” means psychological assurance of the subject, then my position is at odds with the confession, and I readily admit that. And, as a side note, how would you defend Westminster on this point if “infallible assurance” means that Andy Gilman, in time and space, can know infallibly that he will never fall away. Don’t you think every deacon or elder who eventually cheats on his wife and dies in unrepentant believed the same thing at some point?

    3. The “promotional claim” aspect of my position relates to what we claim our theology’s cash value is. If you look at Reformed history, it is arguably a tradition filled with more nervous doubters than Arminian history. Again, the only theological cause of infallible assurance would be universalism. Our confession can say all day long that Christians can have infallible assurance, but it doesn’t mean that this has been the case for most Calvinists.

  399. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    In #396 Jon B. writes:

    “I think it is a great quote, especially in the context of chapter 9 where Murray steps back from the ordo and writes…”

    Except it isn’t in the context of chapter 9, it’s in the context of chapter 5, on Justification.

  400. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Andy, per your request, I’ll take a stab at Wilsonian hermeneutics:

    [BOQ]
    …corporate justification is God’s forensic declaration that the human race has been legally and covenantally reconstituted in Christ, the last Adam. The Church, as the bride of Christ, is the instantiation of that blessing in the world, for the world.
    [EOQ]

    Here’s my stab (without benefit of context): Wilson distinguishes between the new Adam and what that means for humanity and the community of the new Adam, which is the church.

  401. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Didn’t mean to imply that the quote was from chapter 9, only that chapter 9 contextualizes his previous discussion of the parts of the application of redemption.

    Murray goes through the aspects of the application of redemption. Then he gets to chapter 9 and explains what has lay in the background, all along, union with Christ.

  402. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Andy, last one for the night – gotta mow the yard and hang with the kids.

    You wrote:

    “I’m coming at you fast and furiously with questions (laced with many typos!). Please give priority to the questions in #388 and #393, if you are unable to get to all of them. What does this “discrete act” look like. Is it fiat? What is the mechanism, or means through which God acts to justify? If your answer is, “union with Christ,” then in what sense is justification a “discrete act?””

    I’ve answered 388 and 393.

    Now, what does the “discrete act” look like. It looks like initial union. It looks like definitive sanctification (proleptic sanctification). God wants to say “you have Christ’s verdict” and so he acts discretely to put us into Christ so that his verdict is ours. Mainly, I wanted to distinguish justification from sanctification in terms of which is a process and which is not. Justification is not a process – one either shares Christ’s verdict or he doesn’t.

  403. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    I had asked:

    “And what do you make of Gaffin’s more recent OPC committee work, and denial of the FV’s formulations regarding ‘union with Christ?’”

    And Jon. B replied:

    “Yes, I have one comment – I think it is patently mistaken (not to mention nonsensical) to float the idea that union with Christ justifies us by means of imputation. ”

    Then why present Gaffin’s “Resurrection and Redemption” to us as “exhibit A,” as an appeal to authority, regarding the contents of “theology 101″ and what it has to say about “union with Christ;” when Gaffin himself says that you have it wrong? Is it your argument then, that Gaffin has become somewhat fuzzy with age, and therefore his earlier work is more authoritative than his present work? Isn’t it a bit deceptive to appeal to an authority like Gaffin, to tell us what Theology 101 consists of, when the authority you appeal to teaches a different set of principles in his present Theology 101 class?

  404. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    In #402 Jon B. says:

    [BOQ]
    Now, what does the “discrete act” look like. It looks like initial union. It looks like definitive sanctification (proleptic sanctification).
    [EOQ]

    Is “initial union” an act? What is the means of “initial union?” Is it by fiat?

  405. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    barlow, re: 391,

    Kyle – the Judaizers told the gentile Galatians that they had to be circumcised and keep the ceremonial law in order to become Christians. Where has Jordan done anything of the kind? In fact, he’s got one of the few thin books I can think of on why it is that Christians eat pork. Are you using “judaizer” in a non-standard way?

    I suppose you could say it is “non-standard.” But it is related: converting law into gospel. If you say that law isn’t law, you don’t really have the law-gospel distinction any longer. As I said in #281, are we justified by faith apart from works of the law? The FV answer is: if by “apart from” you mean “partly constituted by.”

    As for your first question, I can’t answer it,

    Well, I wasn’t asking you to.

    but then again, given what you’ve said about your facility with Greek and Hebrew, you can’t either, nor can either of us completely trust our ability to understand an argument for or against it.

    I know enough about the Greek to say what I said, and seeing no particular need to doubt what I do know, I think Jordan is wrong. I don’t know his qualifications in either language, but that’s not really my fundamental point. My point is that he appears to be setting himself up to pit the Hebrew against the Greek (an old historical-critical trick), which is fallacious at any rate because both the Hebrew/Aramaic Old Testament and Greek New Testament are equally God-breathed. If the Spirit can translate torah as nomos, and if He can allow kyrios in place of the Tetragrammaton, then Jordan’s argument is significantly weakened. (On that account, it doesn’t get much more obvious than when Jesus says, “The kyrios said to my kyrio.”) Or perhaps he argues that the Peshitta is the original New Testament?

    And anyway, Jordan is talking about the English rendering of the tetragrammaton and how it subtly affects the English reader who sees “LORD” all the time rather than Yahweh. Both of us can understand that argument without getting into the overlapping issues that would be required to answer your question – relationship between the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, issues of translation in the LXX that might give guidance to your answer, NT handling of OT yahweh passages, etc.

    Oh, I can understand what he’s saying. But I think it’s silly at best. It goes along with the stupidity about “spatial language.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

  406. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    The act is the binding to Christ. It looks like the Holy Spirit forging a metaphysical bond between the believer and Christ’s resurrected, glorified body. A fiat is a reality-creating declaration. Justification is a real vindication based upon Christ’s work and pronounced on the believer in Christ. This is why Leithart has coined the term “deliverdict” – God delivers what he pronounces – righteousness in Christ.

    Gaffin’s “Resurrection and Redemption” is a good book and I stand by the recommendation. I have not read his most recent book, so I don’t know what he personally thinks about his previous work, nor do I know how to identify his thoughts among those in the OPC report. I also think “Set Forth Your Case” was a good book about apologetics by Clark Pinnock back when he was a Calvinist, but I don’t think his later embrace of Arminianism vitiates the arguments he used.

  407. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Kyle – the FV doesn’t teach that justification is even partially by works.

    As for distinguishing “law” from “gospel” – this is an artificial construct designed to be sure that no one thinks we are saved by lawkeeping. Yes, we’re all clear on that one. The distinction has done its job. But when it becomes a hermeneutics, as it does for Lutherans, then the problems begin. The context for any law in the bible *is* the gospel – God brought us out of Egypt, and now he shows us what is good and what the Lord requires of those whom he has saved.

    I don’t have any interest in the issue about the Tetragrammaton; it is not my area. I will just note, however, that the Old Testament is in Hebrew, and while the Greek translations of it that appear in the NT and in the LXX are important, we still have to interpret the Hebrew on its own terms. God’s covenant name is important.

  408. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    barlow, re: 407,

    Kyle – the FV doesn’t teach that justification is even partially by works.

    Whatever, I’ve heard the same violins play on for quite awhile now. But when “covenant faithfulness” becomes a constitutive element of faith, then our works are part of our justification. I’ve said this often enough. You’ll have to excuse me, I know you haven’t been following all of the recent threads I’ve been engaged in. But I don’t buy what FV is selling. I don’t by their bloated self-importance in the world of Reformedom, and I don’t buy their whining about being bullied.

