Hebrews and Real Warnings

by Reed DePace

This evening a friend sent me a link to an excellent article on the warning passages of Hebrews (found here). In the article Colin Hansen of the Gospel Coalition Q&A’s Dr. Peter O’Brien (Professor Emeritus, Moore College, Sydney, Australia). Dr. O’Brien provides an exceptional explanation, demonstrating that the key issue is between real faith and spurious faith.

Real faith is described at that which perseveres in adherence to and reliance on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Spurious faith is described as that which knowingly rejects sole reliance on Christ and returns to some form of self-reliance (in the case of Hebrews, expressed via the Mosaic system).

O’Brien’s description of spurious faith is consistent with the idea of temporary faith discussed here in the past at length.

This article deserves your attention.

Posted by Reed DePace (H/T: Dr. R. Fowler White)

It Comes Down to This

by Reed DePace

It seems to me that the results of the Meyers, Lawrence and Leithart matters have the effect of focusing the issues involved. In all three situations Presbyteries have concluded that teachings which appear consistent with FV teachings denounced by the PCA Study Report are in fact not out of accord with our doctrinal standards.

The common threads seem to be that each of these men:

1. Affirms the Westminster Standards (WS), and
2. Their teachings in question do not contradict the WS, and
3. [Therefore] their teachings do not conflict with the PCA FV Study Report.

The rationale that seems to logically support these conclusions centers is the claim that the teachings in question are only about the benefits of salvation which the reprobate church member receives. As this is not (supposedly) something addressed by the WS (which only addresses the benefits received by the decretally elect), therefore these teachings do not conflict with our standards. E.g., this is usually heard in the FV claim to be speaking about salvation (or any other ordo salutis benefit) in different way than the WS, but in a way that the Bible also speaks.

I’m thinking that this is pretty much the heart of the rationale rested upon by the presbyters in three presbyteries when they decided to find these men “not guilty” (in the case of Lawrence and Leithart explicitly, Meyers implicitly). That is, this argument for the defense sounds both reasonable and biblical to the men tasked with determining whether or not these men’s teachings are out of accord with the WS.

If I’m right, then it comes down to this,

Does the Bible teach a secondary way of salvation, a way of salvation that is experienced by the reprobate church member that is parallel but different in terms of duration than the way of salvation experienced by the decretally elect?

If yes, then the FV is not out of accord with the WS? If no, then it is.

It would seem to me that future efforts to demonstrate the biblical errors of these teachings must deal with this dual salvation scheme. It must deal with demonstrating that this is not the biblical teaching. It will not suffice to argue exclusively from the WS, as men teaching these things can simply respond, “amen, and also …” It must be shown that the Bible does not support the FV’ers parallel secondary way of salvation for the reprobate church member.

If this can be shown then the elders having to make the judgments in these matters will be greatly supported.

Well?

By Reed DePace

An Imaginary Conversation?

Posted by Reed DePace

Wes White has an excellent follow up post to a recent post on an imaginary conversation between a member of an FV congregation and an FV pastor. In this post, Wes provides the beginnings of the documentation that his imaginary conversation is not so imaginary.

As one of my driving concerns in this whole discussion continues to be the effect of the FV on the average Christian, I am grateful for Wes’ work. I urge all who are FV sympathetic to not simply read the proof of the imaginary conversation that Wes provides, but put yourselves in the shoes of the laymen sitting under this.

I am even more convinced that the FV is harmful to a Christian’s relationship with Christ.

Leithart “potentially” Out of Accord

The SJC has affirmed its panel’s finding that there is a strong presumption that Rev. Dr. Peter Leithart is out of accord with the Westminster Standards (in regards to the matters investigated.) Accordingly, the Presbytery of the NorthWest is ordered to follow through with a proper BCO investigation.

See Rev. Jason Stellman’s, one of the original complainants, comments here.

The SJC ruling can be downloaded here. I note that the record of the vote demonstrates there was little disagreement as to the rightness of the finding (17 concur, 2 dissenting, with no minority report to be filed.)

I particularly appreciate declaration no. 6 from the decision: “6) The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized persons receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.”

I think the SJC has done a good job of both fairly representing the FV and succinctly defining the problematic nature. The parallel “covenant” soteriological system is contrary to the Standards, and I might add, to the Scriptures.

