Reply to Jeff Meyers, Part 8

Point 17 is about the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. Notice that Meyers completely ignores LC 70 in dealing with chapter 11 of the WCF. It is also noteworthy that Jeff does not deal with the arguments of the OPC report concerning the IAO and the Gataker, Twisse, Vines issue. This can be found on pp. 72-76 in the online version, and pp. 140ff in the book form. The argument by the OPC is that Shepherd’s view of the WCF 11 is speculative at best. There is strong evidence, presented in that OPC report that the WS are not consensual at least at this point. I quote the OPC report:

It is crucial to recognize that the only time, as far as we know, that there was a debate in the Westminster Assembly of Divines directly focused on the question of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ in justification, the Assembly determined positively to affirm the active obedience by the addition of the word “whole” to the revision of Article 11 of the Thirty-Nine Articles. (p. 74 online version).

There is some evidence that Gataker did not agree with the final version. Twisse was already dead even by the time the WA voted on this article. See further the excellent article by Dr. Jeff Jue in this book. In other words, Meyers is simply echoing the speculative claims of Norman Shepherd, which have been challenged quite stiffly by the OPC report. The fact is that the WS teach the IAO. This is utterly clear from LC 70, which has this phrase, “the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them.” This must be allowed its due weight. The OPC report also weighs the evidence of the Savoy document and concludes that it is not evidence that the WS are consensual on this point, since it can be argued that the Savoy only made more clear what was already taught by the WS. In short, Meyers is not well-read enough on this debate to pronounce that the WS are consensus documents on the IAO. I believe that the WS teach IAO, as do almost all interpreters subsequent to the WS.

Number 18 is making a mountain out of a molehill. “Sweeping claims?” What, pray, is so incredibly sweeping about saying that the WS know the difference between a condition and a requirement? So Meyers has proved that the WS use the two terms synonymously once. That doesn’t prove his point, however. What the report is saying is that conditions imply obedience. whereas requirements are something which God can provide. In other words, the concepts behind the report at this point are simply the difference between the CoW, which had obedience as a requirements, and the CoG, which has faith as a requirement. Meyers commits the word-concept fallacy when he says that the words are not used in such a way. It is not to the point, since the point is clearly that Adam was required to obey in order to obtain eternal life by pactum merit, whereas the condition of the new covenant is faith, a condition which God fulfills. See, I just used the words in exactly the opposite way that Meyers thinks that the Report intended for them to be defined, but I used them in such a way as to affirm the substance of the report. This is not a debate about words, but about concepts.

Number 19 is utterly vitiated by one single consideration: in 18.2, are we to suppose that election is not one of the promises of salvation upon which is grounded the believer’s assurance? Election is a promise to us related to perseverance. Those whom God has elected, He will also preserve to the end. What God has started, He will finish. Therefore, election is one of the promises that grounds our assurance. The promises of God constitute a rather large category into which fall many things, as I am sure Meyers will acknowledge. But what Meyers does not seem to affirm is that election is a promise of salvation. So, Meyers does not have a point there either. In fact, Meyers leaves himself open to the charge that he believes election has nothing to do with grounding assurance. Nor is his point about “celebration” any more cogent. He misreads what the report means by “celebrate.” Celebrate does not here mean “jubilation,” but rather “speak highly of something.” And the WS certainly do speak highly of election’s role in our salvation and assurance. Again, this is really nitpicky. Many of these things that Meyers is bringing up are being read through the FV lense, and are thus “bad.” But he winds up misinterpreting the Report, the very thing he accuses the Report of doing to the FV. We’ll get to the charges of misrepresentation next post, DV.