    As for distinguishing “law” from “gospel” – this is an artificial construct designed to be sure that no one thinks we are saved by lawkeeping. Yes, we’re all clear on that one.

    No, we aren’t clear on it. If we were, there wouldn’t be an issue with FV, IMO.

    I will just note, however, that the Old Testament is in Hebrew, and while the Greek translations of it that appear in the NT and in the LXX are important, we still have to interpret the Hebrew on its own terms.

    The Greek translations in the NT are infallible and authoritative, not merely “important.” We read the Old and New Testaments together; the New completes the Old.

  409. Andy Gilman said,

    September 29, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Here is a summary of the exchange between Jon and I on justification/union with Christ:

    Jon B.:
    Justification is a discrete act of God’s grace

    Andy G.:
    What kind of act is it? What is the mechanism or means by which God acts? What does this discrete act look like?

    Jon B.:
    It looks like initial union. It looks like definitive sanctification.

    Andy G.:
    Is “initial union” an act? What is the means of “initial union?” Is it by fiat?

    Jon B.:
    “The act is the binding to Christ. It looks like the Holy Spirit forging a metaphysical bond between the believer and Christ’s resurrected, glorified body. A fiat is a reality-creating declaration.”

    So, justification is a discrete act of God. Another name for justification is “initial union.” The means of “initial union” is “the binding to Christ.” Binding to Christ occurs when the Holy Spirit forges a metaphysical bond between the believer and Christ.

    In Jon’s justification/union with Christ conumdrum, it is unacceptable to say that God justfies us by imputing Christ’s righteousness to us and declaring us to be righteous, because Jon can’t pin down a “means” by which God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us. But if the Holy Spirit “forges a metaphysical bond between the believer and Christ,” it apparently isn’t necessary for Jon to know the “means” by which God the Holy Spirt forms that metaphysical bond, or, presumably, even to know what a metaphysical bond is.

  410. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Right, by “important” I mean – “important data for the lexical conclusions we draw” – of course it is infallible.

    Speaking for myself, covenant faithfulness might be part of true faith (faith without works is dead), but it is not part of justifying faith – faith is a gift that comes along with all the other gifts in Christ. So your syllogism of this form:

    True Y includes X
    Justification is by Y
    Ergo: Justification includes X

    doesn’t follow unless you’re allowed to equivocate on what “by Y” is – I mean, it is pretty standard in the anti-FV literature to emphasize that the faith that justifies is just the receptive parts of faith – resting on Christ alone.

    Hope that helps. I can’t do anything to cure your skepticism about FV intentions other than answer these questions.

  411. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    “In Jon’s justification/union with Christ conumdrum, it is unacceptable to say that God justfies us by imputing Christ’s righteousness to us and declaring us to be righteous, because Jon can’t pin down a “means” by which God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us. But if the Holy Spirit “forges a metaphysical bond between the believer and Christ,” it apparently isn’t necessary for Jon to know the “means” by which God the Holy Spirt forms that metaphysical bond, or, presumably, even to know what a metaphysical bond is.”

    I understand the point you’re trying to make, but it just doesn’t follow – there is no equivalency to my leaving the nature of union a mystery while simultaneously denying that imputation is by fiat. Imputation needs a means. Why? Because one must give warrant for why one has called someone something. If I impute the motive of nastiness to Robert K, I should be able to provide some warrant for that imputation. What is God’s warrant for imputing Christ’s righteousness to us? What is God’s warrant for declaring that we have Christ’s righteousness? If there is no warrant – if he simply changes the story he tells about us – then justification is a legal fiction that he could have told about us apart from Christ’s death. All he needed was a righteous Christ to model this verdict on. Or maybe he could even model the verdict on what he knows Christ’s righteousness would look like were he to go ahead with the incarnation, death, etc.

    An analogy might help. Aquinas and Anselm both viewed God as having the power to simply save humans by fiat. In their view, the incarnation was the most fitting way to save people, but God could have saved us without it. Reformed theology risks the same kind of move away from Christ’s work if God can simply give us a verdict by fiat.

    But if imputation comes by union with Christ, then God can, without any legal fiction, or creative accounting, look at us and say “righteous in Christ” because we will be in union with the Christ who “was raised for our justification.” And this is not because of anything in us, but because of who we are in – our Lord Jesus.

    As for how the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ in the mystical union, I can no more explain that at a great level of detail than I can explain how the Holy Spirit enables us to feed on Christ’s body in communion.

  412. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    barlow, re: 410,

    faith without works is dead

    In this regard, read #281 above. I’ve been on this merry-go-round before. Predictably, the defenders and promoters of FV have to make works a constitutive element of faith, usually because of their false “biblicism” with referrence to James. They do with James to Paul what Pr. Jordan is hinting at with Hebrew to Greek.

  413. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Kyle, I already headed off your objection in 410.

  414. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    No, you did not. The real equivocation is with “includes.”

  415. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    So, Kyle, let’s try it another way. You’re not happy with faith in anything other than what most theologians call its “receptive aspects” but you call its “only aspect – receptivity.” Fair enough. It’s a departure from the Reformed tradition, but let’s go with it.

    When we Calvinists say that justification is by faith alone – what do we mean? Be specific. How does God’s imputation of a verdict relate to our faith?

  416. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    >Again, the only theological cause of infallible assurance would be universalism.

    Or, the active working of the Holy Spirit within us, which is not moralism, and which manifests dramatically in the three-front war against the flesh (Old Man), the world, and the devil. Not to mention the Spirit speaking to spirit that occurs when a regenerated Christian engages God’s revealed Word and what God is saying to His regenerated prophets, priests, and kings.

  417. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    So, Kyle, let’s try it another way. You’re not happy with faith in anything other than what most theologians call its “receptive aspects” but you call its “only aspect – receptivity.” Fair enough. It’s a departure from the Reformed tradition, but let’s go with it.

    I defined the “ingredients” of faith in #281.

    When we Calvinists say that justification is by faith alone – what do we mean? Be specific. How does God’s imputation of a verdict relate to our faith?

    By faith we are united to Jesus Christ as our federal Head. Thus united to Him, the righteousness which He possesses God imputes to our account-our sins are pardoned and we are regarded as righteous before God, Christ having fulfilled both the penalty and precepts of the law on our behalf.

  418. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Robert K – “the active working of the HS within us” is not a theology, it is an action of the Holy Spirit. I was very specific that theology doesn’t grant assurance unless that theology happens to be universalism. Certainly the Holy Spirit can grant assurance.

    Again, though, back to the phenomenology of assurance, how do you know that you’re hearing the spirit? That you’re feeling the spirit? Mormons believe they have a direct experience of God too. Trust in Christ and his promises, not in a subjective feeling.

  419. barlow said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    “By faith we are united to Jesus Christ as our federal Head. Thus united to Him, the righteousness which He possesses God imputes to our account-our sins are pardoned and we are regarded as righteous before God, Christ having fulfilled both the penalty and precepts of the law on our behalf.”

    Kyle – This is a very traditional explanation and I don’t want to deter you from it, but it doesn’t make very much sense. It sounds like you’re saying that God attaches faith to us, like a receptor site on a virus, and then that site bonds with Christ in whom we have righteousness.

    But the weird implication is that we’re given faith apart from Christ? That faith is somehow prior to new life in Christ.

    How about this explanation:

    1. When we say we’re justified by faith, what we really mean is that we’re not justified by good works.

    2. Saving, justifying faith is the faith of Christ that we receive in Union with Christ

    And then after that, my explanation looks pretty much like yours – “Thus united to Him, the righteousness which He possesses God imputes to our account-our sins are pardoned and we are regarded as righteous before God, Christ having fulfilled both the penalty and precepts of the law on our behalf.”