I affirm and echo Jason’s sadness and prayers for a resolution other than a trial. Church discipline procedes by degrees because at each step of the way it is an expression of faith, pleading for the Spirit to lead an erring brother to repentance.

This is my prayer. It has happened before.

Posted by TE Reed DePace

Sacramental Union/Sealing: Another FV Dilemma

Commenting on Wes’ Part IV post of Lane’s Reply to TE’s Moon and Lawrence , I (Reed DePace) posted some comments that the FV demonstrates some weaknesses in terms of its understanding of both sacramental union and sealing in baptism. Let me explain a little more what I mean.

Sacramental Union: there is a spiritual relation between the sign of the sacrament and the thing to which the sign points, such that the sign can be used a shorthand for the thing. Sealing: the sign is used as a seal that confirms the grace in view, and in this way strengthens the possession of that grace. These biblical nuances are essential for distinguishing between the sign (water) and the thing (grace in view). Note that in both of these the Spirit is the critical component. He is the union in the spiritual relation between the sign of water and the grace in view in baptism. The Spirit is the Effector in the seal (Eph 1:13-14).

The FV will affirm both sacramental union and the sealing function in baptism. Yet it seems to not quite understand the nature of the Spirit’s role in these. This leads to at least the appearance of baptismal regeneration and ex opera operata in the FV’s system. The FV is not susceptible to these charges on the basis of its decretally based understanding of baptism (tier-one of Lane’s two-tier analogy). At this level the FV maintains the critical reformed nuances that biblically avoid these errors.

Yet the FV also proposes a covenantal based understanding of baptism (tier-two of Lane’s analogy). The FV argues that whenever baptism is administered it always results in the reception of an experience of the benefits of the covenant of grace. This, at the very least, gives a strong appearance of a form of baptismal regeneration/ex opera operata understanding for the water rite of baptism.

The FV may argue that these errors are not in view because the Spirit is understood as the One Who effects the reception of these covenantal benefits. Yet bring into view that these benefits, as formulated by the FV, are a variation of inward spiritually transformative ordo salutis benefits. They are not merely outward, external, only applicable to an unregenerate man. E.g., the FV’s notion of covenantal union with Christ means that the person really and truly participates a spiritually transformative experience.

To be consistent then the FV must argue for a covenantal version of the sealing function for baptism. This may not be a problem for some FV’ers, as it is logically consistent with the two-tier, dual system it proposes. Yet it will be hard (impossible in my view) for the FV to demonstrate that when the Bible speaks of the sealing function it speaks dually, decretally and covenantally. Just take a read of the primary sealing passage, Eph 1. It is only with an a priori decision to read this chapter covenantally that one can miss that it demands an exclusive decretal reading.

Of course, if the FV is willing to forgo a dual sealing function in baptism, then it faces a dilemma. If the covenantal benefits (FV defined as inward, spiritually transformative), that are purportedly effected by baptism, are not the result of the Spirit’s sealing work, then the only option available is that the water rite itself is the source of the sealing effect. Yet this is a form of baptismal regeneration/ex opera operata.

Posted by TE Reed DePace

At Least Kissing Cousins

By TE Reed DePace

It is not fair to say that the Federal Vision is Arminianism. That is, the FV is not simply an expression of Arminian doctrine. Nor is it fair to say that the FV is a child of Arminianism. The FV arguments do not grow out of Arminian formulations. Nor, do I think, we can say that the FV is even a sibling of Arminianism. The FV does not end up proposing simply a variation of Arminianism.

Yet many critics have noted that the Federal Vision and Arminianism share some characteristics. In the past I believe I even may have used the phrase “sibling” to try to describe how close these similarities run. After some more thinking about this, I do find myself sympathetic to FV supporters who take offense at such comparisons. And I do regret and repent of any over statements on my part. I’ve not intended to offer rhetorical offense for the sake of making a point. To whatever degree my words in the past have lent themselves to that end, I am sorry.

Still, I do see the similarities between the Federal Vision and Arminianism. I do wish FV supporters would take seriously such concerns, and not react in theological horror at being associated with a form of doctrine we all agree is defective at best. In an effort to help FV supporters at least appreciate the concern here, I want to make a few observations.

The Federal Vision in effect proposes that the Church has before it a two-dimensional scheme, one decretal and the other covenantal. Without trying to work out all the existential niceties, the FV understands the decretal dimension to be that of God’s existence. It has real substance in reality in that it is real spiritually. Yet this dimension by its nature is objectively unknowable. That is, it cannot be known through the use of ordinary natural senses.

