Norman Shepherd’s First Article, part 3

Shepherd goes on in this article to attempt to set Godfrey against the Westminster standards. Here is the entire paragraph (pg. 58):

Godfrey’s chapter makes quite clear that he cannot really accept what the Westminster Confession says about the necessity of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The Confession says, “Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it” (chapter 15, section 3). The Confession defines justification as including the pardon of sin, and therefore makes repentance necessary for justification. And as already noted it defines repentance so as to include not only a grief for and hatred of sin, but a turning away from sin with an endeavor to walk with the Lord in all the ways of his commandments. For Godfrey, the Confession really mixes a toxic cocktail of faith plus works as necessary for justification.

Now, there are several things I wish to point out here. Firstly, Shepherd seems to have missed the import of the clause “or any cause of the pardon thereof.” This allows him to make the ambiguous statement “therefore makes repentance necessary for justification.” I would hope that all would say that repentance is necessary for justification. But how is it necessary? Is it necessary as a cause, necessary as a concomitant, necessary as an instrument, what? Shepherd does not clarify here. Certainly, the confession rules out the necessity of repentance as a cause, by the phrase I have highlighted. Given this fact, and also given the fact that chapter 11 clearly states that no evangelical obedience forms any part of the instrumental cause of justification, therefore I conclude that repentance is necessary as a concomitant. That is, repentance is necessary as an adjunct to saving faith. It says “without which.” This should remind us of other statements that say that faith is never alone in the one justified, even though it is alone in justification. So also, repentance being an evangelical obedience, it is a necessary adjunct to faith. Some might say, with good plausibility, that repentance happens before faith, and is a result of regeneration. I would be happy with this formulation. At any rate, Shepherd’s critique of Godfrey is much too vague to clarify much.  

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37 Comments

  1. J.R. Polk said,

    March 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    My first reaction to your Shepherd quote was that Shepherd is conflating ‘grounds’ and ‘fruit.’ If I’m not mistaken that seems to be your conclusion as well.

  2. David Gadbois said,

    March 31, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    These are dark times, indeed, if an ostensibly Reformed professor of systematic theology cannot distinguish between descriptive and prescriptive conditions for salvation and justification. There is no defense against basic and soul-endangering errors on justification if this distinction is not respected. But this surprises no one who has been following Shepherd these past few years, who departed from Evangelical Protestantism some time ago. Everything he writes at this point is merely confirmation of that.

    Someone who cannot make such simple distinctions regarding conditionality does not belong teaching systematics, certainly not to future pastors, and, to borrow Westerholm’s line, ought to consider a career in metallurgy instead.

  3. Frank Davies said,

    March 31, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    David, can God save a person who had mis-formulated their concept of justification? What happens if a person really loves Jesus, but just never really gets their head around the doctrine of Justification? Also, you sure used the word “indeed” a lot.

  4. Rick Phillips said,

    April 1, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Lane,

    I find Jesus’ teaching in the Great Commission in Luke to be highly informative. There, our Lord joins “repentance and forgiveness of sins” (Lk. 24:47). Very interesting, since these are twin benefits of faith in Christ. Jesus did not join “repentance and faith” here, but “repentance and forgiveness.” We might expand these to the twin categories of justification and sanctification. From faith, which is the gift of God, come the benefits of both repentance and forgiveness.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    April 1, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Yes, that is interesting, Rick. Thanks for that.

  6. markhorne said,

    April 1, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    “Firstly, Shepherd seems to have missed the import of the clause “or any cause of the pardon thereof.” This allows him to make the ambiguous statement “therefore makes repentance necessary for justification.””

    1. There is nothing ambiguous in saying that repentance is necessary for justification.” It says exactly what it says.

    2. There is nothing in Shepherd’s statement that says or implies that repentance is a cause of pardon.

    You have led readers to believe that Shepherd believes something erroneous without any actual evidence.

    “the fact that chapter 11 clearly states that no evangelical obedience forms any part of the instrumental cause of justification”

    You are not tracking what words mean. Chapter 11 clearly states that

    1. Faith is instrumental to justification (if the only word that matters in your statement is “cause” then I am misunderstanding your point here and will retract this part)

    2. Faith is an act of Evangelical obedience.

    3. What the Confession denies is that faith or any other Evangelical obedience is the content of our righteousness in justification–the meritorious ground of our standing before God.