  420. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    James Jordan
    September 29th, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I think part of the problem has been pointed to off and on: Biblical theology “versus” systematics. I don’t admit to that, being very much a lover of systematics myself. But I think what it points to is this, and I want to put on six set of gloves and be as circumspect and careful as I can in saying this: Not everyone in this debate is equally at home in the Bible. The Bible DOES have its own language. Contrary to modern evangelical views, the Bible is a consistent document, written in heiratic (not koine) Hebrew, a Temple language (see the work of Ullendorff), by people connected with the Temple. That’s true of the so-called New Testament (there’s no such thing, literarily) as well. The Bible is not a potpourri. The people who wrote it knew that they were adding to a corpus, and wrote in terms of that corpus.

    To “get” the Bible you have to start at the beginning and learn the vocabulary (which is given in furniture, animals, rituals, blood and guts, hair, fire, water, incense, etc.). Sorry, all you “modern” people, but God chose to write in largely symbolic language, and YOU HAVE TO LEARN IT! You can’t “get” it by starting with the Pauline epistles, forcing them into a 17th century rationalistic mold as some kind of proto-Berkhof, and then trying to get the rest of the Bible. You have to start where Paul starts. When Paul says “flesh,” he has Leviticus in mind, where “flesh” is used 60+1 times.

    But we have a problem: Huge mistranslations. The most commonly observed is the mistranslation of “Ascension” as “Burnt Offering.” But the worst is the mistranslation of Yahweh as “Lord.” Yahweh does not connote lord, king, sovereign, suzereign. That’s “Adonai,” literally “My Master,” the title that appears when Israel gets kingship in order to say that God is High King. Yahweh tells us when He gives us that name what it means: “Israel is My Son, My firstborn. Let My son go!” Yahweh is Abba, Father, mostly. There is no “Law” given by the “Lord” at Sinai. “Torah” means Instruction. There is a Father’s instruction. So I repent of my earlier strong theonomy, which I held before I’d become as familiar with the Bible as I now am. I’m a soft theonomist now.

    This problem runs DEEEEEEEEP in Western theology. DEEEEEEEP. It’s the influence of Roman law paradigms. It’s the mistaken view that there are suzereignty treaties in the Bible. It’s “theologies of lordship” (sorry, my old pal John Frame). As much truth as there is in much of this tradition, it must be recast in more familial terms, more Biblical terms.

    I offer these “radical” thoughts only as illustrations. I think there is a bit of Bibliophobia in the critics of “FV.” People not quite at home in the Bible, but very much at home in “active and passive” and “covenant of works” and other confessional language, may feel threatened by us “Biblicists.” For certain, the OPC, the PCA, and Mid-America Seminary all punted on the whole issue, hiding behind THEIR readings of the confessions rather than doing any dealing with the Bible at all.

    I mean no insult. All of us have specialities. Dr. Hart is a fine historian, and since I wrote a paper on Nevin and Hodge (under Shepherd!!!) years ago, I like what he’s done. But I’m a Bible reader and teacher. Please allow me to offer into the Great Conversation what I have to offer. It’s really not a danger to anyone. Really. It’s not.

    We’re not at war.

    The Bible should be fun. I think it’s fun. I love taking a bath in it. I think God is a Happy God. I think He dances perichoretically all the time. I think we should lighten up and be happy about the Bible.

    By this standard the Lost Tribes of Israel Are Europeans/ Serpent Seed/ Adamites and Pre-Adamites doctrine that can be found on the internet is just as on-the-mark as James Jordan. And arguably alot more fun, if fun (or whatever tickles our vain fancy) is to be made the standard.

    For the record I find the epic history of redemption as elucidated by classical covenant – Federal – theology – as found in tomes that FVists consider boring (yes like even Berkhof’s ST) – to be all and more than my sense of wonder and curiosity and yearning for the miraculous could ever need to be satisfied.

    General revelation can inform special revelation, but we use the Word of God as our standard and authority. The basics of sound biblical doctrine that Reformed Theology elucidates don’t change. And they don’t need to change for things to get interesting. Only for mediocre and vain minds do the basics need to be ‘redone.’

  421. magma2 said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    But you speak of salvation as though it were a static thing one gets like a birthday present.

    Yes, I do Jon. That is exactly right. The good news is very much like a birthday present and so much more. It’s like being the lone survivor of plane crash. It’s like receiving something you could never possibly deserve. It is something that you clearly have not experienced or you wouldn’t say such foolish things.

    Christians join “the way” – they are put “into Christ” – they are saved, they are being saved, and they will be saved.

    Wrong again Jon. The moment a person believes he is a saved person. As Paul said, “ . .if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Notice, nothing about perseverance or ongoing obedience. Nothing more is needed and anything more is to deny what Christ has won for those He died.

    Justification is no doubt a discrete act of God’s free grace that takes no account of our works. But being in Christ, having him as Savior and Lord, is an ongoing life in the Spirit that is consummated fully at the resurrection of our bodies. Persevering in salvation is part of salvation. And something can be necessary for salvation without being meritorious for salvation. You want to say that perseverance is the fruit of salvation. But perseverance doesn’t happen “after” salvation; you’re bringing in a temporal metaphor unwittingly. Salvation is new life in Christ – an ongoing life – a persevering life.

    Wrong again. The moment a person first believes they are no more a saved person then when they enter into glory. My ongoing relationship with Christ, my perseverance, plays absolutely no role whatsoever in my salvation. Christ work on the cross, completely outside of anything within me or that I might do as I live in union with Christ, is what saves me. Like I said, you need to learn the gospel. It really is good news. :)

    You continue, writing:

    “And to think this man has the gall to lecture anyone on Reformed theology. He is the one who needs to go back to school and relearn the gospel, assuming he ever even knew it. Either that or perhaps Barlow and his friends are more living examples of those who have have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, but have fallen away?”

    It is a worse sin to falsely judge a brother than it is to have bad theology, so I’d just be careful in following Robert K’s lead here, man. Notice how sectarian you’ve become – here I am, believing that salvation is only found by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and yet you’re saying I don’t know the gospel.

    Yes, I say you don’t know the gospel and you’ve said nothing in anything I’ve read from you here or elsewhere that would suggest otherwise. The “gospel” you’ve advanced is nothing more than what comes out of the mouths of Arminians and Romanists who believe their ongoing faithfulness, meritorious or not it makes no difference, contributes to their salvation (or what you FV men call your final justification which is by works, even works done by faith).

  422. Robert K. said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Robert K – “the active working of the HS within us” is not a theology, it is an action of the Holy Spirit. I was very specific that theology doesn’t grant assurance unless that theology happens to be universalism. Certainly the Holy Spirit can grant assurance.

    “When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth – when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us – when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the thing abides in our hearts – when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for – then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.” – John Owen

    Again, though, back to the phenomenology of assurance, how do you know that you’re hearing the spirit? That you’re feeling the spirit? Mormons believe they have a direct experience of God too. Trust in Christ and his promises, not in a subjective feeling.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Discernment. Our standard for truth is the Word of God. What is a hall of mirrors for the unregenerate is not so for us. A regenerated believer has all he needs to test the spirits, so to speak.

  423. Kyle said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    barlow, re: 419,

    Kyle – This is a very traditional explanation and I don’t want to deter you from it, but it doesn’t make very much sense. It sounds like you’re saying that God attaches faith to us, like a receptor site on a virus, and then that site bonds with Christ in whom we have righteousness.