The FV understands the covenantal dimension to be that of the Church’s existence. It too has real substance in reality in that it is real materially. This dimension is objectively knowable, in that it is the dimension of ordinary natural experience.

Both these dimensions, according to the FV, have their own expression of the ordo salutis. These are not to be understood as the same, although they are essentially analogous (perseverance not being a part of the covenantal dimension). Both of these ordo saluti are ministries of the Holy Spirit. Both are to be understood as having real substance, albeit in their own dimension.

The critical difference between these ordo saluti in their respective dimensions is one of permanence. The decretal dimension offers an ordo salutis that is eternal, never to be lost. The covenantal dimension offers an ordo salutis that is transitory, potentially losable.

It is in this that we see the key comparison to Arminianism. From the decretal dimension, FV supporters rightly maintain that the FV is not Arminian(-like). The FV is clear that only the elect partake of the reality of the decretal dimension, and that this can never be lost.

However, with regard to the covenantal dimension this is not the case. The ordo salutis in this dimension can be lost (albeit only by the reprobate). And this is effectively the same thing that is said by Arminianism.

So, from the viewpoint of the decretal dimension, the FV is not Arminian(-like) at all. Yet from the viewpoint of the covenantal dimension, the FV proposes a system of salvation that is effectively the same as Arminianism. They may not be structured exactly the same, but they share the same essential “losable” characteristic. In the FV scheme of things, the Spirit ministers an eternally secure decretal ordo salutis to the elect and He ministers a losable covenantal salutis to the reprobate.

This two-dimensional scheme might be nothing more than cumbersome if it were not for the FV’s insistence that the decretal dimension is largely irrelevant to the professing believer’s day to day life. Objectively unknowable, the decretal dimension offers some vague assurances. Yet if one wants a real grip on assurance, according to the FV, one needs to look at his experience of the covenantal ordo salutis (e.g., his participation in the baptism ritual, and/or his day to day faithfulness-obedience.) In that this covenantal dimension is not really secure, this is a weak basis for assurance at best.

So no, the Federal Vision and Arminianism are not members of the same immediately family. To maintain this is to overspeak. But these systems do share a significant similarity, one that is dominant in their ministry of the gospel. Thus, maybe it is better to call the Federal Vision and Arminianism kissing cousins.

By TE Reed DePace

The Glue That Binds, Why the FV is arminian-like

It’s been said before. Yet it’s never been adequately challenged, merely just denied. So it may deserve being said again: the FV is arminian-like.

This is not to say that the FV is equal to Arminianism. Nor is it to say that the FV is a version of Arminianism. If this were all that were being said in such a charge, then facetious retort and assertive denials would suffice, as anyone can see that such a charge is ludicrous.

No, the charge is not that the FV and Arminianism are the same, share similar arguments, or follow even a similar hermeneutic. Rather they share (at least) these two characteristics:

 Both posit a real possession (although differently) of the ordo salutis (generally and particularly, not comprehensively) by these fallers-away.

 Both posit the loss of whatever ordo salutis possessed (however possessed).

To be sure, some FV proponents (interestingly not all) will maintain that the FV does not posit the possession of any of the ordo salutis by the fallers away. Instead, the FV offers that these fallers away possess benefits of the Covenant of Grace; benefits described using terms and formulations functionally non-distinguishable from the comparable ordo salutis benefits.

Such equivocation does not alter the arminian-like charge however. As a study of Arminianism will show, equivocation is but a glue that holds the inconsistencies of that system together. And so too with the FV. It too relies on Read the rest of this entry »

Do We Really Want Peace?

All:

We pray for the peace and purity of Christ’s Church. It is clear that the substantial divide between those for and those opposed to the FV has not narrowed. Accordingly, how do we who profess the sovereignty of God in all things, express our faith in that belief in these circumstances?

Those in favor of the FV believe it to be a blessing and benefit in an era of the Church where weaknesses and errors abound. They put forth the FV as both correction and balm for these errors. As well, they profess their position in complete keeping with the various reformed standards of their respective denominations. For both (their adherence to the FV and their affirmation of their standards consistency), they do so with sincerity.

Those opposed to the FV do not disagree with their FV brethren as to the presence of great weakness and errors in Christ’s Church in this land. Yet they believe the FV is tainted medicine, a cure worse than the illness. As well, they believe, after at some length listening to and discussing with their FV brethren, that not only is the FV in disagreement with the reformed standards, it is unbiblical.

