A Reply to Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson wrote a post wherein he writes:

You see Lane and I put the blame in different places. Lane thinks the FV guys won and took over, and I think that a 3rd party took the opportunity run off the TR’s (for lack of a better term) and gain complete control. I think the “evangelical middle” as Lane refers to them has always had designs on running this denomination.

I think I have given sufficient credit to the evangelical big tent folks in my cwaga posts. I also qualified my statements about the FV winning the denomination by saying, in effect, that what they did was to make the denomination safe for them. Of course, they needed a lot of help in accomplishing that. However, the cwaga folks would not have helped the FV, if the FV had not assiduously courted them and convinced them that the issues were not really gospel issues. In other words, by “winning the PCA” I primarily meant that the FV carved out a safe haven for themselves, not that they completely took over. The cwaga folks most definitely are the majority of the PCA, and they hold most of the major positions of power.

In other words, I think that Lee and I are basically saying the same thing. There was an alliance fashioned between the FV and the cwaga folks, once it became clear that the confessionalists were actually going to go after the FV men. However, if there had been no FV to put pressure on the cwaga folks to be true to the big tent vision, the results might have been far different.

I should mention one other thing. I was investigated at my own request as to my views on the sacraments and on justification, since I had been accused of false doctrine. Siouxlands Presbytery was exceedingly reluctant to conduct an investigation, not believing me guilty of teaching false doctrine, and thinking the charges frivolous. But an investigation was conducted. No trial happened in that incident. The investigation resulted in no strong presumption of guilt being found. Lee’s post might give a slightly different idea as to what happened.

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62 Comments

  1. curate said,

    August 22, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I am the man who accused you of false doctrine, in particular, of teaching contrary to the WCF. Just to be clear I am not in the PCA, I am an Independent minister in an Independent congregation in the UK. I was at one time a frequent visitor to your website, and I was not happy with the treatment being dished out to Steve Wilkins. My accusation still stands, which is that you, Lane, are out of conformity with the WCF on the sacraments, in particular, on sacramental efficacy, and that you have no business going after anyone for their sacramentology, specifically their baptismal views, since you yourself are out of order.

    Since I emailed your Clerk I have made further discoveries on the subject of election, baptism, perseverance, and the rest of it. Cutting to the quick, the FV men are standing on the same ground as Augustine, Prosper, and Calvin. These men believed that God sovereignly chooses to justify and regenerate a certain number of men, in baptism, whom He later justly deprives of their salvation. They are not included in the number of the elect, but they are addressed as elect in scripture while they remain within the covenant.

    This is also the view of the Reformation Church of England, and it is clearly expressed in Latimer’s sermons, as well as in the BCP 1662, where the congregation beseeches God not to take his Holy Spirit from us, the Christian people.

    What you call FV is in fact historical Augustinianism, and it is the main stream of the Reformed Faith. Your view is an anomaly, historically speaking.

    What has happened over time is that this orthodox view has been lost to sight because of baptistic ideas that have become dominant within evangelicalism, and this NEW consensus is what you think of as Reformed theology.

    Rev. Roger du Barry
    St.James Church
    Alton
    England

  2. Jared said,

    August 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    “…Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.” Westminster Confession of Faith 3.6

  3. Sean Gerety said,

    August 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

    The wrong Rev. du Barry writes:

    These men believed that God sovereignly chooses to justify and regenerate a certain number of men, in baptism, whom He later justly deprives of their salvation.

    In a previous post Lane wrote:

    They [the FV heretics]tried very hard (and successfully) to convince the evangelical middle that the FV issues were not gospel issues, but peripheral issues. This was done by the cherry-picking out-of-context quoting of the Reformed fathers that tried to make the case that the FV was within the Reformed tradition (whatever that means!).

    du Barry’s post above is another great example of this pathetic tactic and du Barry is another sensate man who believes signs and actions by preistlings actually confer regeneration and not belief alone.

    The heretical roaches are really coming out of the woodwork around here. They must be invigorated and embolden by the recent FV victories.

  4. coramdude said,

    August 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you Jared.

  5. p duggie said,

    August 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    “if there had been no FV to put pressure on the cwaga folks to be true to the big tent vision, the results might have been far different.”

    Yes, if there had been no FV, the results of trying the FV for heresy would have been different.

  6. greenbaggins said,

    August 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Roger, it is amazing to me that you can get so much wrong in one post. You ought to write to the professors of church history at Westminster Philly, Westminster California, Mid-America, Greenville PTS, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and RTS Jackson and Charlotte, and see if those experts in the Reformed tradition would agree with you in any particular of what you wrote, especially in terms of what is Reformed. I have read much of the Reformed fathers, and they don’t AT ALL say what you say they say. The FV positions are so far from being THE Reformed view that they are non-existent in the Reformed tradition. The only way they can be present is by pure eisegesis of the original sources.

    Paul, *sticks tongue out* pthththth!

  7. Phil D. said,

    August 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Despite what certain eisogesists may assert here, there is indeed a clear historical record and explanation of what the Reformed consensus on the efficacy of the sacraments is.

    The Consensus Tigurinus, John Calvin (1549)

    Article 16. All Who Partake of the Sacraments Do Not Partake of the Reality.

    Besides, we carefully teach that God does not exert his power indiscriminately in all who receive the sacraments, but only in the elect. For as he enlightens unto faith none but those whom he hath foreordained to life, so by the secret agency of his Spirit he makes the elect receive what the sacraments offer.

    Article 17. The Sacraments Do Not Confer Grace.

    By this doctrine is overthrown that fiction of the sophists which teaches that the sacraments confer grace on all who do not interpose the obstacle of mortal sin. For besides that in the sacraments nothing is received except by faith, we must also hold that the grace of God is by no means so annexed to them that whoso receives the sign also gains possession of the thing. For the signs are administered alike to reprobate and elect, but the reality reaches the latter only.

    Article 18. The Gifts Offered to All, but Received by Believers Only.

    It is true indeed that Christ with his gifts is offered to all in common, and that the unbelief of man not overthrowing the truth of God, the sacraments always retain their efficacy; but all are not capable of receiving Christ and his gifts. Wherefore nothing is changed on the part of God, but in regard to man each receives according to the measure of his faith.

  8. Sean Gerety said,

    August 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I was thinking about du Barry’s comment some more and his belief that “God sovereignly chooses to justify and regenerate a certain number of men, in baptism, whom He later justly deprives of their salvation.”

    What a fickle and horrible fiction this man worships. A god who gives new life and salvation one day only to take it away the next. Men like du Barry are about as sick and evil as they come. The fact that he calls himself “reverend” is even sicker. A reprobate by any other name.

  9. Dr DeRidder said,

    August 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    The Rev du Barry only repeats what has always been quoted by Papists and the RC…….He must have been absent during the seminary classses on the Reformation

  10. curate said,

    August 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Lane, google Augustine on grace and predestination, and within a very short time you will find him saying this in his own words. It just takes a little research. Calvin agreed with him. Do the work. Look up Latimer’s sermons on apostasy. It is all there in black and white.

  11. curate said,

    August 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This from the English Delegation to Dort:

    We ourselves think that this doctrine is contrary to Holy Scriptures, but whether it is expedient to condemn it in these our canons needs great deliberation. On the contrary, it would appear
    1. That Augustine, Prosper and the other Fathers who propounded the doctrine of absolute predestination and who opposed the Pelagians, seem to have conceded that certain of those who are not predestinated can attain the state of regeneration and justification. Indeed, they use this very argument as an illustration of the deep mystery of predestination; which cannot be unknown to those who have even a modest acquaintance with their writings.
    2. That we ought not without grave cause to give offence to the Lutheran churches, who in this matter, it is clear, think differently.
    3. That (which is of greater significance) in the Reformed churches themselves, many learned and saintly men who are at one with us in defending absolute predestination, nevertheless think that certain of those who are truly regenerated and justified, are able to fall from that state and to perish and that this happens eventually to all those, whom God has not ordained in the decree of election infallibly to eternal life. Finally we cannot deny that there are some places in Scripture which apparently support this opinion, and which have persuaded learned and pious men, not without great probability.