    Be honest, man. If you don’t want to “deter” me from it, why say that it “doesn’t make much sense” and sounds like the workings of a virus? You’re absurd.

    But the weird implication is that we’re given faith apart from Christ? That faith is somehow prior to new life in Christ.

    It is contemporaneous. The Spirit works faith in us and, believing, we are united to Christ. There is not some kind of time lag.

    1. When we say we’re justified by faith, what we really mean is that we’re not justified by good works.

    No, it is not merely a polemical slogan. Although we do also mean that we’re not justified by good works, this is by exclusion. When we say we are justified by faith, we mean that we are justified by means of faith, which is, in sum, trusting God to be our righteousness through Jesus Christ. This excludes our own works of righteousness necessarily.

    2. Saving, justifying faith is the faith of Christ that we receive in Union with Christ.

    Are you saying that Christ’s own faith is imparted to us?

  424. GLW Johnson said,

    September 30, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Barlow
    I find your remarks about Dick Gaffin and the comparison with Clark Pinnock absurd. Do you know Gaffin? Have you ever spoken with him? I had him as one of my professors, I have worked alongside him in writing projects and have discussed with him these very issues ,oh, and he baptized my youngest daughter. You on the other hand work, from a very distance mountain top somewhere in the interior of Tibet.

  425. Tim Wilder said,

    September 30, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Jordan now says:

    “The Bible DOES have its own language. Contrary to modern evangelical views, the Bible is a consistent document, written in heiratic (not koine) Hebrew, a Temple language (see the work of Ullendorff), by people connected with the Temple.”

    http://deregnochristi.org/2007/09/29/subscription-freedom/

    Does that mean that all that stuff purportedly by Moses was actually written centuries later? Is his thesis that the whole OT is P source?

  426. barlow said,

    September 30, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Greg – I love Gaffin. The “with respect to whatness” of my comparison involves an author’s earlier and later work and that’s it. But I’m happy to provide you with another chance to name drop.

  427. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    JORDAN ON THE NON-EXISTENCE OF THE FEDERAL VISION:
    “But his confusion is the result of a bunch of ignorant quackodox bloggers who don’t know exinanition from anhypostasis, plus ignorant reports from the OPC, the PCA, and other groups that have invented this “FV” business.”

    Translation: “People are such stupidheads. I mean, like, people are so ignorant. Why can’t people just be quiet if they don’t know anything. People need to read the Catcher in the Rye because they are really stupid. If they can understand it.”

  428. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    BARLOW’S BEEN CHALLENGING PEOPLE WITH THIS QUESTION:
    “Dr. Chellis – in your view, what is the means by which the justified stands with Christ’s righteousness? i.e., how do they “get it”?”

    How do they get ‘stands’?

    See, Barlow, your question has an obvious answer, but since you seem to want to construct trap-doors into your challenges on this subject let’s put the burden on you – the Jordanian non-ignorant one among us – to state your question a bit more clearly.

  429. Andy Gilman said,

    September 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    In #411 Jon B. said:

    “Imputation needs a means. Why? Because one must give warrant for why one has called someone something.”

    The problem seems to be that you want to isolate the application of redemption from the accomplishment of it. But as Murray says in chapter 9 of “Redemption Accomplished and Applied,” “Union with Christ is a very inclusive subject. It embraces the wide span of salvation from its ultimate source in the eternal election of God to its final fruition in the glorification of the elect. It is not simply a phase of the application of redemption; it underlies every aspect of redemption both in its accomplishment and in its application.” You are taking Justification, which requires the imputation of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, and is itself a single phase of union with Christ, and claiming that the means and the end are one and the same thing. So in your model you have one (at least) aspect of union with Christ, i.e., justification, being accomplished through the means of union with Christ.

    We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. We were in Christ when he went to the cross and died for us. How about regeneration? Is it also an aspect of union, or does regeneration occur apart from union with Christ? “Union with Christ binds all together and insures that to all for whom Christ has purchased redemption he effectively applies and communicates the same.” (Murray, RAA Chapter 9) Until you better define what you mean by union being the “means of imputation,” you haven’t said anything intelligible. Instead, you validate the OPC criticism of the FV, and “union swallows up every other theological consideration and solves every theological problem.” Clearly if we were not united to Christ in the accomplishment of redemption, we could not partake of Christ in the application of redemption, but that is no argument against the fact that God justifies us by accepting Christ’s obedience and satisfaction as though it were our own.

    You moved from trying to find a “means of imputation,” to insisting that God must provide some “warrant for imputation.” I’m not sure if you intend the same thing by the two phrases. Why can’t God impute Christ’s righteousness to you and declare you to be justified on whatever terms he chooses? Isn’t faith in Christ the prerequisite God has established? If he chooses to impute Christ’s righteousness to you on the basis of the faith he gives you, who are you to tell him he must come up with some other warrant or means, lest he fail to have a compelling story to tell? When Paul wrote to Philemon regarding Onesimus “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me;” what was the “means” by which Onesimus’ debt was to be imputed to Paul? Was Paul asking Philemon to impute the debt without “warrant,” or is the warrant that Onesimus was, somehow, in mystical union with Paul? Jonathan Edwards gives this Philemon example and then says:

    [BOQ]
    The opposers of this doctrine suppose that there is an absurdity in supposing that God imputes Christ’s obedience to us. It is to suppose that God is mistaken, and thinks that we performed that obedience which Christ performed. But why cannot that righteousness be reckoned to our account, and be accepted for us, without any such absurdity? Why is there any more absurdity in it, than in a merchant’s transferring debt or credit from one man’s account to another, when one man pays a price for another, so that it shall be accepted as if that other had paid it? Why is there any more absurdity in supposing that Christ’s obedience is imputed to us, than that his satisfaction is imputed? If Christ has suffered the penalty of the law in our stead, then it will follow, that his suffering that penalty is imputed to us, that is, accepted for us, and in our stead, and is reckoned to our account, as though we had suffered it. But why may not his obeying the law of God be as rationally reckoned to our account, as his suffering the penalty of the law? Why may not a price to bring into debt, be as rationally transferred from one person’s account to another, as a price to pay a debt?
    [EOQ]

  430. barlow said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    “Why can’t God impute Christ’s righteousness to you and declare you to be justified on whatever terms he chooses?”

    Because God cannot lie. You might as well be asking why the incarnation was necessary for our salvation. Why couldn’t God simply declare us righteous without it? Well, a lot of Christians have said that he could, but that makes Jesus superfluous – or merely “fitting” at best.

  431. barlow said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    “See, Barlow, your question has an obvious answer, but since you seem to want to construct trap-doors into your challenges on this subject let’s put the burden on you – the Jordanian non-ignorant one among us – to state your question a bit more clearly.”

    Again, you’ve got your agitation knob turned up to 11; no need to get so heated. I don’t think I’ve built in trap doors, but the question is designed to help people see that imputation apart from union basically implies that God has changed his appraisal of our guilt by mere force of will. And if God can change his appraisal of our guilt by mere force of will, then what necessary connection does Christ have to that change of appraisal? What justifies (gives warrant) to God’s changing that appraisal of us? Well, the only answer I find compelling is that he changes his appraisal of our status because we are in Christ. Or put better, he puts us in Christ so that we can share Christ’s verdict.

  432. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    The answer to Jonathan Edwards questions is the people who reject the doctrine want to keep people in bondage to the law and in the Kingdom of Satan. They have yet to die to the law. They are proud and still in rebellion to God.