So what’s to be done?

Those in favor of the FV insist that those opposed are not listening (or worse). They say their positions are at best misunderstood. They say their opponents are themselves both being too narrow with the reformed standards and the Bible itself. Yet, to date, no amount of conversation has persuaded their brethren that this is true.

Even more significant to the question of this thread – note that the Sovereign God has not done anything to effectually persuade and convince those opposed to the FV that their pro FV brethren are correct. Surely the FV men have prayed to this end. God has answered: either NO, or Not Yet.

Those opposed to the FV insist that those in favor are not listening (or worse). They say their FV brethren are at best muddling and confusing the sheep with their innovative doctrine. They say the FV’ers are distorting, even contradicting the Bible, let alone the reformed standards.

Even more significant to the question of this thread – is God ruling His Church, or have a bunch of renegades kicked the Father, Jesus and the Spirit out to the curb?

To date, operating by faith via their promises to Christ in their ordination vows, the elders of six (seven?) reformed denominations have formally declared that the FV is out of bounds with the Scriptures. In the PCA, despite relentless recriminations against the integrity and character of its elders by some in the FV camp who have spoken rashly, the elders have moved deliberately and carefully towards seeking God to answer their convictions concerning the FV. They have sought to recover brethren they believe are in dangerous error.

Those in favor of the FV may not like it. They may not agree with it as things stand. They are right to remind us all that Church councils can, do, and have erred.

Yet they need to seriously consider how God is answering their prayers.

It appears that the report concerning AAPC (and Rev. Wilkins) leaving the PCA is true. While not the desired action, given the impasse which we find ourselves concerning the FV, I applaud this congregation’s action. What else can men of sincere profession do when faced with such differing convictions?

Hear me carefully brothers and sisters. I am not saying good riddance, a pox on your house and those in it, to the AAPC, or to any FV persuaded brother (I speak from the judgment of charity). I speak from a deep conviction that God does rule His Church and He has shown His will in these circumstances.

I have no right to force my convictions down your throat FV brother. I have no right to silence you in your pulpit, to still you in your pew, from believing what you choose to believe. Your conscience is sacrosanct before our Father and I respect that.

And so is my conscience sacrosanct. You have no right to force your FV conviction down my throat. You have no right to insist that I keep my opposition to what I believe is deadly error silent; to keep me from expressing my faith in the form of church government to which I’ve given my vows. My conscience is likewise sacrosanct before our Father.

Will you respect that? Will you see how God is answering at present and join hands with me to find a path to peace? Will you seek to respect and honor my right to bear my conscious before God, as I seek to respect, even defend your’s?

What other course is open before us but the path the AAPC has (apparently) taken? I admit wishing in providence that this path had been taken sooner. Yet I am willing to be at peace that this now is God’s timing.

What I am asking of you FV brethren?

I am asking you to end the fighting. I am asking you to see that we your brothers cannot be persuaded by you, that you are right about the FV. I am asking you to express your faith in God’s sovereignty by choosing to pursue peace with us. I am asking you to prayerfully and seriously consider if now is not God’s providential timing for you as well.

I am not saying to end a proper – HUMBLE – discussion with us. I am saying that if I were in your shoes, with a conviction of God’s sovereignty in the rule of His Church, and six (seven) denominations finding that the FV is biblically consistent (rather than in error), then I would be taking my own advice to you and seriously considering finding another place to exercise my convictions without unneeded intrusions on my conscious, and without continually disturbing the peace of other sheep.

Do you really want peace? Do you really want to get back to pursuing the first things, the proclamation of the good news of our Savior?

Consider whether or not now is time to withdraw, to withdraw only until such time as God in His providence: persuades us, persuades you, or persuades us both of something better.

With prayers for His rich and full mercy and grace in Christ to be your’s evermore,

Reed DePace

TE, PCA

The Wrong Starting Point

Reed DePace 

I’ve spent some time contemplating a commentator’s repeated references to the historical (covenantal) vs. eschatological (decretal) perspective. I think he dwells on an essential distinction in the FV reading of what is possessed by the elect Church member (ECM) and reprobate church member (RCM). I believe this is an essential distinction because this distinction in perspectives functions as the fundamental interpretive principle the FV applies to understanding the issue of ECM vs. RCM.