    From the original “A Theologis Ecclesiae Anglicanaae de canonibus formandis alliisque in Synodo Dordacena proposita’; pg. 198.

  12. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    With all due respect, Rev. Du Barry, the stark and confusing way you put things above does little to help the cause of those of us who have been doing our best to bring the Reformed churches to a more faithful and confessional understanding of Word and Sacrament.

    It is not true that Calvin and the Reformed applied the grace of regeneration and justification to the reprobate in Baptism. But rather, because of the sacramental union of sign and signified and the objectivity of the promise, when speaking of the sacrament as a whole (sign and signified together) they by a figure frequently refer to the Sign what properly belongs to the Reality. As such, the grace of the sacraments is offered to all but only received by faith.

    While it is true that the Reformed do often speak of the outward signs as instruments by which grace is communicated to the elect, it is not true that that same grace (regeneration, justification) is communicated to the reprobate or apart from faith. What is received by the reprobate is the sign. And the significance of their apostasy comes in that the sign is not empty, but is rather a genuine presentation of the gospel promise.

    Calvin’s comments on Romans 6.4 are helpful in parsing out the language the Reformed use with regard to the sign.

    “[Paul's] doctrine is this — that the death of Christ is efficacious to destroy and demolish the depravity of our flesh, and his resurrection, to effect the renovation of a better nature, and that by baptism we are admitted into a participation of this grace. This foundation being laid, Christians may very suitably be exhorted to strive to respond to their calling. Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence.”

  13. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Good man, Jonathan.

    I’m surprised that Roger duBarry whom I have known when I was an Anglican would now want to tell a Presbyterian what he ought and ought not to believe. I’m glad for Roger’s new found love for high-churchmanship at least in theology (Hooker, Andrewes, Overall, the Caroline divines) but please, please do not – how do I say bring your fundamentalistic outlook into your new incarnation – I mean do not confuse these Anglican divines with Calvinism as in five-points of Calvinism (to use the anachronistic term). They were Reformed but in the broad sense and held Calvin in high esteem but differed on Baptism (and ironically! even had a lower view of the Real Presence which Jonathan could well attest). Remember, Calvin had a debate with the Lutheran Orthodox Joachim Westphal as a case in point on precisely the topic of Baptism(!)

    And for you, Roger, to come over and accuse Lane of heresy is simply downright bizarre and bizarre and wrong … It’s not for you to tell a Presbyterian (a confessional and orthodox churchman) what he ought or ought not to believe when history and theology are on his side.

    I know you must have come a long way from being low churchman (Anglican), but please do not replace one form of fundamentalism with another.

  14. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    And remember that not all conformists or Episcopalians held to an Augustinian view. Some like Cornelius Burgess who was no Puritan held to a modified view where baptismal regeneration only applied to the elect.

    Anyway, as a Bondage of the Will Lutheran, Augustine was simply wrong on baptismal regeneration and of course the FV’s view on JUSTIFICATION cannot find ANY support amongst the Reformation and post-Reformation Anglican divines whether Cranmer, Latimer and the ones that followed(!) FV hold to initial and final justification – that in itself destroys the FORENSIC character of justification which in turn requires the ABSOLUTE distinction (though not separation) between forensic justification as external and a righteousness that is inherent.

    Just go and read Hooker’s Lawes and you’ll see a staunch defence of the difference between the two. Read Peter White’s Predestination, Polemic and Policy to learn of Laud’s disputation with Rome on justification. Read Gene Veith’s book on the Laudian George Herbert (who was a self-conscious Calvinist).

  15. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    On page 275, White writes that Neile ( Laud’s counterpart as archbishop of York) denied that the atonement was intended for all but sufficient for all and denied that justification can be forfeited unlike overall. and on page 276, Laud (much hated by the Puritans) was said by White to have defended Beza against Bellarmine – all with copious references no less to laud’s own writings (in Latin). And on page 278, Laud even registered his consent to Calvin’s doctrine of perseverance suggesting strongly that he i.e. Laud) himself did not really meant baptismal regeneration what others and today the FV-ers meant by such.

  16. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    So no, there was NO consensus – by that I mean a precise narrow specific consensus – on baptismal regeneration in the historic Church of England – precisely just as there was never a Calvinist consensus in the first place but only a Predestinarian Consensus in which perhaps the majority probably followed Calvin in the early years of the Elizabethan Settlement but during the Jacobean and later on Caroline period, single predestinarian became more dominant not surprisingly as the church became more and more polarized precisely by – well hardening positions resulting from the inability to see the forest for the trees (particularly by the more Puritan-minded types).

  17. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Jonathan Bonomo’s effort to truly re-capture the Reformed Catholicism of historic Calvinism is to be much admired. The FV does not belong here – it is a misguided, deluded attempt, project that as Dr RS Clark points out rooted in their political theology and broader societal vision.

  18. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    The FV behaved foolishly by trying to reform something which wasn’t broke in the first place. If at all, they should have left Reformed theology alone and gone for preaching.

    This shows that they do not understand what preaching despite their pastoral concerns. Preaching is not telling the congregation that God loves everybody despite the clear teaching of Scripture or rather if you will where Scripture is actually silent on this abstract point and where it is contrary to the particularism of the Reformed faith. That is Arminianism.

    Preaching as proclamation (1st order) is grounded in but differing in the nature of discourse from theology (which is 2nd order). You cannot repeat theology as if it was the Word FROM the Lord. That’s because theology is NOT proclamation. Theology drives to proclamation so that the move has to be made to DO the electing itself. I’d have thought Protestants such as the FV-ers would be in a better position to do this since our fellow Protestants in confessional Lutheranism as envinced in the Book of Concord have “hidden” (pun intended) Luther’s Hidden God (the un-preached God) in the Bondage of the Will as seen in the Formula of Concord’s section on election and predestination.

    Proclamation is not telling everyone that God forgives you, but telling YOU *and* YOU *and YOU personally, individually, specifically as GOAL – where the analogy is marriage/ two lovers. Sure, the minister simply announces the Absolution for example which set in a general setting and given out generally, and hence to all. But he doesn’t act alone – the Spirit applies the voice and call of the minister individually, personally – hence the sovereignty of the Spirit. It is a very concrete, very real and very personal which unlike Arminianism where both theology and proclamation is God loves everybody.

    This is the whole point. Otherwise, you UNDERCUT both theology and proclamation both at the same time, one and the same, with disastrous PASTORAL consequences.

    I repeat, with grave, grace pastoral consequences …

    It’s all about soteriology, you see. And nothing else.

  19. curate said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Hello Jason, I see that you have too have improved your theology. I have lots of time for sincere Lutherans. I need to help you with a few facts so that you will correctly judge the evidence. The WCF says in so many many words that the sacraments, rightly applied and received, convey the things that they signify. Lane denies it. Therefore he is out of accord with the very document he claims to uphold. Period.

    It follows from this that he has no business accusing those who ARE in conformity on the subject of baptism of heresy, or, error. I do not need to be a Presbyterian to recognise the moral wrongness of his stance.

    As to whether the English Reformers and Luther believed that God regenerates some who do not persevere, there is no doubt that they did. These are simple facts verifiable by a quick search. I am not concerned with what “some episcopalians” thought, but what is written down in the official documents.

    These two groups between them, seen as churches, accounted for the vast majority of believers in absolute predestination, so it is a majority view within the Reformed Church.

    Those who thought otherwise did not excommunicate them as demonic madmen. That is another fact. Read again my post on what the English Delegation to Dort thought about the subject.