    You have, as far as I can tell, twisted the actual content of chapter 11 beyond recognition to justify your own version of historic orthodoxy that is, in fact, both novel and heterodox. If words mean things then you have (inadvertantly, I am sure) denied that faith is the instrument by which we are justified.

    “This should remind us of other statements that say that faith is never alone in the one justified, even though it is alone in justification. ”

    This is far more ambiguous than anything you’ve quoted from Shepherd. But the clear formulation of the WCF–”…not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness…”–has been misinterpreted beyond recognition by you.

    Plainly, if your comments are regarded as intelligent criticism, then we have a whole subculture in the PCA who are theologically incompetent and given to making railing accusations against those who are more intelligent and faithful than they are. Pretty tragic.

  7. Gabe Martini said,

    April 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Wait, does repentance only happen once, Lane? What about faith? Are these logical distinctions or chronological (as you’re using them)? This is rather muddled.

  8. jared said,

    April 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Is repentance necessary to salvation as a cause? I think a distinction needs to be drawn between justification, which is by faith alone, and salvation which, quite plainly and clearly is not by justification alone (and thus, perhaps, not by faith alone?). Just thinking out loud in response; thoughts?

  9. David Gadbois said,

    April 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Re: #6:

    The fact that Shepherd is using Godfrey as a foil makes it a rather natural (indeed, the natural) interpretation to understand that he conceives of repentance as being an instrumental condition of justification along with faith. Either that, or he is misrepresenting Godfrey. Take your pick. But it surely was not unfair for Lane to call Shepherd’s view ambiguous.

    This interpretation, indeed, is confirmed elsewhere in Shepherd’s writings. Take, for instance, his Call of Grace (as quoted in Sam Waldron’s Faith, Obedience, and Justification):

    This means that without repentance the sinner will not be pardoned. Repentance is like faith. It is neither the cause nor the ground of pardon. Yet it is absolutely necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance is presented in the Confession not simply as the fruit and evidence of pardon, but also as necessary for the remission of sin….

    Now justification either is or includes the forgiveness of sins. Chapter 11, section 1, says that God justifies sinners by pardoning their sins. If justification includes forgiveness, and if repentance is necessary for forgiveness, then repentance is necessary for justification.

  10. Lee said,

    April 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Plainly, if your comments are regarded as intelligent criticism, then we have a whole subculture in the PCA who are theologically incompetent and given to making railing accusations against those who are more intelligent and faithful than they are.

    Wow. Rev. Horne, I have to say that I think this comment a bit extreme. You can think Lane and idiot if you want. Fine. But there are surely still laws of civil discourse that should be observed. Correct him, show him where he is wrong, point out his faults, but to openly call him unintelligent, unfaithful, and incompetent seems to be over the line of helpful interaction. Not to mention sliming everyone who might read Lane and like what they read as jealous morons who just want to tear down the faithful. That is just unacceptable.

  11. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Rey (#10):

    Why do you see a need to distinguish between “prescriptive” and “descriptive” conditions? … Grow up gentlemen, and learn to use the language of Scripture rather than heretical (that is, self chosen and manmade) language.

    Brother Rey,

    Please find a different, more accurate, and less provocative way of interacting with the ideas instead of attacking people. Prov. 25.15 and 12.18 are what I have in mind here.

    The reason David G distinguishes between “prescriptive” and “descriptive” conditions — I might call them “cause” and “effect” — is that the Scripture makes such distinctions. God felt it necessary to point out, for example, that circumcision was the effect, not the cause, of Abraham’s justification. Circumcision was necessary and required of Abraham and his descendants for them to be a part of God’s people (cf. Gen. 17.14), but it did not cause them to be God’s people (cf. Rom. 4).

    We need *some* way to express that fact, and saying that circumcision is a “descriptive condition for being God’s people (in the OT)” is one way of saying it. The words themselves are not out of Scripture, but the concept is.

    In like manner, the word “heretical” is not in the Scripture, even though the concept is. That’s why you feel comfortable using the non-biblical word “heretical” in your own discourses.

