Turretin on Justification

Although our justification will be fully declared on the last day (our good works also being brought forward as the sign and proof of its truth, Mt. 25:34-40), still falsely would anyone maintain from this a twofold gospel justification – one from faith in this life (which is the first); the other (and second) from works on the day of judgment (as some hold, agreeing too much with Romanists on this point). 

Turretin, Institutes, Volume 3, p. 687

It is times like these that I wish Turretin’s Institutes were available in the public domain (preferably in electronic, online format), or at least cheaper than $70 and more widely accessible.  His comments on this issue are so relevant to the FV controversies today, as are his expositions of a wide range of doctrines.  His treatments of justifying faith, the nature of covenant and covenant membership, the church, and the marks of the church all serve as a rebuke of various FV teachings.  And it is no different for his discussion of justification and final judgment.  He continues:

The sentence to be pronounced by the supreme Judge will not be so much a new justification, as the solemn and public declaration of a sentence once passed and its execution by the assignment of the life promised with respect to an innocent person from the preceding justification.  Thus it is nothing else than an adjudicatory sentence of the possession of the kingdom of heaven from the right given before through justification.  And if works are then brought forward, they are not adduced as the foundation of a new justification to be obtained then, but as signs, marks and effects of our true faith and of our justification solely by it.

Here we find a stark contrast to the Federal Vision’s doctrine of final justification.  Bob Mattes has outlined Peter Leithart’s position (along with refutations from various sources) in this article.  Leithart claims:

…the [Westminster] Confession says explicitly that what we receive at the final judgment will be “according to what they have done,” which is clearly something other than the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone.”

This echos Rich Lusk’s view:

Again, we find the Bible teaching that future justification is according to works. Final justification is to the (faithful) doers of the law (Rom. 2:1ff) and by those good works which make faith complete (Jas. 2:14ff). Justification will not be fully realized until the resurrection.

 I say:  stick with the old, dead guys like Berkhof and Turretin.

Posted by David Gadbois

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170 Comments

  1. January 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Who’s this “Turretin” guy?

    He’s clearly one of Machen’s Warrior Children, and probably a friend of Scott Clark’s. Who else would draw a line from the (FV) doctrine of final justification to Rome but some rabid Klinean?

    Man, when will Westminster CA stop churning out all these haters?

  2. January 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Good job, David!

    I still cannot see how FVers can write this stuff and then say that they affirm sola fide. Nor can I see how anyone in the Reformed community can be attracted to and defend a theology that augments Christ’s righteousness with our “covenant faithfulness” for “final justification.” The PCA, OPC, BPC, URC, RPCNA, RCUS, and OCRC; Calvin, Knox, Bucer, Dort, the Westminster Divines, the Annotators, Turretin, the Hodges, Shaw, John Brown of Haddington, et al, all the way up to Morton Smith, R.C. Sproul, and Ligon Duncan and other orthodox theologians provide a unified and time-tested witness to sola fide as described in Scripture. Federal Vision clearly offers something else, and the lack of compatibility between the orthodox Reformed system and the Federal Vision seems clear enough when reading their stuff. Just makes me go hmmmm.

  3. timmmdogg said,

    January 23, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I like Turretin too!

    see question 14 on “Calling and Faith”

  4. January 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I have great comfort in this quote from Turretin as well,

    “Faith is not true because it perseveres, but it perseveres because it is true. Thus perseverance is not the cause of the verity of faith, but the consequent and the effect—for because it has solidity and a deep root in the heart, on this ac­count it is constant and perpetually endures. As from lightness arises liability to fall, so from solidity arises stability. For although duration does not properly con­stitute the essence of a thing, still it so follows it that from it a judgment can well be formed concerning the truth of a thing a posteriori. Duration is an index of truth, as truth is the principle of duration.”

  5. curate said,

    January 23, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I still cannot see how FVers can write this stuff and then say that they affirm sola fide.

    It’s because we are plain stupid. Thank you, Gadbois, for posting Turretin on justification, because ever since the endorsement of him here, I have been reading him to my great edification.

    This is what I found regarding the means of justification, or, the remission of sins:

    Nineteenth Question: The Efficacy of Baptism
    Does baptism take away sins in such away that as that they are not, or only that they do not reign and are not imputed? Does it take away past and present sins only and leave future sins to repentance? Or does it extend itself to sins committed not only before but also after baptism? The former we deny; the latter we affirm against the Romanists.

    The first point is that the sinful nature is not entirely abolished in baptism, contra Rome, but there is no dispute about that here.

    Turretin is protesting that Rome’s sacramentology is not high enough, because it limits justification only to past and present sins, excluding future sins. Those have to be paid for separately by the sacrament of penance.