    Jonathan Bonomo, these words are for you as well. Peace.

  20. curate said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Jonathan, no-one is saying that God regenerates everyone in baptism. The word is “some”.

  21. curate said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Typo: Jonathan, no-one is saying that God regenerates all of the reprobate in baptism. The word is “some”.

  22. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    As to the Reformed sources and talk of the sacraments “conferring” or “conveying” grace, there’s a sense in which this is true and there is a sense in which it is not. The sacraments do objectively *exhibit* grace in the sense that they hold out the gospel promise (Christ and all his redemptive benefits) to all indiscriminately. And they do *confer* that grace, by the inward work of the Holy Spirit, in the sense that they are means appointed by God through which grace is received by faith. But they do not confer or convey grace in the sense of being channels through which grace flows to everyone who participates in the outward sign ex opera operato.

    On the Reformed sources related to this issue, I highly recommend this article. http://calvinistinternational.com/2013/03/14/the-sacraments-do-not-confer-grace/

  23. Reed Here said,

    August 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Roger: you misread the Westminster Standards. You’ve been corrected here before, and then admonished for repeated insisting after such correction.

    Stop posting your misunderstanding.

  24. Jack Bradley said,

    August 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you, Reed. Same song, umpteenth verse from Roger.

  25. August 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Jonathan, RE #22,

    Nice, concise explanation and excellent link.

  26. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Roger, as Reed says, stop repeating the foolish misinterpretation of the Westminster Standards. What you’re doing is just downright bizarre – it is simply the flip-side of your earlier days when you were a low church trying to prove the opposite of what you’re holding now re baptismal regeneration. Let me say this: On the co-Anglican mailing list those years ago, you were not entirely inaccurate but wrong to insist that your view on Baptism represented the definitive understanding historically in the Church of England. Dan Dunlap was not entirely inaccurate but like you he was darn wrong to insist that his was the definitive understanding. But Dunlap’s views of course could claim the most credence ONLY in the sense that Baptism was a means of grace and not some empty ritual. That was the common denominator that represented the consensus in the Church of England as seen in the Gorham case.

    And FV is not just about Baptism! It’s also about JUSTIFICATION. Their views on a justification that is Spirit-driven that provides a basis to stand before God on judgment day is anathema to the Reformation and post-Reformation divines of the Church of England. Unless you would cite George Bull for support.

    As I’ve said again and again … it’s not some quirky views on Baptism that distorts the Reformed and Presbyterian understanding of the covenant … WE ARE TALKING THE GOSPEL ITSELF …

  27. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    “As to whether the English Reformers and Luther believed that God regenerates some who do not persevere, there is no doubt that they did.”

    NO, they did not. Hooper a Zwinglian certainly did not. And Luther did not – because you have distinguish between theology and proclamation. Read the Bondage of the Will for starters.

    Theology says that everything happens by necessity. God is God and He decides who He will have mercy on and who He will damn. I’m talking about the Bondage of the Will now, OK? When God says in Ezekiel 18 and 33 that He desires not the death of a sinner, Luther insists (and Calvin insists) that we cannot say therefore that God does not desire the death of ALL sinners. Why? I tell you why. This would turn what is the comfort of the Gospel into LAW. Precisely the same error the FV-ers are doing now with their version of Baptism. IOW, what was meant to FUNCTION (in its impact on the hearer) as Gospel now turns into Law. So this means that when the preacher says that God desires to save you in the here and now, in the concrete, the preacher cannot deduce from this that God desires to save everyone in abstract theology, including the theology of the covenant. To do this undermines God’s sovereignty in BOTH cases – that is theology and proclamation.

    Theology does not save; only preaching does. Justification depends purely on the preaching of the Gospel. This is why preaching is meant to say to the congregation – that’s it, full stop. There’s nothing else that you need to do. Christ has done ALL! You were dead in trespasses and sin but on the account of Christ, you’re now alive in Him. You’re FREE!

    So Roger, you cannot and should not say to your congregation that all are regenerate in Baptism, but YOU are regenerate. If all are regenerate, why then do some fall away? You’d say that God then sovereignly deprives some of baptised of the gift of perseverance. But what good does that do to the congregation? How does he/she know that he/she is the ELECT? Can Baptism therefore be an objective ground of assurance? So THINK about the consequences of your theology. This is why Augustine shifted to PRAYER as a ground of assurance – praying for the gift of assurance which can be OBTAINED. But then the objectivity of the ground of assurance is lost.

    Again, know this that the FV critically diverges from Augustine on Baptism. Perseverance or continuing in the state of justification depends on one’s perseverance. There is a justification that is conditioned on one’s Spirit-driven life which Baptism is but the POTENTIAL. This is ROMANISM, pure and simple.

  28. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    “I am not concerned with what “some episcopalians” thought, but what is written down in the official documents.These two groups between them, seen as churches, accounted for the vast majority of believers in absolute predestination, so it is a majority view within the Reformed Church.

    Those who thought otherwise did not excommunicate them as demonic madmen.”

    Roger, you ARE behaving like a demonic madman coming here and simply accusing a confessional Presbyterian heresy.

    GIVE IT UP WHILE YOU ARE IT, ROGER. Stop embarrassing yourself. You’re doing what is left of your theological integrity no favour. Your theological pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other.

    I challenge you to cite where does the WCF teach that ALL are regenerate in Baptism …

    In the 39 Articles of Religion …?

    In the Canons of Dort …?

    And mind you, not everyone in the British delegation held to the same views uniformly(!), OK?

  29. Jason Loh said,

    August 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    And just in case you’ve missed it, Roger …

    1. Augustine’s views on Baptism and the FV’s are not synonymous or identical. There are critical differences.

    2. The REFORMED confessions, do NOT teach an Augustinian view of baptismal REGENERATION. They are Augustinian in that it rejects Zwinglianism. But they are not Augustinian in terms of the scope and even efficacy of Baptism.

    3. On the 39 Articles, Article 27 is BROAD enough to encompass views that teaches baptismal regeneration of all AND those which do not. IOW, Article 27 do not insist on baptismal regeneration as definitive.

    Article 27:
    ***”Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism RIGHTLY are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed …”***

    Note the qualifier “rightly” inserted into the main text there. The reprobate do not rightly partake of the Sacraments. And note curious turn of the statement regarding the benefits of Baptism, i.e. these are *visibly* SIGNED and SEALED (precisely the baptismal language of the Reformed and Presbyterian).

    ***”…Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.”***

    AGAIN, we read here a language that WEAKENS the notion of baptismal regeneration (“faith is CONFIRMED,” grace is INCREASED. Understand that the traditional understanding of baptismal regeneration is that regenerative grace is DISTINCT from the OTHER graces) – thus implying that Article 27 is striking a reasonable balance between two general views thus allowing both to co-exists.

    Article 29:
    ***”The Wicked, and such as be VOID of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in NO wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.”***

    There you have it – the PARALLEL affirmation concerning the Lord’s Supper BOTH of which are Sacraments of the Gospel (re Article 25).

  30. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Roger,

    You quoted the English delegation – well you didn’t read the PREFACE …

    “We ourselves think that this doctrine is CONTRARY to Holy Scriptures, but whether it is expedient to condemn it in these our canons needs great deliberation …”

    There you have it – in black and white … they leaned towards the Reformed view although not uniformly it has to be said. Remember the Archbishop then was GEORGE ABBOTT who was PRO-Puritan(!)

    As I have said, baptismal regeneration in the Church of England was far from uniform.

    The English delegation not only did not want to give offence on Baptism but also didn’t want to give offence on the extent of the Atonement. See Prof Godfrey’s thesis on Dort and the Atonement, Peter White’s Predestination, Polemic and Policy and also John Preston and English Hypothetical Universalism by Jonathan Moore. Incidentally, the Puritan Preston was a chaplain to Charles the 1(!) again underscoring that even the king himself employed theologians with diverse views.