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

  12. markhorne said,

    April 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    #9 “This interpretation, indeed, is confirmed elsewhere in Shepherd’s writings”

    This accusation, indeed, is utterly baseless, as demonstrated in the quotations which are adduced in the comment as evidence.

    Pointing out that repentance is, just like faith, necessary to justification but is neither the cause nor the ground to it, just means that Norman Shepherd is 1) an orthodox Reformed pastor and 2) the enemy of many people who like to pretend that they are orthodox and Reformed.

    I always wonder why some people regard R. Scott Clark as a reliable teacher. Then I look at their arguments and realize that he actually is relatively reasonable to the observers in question.

  13. Elder Hoss said,

    April 5, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    A survey of “gospel” preaching in Acts bears out a key component to Shepherd’s critique of Godfrey, viz. the latter’s ommission of the note of repentance from the kerygma. This is another way of saying that the apostolic kerygma mentions repentance AT THE FRONT END and NOT as the fruit of evidence of faith, contra a Godfrey, or, as the thread has born out, Rick Phillips. Survey Acts 2, 4, 10, 16, 17, 20, and this matter is abundantly plain, contra my limpwristed brethren in the PCA, or other quasi-Lutherans in Escondido.

    Similarly, for the apostles, faith and obedience are often used INTERCHANGEABLY, sometimes in the very same CLAUSE (Rom. 10:16-17). Of course, how could one expect the more vociferous segments of the Sola Scriptura crowd to actually follow their own presuppositions, when after all, a close reading of the Bible is not as important as is conducting quixotic windmill jousts at every turn, or hosting useless parachurch conferences hither and yon….

  14. David Gadbois said,

    April 6, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Pointing out that repentance is, just like faith, necessary to justification but is neither the cause nor the ground to it, just means that Norman Shepherd is 1) an orthodox Reformed pastor

    There is no problem in affirming that particular point. But to go on and elaborate that repentance is “necessary” in the sense that it is “for the remission of sin” and not just a fruit or evidence of forgiveness, then the implication is that Shepherd sees repentance as “necessary” in the same way that faith is, that is, instrumentally. He specifically cuts off the option of understanding the “necessity” of repentance in the descriptive or concomitant sense alone.

    How else can you logically parse all of this other than to understand that he understands repentance to be a prescriptive condition (even if only instrumentally) along with faith?

  15. Ron Henzel said,

    April 6, 2008 at 12:17 am

    The day I ask someone like Mark Horne to explain orthodox, Reformed theology to me will probably be the same day I seek marriage counseling from Bill Clinton. In both cases the cause will probably be some sort of dementia that medical science will hopefully be able to treat by then.

  16. Elder Hoss said,

    April 6, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Henzel – Horne is a minister in good standing in a quasi-Reformed denomination, the PCA. How is this the moral equivalant of the Stain Man, William Jefferson, “I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1957″, Clinton, or is this just shock effect bc. you have no cogent arguments and are obsessed (like David, “R Scott Clark is My Hero” Gadbois), with the FV controversy, a veritable blip on the ecclesiastical radar worldwide? Why don’t you TR and FV warriors get a life. Why not hit the streets tonight and go proclaim the gospel to people instead of arguing about whose macaroni badges are legitimate?

  17. Ron Henzel said,

    April 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Elder,

    Speaking of microscopic blips on the ecclesiastical radar screen: how are things going over at Reformed Catholicism?

  18. Ron Henzel said,

    April 6, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Calvin wrote:

    Now it ought to be a fact beyond controversy that repentance not only constantly follows faith, but is also born of faith.

    [Institutes 3.3.1.; Battles 593.]

    Gee, if Calvin could read the comments of those who arrogate to themselves the right to derogate others as “quasi-Reformed,” I wonder if he might label them as “crazy-to-think-they’re-Reformed?”

    But wait, there’s more:

    There are some, however, who suppose that repentance precedes faith, rather than flows from it, or is produced by it as fruit from a tree. Such persons have never known the power of repentance, and are moved to feel this way by an unduly slight argument.

    [Ibid.]