  433. barlow said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Also, Andy, I love Jonathan Edwards and I am a big fan of his writings. But I think that excerpt illustrates the problem very well. Edwards essentially embraces the spreadsheet view of justification that I was trying to lay bare by using the spreadsheet analogy. The reason this is a problem is that just as a Merchant can transfer money from one account to another, he can also, by force of will, simply credit a customer’s account even if that customer is the only one on the books. And how is that verdict “paid up” not a fiction when the Merchant simply calls it even on a debtor’s account? As a sinner, I don’t need money transferred from Jesus’s account to mine. I need to be a part of Jesus so that what is true of his account is true of mine.

  434. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Barlow, you’re reducing to inanity things that a ploughboy can understand. Less empty intellectualism, more humility.

  435. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    For those not following: Barlow and the Federal Visionists/Jesuits have one target: justification by faith alone. Their sophistic attacks on the Covenant of Works, or the imputation of Christ’s active obedience, or perseverance are all in the service of their real objective which is to deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They’ve yet to die to the law, and they insist on teaching, which means they insist on teaching false doctrine. They are full-blooded fools.

  436. Andy Gilman said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    In #400 Jon B. took a shot at interpreting for me a Doug Wilson definition of “corporate justification.” Here’s Wilson’s definition:

    [BOQ]
    …corporate justification is God’s forensic declaration that the human race has been legally and covenantally reconstituted in Christ, the last Adam. The Church, as the bride of Christ, is the instantiation of that blessing in the world, for the world.
    [EOQ]

    And here’s Jon’s interpretation:

    “Wilson distinguishes between the new Adam and what that means for humanity and the community of the new Adam, which is the church.”

    I’m afraid that’s a bit thin Jon, and I’m none the wiser for it. I directed you to that link in #214 with the hope that you would interpret Wilson for me, by interacting with the questions that came to mind when I read Wilson’s definition. It reads like nonsense to me.

    The first sentence tells us that the human race has been forensically declared to have been “legally and covenantally reconstituted in Christ.” First, what does it mean to be “legally and covenantally reconstituted in Christ?” Is “legal and covenantal reconstitution in Christ” the same blessing the second sentence is talking about, when it says the Church is “the instantiation of that blessing?” How can the church be an instantiation of a blessing which has already been “forensically declared” about the whole human race? In Wilson’s view, is “corporate justification” a blessing enjoyed by the whole human race, or is it limited to the church?

    And finally, why would Wilson offer up this confusing (I think most would agree that it is at least obscure and terse) definition, and then ignore all requests for clarification?

  437. Robert K. said,

    September 30, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    BARLOW TRANSLATED: “So how can God get the righteousness of Christ from Christ into your actual DNA? Havn’t you ever thought about that? And is DNA saturation of Christ’s righteousness going to be enough? Isn’t Got lying? Why doesn’t He just make the entire Creation perfect from the start? Is He afraid? Is He too stupid? Your theologians – your ‘great’ theologians – have never taken the time to ponder these questions. Why is that? Do they have the tools we have today to even think in these categories? One of the things we’ve all learned from James Jordan is they didn’t. Does God carry Christ’s righteousness from Christ to us? Where does He deposit it in us? In our mouth? In our ears? Does he sprinkle it all over us? One of the great things James Jordan has brought to light is God’s “bewilderment” in the face of “human being-ness”, which He created. Can you grasp that what we are trying to teach you is the very fact of a revolutionary “obviousness” of an eschatological “interval shift” in God’s very own consciousness regarding His Creation that YES is very MUCH involved with modern discoveries in Temple language exegesis begun by James Jordan in the 1980s?”

  438. Andy Gilman said,

    September 30, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    In #433 Jon B. says:

    [BOQ]
    The reason this is a problem is that just as a Merchant can transfer money from one account to another, he can also, by force of will, simply credit a customer’s account even if that customer is the only one on the books. And how is that verdict “paid up” not a fiction when the Merchant simply calls it even on a debtor’s account?
    [EOQ]

    Are you saying that debts or credits can never be transferred from one account to another?

    If the Merchant has made an agreement with his Son to accept the Son’s credits as payment against the debtor’s account, then it’s not a “legal fiction,” or a lie, for the Merchant to stamp the debtor’s account “PAID IN FULL!” The Merchant has received the necessary payment. The account has been paid in full. Where is the lie in that?

  439. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 30, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Re: 438, its even better than that. With the IAOC the account is not only paid in full, we have a huge surplus. We are declared righteous, not innocent. If the Son [Christ] paid only our debt then we would be innocent only, not righteous. With the imputation of His righteousness to our account we can finally be righteous, and thereby accepted by God.

  440. GLW Johnson said,

    October 1, 2007 at 6:53 am

    I have noticed something that seems to happen rather frequently with the folks associated with the Federal Vision-they keep saying aloud to one another -” We are Calvinists!”- It is almost like they have to keep reassuring themselves because doubt is beginning to seep in that they have been fooling themselves all along. Reminds me of the scene from the movie ‘Papillon’ when Steve McQueen, locked up in solitary confinement, sticks his head out of the small window in the door of his cell and ask the prisoner next to him, ” I look alright don’t I ?”

  441. barlow said,

    October 1, 2007 at 9:41 am

    I concede that the merchant metaphor can work when it is pressed in that direction – money can be transferred, especially by agreement between the merchant and the donor. The good thing about that use of the metaphor is in thinking through the planning for redemption.

    But where the metaphor loses its explanatory utility is when we ask how righteousness differs from money. There is no account of righteousness from which bits can be taken to give to another. Christ’s righteousness is not depleted and ours increased. For justification, we need Christ’s whole righteousness – more exactly, we need the verdict pronounced over his whole righteousness – and this can only be found in him.

    As for what a plowman can understand, perhaps we can step back and see that you guys are challenging me on the means by which Christ’s righteousness gets imputed to the believer, not whether the believer needs Christ’s righteousness. And so this discussion has been elevated to an importance that it only has for a few pundits and sectarians and theological fanboys anyway. I’d hate for the plowman to even see us having this picky discussion since we already agree on the most important things – that salvation is only because of Christ’s work and is not given because of anything in the believer. The one thing I’m glad for is that in this discussion, the FV men are not disfellowshipping anyone, or judging anyone’s salvation on the basis of these picky distinctions, or making outrageous claims about the motivations of those on the other side. This is an internecine discussion that some have turned into a tool for questioning the salvation of those in the discussion. I just think that’s as irresponsible as you guys think it is to “tinker” with these traditional formulations.

  442. barlow said,

    October 1, 2007 at 9:43 am

    One correction, FV people do make outrageous claims about motivations :) But it is usually not that our opponents are unsaved or that they want to elevate their works or something like that.

  443. Andy Gilman said,

    October 1, 2007 at 11:10 am

    In #441 Jon B. said:

    “I concede that the merchant metaphor can work when it is pressed in that direction – money can be transferred, especially by agreement between the merchant and the donor. The good thing about that use of the metaphor is in thinking through the planning for redemption.’

    Does that mean that you are going to stop making claims like the one you made in #411, and have repeated on other occassions? In #411 you said:

    “If there is no warrant – if he simply changes the story he tells about us – then justification is a legal fiction that he could have told about us apart from Christ’s death. All he needed was a righteous Christ to model this verdict on. Or maybe he could even model the verdict on what he knows Christ’s righteousness would look like were he to go ahead with the incarnation, death, etc.”

    In #441 you say:

    “But where the metaphor loses its explanatory utility is when we ask how righteousness differs from money. There is no account of righteousness from which bits can be taken to give to another. Christ’s righteousness is not depleted and ours increased. For justification, we need Christ’s whole righteousness – more exactly, we need the verdict pronounced over his whole righteousness – and this can only be found in him.”