    But ALL would reject the FV view of JUSTIFICATION.

    So give it up while you are it.

  31. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 12:39 am

    White wrote that Lancelot Andrewes when pressed for a more clearer opinion on the issue of falling away from grace in his capacity a consultant-theologian for the English delegation to Dort affirmed that the non-elect NEVER had true and lively faith (vera et viva), page 168. This is in complete variance with FV for whom apostasy is connected to obedience, thus presupposing and implying a faith which is NOT qualitatively different from the elect. White also writes that Richard Thomson held a view (similar to the FV) in that the non-elect do obtain for a time justifying faith – similar or identical to John Overall. But White makes clear in his Chapter on the Synod of Dort that these were MINORITY views. Instead, Andrewes view that the non-elect NEVER had true and lively faith was affirmed. See the section on the Fifth Head on Perseverance, pp. 195-199. This is consistent with the preface:

    ““We ourselves think that this doctrine is CONTRARY to Holy Scriptures, but whether it is expedient to condemn it in these our canons needs great deliberation …”

    IOW, they leant towards the CONTRA-Remonstrants – in terms of DOCTRINE – but took a moderate POLICY in view of the diverse views in the Church of England and in view of Augustinianism and Lutheran Orthodoxy. It’s all black and white on 198.

    But again, lest you miss the point: Baptismal regeneration in Augustinianism (including the Church of England) differs in critical respects from the FV.

  32. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 12:46 am

    http://www.federal-vision.com/?tag=justification

    Just listened to Brother Wes White debating Steve Wilkins. Notice how Steve interprets Paul’s epistles addressed to the churches as addressing ALL … ALL … confusion of theology and proclamation. Proclamation is not “all” – but “YOU” …

    Why don’t they learn from Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? There is no such thing as surrogate Baptism in terms of the RITE itself. Household Baptisms teach us that although the family were baptised on the basis of the father’s faith, nonetheless, Baptism is applied PERSONALLY to each and every member of the household.

    In the Lord’s Supper (not the wrongly termed Eucharist or even the Mass), the priest recites the Body is given for YOU, the Blood is shed for YOU to each person individually (although not liturgically speaking both at the same time but sequentially according to the timing of the distribution).

  33. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 12:50 am

    The paradox of it all is that the more the FV try to “objectify” the covenant by GENERALISING it (in abstract theology), the more “subjective” it becomes in practice, in pastoral theology. One MUST (Law!) fall back to obligations, conditions, terms, obedience, and what-not in order to receive final justification. That’s the consequence when you confuse theology and proclamation. In the final analysis, as a Bondage of the Will Lutheran, I’d argue that only particular, limited atonement can guarantee the objectivity sought after in PRACTICE, in proclamation …

    After objectivity is grounded in ELECTION is it not? Otherwise one deprives the objective ground of THE ground itself …!

  34. Reed here said,

    August 24, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Jason, I recognize you are providing a point for point denial to Roger. Yet, as Roger has been told to not post further his repeats, it leaves him not quite able to respond to you. Let’s leave it at your series of posts respond to his.

    By all means post comments related the subject of Lane’s post. Yet all comments involving Roger’s charges against Lane can cease. Been there.

  35. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I do apologise. I wasn’t that Roger has been told not to repeat his outright theological slander (and libel) against Lane.

    TQ

  36. August 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Jason, RE #32,

    I wrote two posts on this exact FV error years ago here and here. Their aberrant theology only works if they totally reinterpret Paul contrary to the mainstream Reformers. Apparently, that’s partly what it means to be on the “cutting edge” of theology.

  37. Jason Loh said,

    August 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Re your posts, very good points, ReformedMusings! Indeed, I really like the very APT title of the posts – “Misdirected Mail.” Thank you for highlighting these …

    The FV is probably the worst ever revisionist theology I’ve ever come across in the history of the Reformed faith – as it is Paul makes clear in Romans 9 that the covenant is to be interpreted in light of election which means clearly and absolutely that the decree of predestination runs rights through the covenant (and its application itself). Election is the foundation and organising principle of the covenant. This in turn inevitably implies that election is never without but always and only executed through the covenant. This then therefore brings up the question of how to relate election which is an abstraction to proclamation of the covenant in the concrete. As it is, FV messes big time in BOTH election and proclamation – unfortunately and I’d say tragically because the pastoral consequences are disastrous.

    Obfuscating, contriving (in a wrong way), equivocating, concealing, etc. their theology just to protect their ecclesial position and also for the sake of preserving the very nature of their theology by giving contradictory, outright opposed teachings which can only be articulated in a vague manner, otherwise the aberration and foolishness become too apparent … how can the soteriological consequences both to the proponents and their flock and sympathisers not be disastrous? I mean it’s like lying to one self … that’s what (partly) characterises the FV-ers …

  38. Jason Loh said,

    August 25, 2013 at 6:47 am

    If I may, please, I would like add the following at the risk of REPETITION (of what others have ALREADY highlighted) …

    That if I’m not mistaken, I believe that – taking my cue from Prof R S Clark et al – FV is at the same time (simultaneously) or merely the theological BLUEPRINT for a Christianised or RE-Christianised society (*societas Christiana*) as a prelude to the Constantinian nation-state. IOW, FV-ers are Unreconstructed (pun intended) Reconstructionists who have merely shifted their attention to the theological priority. Recall their criticism of revival/revivalism at the inception of the FV movement – right critique and diagnosis but wrong PRESCRIPTION.

    Both FV and revivalists share a common outlook in that the only church can reform society. But for the FV-ers, they go one step further where they have a vision of society in which the church and society are interchangeable or different terms for the same entity. That is church and society performs different functions but inevitably SUBSUMED under a higher theocratic or theonomic entity – a PROTESTANT-type of caesaro-papism. This of course involves Christological heresies in one way or another and confusion of Law and Gospel and their corollaries or co-relates – most significantly CONFUSION of the two kingdoms and the two uses of the Law – what Luther saw in (radical) ANABAPTISM – as epitomised by Muntzer. Thus, ironically, the FV-ers’ Romish THEOLOGY (of the COVENANT) of the FV-ers reproduced itself in an Anabaptistic POLITICAL theology – the “alignmen” of where every baptised citizens (kingdom of earth) are regenerate and belong to the kingdom of heaven (which of course has yet to occur – hence their postmillennialism). And hence the ETHICS of the FV – the “end justifies the means”. This is why FV is DEMONIC (ideology) – because it combines or mixes up religion and politics (in the same way Islam does).

  39. Jason Loh said,

    August 25, 2013 at 7:19 am

    And the Constantinianism of the FV-ers would of course go BEYOND that of the original Constantinianism and of course the Reformation itself. Theology or doctrine is just the prelude or “1st phase” to power. The Church is meant to DOMINATE much like the medieval Catholic Church – thus power equals domination/lordship – hence a Protestant-type dictatorship – a Protestant magisterium which ironically is even more INFALLIBLE than the original Roman one!

  40. Tim H said,

    August 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    An Independent High Churchman — now that’s a scary man.

  41. Tim H said,

    August 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Jason, would it be fair to summarize your teaching, to say that the Reformed deal with the tension between election and the “all” passages by semantic analysis of the text (“‘all’ doesn’t always mean all, etc.), while Luther did so via a form of personalism, i.e. distinguishing the force of propositions according to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person?

    Also, I can’t track with your more recent posts contra theonomy. As I see it, all respectable branches of Christendom teach that (a) the civil ruler should rule according to justice, (b) the highest standard of justice to be found is contained in the Bible. The rub of theonomy was in the “every jot and tittle” thesis, and the ensuing discussion confused people into thinking that (b) is controversial as such.

