Reply to Jeff Meyers, Part 10

 Point 23 has to do with covenantal objectivity and the difference between NECM and ECM. This does get at the heart of the debate, and at the heart of what I have been saying on this blog for quite some time. Meyers again lapses into the incoherent when he argues about the “requirement” clause in the Report. Meyers can say, on the one hand, that the baptized are in covenant with God. Presumably, this would also include the corresponding negative, “non-baptized people are not in covenant with God.” We must further say that it is Meyers’s position (along with most other FV’ers) that baptism into covenant constitutes “covenantal election.” So, how can Meyers say that baptism is not a requirement for covenantal election? If baptism differentiates between those who are in covenant and those who are not, and the covenant is covenantal election, then baptism marks the sine qua non. Why then, is the report wrong in saying that the FV holds that this kind of election has a human requirement? If a parent refused to baptize their child, then that child would remain outside the covenant, wouldn’t it? What Meyers does here is conflate the two definitions of election. It is a characteristic of decretal election that it is unconditional, and with this statement FV’ers would agree. But it is not the same with covenantal election, since a parent can have yea or nay on whether their child enters the covenant (and therefore covenantal election). That is all the report is saying. The thing is, the Report does know the difference in FV writings between “decretal election” and what the FV calls “covenantal election.” And this very paragraph is a demonstration of that awareness.

On point 24 (which overlaps a bit with point 23), to deal with the difference between NECM and ECM takes more than Meyers’s say-so on this. He asserts that there is a difference between NECM and ECM. He asserts that the difference is perseverance, and that perseverance qualitatively modifies one’s participation in the ordo salutis (quoting the full context of the Lusk statement). Here’s the problem: the Lusk statement still assumes that NECM’s participate in the ordo salutis! This is precisely the point. The Reformed position is that only the decretally elect participate in any whatsoever in the ordo salutis. This is crystal clear from many places in the WS. Just a few are listed here: WCF 3.6, 15.1-4, WLC 65-77. The difference is NOT that the ECM perseveres and participates in the ordo salutis fully and completely, while the NECM does not persevere, and thus only participates in a partial way in the ordo salutis, as Lusk implies. The difference is that the ECM participates in the ordo salutis, while the NECM does not. This gets at the fundamental problem of the FV: ordo salutis benefits are being ascribed to the NECM. And this is the fundamental difference between the NECM and the ECM. One has the ordo, and the other does not. The Lusk quotation only proves the Report’s point. By saying that perseverance is the qualifying difference, Lusk (and Meyers) allow the possibility that justification comes to the NECM. This breaks the categorical equality of the ordo salutis benefits described in Romans 8, where all the justified are glorified (plainly implying perseverance). Again, the question is not whether Lusk affirms at some point that there is a qualitative difference. The point is that the rest of Lusk’s theology vitiates such a claim. It is methodological double-speak.

Point 25 can be dealt with by saying that the modified report is the current report, and that there is a perfectly good explanation of how the Wilson misquotation happened. This will become clear on the floor of GA.

Point 26 is a rehash of previous arguments, except for the “covenantal efficacy of baptism” bit. Therefore, I will only respond to that part of it. His claim is simply that the Report did not define the term. I would answer quite simply that the phrase constitutes a summary of the Report’s conclusions on baptism. Anyone who cannot see that is a dunce. Is it really such a hard phrase to understand? Is it really hard to understand that they mean it as a summary of the FV position? I think that is enough said. I will try to finish the 30 points next post.