  19. Elder Hoss said,

    April 6, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Ron – You would do well to read all the samples of Apostolic gospel preaching in Acts and compare it with what the average TR or FV commando does with his time each Sunday. The former provides us with nice sawdust tomes on the interior ordo, utterly divorced from what is the far more prevalent SCRIPTURAL ordo, namely the historia saludis (read Ridderbos’ fine monographs as well as the larger PAUL: AN OUTLINE). I have commented on the evident blandishments of the latter group elsewhere, and won’t do it here, since it would merely exacerbate your “rhetorical” excess, if I could term it thus. I would not want to put yet further stumblingblocks in your path.

  20. Ron Henzel said,

    April 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Elder Hoss,

    In comment 21, are you referring to the same Ridderbos who wrote the following?

    Bultmann writes correctly that already the fact that the concepts “forgiveness of sins” and “repentance” seldom occur [in Paul] shows that “the movement of will contained in ‘faith’ is not primarily remorse and repentance.”

    [Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975; 1997), 174, n. 53.]

    Do you mean that Ridderbos? Gee, I’ll have to check him out!

    As for my “‘rhetorical’ excess:” that’s pretty rich coming from someone whose sarcasm is used in small doses to bleach a year’s worth of algae out of Olympic-size swimming pools and remove gangster graffiti from interstate viaducts!

  21. David Gadbois said,

    April 6, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Elder Hoss – you must be confusing the PCA with the CREC, which is the only quasi-Reformed denomination I know of who allows their ministers to preach FV doctrine, along with being the likely eventual home of.those few remaining FV proponents in the PCA.

    And, FWIW, Louis Berkhof is my hero, not Scott Clark. So you are wrong on at least two counts.

  22. David Gadbois said,

    April 7, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Also, Elder Hoss, I have to ask what makes you think that Godfrey would not preach repentance in his presentation of the Gospel? Attributing receptive faith, rather than repentance, as being the instrumental cause of justification is not the same thing as denying that repentance is a part of *conversion*. I doubt Godfrey would have any trouble handling the presentation of the Gospel as exemplified in Acts. My old buddy Berkhof (who else) explains conversion this way:

    It already appears from the preceding that conversion comprises two elements, namely, repentance and faith. Of these the former is retrospective, and the latter prospective. Repentance is directly connected with sanctification, while faith is closely, though not exclusively, related to justification.

    The same culprit is at work here as it is so often in Shepherdite or FV circles – very poor grasp of systematic theology. Take up Berkhof, and read.

  23. Ron Henzel said,

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 am

    In his article http://www.beginningwithmoses.org/articles/gaffinbt.htm“>”Biblical Theology and the Westminster Standards,” Richard Gaffin deals with the recent tension between historia salutis and ordo salutis in Ridderbos and others.

  24. markhorne said,

    April 7, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    #15

    “There is no problem in affirming that particular point. But to go on and elaborate that repentance is “necessary” in the sense that it is “for the remission of sin” and not just a fruit or evidence of forgiveness, then the implication is that Shepherd sees repentance as “necessary” in the same way that faith is, that is, instrumentally. He specifically cuts off the option of understanding the “necessity” of repentance in the descriptive or concomitant sense alone.”

    There is nothing in the Westminster Standards that say that repentance is only the fruit or evidence of forgiveness. They say it is of such necessity that there can be no expectation of pardon without it. They say that it, with faith and the diligent use of the outward means, is a requirement for sinners to escape God’s wrath.

    As far as instrumentality is concerned, my sense of things is that, if one wanted to find a divergence between Shepherd and the standards, it *might* be that he doesn’t say much about instrumentality at all. I sometimes wonder if he has decided in favor of *sine qua non* conditionality only. Not sure. And I’m not sure I’d find that a systematic worry with the Standards. But it makes more sense to me than the direction being taken here.

    But, back to the point at issue, the Bible says that repentance is necessary for forgiveness. The Reformed standards teach that repentance is necessary for forgiveness. It is simply wrong to criticize Shepherd on this point, especially if one claims to be Reformed.

    #16 Ron, your loss.

    #17 “Why don’t you TR and FV warriors get a life. Why not hit the streets tonight and go proclaim the gospel to people instead of arguing about whose macaroni badges are legitimate?”

    Color me convicted. If it matters, I spend less time on this now. It sneaks up on you, though, and it is hard to know how to extract oneself from the brawl.

  25. Elder Hoss said,

    April 7, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Ron and David Gadbois:

    First, Ron.