    The Lutherans are often geschimpft by the Reformed as carving out a neutral territory for the civil magistrate, but I don’t see this ratified in history. For example, when Henry VIII put out feelers to join the Schmalkald League, what did the Lutherans do? Like good Presbyterians, they appointed a committee to study whether Henry’s divorce was valid in view of Pentateuchal law. Not exactly what one would expect at least from modern “two kingdom” advocates, oder?

  42. Frank Aderholdt said,

    August 28, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thanks, guys – you know who you are – for doing the dreary, yeoman’s work of exposing the errors of the Federal Vision one more time. After more than a decade, I’m astonished that we still have to do this, line upon line, precept upon precept. Every few months I look over my e-mail correspondence from 2002 with old friend Steve Wilkins, before use of the term “Federal Vision.” Remember “Auburn Avenue theology” and “mono-covenantalism”? Comparing then to today, though, the issues are the same, FV assertions are the same, Reformed responses are the same.

    I remember vividly the mini-firestorm early in 2002 when the cassette tapes (remember tapes?) of the Conference at Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church became available. It was only eleven years ago, but there were no blogs as we know them today, few if any mp3 downloads (I’m unclear on the timeline here), no internet social media, nothing like the web networking we now take for granted. I remember, too, the literal nausea I experienced while I struggled for weeks to come to grips with what my friend and others were teaching. Am I hearing what I think I’m hearing? How can these guys be comfortable with what seems like such a radical departure from a clear reading of the Westminster Standards? Am I missing something?

    The defining moment came for me when I dedicated an hour or two looking up key texts in Calvin’s commentaries, relevant discussions in standard Reformed systematic theologies, some passages from Bucer, and sections of 16th-century Reformed confessions and catechisms. A couple of hours at most, that’s all it took. All the dots finally connected when I saw the centrality of faith in Romans 6, and when I read Calvin’s comments on Titus 3:5, “Although ungodly men are neither washed nor renewed by baptism, yet it retains its efficacy as far as God is concerned, for although they reject God’s grace, it is still offered to them. But here Paul is addressing believers in whom baptism is always efficacious and is therefore rightly spoken of in connexion with its reality and effect. By this way of speaking we are reminded that if we do not wish to make holy baptism null and void, we must prove its power by newness of life.”

    To Lane, Bob (Reformed Musings), and others who have been on the front lines in this battle: I think we need a central repository on the web for all Reformed responses to and critiques of the Federal Vision – Links to articles, excerpts from major blog posts,, denominational reports, references to books, selections from transcripts of ecclesiastical trials, all cross-referenced and categorized. By this point, the sheer volume of great material is vast. This would be a big project, but I believe it’s needed just at this time. I’ll be happy to help out after I retire in December. Wouldn’t it be great, when the same old arguments are trotted out and the same misunderstandings and distortions spoken like they’re something new, to be able to say, “Go here,” and be done with it.

  43. Jason Lon said,

    August 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Dear Tim H,

    “Jason, would it be fair to summarize your teaching, to say that the Reformed deal with the tension between election and the “all” passages by semantic analysis of the text (“‘all’ doesn’t always mean all, etc.), while Luther did so via a form of personalism, i.e. distinguishing the force of propositions according to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person?”

    Thank you for your question. As a former Reformed but one who continues to have affinity with the Reformed faith on the 5 Points, I would respond to your question as yes. Although I must qualify that there is no consensus on the matter. I mean on the one hand, you John Murray and Cornelius Van Til who analyse passages such as 1 Tim 2:4 as meaning “all” without exception (and thus the text is to preached as such); OTOH, you have Gordon H Clark and Herman Hoeksema who limit the “all” to all without distinction.

    Yes, you’re right that my view is Luther has a better solution to the conundrum that actually has roots in the hermeneutical problem that has beset the church throughout the centuries and continue to do so. In reading the Bondage of the Will, Luther expressly denies the Free Offer of the Gospel. But it doesn’t mean that this vinidicates Clark and Hoeksema completely. Because both Reformed parties commit the fallacy (in Luther’s view) of conflating theology and proclamation. Yes, theology would be second order discourse that deals with abstractions, divine attributes (or properties depending on how one understand the oneness of God) such as omnipotence and predestination, and classes of people. Proclamation deals with applying the text in the here and now, in the living present – making it personal – FOR YOU.

    Please read Gerhard o. Forde’s The Preached God for an excellent exposition of Luther’s distinction between the preached and unpreached God. When Scripture declares the omnipotence of God, for Luther, it means precisely that this God is NOT bound to his PROMISE. He is free to do all in all. This is the unpreached, hidden God Who has no WORD for us. So, no word, no FAITH. OTOH, when Ezekiel declares that God does not desire and delight in the death of the sinner, that is the preached God. But one cannot therefore deduce from this EVENT that God therefore desires the salvation of all. To do so would turn what is meant to FUNCTION as a sweet comfort for the elect who hear the Gospel into Law. For if God desires the salvation of all, why then are not all saved? EITHER answer would destroy BOTH the omnipotence of God in theology and proclamation. Thus, for Luther, PARADOX is not what Van Til and Murray means by paradox. It is not a CONCEPTUAL paradox — the distinction between the decretive and optative will of God (I personally see the roots of FV’s covenantalism here). Luther’s paradox is intensely REAL, EXISTENTIAL – which is best epitomised by the SIMUL (Old and New Adam).

    So, for Luther, when Jesus says that He desires to gather Jerusalem’s CHILDREN, that is in the context of preached God — the Incarnate God IS the Revealed God. But in light of the CROSS (Ezekiel 18 and 33 was in the context of the *OT* – hence the PROMISE wasn’t made explicit yet), the preacher is not merely to say that God desires to save you … but precisely to DO the ELECTING itself but proclaiming the promise personally for you in the form of the unconditional forgiveness of sins. Thus, this is not Arminianism, Amyraldianism and so on but protecting, preserving, upholding the clarity and integrity of PROCLAMATION for the sake of BOUND sinners. Hence, Luther’s view of proclamation is bound or co-related to the bondage of the will who do need to have their intellect appealed to, or to be inspired or to softened up to see the attraction of the Saviour, etc. including the Puritan type of preaching where the desire and love of the Christian matches that of God’s desire and love (John Piper).

    Proclamation is meant to kill the Old Adam with the Law and concomitantly raise up the New Adam with the Gospel. It is intensely SACRAMENTAL in the same as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is where the personal pronouns are inevitably employed.

  44. Jason Loh said,

    August 28, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Dear Tim H,

    “Also, I can’t track with your more recent posts contra theonomy. As I see it, all respectable branches of Christendom teach that (a) the civil ruler should rule according to justice, (b) the highest standard of justice to be found is contained in the Bible. The rub of theonomy was in the “every jot and tittle” thesis, and the ensuing discussion confused people into thinking that (b) is controversial as such.”

    Yes. But Luther would profoundly disagree that the Bible ALONE is the source of the highest standard of justice. For Luther, justice and REASON go together. For Luther, the Christian cannot claim to have a better access to the standards of justice for justice in THIS sense belongs properly to the left-hand kingdom, human righteousness, hence the sphere of civil righteousness. Justice in the sense of the GOSPEL is absolutely CONTRARY to justice in this world of the old creation. Thus, Christians are not to distinguish themselves from the non-Christians by way of ACTIVE righteousness (justice) but PASSIVE righteousness (justice) which is nothing more and nothing less than the New Adam in Jesus Christ. It is the difference between the TREE and the FRUIT.

    Thus, the promotion of active righteousness can only serve a PENULTIMATE and TEMPORAL purpose. Passive righteousness can only be GIVEN so as to received by FAITH alone. Any confusion between the two reflects the confusion between Law and Gospel.

