Reply to Jeff Meyers, Part 5

Point 10 I found quite incoherent. Meyers’s objection does not seem to be that the Report describes the WS as a system of doctrine or as theology. Rather, his objection seems to be that the Report does not tell us how it reads the WS. Well, really, if the Report does not tell us how it reads the WS, then how can he say that the Report enshrines a narrow view of Reformed theology, as he will argue in point 11? I quote from point 11: “There are so many narrow, idiosyncratic interpretations of the Westminster Standards in the Report…” (his conclusion is that it would be unwise to adopt the report). Well, Jeff, you absolutely, positively cannot have it both ways. You cannot say in one breath that the Report doesn’t tell us how it reads the WS, and in the very next breath tell us that the report has too many idiosyncratic interpretations of the WS. If the Report has idiosyncratic interpretations of the WS, then it is in fact telling us how it reads the WS. I recognize that telling us “how” is not quite the same thing as telling us “what.” However, in this case, the Report cannot do the one without doing the other as well. I, of course, hold that the Report is neither idiosyncratic in its reading of the WS, nor is it unclear as to how it is interpreting the WS.

He argues that point 8 rules out the “seed of regeneration” interpretation of infant baptism. He says that this is not the place to offer a detailed argumentation about the matter. Where, pray, would that place be? But since he offers no argumentation for his position, I do not need to offer any argumentation in rebuttal. To the extent that he takes the Report seriously is the extent to which I will answer him. But he can hardly expect to convince people without argumentation. Mere assertion does not work.

Point 12 is vitiated by one simple fact: merit equals obedience to God’s law. The two ideas are inextricably intertwined. To say that Adam would have obtained eternal life upon condition of perfect and personal obedience is to say that his obedience would have merited eternal life. We have been round and round on Wilson’s blog and my blog on the question of pactum merit. Since the FV doesn’t allow the possibility of pactum merit to even enter their thoughts, it is really useless to argue with them about this point (yet another reason why face to face confrontation would be fruitless: if they won’t even allow the categories in which another person communicates, then no communication can take place). Of course, Christ’s obedience is more than Adam’s disobedience. As Romans 5:15 says, the gift of God is not on the same plane as the trespass. However, we do have to say that Adam’s disobedience fully merited hell, by condign merit. Nothing less than condign merit is required to reverse that. Christ’s merit is also pactum merit (according to the pactum salutem). I don’t know of many, if any, Reformed scholars who deny that there was grace in the Covenant of Works. By that I mean the divine condescension spoken of in WCF 7.1. But the Covenant of Works was a works principle, otherwise the WS are wrong to call it that. Works is another name for merit. Therefore, the Report is merely affirming what is in the Standards, and Jeff is clearly placing himself outside of the Standards. Meyers borders on irrationality when he claims that WCF 16.5 proves his point. It does no such thing. First of all, the chapter is about our performance of good works, not Christ’s (16.2). Secondly, 16.4 refers obviously to believers, not to Christ (as is evident from the previous context). It borders on blasphemy to say that Christ’s Person is not able to merit for us. The reason is explicit in the text of 16.5. The reason given as to why OUR works can never merit eternal life (in this POST-Fall world) is because of “the infinite distance that is between us and God.” That problem does not exist for the God-Man, Jesus Christ. He bridged the gap between God and Man because He is both. Therefore there is no possibility whatsoever of applying anything in the chapter to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. If Jeff does not want to be charged with heresy in his presbytery, he would do well to retract such statements. Quickly.

A Quick Word on Comments

To all who read my blog: I have no idea why some comments are getting lost. Xon has lost a few, Dr. White has lost one, and I have lost one. I have emailed the establishment about the problem. In the meantime, I suggest a quick way to back up your comment. Just select the entire text and hit control+c before you click on the submit button. That way, if the comment is lost, all you have to do is copy and paste it into a new comment box. Especially if you are planning on somewhat longer comments, you may wish to do this in order to avoid the frustration. My sincere apologies. The WordPress people are really great at fixing bugs. Therefore, I trust this problem will not be ongoing.