    These sound like talking points Jon, and not a real argument. You say, “There is no account of righteousness from which bits can be taken to give to another.” Isn’t that just a bit silly? Of course no one is talking about “bits” of righteousness being passed around. That is why the words “impute,” “reckon,” “accept as” are used. Who ever said there were bits of righteousness being passed around? And no, the “transfer of righteousness” terminology is not an example which proves your point, any more than “reckon,” “impute,” or “accept as” is terminology which proves your point. You say, “Christ’s righteousness is not depleted and ours increased.” Again, you are knocking down a straw man. Christ’s infinite righteousness isn’t somehow depleted when it is imputed to us. When Philemon forgave Onesimus’ debt for Paul’s sake, did Paul end up with less capital in Philemon’s bank?

    You say, “and this can only be found in him.” No doubt Christ’s righteousness can be found only “in Christ.” But the question isn’t about where we look for Christ’s righteousness. This contentious and divisive question is with regard to justification, and whether or not the reformed doctrine of imputation is biblical, even though it is clearly confessional. The FV design seems to be to recast justification, a phase of union with Christ, to make it potentially temporary, and to put “final justification” or “continued union with Christ” in doubt, making it dependent upon man’s faithful obedience. One part of this project leads you/they to reject the IAOC, and to adopt a model which postulates “union with Christ” being accomplished by “union with Christ.”

  444. pduggie said,

    October 1, 2007 at 11:52 am

    How did the son of the merchant get credits he could apply to dad’s account?

  445. barlow said,

    October 1, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve said nothing about justification’s being temporary. If you agree that justification is a “phase” of the union with Christ, then we have no argument – in that case, justification would not be a legal fiction, it would be something the sinner receives in Christ. But I don’t prefer to call it a “phase” of the union with Christ – it is one result of union.

  446. Andy Gilman said,

    October 1, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Jon, are we called and regenerated as a “result of union.” Please list the aspects of the accomplishment and application of redemption which are the “result of union” in your scheme?

  447. Andy Gilman said,

    October 1, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    And please trade that question mark in the second sentence for the period in the first sentence!

  448. barlow said,

    October 1, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    I’ll stick with the application of redemption and say that all aspects of redemption are found in union with Christ.

  449. greenbaggins said,

    October 1, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    For the record, I agree with 448. But I will resist to the uttermost all attempts to fudge the distinction between justification and sanctification.

  450. tim prussic said,

    October 1, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    This is one long thread! I can’t believe it’s still going.

    Re. #448: I agree with Pastor Lane, just because all for us is in Christ and obtained though union with him doesn’t mean there’s no room for distinction. This, in my reading, is one of Pastor Lusk’s biggest issues. He makes enemies of friends when he pits union against the benefits of union (forensic justification, in particular). It’s the classic false dichotomy.

  451. Robert K. said,

    October 1, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    JORDAN WRITES:
    “The FV is interested in what the Bible says. The Bible says nothing about any covenant of meritorious works in Adam — there is nothing Adam was ever told to do so it’s impossible that he was supposed to earn anything. This has been pointed out for well over a century in Reformed circles. Plus, the notion that a Father makes His son earn blessings is so abominable that I cannot fathom how such a horror could ever have come into play, save that it seems to be a pagan hangover from the time when people bribed their gods with gifts and demanded payment. Also, the Bible says nothing about any “imputation of active obedience.” So, since neither of these mutually supportive notions is found in the Word of God, we’re NOT INTERESTED in them. They safeguard nothing. They are unnecessary. There is no apophatic truth that they protect. And they get in the way of understanding what the Bible does say. Things like: resurrection and glory in the Spirit in union with Christ, which I’ve brought up half a dozen times here and which has yet to be taken up.”

    One could quote just about anything Jordan has written over there at De Regno Christi. He’s a liberal theologian who is also off his rocker. That Leithart and Wilson claim him as their movement godfather is rather strange, no? It’s all rather strange. It’s a cult. With all the psychological and organisational and immoral, idol worship, man-fearing cult trappings.

    Obviously the De Regno Christi conversation is the end of Federal Vision.

  452. barlow said,

    October 1, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Right, justification is forensic and declarative, sanctification is transformative. I completely agree.

  453. Andy Gilman said,

    October 1, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    In #448, Jon B. said:

    “I’ll stick with the application of redemption and say that all aspects of redemption are found in union with Christ.”

    No, no, Jon. That isn’t the question. The question is with regard to your #445, where you said that justification was “one result of union.” I want to know what other aspects of the accomplishment and application of redemption are the “result of union.” To say now that they all aspects of redemption are “found in” union is waffling, and not answering the question. Is justification “found in union,” or is it the “result of union?” The second phrase expresses causality, the first does not necessarily do so.

  454. Andy Gilman said,

    October 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Jon, as I have stated now multiple times, your “union with Christ” scheme leaves us with one aspect of union with Christ, i.e., justification, being achieved by “union with Christ.” You want to deny that justification is a “phase of” or “aspect of” (I’m assuming you would agree that “phase” and “aspect” are synonyms here) union with Christ. If you are going to say that justification is not an “aspect of,” or “phase of” or something which partially defines what the phrase “union with Christ,” means, but is, rather, the “result of” union with Christ, then you need to tell us what other “phases” (Murray’s chapter 9, “nice context,” word) or “aspects” of the accomplishment and application of redemption are the “result of union.”

  455. Robert K. said,

    October 2, 2007 at 1:06 am

    SHEPHERDITES

    After reading D. Hart’s latest post at De Regno Christi it reminded me that what really just simply needs to be done is to call the Wilson/Jordan/Leithart – et al – crowd Shepherdites. This is what they are. They are Shepherdites, and any who follow or defend them are Shepherdites. Eventually they’ll probably adopt the name themselves, the way other groups adopt the names given to them even if they are not meant to be flattering. But Shepherdite as a name isn’t even unflattering to the people who are Shepherdites.

  456. Robert K. said,

    October 2, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Shepherdites, Federal Visionists, Jordanites, whatever. Based on their performance at De Regno Christi Federal Vision is done. And based on the phenomenon that all its fellow-traveler supporters hobble off the field of battle in bloody bandages head to foot when confronted by even the ploughboys of the anti-FV side we can conclude that not many will be signing up to defend Federal Vision(ists) as time goes on. Bad for the reputation. Bad for the career. Hopefully in time they’ll actually see that it is bad for the soul.

  457. Robert K. said,

    October 2, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    James Jordan
    October 2nd, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    If that economic language is the language of the WCF, then I think the Reformed faith needs a debate about paganism. That’s how pagans deal with their gods. I don’t think it’s how our Father deals with us AT ALL.

    It’s interesting that the lutroo verbs in the NT go with the go’el kinsman of the Hebrew, who is Avenger and Redeemer. Yahweh paid nothing to Pharaoh when redeeming Israel. We need to be extremely careful in how we understand the redemption language in the NT. It’s about family members rescuing enslaved kin; it’s not about paying for goods.

    Those who have yet to die to the law can’t see the internal, essential change and reorientation within a regenerated believer that is what God’s plan of redemption drives towards within His elect and is the difference between vanity, worldly pride, and rebellious self-will on the one hand and faith, repentance, and acting from God’s will on the other.

    Those who refuse to die to the law think they have the latter above without giving up their man-centered vain, prideful, self-willful notions about themselves and God’s plan.

    James, your actual sin betrays your original sin. You’re not innocent. And in fact you are dead. You need a saviour. That saviour can’t be yourself, or any man with a human father, only Jesus Christ can be your Saviour.