  45. Jason Loh said,

    August 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Dear Tim,

    “The Lutherans are often geschimpft by the Reformed as carving out a neutral territory for the civil magistrate, but I don’t see this ratified in history. For example, when Henry VIII put out feelers to join the Schmalkald League, what did the Lutherans do? Like good Presbyterians, they appointed a committee to study whether Henry’s divorce was valid in view of Pentateuchal law. Not exactly what one would expect at least from modern “two kingdom” advocates, oder?”

    Yes, but it was done out purely pragmatic reasons. Luther was extremely flexible when it came to marriages involving the German nobility e.g. Philip of Hesse’s bigamy. This meant that Luther’s liberal attitude extended beyond the Pentateuch to also the CHRISTIC injunction concerning divorce AND remarriage. I might be wrong but I doubt it that Luther would seek to actively oppose the legalisation of homosexual MARRIAGE today if it could be useful to control promiscuous behavior and allow two loving persons who are committed to a monogamous relationship to marry all in the name of CIVIL righteousness. Luther was a pragmatist when it came to the political/ civil use of the Law but extremely uncompromising when it came to the theological use of the Law which can only ACCUSE the Old Adam.

    Luther did not believe in common grace or even the Lutheran Orthodox universal grace (the LO counterpart to the Free of the Gospel). But he did uphold civil righteousness as righteousness in its OWN sphere.

  46. Tim H said,

    August 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I have several problems with these ideas.

    Practicality cannot explain the Schmalkald committee, because practicality would have bypassed that question in favor of letting Henry in right away. Unless you think there was some political reason to delay, and they merely used the theological-law issue as a dilatory subterfuge. But that goes beyond mere practicality.

    It would be quite disturbing to have it proven that Luther would support sodomite civil union. The “homosexual marriage” idea can be opposed on grounds of reason even before considering Scripture. “Homosexuality” is actually an oxymoron: it is the denial of sex in the metaphysical sense of the concept. Nothing would change for a sodomite if all the women disappeared from the earth tomorrow, i.e. if humanity became sexless (say, reproduction by cloning is perfected). Moreover, two men that want to play with each other’s wee-wee is not the same as what happens between a man and a woman. It is actually the replacement of sex (in the full, metaphysical sense of bipolar correlative differentiation) with mere orgasm. Thus, we should call them, not homosexuals, but homo-orgasmics. The proposed “marriage” is not a sexual union at all, but merely an orgasmic one. That being the case, one could then ask, why not allow any two (or more) persons to form such a non-sexual alliance for purposes of property and civic relations? For example, three violinists that merely want to spend the rest of their days playing trios together, and would find it convenient to pool their property and responsibilities into a household unit? (Or, if the hope of orgasm is insisted on legally, they could reply, “we find playing Beethoven orgasmic.”) Indeed, Prof. Winfield has proposed just this in his neo-Hegelian “The Just Family.” (Hegel would not have endorsed the idea either, however; indeed, his exposition explicitly denies that possibility.)

    Even the ancient pagans that permitted sodomy would not have permitted such a thing. In their bones, everyone realizes that this is not the expansion, but the destruction of marriage. No medievalist would have even considered it, and this is the context Luther was coming out of. Indeed, no one in the history of the world would give it a moment’s serious consideration, except for Americans and Europeans post-sexual revolution of the 1960s. I refuse to count Luther amongst that rabble.

  47. WA Scott said,

    August 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Hello Jason, you noted the preface to the English Delegation: “We ourselves think that this doctrine is CONTRARY to Holy Scriptures, but whether it is expedient to condemn it in these our canons needs great deliberation …” and how it was asserted that the Augustinian position was a minority position at that time (However, even at that time some prominent Anglicans, like John Overall who wrote the portion of the Anglican Catechism on the Sacraments, held the Augustinian position).

    It should be noted, however, that the Anglican formularies and founding Anglican fathers (e.g. Latimer’s sermons, etc.) explicitly affirmed the Augustinian position that Salvation could be lost. However, the non-Augustinian position that was more prevalent among the continental reformed (i.e. that that none who are justified can lose their salvation) grew in popularity throughout the Elizabethan period with a culmination in the attempt to enshrine the belief in the Anglican formularies with the unsuccessful Lambeth Articles of 1595–written while Whitgift was Archbishop. This same non-Augustinian position, of course, was later enshrined in the WCF.

    God Bless,
    W.A.Scott

    p.s. As you know from our prior discussions, while I’m Augustinian in my beliefs on apostasy, I am not FV, and I reject the serious FV errors regarding justification (e.g. the rejection of some FV regarding the truth of the imputation of Christ’s active and passive righteousness (as expressed so well by great reformed men like Machen, etc http://www.the-highway.com/atone2_Machen.html)).

    p.p.s. This will have to be my last real post–thanks for the interesting discussion.

  48. WA Scott said,

    August 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    One quick follow up–you said:
    ” I might be wrong but I doubt it that Luther would seek to actively oppose the legalisation of homosexual MARRIAGE today if it could be useful to control promiscuous behavior and allow two loving persons who are committed to a monogamous relationship to marry all in the name of CIVIL righteousness.”

    I beg to differ on this–Luther would almost certainly be at odds with anything that might serve to legitimize or normalize what he properly refers to as a “monstrous depravity” (not to mention that gay marriage brings further normalization of gay adoptions, etc.). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to carry on this conversation further. God Bless, W.A. Scott

  49. WA Scott said,

    August 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    p.p.p.p.p.p.s. How is a monogamous homosexual relationship any greater civil righteousness than multiple partners. For Luther (and Scripture) it would essentially be the equivalent of promoting “bestial marriage” because it promotes civil righteousness through promoting committed monogamous bestial relationships. (Last post–seriously)

  50. Jason Loh said,

    August 30, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Dear Tim,

    “Practicality cannot explain the Schmalkald committee, because practicality would have bypassed that question in favor of letting Henry in right away. Unless you think there was some political reason to delay, and they merely used the theological-law issue as a dilatory subterfuge. But that goes beyond mere practicality.”

    You may be right on this, Tim. Yes, by practicality, I do mean political also but as you pointed out, it would have meant letting Henry in right away. I am surmising here – I think maybe the Lutherans weren’t sure of Henry’s conviction and theological (as distinguished from political) stance. Which meant Henry’s political stance was fraught with the risk of “oscillation.” So the Lutherans were using the Pentateuch as an excuse to delay coming to a prompt conclusion. I seem to recall that Henry did write against Luther on transubstantiation for which he earned the title Fidei Defensor from the pope. That could also be another factor in place. And even when Henry broke from Rome, he wasn’t exactly a Protestant. Most of the traditional Catholic beliefs were retained including purgatory (if I’m not mistaken).

  51. Jason Loh said,

    August 30, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Dear Tim,

    “It would be quite disturbing to have it proven that Luther would support sodomite civil union. The “homosexual marriage” idea can be opposed on grounds of reason even before considering Scripture. “Homosexuality” is actually an oxymoron: it is the denial of sex in the metaphysical sense of the concept. Nothing would change for a sodomite if all the women disappeared from the earth tomorrow, i.e. if humanity became sexless (say, reproduction by cloning is perfected). Moreover, two men that want to … [snip] is not the same as what happens between a man and a woman. It is actually the replacement of sex (in the full, metaphysical sense of bipolar correlative differentiation) with mere orgasm. Thus, we should call them, not homosexuals, but homo-orgasmics.”

    You’re right, Tim. Homosexual is unnatural (contrary to nature). But we have to come to terms that the proponents view homosexuality as not just about sex but also RELATIONSHIP. And a relationship between two consenting adults based on mutual love and trust is not something that should be suppressed by the STATE. Homosexual MARRIAGE is about the INSTITUTION of marriage. If Christians want to stop homosexuals from marrying, they should be arguing for the CRIMINALISATION of homosexuals – which entails that unreformed/unrepentant homosexuals will have to be set to rehabilitation/ concentration camps until they come out straight. But as it is, the real world is such in the West, there’s no going back to pre-criminalisation days.

