An Exceptionally Clear Post on Merit

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27 Comments

  1. pduggie said,

    February 19, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Sounds good to me!

  2. David R. said,

    February 19, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    not to me!

  3. February 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Wes is quite a brilliant man of God. Love his posts.

  4. February 19, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Very well written and, as you say, clear. Thanks for linking to it, Lane. David G. will probably singing your praises for advocating Turretin.

  5. February 19, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for steering us to that post. It is clear that merit can apply to no one else except the Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible for any mere human being to merit his own salvation.

    This is why I would expect all FV people to be using Excel spreadsheets. If they are going to collapse sanctification into justification, a la the Roman Catholic Church, they’re going to need Excel in order to keep track of their good works, don’t you think? Of course, by wanting to shove good works into the act of justification, they have two problems: (1) a quantity problem: “How many good works must I do to merit salvation?” and (2) a quality problem: “How do I know that all these good works are good enough to merit salvation?”

    I’d be nervous if I were them.

  6. David Gray said,

    February 20, 2008 at 5:46 am

    >If they are going to collapse sanctification into justification, a la the Roman Catholic Church, they’re going to need Excel in order to keep track of their good works, don’t you think?

    I’d be nervous if I made an assertion like that in public.

  7. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 20, 2008 at 8:09 am

    >If they are going to collapse sanctification into justification, a la the Roman Catholic Church, they’re going to need Excel in order to keep track of their good works, don’t you think?

    I’d be nervous if I made an assertion like that in public.

    Well, yeah. Who wants to be caught using Microsoft products these days?!

    ;)

    Jeff

  8. pduggie said,

    February 20, 2008 at 8:14 am

    The quality “problem” is taken care of by the fact that they are from the Holy Spirit, insofar as they are acceptable to God at the last judgment. But FV people don’t collapse J and S like that, and don’t believe that their works “merit” salvation at all.

  9. February 20, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Well, yeah. Who wants to be caught using Microsoft products these days?!

    Say it again, brother! Resist the empire. Refuse to be assimilated. Open source all the way!!!

  10. Keith LaMothe said,

    February 20, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Bob,

    Ah, it finally makes sense, you guys were using an Open Source heresy-checker, when Wilkins was using another word processor.

    The problems of technology… ;)

  11. February 20, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Keith,

    Indeed, from the company that shall not be named.

  12. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Just so you know, J. Mark Beach’s book, ‘Christ and the Covenant: Francis Turretin’s Federal Theology as a Defense of the Doctrine of Grace’ (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) has a discussion on this subject that is well worth considering. The book looks good, though I would have liked to have seen more interaction with the wider interpretive tradition. He also (rightly) accuses Lillback of over-reading Calvin and commends, instead, Venema’s treatment of Calvin on good works. See pages 196-202 in Beach’s work.

  13. Wes White said,

    February 20, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Brothers,

    I think Lane should make it against the rules for anyone to call me “brilliant” as a stumbling-block to a brother. I have enough struggles with pride as it is!

    As for Beach’s book, I have been meaning to post this on my own blog for a while. It is now available through the MARS bookstore at the discounted cost of $59 plus shipping! If that doesn’t sound like a discount, try it to buy it elsewhwere.

    At any rate, this book is great. It explains all the issues on the covenant of works and covenant of grace superbly. It also introduces you to the astonishing world of academic misunderstanding. He goes through the major scholarship on the covenant of works and shows how faulty most of it is.

  14. Matt Beatty said,

    February 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Wes,

    Call me a cynic, but why is/has the majority of scholarship on the covenant of works “faulty?” What precisely is the problem? Is it one of bias, method, were new sources discovered that were unknown to previous generations of scholars?

    As much as I like aspects of the new stuff on Paul, I’m very slow-moving when it comes to discarding theological paradigms that very godly men worked with for hundreds of years… how did we (all) miss this one?

    Thanks.

  15. Matt Beatty said,

    February 20, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Wes,

    Oh, and perhaps you could tell us if the book has been critically reviewed anywhere? Would “traditionalists” recognize his insights as helpfully corrective, or not? Or is it (Beach’s book) too new?

    Thanks.

  16. Wes White said,

    February 20, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Matt,

    The scholarship that I’m referring to is basically the mid-19th century through the present. There are, of course, some good works out there, but Beach illustrates how much of the scholarship on 17th century theology has simply not grasped the source material. He falls in line with recent critiques of the same scholarship by Richard Muller. His works are well worth reading, as well. Beach simply tries to represent the views of Turretin clearly and accurately and, in so doing, IMHO helps us to shed light on many common disagreements and misunderstandings of the Reformed doctrine of the covenant.

  17. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Matt,

    I will be reviewing the book in the upcoming Southern Baptist Theological Journal. I’m sure some will wonder why a Presbyterian is reviewing a book on covenant theology in a Baptist journal …

    I would suggest that Beach could have possibly done more work interacting with other c16-17th Reformed theologians; there is a strong (over?) emphasis on Turretin. It’s a great read, but sometimes the shortcoming in evaluating a single figure is the lack of wider interaction. Rehnman’s book on Owen is a good example of wider interaction, esp. with the likes of Turretin, for example.

    Mark

  18. Wes White said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Mark,

    That’s good news. When will your review be coming out? I would like to read it.

    I think that’s a fair criticism of Beach’s book.

  19. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Wes,

    Michael Haykin asked for it for the July edition, I think. It wont be as substantial as my review of Trueman’s book on Owen which will be a critical review. I’m also reviewing Jeff Jue’s (excellent) book on Mede! The more you review, the more free books you get …

    Perhaps you, Lane and I should get together at GA this year for a drink or two?

    Mark

  20. Wes White said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Mark, can you send me an email, so I can interact with you by email?

  21. GLW Johnson said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Wes
    ‘A drink or two’! I am not associating with boozers! Where is your sense of fundamentalist pride? Wait until I tell Ron Gleason about this.

  22. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Gary,

    It was my suggestion, don’t blame Wes :) I’m just trying to be a Southern Presbyterian and fit in … And don’t tell Gleason about this until after he reads my Bavinck proposal.

  23. GLW Johnson said,

    February 20, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Mark
    I suppose you smoke big black cigars too!

  24. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Gary,

    Nope. I’m a Christian.;)

    Wes,

    I emailed your account weswhite@ …, but my Leiden account gets spammed a lot, so be warned.

  25. GLW Johnson said,

    February 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Spurgeon is my role model-him and John Murray.

  26. thomasgoodwin said,

    February 20, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Maccovius is mine; just read Cocceius’ criticisms about his immorality, the stories are very funny in a kind of twisted way.

  27. Morgan Farmer said,

    February 23, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Merit…can’t resist:

    “Heaven goes by favour, if it went by merit..you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

    Mark Twain, A Biography


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