Warfield and the FV

Apologetics and Reason

This looks like a phenomenal book on apologetics and reason. I plan on purchasing this book in the near future.

The Covenant of Works

I have already addressed this issue in several posts here, here, here, here, here, and here. I do not wish to duplicate what I have already said in those posts. What I am interested in doing here is to try to nail down what Wilson is willing to say about the CoW. He affirmed that he was a bi-covenantalist. This is good, because it wasn’t excessively obvious from the book.

One important point here is the relationship of law and grace in the mind of God. Wilson says that he doesn’t buy the equal ultimacy of law and grace. I would answer: is God more gracious than He is holy? Is the righteousness of God more or less important than the love of God? I don’t think we can make either more important in the mind of God. Surely we have to say that holiness and love are equally ultimate in the mind of God. That is the reason why God has to find the way of atonement the way He did: to be just and the justifier of the ungodly. Surely God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in all His attributes. One does not trump another. If that is so, then one attribute does not trump another in His dealings with us, either. The only way He can be merciful to us is if He drained the cup of His wrath dry, squeezing it out on Jesus. Justice and mercy kissed each other on the cross. They are equally ultimate.

So, the questions come down now to the issue of how we define the relationship God had with Adam. We agree that it is covenantal. Wilson has certainly affirmed that. What was the nature of that covenant? Was eternal life for Adam conditioned upon perfect and personal obedience? I agree wholeheartedly that for God to have a relationship with Adam required condescension on God’s part. God is God, and we are not. However, that condescension was before the Fall. Furthermore, it does not rule out pactum merit. Wilson has allowed (with careful qualifications) that one can speak of such merit as synonymous with perfect and personal obedience. So then, is Wilson comfortable with chapter 7 of the WCF? Does he agree that Adam had the law of God written in his heart (WCF 4.2), and had the power to fulfill it (ibid)?

To address briefly the question about GA and the vote, I will say that the commissioners received the report no later than Tuesday. Most received it on the internet. Many received it on Monday, giving them two days to read the report, which after all is only 30 pages, one hour’s reading. I think, therefore, that it is speculation to assert that the men who voted that day were only supporting sola fide. It was clearly explained by the committee itself that they were voting on all the recommendations (which, if I remember rightly, were all read out in full), which commended the report as a faithful exposition of the WS, and that the declarations were correct. That was the vote. If anyone thought that they were only upholding sola fide, then there is precious little evidence for it. Dr. Sproul was making justification the rhetorical point of his address. Surely we must think of him as using justification as the most important issue, but not exclusive of the other soteriological concerns. Dr. Sproul is not so ignorant as to think that election, covenant, perseverance, etc., were not issues. But he didn’t have thirty minutes to make a speech. How does Wilson know that many have barely heard of this stuff? Almost every pastor I conversed with at GA had heard something about it, and already had an opinion.