It is clear from this exchange, and others, that the FV truly believes we who are opposed are not accurately hearing what the FV is saying, and that this misunderstanding flows in large part from a failure to rightly comprehend and apply these two differing perspectives. If only we would do so, we would realize that the FV is not saying anything contradictory to the reformed standards, it is merely saying more than they do.

I thought it might be helpful to express my understanding of the basic contours of this perspective distinction and how it impacts the FV’s approach to interpreting the Bible in this matter.

If I am reading this commentator rightly, I think he would say something like this, “from the eschatological perspective, I agree with the differentiation between the ECM and the RCM. Yet from the historical perspective such differentiation does not apply (at least in the same way.)” Another way the FV might say it is, “Eschatalogically (decretally) it is correct to differentiate between the ECM and the RCM. Yet historically (covenantally) you are making distinctions that cannot be demonstrated. You are insisting on reading eschatalogically things that can only be read historically.”

To be fully fair in letting the FV speak for itself, we need to note that the FV is not arguing that the historical perspective is in contradiction to the eschatological perspective, but the validity of both of them in their proper uses. Let me offer this summary of how this interpretive principle fleshes itself out in the FV:

  1. The eschatological perspective is indeed valid.
  2. Yet it is the perspective known infallibly only to the Trinity in history, and to us only in the eschaton (the end of this world and existence).
  3. The context of the Church at present is the historical perspective. We can only see the Church undifferentiatedly, ECM and RCM necessarily are seen as the same at present.
  4. Since we cannot know (infallibly) the eschatalogical perspective, the Bible is to be read from this historical perspective.
  5. This necessitates reading the references to church members and their blessings in an undifferentiated manner. E.g., both ECM and RCM experience union with Christ, justifying faith, et.al. when viewed from the historical perspective.
  6. The FV is not saying that the ECM and RCM posses the same things from the eschatalogical perspective. Rather it is to say that from the historical perspective the ECM and the RCM posses the same things. It’s a matter of two different perspectives.
  7. Since we cannot know the eschatalogical perspective, we must minister the gospel (in all its fullness) from the historical perspective. We must treat RCM and ECM in an undifferentiated manner. Both possess Christ historically. Both must be ministered to as believers truly possessing Christ and His benefits.

Hopefully it will be concluded, without need for further detail, that in essence I get what the FV is trying to say.

My problem is that the FV wrongly limits the perspective of both biblical interpretation and gospel ministry. The eschatological perspective is not some minor, inconsequential one. Rather, it is the heart beat of the NT (the NT being best understood as the definitive commentary on the meaning of the OT). Rather than there being even parity between the historical and eschatalogical perspectives in the NT, in point of fact the eschatalogical is the dominant perspective. The historical only comes into view in the role of a servant to the eschatalogical perspective.

This is not an immaterial observation. If right, it cuts to the heart of the essential FV interpretive principle, thus vitally and negatively impacting the whole FV system.

The NT does not operate in a manner like this, “now to be sure from God’s perspective there are ECM and RCM. But since you can’t infallibly see this eschatalogical perspective difference, treat all as if there were no such distinction as ECM and RCM.”

Such chapters as Matt. 13 are dominant in making this point. It is the very fact of the reality of the ECM and RCM that drives Christ’s commands in terms of ministry in the Church in this chapter laden with express distinctions between ECM and RCM. Without the eschatalogical perspective, the distinctions Christ makes devolve into at best principles that can neither be understood or applied this side of eternity. Note that Christ’s words will not lend themselves to a historical perspective – they are expressly rooted in the eschatalogical perspective and are intended to guide us in our historical setting!

Consider the example from a passage such as John 2:23-25. John begins (vs. 23) with a perspective that is clearly historical only. The “belief” of the crowd is offered for consideration in an undifferentiated manner (we could say both RCM and ECM potentially in view). Yet Jesus’ response cannot be understood as growing out of the historical perspective. Rather, his point only makes sense from the eschatalogical perspective. He makes a distinction between two kinds of belief, one possessed only by RCM and one possessed only by ECM – a decided eschatalogical perspective understanding. Here it is clear that the historical perspective is the servant of the eschatalogical perspective.