    Get the Gaffin tapes from Mid-America Reformed Seminary where he raised the hair on the back of a number of profs necks when asking “Has the Reformation Misunderstood Paul”? Of course, he offers a modified response, but I sense from your citation of Gaffin that you might be trumpeting one segment of his overall perspective to the exclusion of more nuanced elements (not that I expect you to have much coin on “nuance”, but I mention it nonetheless). By no means is he Shepherdite (neither am I on balance), but it may surprise you to find his endorsement of “Call of Grace” (I don’t expect you are David Gadbois to actually have read much of Shepherd, but at least read the back page of the book if nothing else).

    Ron + David: Let me just say in passing that when you both see each other tonight at sleepaway camp that if you are arguing that in fact, Mark Horne is a pastor-in-good-standing in a FULLY REFORMED communion and not a quasi-Reformed one (as I termed my PCA) this would only further underscore my point that efforts to parallel his fitness to discuss given theological points with William Jefferson “Bubba” Clinton’s “weighing in” on marriage counseling is simply unwarranted.

    If you really do believe that our denomination (in many sections rife with happy-clappy user-friendly, “God is really not the scary or uncool” or trite Jack Miller-esque “Just ‘preach the gospel to yourself and tell yourself how special wecial you are as a son” ethos, or wildly unbiblical user-friendly worship services where the worship of God is well-nigh pimped out in an effort to assuage the world that Christianity is not really all that bad after all) is not in grave danger, I can’t imagine anything salutory coming out of exchanges with either of you, as you appear to be of apiece in your overall perspectives (or shall I say, parroting of perspectives?).

    Sadly, we have oodles and oodles of leading Presbyterian and Reformed leaders OBLIVIOUS to the aforementioned concerns, and blindly sympatico with Baptists and others who outright deny cardinal tenets of Reformed Confessionalism (even broadly conceived) and yet spending hours upon hours in their perambulations, trumpeting heresy charges against a movement that is less than a blip on Christendom’s radar.

    John Kennedy Toole would be a worthy read right about now.

  26. Ron Henzel said,

    April 7, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Elder Hoss,

    The vast erudition of your comments is only exceeded by the maturity of your tone and style. Unfortunately, the only facts you have wrong are the ones that matter.

  27. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 7, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Elder Hoss:

    …trite Jack Miller-esque “Just ‘preach the gospel to yourself and tell yourself how special wecial you are as a son” ethos…

    I think this one comment alone gets to a core problem with internet theology. The fact is that in my own life, Miller’s teaching was more successful than any other teaching at bringing to life the *full* requirements of the Law and the depth to which I fail to meet up to its standards.

    Prior to my own contact with Sonship, I was determinedly set on a course of sanctification through personal improvement. Sonship opened my eyes to how shallow and flesh-oriented that really was. It cast a moral vision of loving God and neighbor that none of my previous experiences had more than hinted at.

    Let’s grant that Sonship can be subject to abuses. And its theology of “Sonship” is overly focused on Galatians. But having done so, let us grant that there is tremendous merit in it as well. It allows people to be honest about the nature of sin.

    What is the core problem with internet theology? It seems to me that it is that we know each other so little in proportion to the volume of our criticisms of each other.

    Regards,
    Jeff Cagle

  28. Elder Hoss said,

    April 7, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Jeff: I appreciate your spirit and do concur that internet forum do not provide us with kind of comprehensiveness needed in these discussions. However, I am not sure how the subjective application/benefit of a particular theology vouchsafes its being commendable as faithful to Scripture foremost, and secondarily, confessionally Reformed symbols. After all, are there not people who can say the same things you have about sonship teaching as they could the teaching of Billy Graham, Charles Ryrie, or Bob George?

    What teaching God chooses to utilize in His providence is a far different matter (often at least) than the essential faithfulness of the teaching. Shall we countenance, for example, women’s ordination bc. a brother I know in a black church traces his formative spiritual development, even his “effectual calling” to the preaching of prophetess Gloria?