    James, you’re under the curse of the law. Federal Visionists have to refuse to acknowledge this, but the Bible is against you. To be saved you have to follow the law perfectly from birth. You can’t. You can’t *not* sin. This is why the law is a curse for you. The good news is Jesus Christ can follow the law, and He does it for you, if you have faith in Him. The foolishness and the good news of the Gospel. It is hard to accept when you are a hard-headed, vain, prideful, self-willed fallen man.

    I would say: engage the Word of God humbly. Read it humbly. Complete. Stop filtering it with your agenda and ax-grinding. Meet it at its level. Stop bringing it down to your level and demanding it conform to man’s wisdom.

  458. pduggie said,

    October 3, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Robert, you didn’t use any economic language!

  459. Robert K. said,

    October 3, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Wow. Wilson and Leithart finished their contribution over a De Regno Christi by standing on: Christ; and: the Trinity, respectively. Imagine that. And Wilson did his usual greasy disingenuous “I’m writing this as if I’m orthodox and Reformed like all you TRs and you’re too stupid to be on to me, ha ha…”

    Leithart also ended by recommending all to Ralph Smith books. Demonstrating once again (remember how he stated all that “we’ve” learned from Jim Jordan?) that he indeed is a high academic intellectual and pretty much as thick as Sean Penn when it comes to Reformed doctrine.

    The one named Caleb exited with an unfortunate fantasia on why the church should become paganized, or, why Christians should be famine Christians, or…I don’t quite know. I only know that post was a victory for the confusion artists that FVists are. “We successfully drew him into our web!” Caleb methinks, as an aside, needs to do a study on the word ‘alienation’ in regards to fallen man and even regenerated man.

    Anyway, the FV died over there. Jumped the shark. Thank you James Jordan.

  460. October 3, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Wilson is pretty good at making FV look semi-respectable and even orthodox until his buddies Leithart and Jordan come into the picture. This is the first discussion that has included all 3 of them (with Myers adding fuel to the fire for sure), and it was a great disservice to Wilson’s apologetic of the FV. With all the crazy things, especially that Jordan has said, the game is “up.” They have shown their hand.

    The FV have forgotten to put Jordan back in his cage when the company comes over to visit, and disrupted what was supposed to be a respectable and impressive dinner party that showed everyone how wonderful and harmless FV is supposed to be.

  461. tim prussic said,

    October 3, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    David G., I guess you TRs forgot to put Robert, Mark, and Magma (Sean) away in their cages, too, right? It Pastor Jordan’s strangeness is used to paint everyone in the FV, why not the TR Triumvirate from right here on Pastor Lane’s blog? It’s that goose/gander thing.

    On the other hand, I’ve often found myself scratching my head after reading some of his writing. I’ve found him both helpful and mystifying. If, however, one should apply his idiosyncrasies to all the FV (as he’s Papa FV), then we should be even handed with all such relationships. Better, we just shouldn’t do it, as it’s foolish.

  462. Andy Gilman said,

    October 3, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    It’s beginning to look like Jon B. is not going to answer the questions I asked in #453 and #454. I think he sees where it goes from here. Jon, along with Rich Lusk and most of the FV proponents, have been vigorously and contentiously arguing that the reformed doctrine of imputation has a fatal flaw. Imputation, they tell us, *must* have a means. God can’t simply impute Christ’s obedience and satisfaction to us, because that would be a lie. So they offer up “union with Christ” as the only legitimate “means of imputation,” to rescue the otherwise flawed doctrine. The doctrine is salvageable as long as imputation, and therefore justification, is seen as “one result of” union with Christ.

    This is all smokescreen of course, and Jordan, who is now beyond caring about appearances, rejects imputation without equivocation. Imputation is redundant in the FV scheme. Jordan says it clearly. Lusk says it and then backs off when the criticism mounts, but nonetheless, it is true, that imputation is redundant in their scheme. “Imputation” via union is merely the FV attempt to hang on to some reformed words, while jettisoning the reformed doctrine.

    As I see it, the difficulty for the FV scheme regarding union with Christ, is that they are left with one “aspect” or one “phase” of union with Christ – justification – being also “one result of” union with Christ. But since the cause and the effect can’t be the same, Jon wants to deny that justification is a “phase” of union with Christ. And since justification is clearly a constituent part, or step, of the “application of redemption,” every step of which is built upon union with Christ, then I ask: How do the other parts of the application and accomplishment of redemption fit into the paradigm? What other parts are a “result of union?” In chapter 9 of “Redemption Accomplished and Applied,” which Jon has appealed to for context, Murray says that “Union with Christ is a very inclusive subject. It embraces the wide span of salvation from its ultimate source in the eternal election of God to its final fruition in the glorification of the elect. It is not simply a phase of the application of redemption; it underlies every aspect of redemption both in its accomplishment and in its application.” Therefore it seems reasonable to ask how the other parts of redemption are related to union.

    The difficulty for Jon and the FV “union with Christ” paradigm, is that if the steps in the accomplishment and application of redemption which logically precede justification, are, in fact, “found in union,” then some kind of union exists prior to faith. If union exists prior to faith, and justification is “one result of union,” then there is no reason that justification couldn’t occur prior to faith. This means that Jon will have to divide up union into two parts in order maintain a justification which is “by faith.” Some kind of pre-faith union vs. post-faith union, or partial union vs. full union. Whatever that partial union is, it isn’t equal to the task of being a “means of imputation.” Faith then adds something to that partial union, and lifts the believer into full union, through which Christ’s righteousness can now flow. Imputation is by “means of full union.”

    The FV union scheme is a denial of Murray’s statement that “Union with Christ…embraces the wide span of salvation from its ultimate source in the eternal election of God to its final fruition in the glorification of the elect.” Instead, it appears the FV wants to insert a “unification” step into the application of redemption. But as Murray says, union “is not simply a phase of the application of redemption.” “Unification,” or “full union” occurs, presumably, right after regeneration and faith, and just before justification. The steps in the application of redemption which follow “unification,” end up being the “result of full union,” but all the steps which precede “unification,” in both the accomplishment and application of redemption, are merely “found in partial union.”

  463. GLW Johnson said,

    October 4, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Andy
    Nice summation. Hart is pressing home a similar point and pushing DW into a corner before everybody turns off the lights and goes home.

  464. William Scott said,

    October 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Hello,

    I’m not an FV proponent–but I noticed that the discussion of apostasy and FV had come up here.

    Just thought this previous post might be interesting:
    I thought on this point it should be noted that even the Lutherans (and no one could accuse them of being neonomians or deniers of the Gospel, of Salvation by grace and faith alone, or of the assurance of Salvation, etc) explicitly speak to the reality of apostasy and therefore of the necessity of “Covenant faithfulness”–in a real though utterly non-meritorious and gracious sense (and they likewise hold to the Augustinian doctrine of the unconditional Election of and the certain perseverance of the Elect).