This is the heart beat of the whole NT. It is the light of the eschatalogical perspective that explains the mystery hidden in the historical perspective of the OT. The OT veiled is historical perspective dominant. The NT revealed in eschatalogical perspective dominant. Jesus speaks to his people not in the uncertain, unclear, hidden and veiled manner of the historical perspective of the old covenant. He speaks to them in the clear revelation from the eschatalogical perspective of the new covenant.

Again, this is not an insignificant criticism of the FV. Not to engage in hyperbole, but to demonstrate the significance of using the wrong interpretive presuppositions, consider that a Mormon, a Jehovah Witness, and a Roman Catholic can all (and do) affirm in sincerity, “I trust in Christ.” Yet they all mean something different about both “Christ” and “trust.” These differences flow from their differing interpretation of Scripture. As is obvious, faulty interpretive presuppositions inevitably lead to faulty understanding of the gospel, and often with eternally significant consequences.

To the degree that the FV rests on the faulty interpretive principle of giving preeminence to the historical perspective (over the eschatalogical perspective), it leads to faulty interpretations. I am not inferring anything about the degree of danger of such faulty interpretations. Don’t read between the lines and here me offering veiled accusations against the FV.

Rather I hope the points here bring home the seriousness of this issue. It should be obvious to all that we should so run so far away from faulty interpretive principles, and the faulty interpretations derived from them, as we never discover how truly dangerous they may be.

The FV is not simply saying something more than the reformed standards, and completely consistent with the Bible. It applies a faulty interpretive principle to the Bible and proposes interpretations the Bible does not support. This is dangerous.

Reed DePace

Justifying Faith distiguished from Temporary Faith (part 1)

It is a reasonable question, especially of those engaging in theological novelty and innovation:

“So, I ask the question again: what benefits do reprobates members of the visible church receive, and what do they lose when they apostatize, and how are these benefits the same and different from those received by the elect?”

The FV proposes that the reprobate Church member (RCM) possess a real experience of Christ and his salvific benefits. To be fair, they propose:

  • An experience of Christ and his benefits that is real, originating in the work of the Spirit, and
  • An experience of Christ and his benefits that parallels those benefits experienced by elect Church members (ECM), but
  • An experience of Christ and his benefits that is not the same as that experienced by ECM, in that,
  • The experience of the RCM is temporary, whereas the experience of the ECM is permanent.

Admittedly there are additional differences noted by different FV advocates (the spectrum seems to run from Wilson on the moderate end, to Wilkins in the middle, to Jordon on the extreme end). Yet this summary is the minimal that can be summarized with a reasonable expectation that no cries of “foul” will be heard from the FV.

This summary is not sufficient to relieve those of us opposed to the FV of our case of the willies. It could be that we “anti’s” are misunderstanding, overreacting, maybe even deliberately misrepresenting the positions of FV advocates. Or it could be that FV advocates are less than clear. My efforts at listening to the FV lead me to conclude that the problem is a matter of equivocation. FV advocates continually use the same words to mean different things – without distinguishing or (apparently) even recognizing the problem.

Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, we can move past this dilemma by putting effort into answering the question asked at the beginning of this post. A place to start is with reference to the differences between Justifying Faith (JF) and Temporary Faith (TF).

Turretin offers a substantial explanation of the differences between JF and TF (15th Topic, 15th Question, pgs. 587-593, Vol. 2, Elentics, P&R, 1994). In this post I want to summarize Turretin’s key conclusion. The following two posts will offer a summary of Turretin’s arguments.

Turretin was writing in opposition to the Remonstrants. The Remonstrants affirmed a TF that was the same as JF except in one quality only, that of duration. According to the Remonstrants, the key difference between JF and TF is that JF includes the grace of perseverance and TF does not. I am not trying to be provocative when I observe that this is the same description offered by the FV.

If you’re familiar with Turretin’s format, you know that he introduces each subject by asking a question and then giving an answer that summarizes his conclusion. Here is Turretin’s introduction to this subject: “Does temporary faith differ only in degree and duration, or also in kind from justifying faith? The former we deny; the latter we affirm against the Remonstrants.”

To be clear, Turretin says that the Bible teaches that the JF and TF are not the same at all.  The differences between TF and JF are not like the differences between dogs and cats. These differences are more like the differences between a counterfeit $100 bill and a real one. They have some things in common (both are printed on paper, and are used to purchase things). Yet, to use Turretin’s terminology, these are not two different types of the same kind; they are two different kinds altogether. The differences between JF and TF are as dramatic as well.

Posted by Reed DePace

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