    The problem is a failure on Rome’s part to understand the efficacy and scope of sola fide. Justification is a remission of all of our sins – past,present and future. Thus baptism – the ordinary means by which God imparts to us this immense gift – is a full remission of sins, not partial, as Rome teaches.

    Thanks again for the heads-up on Turretin. He is well worth the money.

  6. Machaira said,

    January 23, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    It is times like these that I wish Turretin’s Institutes were available in the public domain (preferably in electronic, online format), or at least cheaper than $70

    Where have you seen Turretin for $70? Every place I’ve checked so far wants close to $100.

  7. January 23, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Machaira,

    It is $76.25 here. That’s where I got mine a few weeks ago.

  8. Machaira said,

    January 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Ahh. Thanks Bob.

  9. January 23, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    My pleasure. Maybe David G. will buy me an ice cream now at GA. :)

  10. GLW Johnson said,

    January 24, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Clueless Curate
    You have a serious reading disability. You need to see a ophthalmogist and have your eyes for ‘theolgia dyslexia’. If left unchecked this condition could be fatal.

  11. Sam Steinmann said,

    January 24, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Random question:

    Doesn’t “one from faith in this life (which is the first); the other (and second) from works on the day of judgment (as some hold, agreeing too much with Romanists on this point)” imply that the Leithart/Wilkins view on justification is a historic part of the Reformed tradition? One that Turretin disagrees with, but that seesm to have been within the tradition.

  12. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Sam, Sam, Sam… don’t you get it? They’re trying to establish that there’s only one, true, dogmatic, magisterial Tradition of the Reformed Church.

    Problem is, there never was, and never will be. That’s the debate here, plain and simple.

    And, even given that, I agree with Turretin. :-p

  13. January 24, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Sam, RE #11,

    Can you cite orthodox Reformed theologians who believed in two justifications–an initial based on Christ’s imputed righteousness and a final based on our works? I have a pretty extensive library, but haven’t found such an example amongst the orthodox. So I have to answer “no” to your random question.

  14. Sam Steinmann said,

    January 24, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    “Can you cite orthodox Reformed theologians who believed in two justifications–an initial based on Christ’s imputed righteousness and a final based on our works?”

    I can’t. My knowledge of Reformed theologians is much less good than yours.

    My question was driven by the fact that Turretin seems to imply the existence of such theologians, not by any independent knowledge.

  15. January 24, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    You can get Turretin for $70? Man, I’m living in the wrong country!

  16. Steven Carr said,

    January 24, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    “I say: stick with the old, dead guys like Berkhof and Turretin.”

    I live pretty closely by this maxim: “If they’re not dead yet, don’t read ’em.” So far it has done me good.

    To all of those who lament the price of Turretin I just wanted to say that I got my set for free. There is another maxim that I try to live by: “If you can’t afford the book, have a friend buy it for you.” This has also done me good.

  17. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    “I say: stick with the old, dead guys like Berkhof and Turretin.”

    This is rather immature, naive, and … dare I say, Romanist, in scope. What a strange standard to follow, even if it is tongue-in-cheek. This is a forced shackling of exegesis, a denial of the presence of Christ and his guiding Spirit in the life of the Church and her progress throughout history — heck, it is a denial of the importance of history itself. Without “new, living guys,” we would still be in Jerusalem eating the leftovers of peace offerings. This is the kind of attitude that led many Judeans to kill the prophets, flee to Qumran for destruction, and crucify the Son of God with all malice and contempt. In other words, this isn’t really that good of an attitude, I don’t think.

  18. January 24, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Gabe, two things:

    1. First, it’d be great if those who would take it upon themselves to innovate and tinker with Reformed doctrine as supposed guiding lights and ministers of a new reformation would demonstrate that they have actually not only read, but forcefully dealt with major Reformed thinkers like Turretin. You can disagree with them, but the vast majority of FV writings an arguments show no awareness whatsoever of the fact that their old, old errors have been dealt with before (both on dogmatic issues as well as exegetical issues). FV acts as if it doesn’t have to even contend with these better thinkers.

    2. FV has a very peculiar view of theological progress and development if it thinks *this* is the way to do it. No one questions the legitimacy of theological progress, but rather we say it involves building *on top of* the foundation of classic Reformed theology, not kicking it down. Indeed, you FV proponents are the ones who want to kill the prophets.

  19. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Without “new, living guys,” we would still be in Jerusalem eating the leftovers of peace offerings.

    He just means that if there are any good theologians out there, we need to kill them off quick, or their books will go out of print. Good books always go out of print unless the author dies, preferably of some wasting disease. It’s like good music; unless the songwriter dies in a plane crash or car wreck, no one will ever discover it.

    Either the book or the author must die.