    The aim therefore is it is better to not only LEGITIMISE homosexuality politically and legally but also socially – to precisely prevent the degrading of homosexual relationships in the form of paedophilia and so on. We need to PROTECT non-celibate homosexuals from prey and broken and abusive relationships.

    Conservatives will say to me (and Luther): But you’re fighting evil with evil. Yes, we are fighting evil with a LESSER evil just as Luther felt he had no choice but support the princes in confronting the Peasants’ Revolt by force (on the economic front) because Jesus Christ rules the TWO-kingdoms DIFFERENTLY. This world of politics is not ruled by the Gospel but by the 1st use of the Law. And in THIS use of the Law, the human was NOT made for the Law, but Law for the human. The Law is meant to SERVE the temporal, penultimate and outward GOOD of humanity.

    Furthermore, marriage as originally understood (Matthew 19) has gone through profound changes. The Christic injunction concerning divorce and remarriage was not only blatantly flouted by Luther (and Cranmer) but also the Presbyterians and Reformed. The western catholic consensus – which today is preserved albeit nominally in the Roman Whore Church and the Church of England until the 1970s – is that remarriage whilst a spouse is still living constitutes ADULTERY. Divorce was merely physical separation. But WHO can live with such injunction except EUNUCHS (for the sake of kingdom of God)? Didn’t Our Lord rebuke his audience in Matthew 19 for the practice of divorce in his day? Didn’t the LORD in Jeremiah declared that He HATES divorce?

    Also marriage in Scripture was NEVER based on romance, i.e. to say love and romance were two different concepts. Love PRECEDED the romance. But today in the Church as a whole, it is the other way round.

  52. Jason Loh said,

    August 30, 2013 at 4:22 am

    “Even the ancient pagans that permitted sodomy would not have permitted such a thing. In their bones, everyone realizes that this is not the expansion, but the destruction of marriage. No medievalist would have even considered it, and this is the context Luther was coming out of. Indeed, no one in the history of the world would give it a moment’s serious consideration, except for Americans and Europeans post-sexual revolution of the 1960s. I refuse to count Luther amongst that rabble.”

    You’re right, Tim. But Luther was NOT a conservative in the sense that many Christians are conservative. NEITHER was he a liberal. Luther was a RADICAL — too radical for his age and even too radical for the Church today. Luther would never have interpreted Romans 1 as a basis for the political use of the Law because to be CONSISTENT then, EITHER Christians have to start separating themselves from society or go Reconstructionist. Romans 1 does not call for the magistrate to suppress homosexuality or homosexual relationships rather that GOD *gives* the homosexuals up to their own lust. The judgment then is *the* DIVINE judgment which actually goes *beyond* the Law. That is to say, the wrath of God goes beyond the Law both in its political and theological uses. Homosexual marriage is ALREADY an established fact in Western society and is very much part and parcel of the Western notion of human rights.

    What conservative Protestants should do – in my personal OPINION – is accept the political reality and work together with secularists and humanists to preserve the rights, liberties and freedoms enshrined in the US Constitution in the CONTEXT of the PLURAL society that the country is today. And the irony is that conservatives are not even cooperating with non-Christians on moral issues? I mean where are the churches cooperating with humanists on moral issues? How is sexual morality THAT different from economic justice or if you will, economic morality?

    At the end of the day, as you rightly point, Tim, the issue of homosexuality is the “symptom” but the UNDERLYING controversy is intensely *hermeneutical.*

    And how can the fight against Reconstructionists and the like be credible and consistent if we insist on confusing the two-kingdoms like THEM – where the right-hand kingdom is eternal and the left-hand is passing away?

    Of course, the Church PREACH against homosexuality *at the same time.* I’d say that this way, the Church EARNS greater acceptance, legitimacy and hearing from proponents homosexuality this way …

  53. Jason Loh said,

    August 30, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Dear Scott,

    Thank you for sharing your views on homosexuality.

    But in relation to the issue of whether salvation could be lost, there is no DEFINITIVE doctrinal position. You referred to the Lambeth Articles (1595). Well, as you would know, one of the framers was the disciplinarian Archbishop John Whitgift – “Hammer of the Puritans.”

    Article 1 reads as follows …
    1.The eternal election of some to life, AND the reprobation of others to death.

  54. Jason Loh said,

    August 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Allow me to also please include Article 6 of the Lambeth Articles …

    6.A true believer, or one furnished with JUSTIFYING faith, has a full assurance AND certainty of remission and EVERLASTING salvation in Christ.

  55. William Scott said,

    August 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Hey Jason, I found enough time to get out one more post. As I noted above, the Lambeth Articles represent an attempt under Whitgift to make the non-Augustinian belief (i.e. that those who are justified cannot lose their salvation) the definitive teaching of the Anglican formularies. Of course, Elizabeth refused to give approval and therefore they never became part of the Anglican formularies.

    Further, the attempted addition of the Lambeth Articles to the Anglican formularies was in spite of the fact that the Anglican formularies and leading Anglican fathers themselves explicitly taught the Augustinian belief that Salvation may be lost**.

    **Here a couple of many examples:
    Latimer notes that the one who apostasizes: “…loseth the Holy Ghost and the remission of sins ; and so becometh the child of the devil, being before the child of God. For a regenerate man or woman, that believeth, ought to have dominion over sin ; but as soon as sin hath rule over him, he is gone: for she leadeth him to delectation of it, and from delectation to consenting, and so from consenting to the act itself” or, as the Homily on Declining from God (Anglican Book of Homilies) says of those who are in Christ but later fall away: “…they shall be no longer of his kingdom, they shall be no longer governed by his Holy Spirit, they shall be put from the grace and benefits that they had, and ever might have enjoyed through Christ, they shall be deprived of the heavenly light, and life which they had in Christ, whiles they abode in him: they shall be (as they were once) as men without GOD in this world, or rather in worse taking. And to be short, they shall be given into the power of the devil, which beareth the rule in all them that be cast away from GOD” http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/homilies/bk1hom08.htm

    [The quote from Latimer is taken from "THE SIXTH SERMON, PREACHED ON THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, 1552" and can be read here: http://books.google.com/books?id=EFoJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA8&dq=latimer&ei=Y-tOSeCdM6TCMYOenY0M#v=onepage&q=latimer&f=false ]

    [Of course, the elect will infallibly persevere to the end as the Scriptures make clear (and noted by Augustine and Article 17 of the 39 Articles)--and it is the result of God's Sovereign grace alone that they do so (not because they are any better than those who fall away or those who never believe in the first place).]

    Yet, while the Anglican formularies taken together (Articles, Homilies, BCP) explicitly teach that Salvation may be lost, the Articles taken by themselves (as is the typical practice) are broad enough to encompass everything from strict 5 point Calvinist to Arminian. I know Arminians who have no problem with the 17th Article–and at least one of the Bishops who affirmed the 17th Article was a proto-Arminian (not to mention that the Arminian King Charles I was the one who gave the famous order that the 39 Articles are to be understood according to their literal meaning). This is not to say that I think the Arminian approach is the best interpretation of the 39 Articles, let alone the Scripture–but just to show my agreement with your earlier point about the breadth of the 39 Articles.

    Finally, while the non-Augustinian belief on the impossibility of losing salvation failed to become the official doctrine in the Anglican formularies (because the Lambeth Articles were never approved), it was successfully enshrined in the WCF. Therefore, I agree with you and others here that Pr. Lane is certainly not at odds with the WCF in rejecting the doctrine and conversely that the FV are at odds with the WCF.

    As for what Luther would have thought of SS marriage–Tim H is doing a far better job carrying on that discussion than what I’m capable of doing.