  29. RGL Avant said,

    April 7, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    “trite Jack Miller-esque “Just ‘preach the gospel to yourself and tell yourself how special wecial you are as a son” ethos”

    Hoss I think you need to apologize & repent for your character assassination of Jack Miller someone who deserved to be called a father in the faith & who is no longer here to defend himself. You may not like all aspects of his teaching but that does not give you the right to demean or malign him in the way you have done. The way you have characterized Jack Miller bears no resemblance to the real man.
    Every loves to see the photo of Van Til street preaching but as Clair Davis noted once it was jack Miller who got him there. The OPC & PCA could use a few men like Jack Miller who loved his fellow believers & loved the lost.

  30. Tom Wenger said,

    April 7, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Mr. Hoss,

    Can you please explain the following comment?

    “Why don’t you TR and FV warriors get a life. Why not hit the streets tonight and go proclaim the gospel to people instead of arguing about whose macaroni badges are legitimate?”

  31. Ron Henzel said,

    April 8, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Tom,

    Elder Hoss has made it abundantly clear both here and on the “Reformed Catholicism” blog that he believes the whole “FV imbroglio” (as he terms it) is nothing more than a “tempest in a teapot,” hardly worthy of the minds of vastly superior (both theologically and spiritually) folk such as himself. Or something along those lines…

  32. Elder Hoss said,

    April 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    RGL – I love it when our Reformed and Presby brethren resort to calling people to repentance when things get hot under the collar and some of their shibboleths are contested.

    Gordon Clark is no longer with us either, shall we say nothing of either his errors or their trajectory?

    New Life Presbyterianism is a fad that will pass. The motivations of its proponents for all we know, could be unassailable. It’s the teaching and its fruit that ought concern us.

    It’s prevalance in the PCA ,along with my denomination’s general aversion in many instances, to both a formal and informal appplication of “Mark 3″ of the church, is a rather serious matter not to be dismissed with knee-jerk calls to repentance born out of one’s own insecurities rather than a sober assessment of the facts at hand.

  33. RGL Avant said,

    April 8, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Hoss you can critcize New Life, Sonship, & even reformed theology all you want. I’m calling you to task for a personal slander of a believer who is no longer here to defend himself.

    You show your own insecurity when you make it personal.

  34. April 8, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Next to the pastorally cruel and soul-endangering errors of Federal Vision doctrine, I’d accept “happy clappy” worship ten times out of ten, however begrudgingly. It amazes me that anyone would see the latter as being the true threat to the church. While happy clappy worship is worthy of protest and waters down our worship, at least you might hear the Gospel at those churches, rather than moralistic talk of “covenant perseverance” and the like.

  35. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    EH (#30):

    However, I am not sure how the subjective application/benefit of a particular theology vouchsafes its being commendable as faithful to Scripture foremost, and secondarily, confessionally Reformed symbols. After all, are there not people who can say the same things you have about sonship teaching as they could the teaching of Billy Graham, Charles Ryrie, or Bob George?

    And of course, it doesn’t. In fact, I’ve personally benefited from Southern Baptist and Dispensational teaching, but I wouldn’t endorse either.

    But that wasn’t my point.

    Rather, I was responding to the notion that Sonship teaching promotes antinomianism. That idea appeared to be the (implicit) direction that your posts 14, 17, and 21 were moving. I may have mis-read you, in which case I’ll shut up. But if I haven’t, then please consider that my experience with Sonship, which is characteristic of most (one exception) of the experiences of others, is that the teaching of Sonship tends to lead to a greater appreciation of and adherence to the law, not less.

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

  36. Elder Hoss said,

    April 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    David Gadbois – Thank you for opening this veritable Pez dispenser of acumen and sober judgment. Covenant perseverence has its place in a duly proportioned, soundly exegetical ministry. Read Hebrews sometime, sans the grid of the White Horse Inn or other of your heroes. You may even wish to consult say, Hodge, or Calvin, both of whom spoke of apostates who cut themselves out of the covenant by unbelief.

    We ought not be presumptuous but fear, as Paul warns in Romans 11. That’s the admonition to the entire people of God, whether it jives with your aphoristic and truncated understanding of Reformed theology or not.

  37. RGL Avant said,

    April 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Hoss, You can critcize sonship without slandering an individual. In the same way you can critcize Gordan Clark’s theology w/out demeaning him as a person. If you can’t critcize a theology w/ot misrepresenting an individual it show’s your insecurities not the person you slander.


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