    Jeff

  20. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    David, you honestly don’t think that James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Jeffrey Meyers, Doug Wilson, Rich Lusk, Steve Wilkins, and all of the other major FV ‘thinkers’ haven’t read and digested the traditional Reformed dogmatics? They went to the same Seminaries as everyone else in this catfight, brother.

    As for me, I have read Hodge, Dabney, Turretin, Witsius, Calvin, Berkhof (several times), and others in their entirety. Big deal.

    At the end of the day, that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, David.

    What does matter is putting all of our thoughts and beliefs in submission to the Word of God. If, after years of study, we find that parts of the Reformed tradition are in error in this regard — which we certainly have, I don’t know of a single PCA presbytery where at least 75% of the men don’t take exceptions on the Sabbath, for example — then we should acknowledge the error, and find a way to be more in line with God’s Word.

    To assert without any proof (and it really is an utterly false assertion if you examine even a handful of FV writers and the sources they interact with) that FV men ignore the Reformed tradition or worse are IGNORANT of it, is simply just that; an assertion.

    I don’t know what you mean by *this*, but if by *this* you mean conferences, book writing, dialogue, discussion, scholarly debate and personal conversations among close, trusting friends, then I’ll go ahead and stand in support of *this*…

    Killing the prophets never meant going back in time and saying someone is wrong, David, and you know it. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

    Your fondness for the Reformed tradition is Romanist at best; idolatry at worst. It is definitely not Protestant. Luther and Calvin would beat the crap out of you if they were here today and saw how you treat their words. If nothing else, they’d be disappointed at the lack of maturity we’ve made since the 16th century. Let’s all own up to reality here.

    God never approved the mishnah and talmud, but the Reformed traditionalists today believe that somehow their oral law and tradition is something better than that; something to be proud of.

    I’ll err on the side of caution, if you want to call it that, and be proud only in Christ and him crucified, paying respect to his Word above all others. That means questioning traditions, re-examining the words of our fathers, and building upon what they have done. Sometimes we even have to break down a few buildings and re-think the whole thing. That’s how the world works, according to God’s plan. Death and resurrection. Creation and maturity. The only thing being kicked down here is people’s egos, not the Reformed heritage.

  21. Steven Carr said,

    January 24, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    “This is the kind of attitude that led many Judeans to kill the prophets…”

    Well good, the prophets are dead, so now I can read them.

    “Your fondness for the Reformed tradition is Romanist at best…”

    Said the pot to the kettle.

  22. Ron Henzel said,

    January 24, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Gabe,

    Doug Wilson went to seminary?

  23. January 24, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Ron,

    Neither DW nor Rich Lusk went to seminary.

  24. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Steven,

    I am in no sense a pot. I seek to actually uphold the principles of the Reformation, rather than repeating the same errors as Rome. You know… always reforming…

    Ron,

    No, I don’t believe Doug went to Seminary; and I see that as a plus. Seminary curriculum is embarrasingly bad these days, and completely divorced from the life of the Church, where theology belongs — not in the academy.

    Hugs n’ Kisses,
    Gabe

  25. January 24, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Gabe,

    That’s a great recitation of the FV party line, but its way off base. A good number of good men in seven denominations have challenged and interacted with the novel exegesis and assertions of the Federal Vision men you cite and more, and came out agreeing with the body of orthodox Reformed exegesis that have enriched the last 500 years. We’ve read them, we’ve critiqued them, and rejected them. That’s David’s point.

    And you do not, and we will not, get into a discussion of who is paving the road to Rome. It isn’t David. But we’re not going there. Take the hint.

    The Reformed heritage is the recapture of the sovereignty of God and the purity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When you belittle that heritage, you not only belittle the blood of Christ, but also the blood of the Reformed martyrs who made it possible for you to write what you do. The Huguenauts in particular were massacred by the tens of thousands for their Reformed faith. Men, women, and children died horribly to keep the gospel pure in the Reformed faith. This is part of the bold tradition for Christ at which you scoff and take for granted. Shame on you!

    David, you honestly don’t think that James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Jeffrey Meyers, Doug Wilson, Rich Lusk, Steve Wilkins, and all of the other major FV ‘thinkers’ haven’t read and digested the traditional Reformed dogmatics? They went to the same Seminaries as everyone else in this catfight, brother.

    So what? Aside from the fact that some prominent FVers never went to seminary, they haven’t interacted with the great Reformed fathers in a way that proves our Reformed forebearers wrong to the satisfaction of the overwhelming majority of their brothers in seven denominations and beyond. Cherry-picking quotes from great Reformed works combined with pointless, acerbic “wit” is the childish approach most of the FVers have chosen. The onus is on them to take Reformers’ arguments as a whole, interact with them as a whole, and show where they erred. Not one of the FVers is apparently capable of that task. If they want to rewrite Reformed theology, then they should do it in a professional manner and quit whining on blogs and in self-published stuff. Otherwise, they are just a sad side note of error.