    Just a couple of the examples in the Apology of Augsburg (the same teaching is found in the Anglican Homilies on the matter of apostasy–and in the writings of St. Augustine and all the other Church Fathers):

    On Good Works
    For Peter speaks of works following the remission of sins, and teaches why they should be done, namely, that the calling may be sure, i.e., lest they may fall from their calling if they sin again. Do good works that you may persevere in your calling, that you [do not fall away again, grow cold and] may not lose the gifts of your calling, which were given you before, and not on account of works that follow, and which now are retained by faith; for faith does not remain in those who lose the Holy Ghost, who reject repentance, just as we have said above (253, 1) that faith exists in repentance
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/ aug…_goodworks.html

    On Love and Fulfilling the Law:
    Likewise the faith of which we speak exists in repentance, i.e., it is conceived in the terrors of conscience, which feels the wrath of God against our sins, and seeks the remission of sins, and to be freed from sin. And in such terrors and other afflictions this faith ought to grow and be strengthened. Wherefore 22] it cannot exist in those who live according to the flesh who are delighted by their own lusts and obey them. Accordingly, Paul says, Rom. 8, 1: There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. So, too 8, 12. 13: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 23] Wherefore, the faith which receives remission of sins in a heart terrified and fleeing from sin does not remain in those who obey their desires, neither does it coexist with mortal sin.*
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/aug…nse/ 5_love.html

    *{Anglican Formularies refer to “mortal sin”/state of sin as “deadly sin” after the example of St. Augustine, etc}

    Also from the Book of Concord:
    2. Through baptism, as the laver of regeneration and the renewing
    of the Holy Ghost, God saves us, and works in us such righteousness
    and purification from sins, that he who perseveres in this
    covenant and confidence unto the end, shall not be lost, but has
    eternal life. ‘

    Blessings in Christ,
    WAScott

    p.s. As a (long) follow up to the last post (sorry for triple posting) thought I’d post an earlier post which ya’ll might find interesting on this issue of atonement, and election:
    “Christ’s Redemption accomplishes every thing He and the Father have Ordained for it to accomplish (for example–Christ Ordained for His Blood to cover or “redeem” from the sin of Deicide committed by those Who crucified Him).

    He has Ordained to bring through His redemption Final Salvation to those whom He has Elected to Final Glory (not according to a foreseen faith or any good in them, but out of His sheer mercy and according to His Sovereign Will alone). He also has Ordained that all who believe and are Baptized in His Name should participate in the redemption in His Blood, though He has Sovereignly allowed some of these to “make shipwreck of the faith”–and thus to receive again the “ten thousand pound debt” of sin (Mt 18 ) and to be “blotted out of the Book of Life” (Rev 3), after “partaking in the Holy Spirit” (Heb 6) and being “sanctified in the Blood of Christ” (Heb 10).

    These are the Weedy and Stony Ground who receive the Seed of Everlasting Life into their hearts but who, unlike the Elect Good Ground, do not have that which is begun in them continued to the Day of Christ Jesus (whereas St. Paul expressed his hope and confidence that those to whom he wrote in Philipi were the Good Ground, in whom, the Words of Phil 1:6 are fulfilled).

    The Scripture teaches both the reality of certain perseverance (which is seen in the case of the Elect Good Ground) and the reality of falling from Salvation—and the Historic doctrine of Predestination expounded so well by St. Augustine in particular, affirmed this “contrary” seeming truth of the Scripture.

    Anyhow, the belief that one can fall from Salvation does not take away the assurance of going to heaven (that is, Final Salvation)–in fact the relatively recent denial of the possibility of falling from Salvation can actually be more harmful for assurance (which I can discuss later if need be). Simply put, the Scripture makes clear that each believer can and should have a true and full assurance of their being the Elect Good Ground which “dwells in the House of the Lord forever” (Ps 23)–in fact we are commanded to “make our calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1).

    [Finally, Hebrews 6 speaks of an utter falling from Salvation. If someone falls from Christ for a time but later repents it is clear that they have not had the utter falling away that Heb 6 warns of (after which falling it is “impossible” to be renewed or repent). Ps 51 speaks to this when the petition is made that the Lord would not take away His Holy Spirit utterly (And David who wrote these words had himself fallen, but not utterly–Thus he was able to effectually petition that this terrible thing would never come upon him*).

    *(Of course, it would have been impossible for David to repent if the grace of God’s Spirit had been removed utterly).”

  465. Robert K. said,

    October 4, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    In answer to whether he believes in the imputation of the active obedience of Christ James Jordan writes:

    >My answer to Machen would be my essay in *The Federal Vision.* In terms of the dialogue, God’s second question would be more like this, “Well, then, did you remain faithful as a priest and mature to the point of undergoing deepsleep and resurrection at the Tree of Knowledge, thereby moving into the new covenant royal phase of existence?” And the answer would be, “No, but Jesus did, and in union with Him I have been given deepsleep and resurrection at the Tree of Knowledge and now rule with Him.”

    My question is: was Jordan wearing a World War I helmet on his head when he wrote that?

    I’m not against creativity in thought regarding the Bible, mind you, I engage in speculation regarding time myself, and I see things in Reformed doctrine that gets me banned often from many mainstream internet environments, but what Jordan is about is not Reformed Theology yet he is calling himself Reformed, and his Federal Vision is attempting to redefine Reformed Theology with the daft – and worse – garbage as quoted above.

    The basics are all and have a depth of meaning that should satisfy anyone who can see and value the basics, by the grace of God.

  466. Andy Gilman said,

    October 6, 2007 at 11:24 am

    In the “Saints in the Hands of an Arbitrary God?” thread Meyers says:

    [BOQ]
    efwakemen: Yes, to your second paragraph.

    No, to your third. What do you mean by double imputation? If you mean 1) the imputation of Adam’s sin/guilt to us, and 2) the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, then there has been no denial of that by any FV man. We all embrace double imputation.
    [EOQ]

    Why would Meyer’s assume the above definition of “double imputation?” How often have we seen that definition of “double imputation” used in this debate?

    Isn’t the following Wikipedia definition the one used almost universally?

    “In Christian theology, the understanding of justification as double imputation refers to the imputation of believers’ sin to Christ and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers”

    Or this definition by Grover Gunn, in a paper on Romans 4:1-8 entitled “Paul’s Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone:”

    “God imputed our legal record of guilt to Christ, and God imputed Christ’s legal record of a life righteously lived to us. Through this double imputation, our guilt is taken away and paid for, and we receive a perfect legal standing before God, as if we had lived a life of perfect holiness.”

    So is Meyer’s being deliberately obtuse, or does he really fail to understand what the argument is about?

  467. anneivy said,

    October 6, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Actually, I’m familiar with that view of double imputation. Romans 5:18
    “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”

    That’s how we’re all guilty “in Adam”, isn’t it? Because his sin was effectively imputed to us through the passing down of our sin nature.

    However, the only sins nailed to the cross were those of Christ’s elect.

  468. greenbaggins said,

    October 6, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Wow, Anne, nice avatar. ;-)

  469. anneivy said,

    October 6, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you. :-D

  470. Andy Gilman said,

    October 6, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Anne,

    I’m not saying that the phrase “double imputation” can never be applied to the “imputation of Adam’s sin” vs. the “imputation of Christ’s righteousness.” But that, at least primarily, is not what the debate is about. The debate is about the IAOC. Why does Meyer’s have to ask “efwakeman” what he means by “double imputation,” and assume he means something other than what that phrase means when it is used in relation to the doctrine of justification, and the imputation of the passive and active obedience of Christ?:

    “…the understanding of justification as double imputation refers to the imputation of believers’ sin to Christ and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers.”

    I don’t understand how anyone could be following the controversy in general, let alone the De Regno Christi discussion in particular, and then assume that “efwakeman” meant “imputation of Adam’s sin” vs. “imputation of Christ’s righteousness,” when he used the phrase “double imputation.” Did I miss a post over there which would legitimately cause Meyer’s to question what “efwakeman” was asking, or was Meyers being evasive?

  471. Anne Ivy said,

    October 6, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Ah. Got it.

    My too-literal mind trips me up again.

    Darn. Sorry!


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