    God Bless,
    W.A.Scott

    p.s. As you have noted, while you do not consider that Luther held to the Augustinian position that salvation can be lost you do agree that Lutheran Orthodoxy itself essentially holds to the Augustinian position. Although I didn’t have time to read through it, the following paper looks like a decent lay out of Lutheran Orthodoxy’s Scriptural arguments for their position on the matter for anyone who is unfamiliar with it (sadly, it seems that some unfair characterizations of other positions (e.g. 5 point Calvinism) is inevitable in such articles): http://www.scribd.com/doc/104908295/The-Lutheran-Doctrine-of-Apostasy

    p.p.s. I know you’re familiar with this Jason, but here’s a quick example of Augustine’s position on God’s sovereign dealing with the non-elect for those who are unfamiliar with it (from his work Rebuke and Grace): “If, however, being already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, I have not received, because of his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God, that he had received” (Chp 9) and “It is, indeed, to be wondered at, and greatly to be wondered at, that to some of His own children— whom He has regenerated in Christ— to whom He has given faith, hope, and love, God does not give perseverance also, when to children of another He forgives such wickedness, and, by the bestowal of His grace, makes them His own children.” (Chp 18)
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1513.htm

    It will be at least a few weeks before I’ll have time to participate further in the discussion–so thanks for the interesting exchange and have a great Labor’s Day weekend.

  56. Reed Here said,

    August 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Guys: maybe the homosexual tangent has run its course? Back to subject? Thanks.

  57. Jason Loh said,

    August 31, 2013 at 3:21 am

    Dear Scott,

    We AGREE that historically there was NO definitive position in the Church if England on the issue of whether salvation could be lost.

    But you are mistaken on this …
    “Yet, while the Anglican formularies taken together (Articles, Homilies, BCP) explicitly teach that Salvation may be lost, the Articles taken by themselves (as is the typical practice) are broad enough to encompass everything from strict 5 point Calvinist to Arminian. I know Arminians who have no problem with the 17th Article–and at least one of the Bishops who affirmed the 17th Article was a proto-Arminian (not to mention that the Arminian King Charles I was the one who gave the famous order that the 39 Articles are to be understood according to their literal meaning). This is not to say that I think the Arminian approach is the best interpretation of the 39 Articles, let alone the Scripture–but just to show my agreement with your earlier point about the breadth of the 39 Articles.”

    The 39 Articles are NOT broad enough to encompass Arminianism.

    1. Classical Arminianism maintains CONDITIONAL election. NO one in the Church of England held to conditional election until the RESTORATION period. This is why the views of PETER BARO and WILLIAM BARRETT were condemned by the Church with the approbation of Queen Bess.

    2. The high churchmen of the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline Church were NOT Arminian. The like of GEORGE BULL, as I’ve said, came AFTER the Restoration. Only a few minority such as Jeremy Taylor held unorthodox views which had affinity with Arminianism. But even then NONE of the minority high churchmen were Arminians.

    3. King Charles the 1 was not an Arminian. He himself DENIED being one. Laud was NOT an Arminian. Read Peter White’s Predestination, Polemic and Policy and Julian Davies’ Caroline Captivity of the Church.

    4. The 39 Articles are BROADLY Augustinian (which is not the same as broad enough to encompass Arminianism) which means CONDITIONAL election and SYNERGISM (in justification) is EXCLUDED.

  58. Jason Loh said,

    August 31, 2013 at 3:45 am

    “… [T]he king [i.e. Charles 1] made clear in June [1628] that he was committed to suppressing Arminianism,” p. 250. White cites from one Sir Humphrey May: “The king’s heart is as firm to religion as any, and that he will take all occasion to suppress all Popery and Arminianism. and one sir John Maynard added “And for Arminianism I have heard him protest against it.” Historical Manuscripts Commission, Thirteenth Report, Appendix, Part VII (Manuscripts of the Earl of Lonsdale), 45.

    White (p. 251) also quotes from Birch (ed.), Court and Time of Charles 1, I. p.439 ….

    “Yesterday, also, after dinner, his majesty was pleased to declare himself at the council board [that] for the Arminians, he would have the bishops about the town compare their opinions with the book of articles, and to CONDEMN such tenets not agreeable THERETO.”

    Please recall also that the Calvinist and CRYPTO-Puritan, George Abbott was *at the time* the archbishop UNDER Charles the 1.

  59. Jason Loh said,

    August 31, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Julian Davies (Caroline Captivity of the Church) has a chapter on entitled “Arminianism” where he shows the broadly Augustinian character of Church of England where to be reformed and Calvinist are not synonymous see e.g. p 89. Again, Davies made the same point that Laud was NOT Arminian, substantiating with sources that are mainly from the ones employed by White also. What Laud rejected was double predestination which was held by many Puritans and doctrinal Calvinists (i.e. conformist churchmen) at the time – reflecting the broad spectrum within the English Reformed branch of the Reformation with ALL sides appealing to Augustine. Some preferred Calvin and the Reformers; other preferred to study the church fathers and the medieval scholastics. Please recall that Thomas was a predestinarian. But ALL held Calvin in *high esteem.*

  60. Jason Loh said,

    August 31, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Re Laud, please refer pp. 95-98.

  61. WA Scott said,

    September 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Hello Jason, I’m going to squeeze in one quick post. I just wanted to thank you for a very interesting string of posts. While I’ve done a great deal of study on the writings of the leading 16th century Anglican fathers I have not studied the beliefs of some of the leading figures in the Caroline era (such as King Charles I and Laud) to the same extent–particularly as to their beliefs on predestination. I had assumed that the common historic opinions regarding the Arminianism of King Charles I and Laud were correct. While I’m no fan of all the policies of Laud and Charles I–I’m grateful to hear that there is serious reason for doubting the common claims that they embraced the error of Arminianism (although I can’t say I’m too surprised given the frequent inaccuracy of oft repeated claims regarding the theology of historic figures and groups).

    That said, I still think there is some grounds for saying that the 39 Articles can, and historically have been understood (at the very least from the time that the 39 Articles were reaffirmed at the time of the restoration) to be capable of encompassing Arminianism (although–as I noted above–I certainly don’t think that this is the best or most natural understanding of the 39 Articles). However, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point.

    God Bless, W.A. Scott

    p.s. If I have any time in the next few weeks I’ll look forward to carrying on this discussion with you further.

  62. WA Scott said,

    September 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    p.p.s. One last follow up this Saturday evening before I take a hiatus from the blog.

    Amen on your statements regarding the broadly Augustinian nature of the Church of England and how everyone held the great reformer Calvin in high esteem. Of course, as I’m sure you’d agree—the denial of double predestination by Laud and Charles I contra the Puritans and doctrinal Calvinists was also a rejection of the historic predestinarian teaching of Augustine and Aquinas.

    Augustine:
    “He used the very will of the creature which was working in opposition to the Creator’s will as an instrument for carrying out His will, the supremely Good thus turning to good account even what is evil, to the condemnation of those whom in His justice He has predestined to punishment, and to the salvation of those whom in His mercy He has predestined to grace.” [Chapter 100. Enrichidion]
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1302.htm

    Aquinas (Summa, Part 1, Ques 23):
    Article 3. Whether God reprobates any man?
    Objection 1. It seems that God reprobates no man.
    For nobody reprobates what he loves. But God loves every man, according to (Wisdom 11 :25): “Thou lovest all things that are, and Thou hatest none of the things Thou hast made.” Therefore God reprobates no man.

    On the contrary, It is said (Malachi 1:2-3):
    “I have loved Jacob, but have hated Esau.”
    I answer that, God does reprobate some…reprobation implies not only foreknowledge, but also something more…
    Therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin.
    Reply to Objection 1. God loves all men and all
    creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good–namely, eternal life–He is said to hate or reprobated them.
    [Read the whole section here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q23_A3.html ]

    Thanks again for the discussion and I’ll enjoy carrying it on in the future if I have time…


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