    So, if you want to make a serious theological argument, go for it. Just please give up the simple recitation of your tutors’ talking points.

  26. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Hmm, apparently the “ego” comment hit a little too close to home. What else would lead you to accuse me of “belittling” the blood of martyrs and the purity of the gospel, and blah, blah, blah… none of which could be gathered from anything I’ve said here.

  27. Machaira said,

    January 24, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    #20

    Luther and Calvin would beat the crap out of you if they were here today and saw how you treat their words. If nothing else, they’d be disappointed at the lack of maturity we’ve made since the 16th century. Let’s all own up to reality here.

    Gabe,

    I really think you should speak for yourself on this, as I have demonstrated twice now on my own blog. I also understand that you are a candidate for ministry and hope that this maturity of which you speak becomes evident in you before the OV Presbytery unleashes you on a congregation.

  28. January 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Gabe,

    Your words:

    As for me, I have read Hodge, Dabney, Turretin, Witsius, Calvin, Berkhof (several times), and others in their entirety. Big deal.

    At the end of the day, that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, David. [bold added]

    And if you want to see some huge egos, you are on the wrong blog. I can recommend some FV ones to you, though. Now, can we get back to substantive theology?

  29. Gabe Martini said,

    January 24, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Machaira,

    I’m afraid that you seem to have missed my point — in fact, seemingly only motivated in an effort to “belittle” me. Again, to you I must say “that’s a disappointing response”, but to clarify anyway:

    Luther and Calvin would be upset to know some of us in the Reformed tradition idolize their words this long after they’ve been dead. They were radical thinkers in their day, and were spoken of in the same way by the Roman Church that every radical thinker since then has been spoken of.

    They were, at one time, not the old, dead guys.

    I love and respect them both, but I also realize they could’ve missed the mark on a lot of issues; I only realize this, by God’s grace, through His Word and careful consideration of it. I don’t flippantly dismiss our fathers in the faith, as some on here apparently assume. Not at all. In fact, my respect for them in this way is the very reason I could never — and will never — go to Rome, or Constantinople for that matter. They are both dead-end streets headed backwards — as is traditionalism, which I fear I am sensing all over the place on this blog. That’s a genuine concern, too.

    Traditionalism is not my cup of tea, but I very much appreciate Sola Scriptura and the need for a progressing, maturing faith grounded in and in submission to God’s Word.

    That is what I meant by maturity, sir, and your (I would consider, at least) misguided desire to paint me as immature (because I disagree with you on theological issues, if nothing else) — based on no first-hand knowledge or experience that you might’ve had — is, well, hollow.

    Mr. Mattes,

    I don’t want to see any huge egos, but only a huge ego would be so bruised by the prospect of being in error or mis-understanding others. I’m not saying you’re doing this personally, and the more you speak, the more I realize you genuinely believe that what you’re saying is true. This isn’t anything political for you, and I very much respect and appreciate that. I wouldn’t have thought so to begin with, and that is my sin to repent of, but I can tell you genuinely care about the faith. Nevertheless, I strongly disagree with you on some points, but, to respond to your statement, “can we get back to substantive theology”, I must say, we have been. Being of “one mind” in the Church is theology and it is a doctrinal issue. And, furthermore, being of “one mind” in the Scripture does not entail everyone agreeing on all points of propositional minutae — it means suffering long with one another, respecting each other, forgiving one another as Christ forgave us, and being charitable above all things. Believing the best of others, not the worst. And so on.

    This is a doctrinal issue, brother. It really is.

  30. January 24, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Well, being David’s wife (hehe), I must say — well first, hello! I hope it’s okay if I post here :I — to Gabe, that I know how Dave writes and speaks, and what he believes. In no way does he intend to convey “idolizing” the mentioned ancient reformed writers. And you are correct in that Scripture is THE determining factor in theological disputes. Rather, I know that Dave (and others) find ancient writers such as Turretin reliable primarily *because* of their works’ biblical reliability.

    And as well, Turretin (for example) knew his reformed stuff and how to support it (biblically). Turretin was one smart dude, having been immersed into the conflict of reformed theology and the theology of Moise Amyraut, he proved to know his Bible well, even writing a work full of biblical exposition and logical insight, Institutio, which was considered a foundational work in his day.

    No idolizing. And all men are sinners. Scripture is the final authority… why works from folks like Turretin, Calvin, John Piper, John MacArthur, and others are respected by Christians and used in debate.

  31. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 24, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Hey Gabe,

    I have a lot of sympathy for sola scriptura over against the traditions of men. Oddly enough, so does WCoF 1.10.

    And so in the back of my mind, even when I argue Calvin up and down, I’m not arguing “Thus saith the Calvin…”

    The reason I find myself appealing to Calvin a whole lot is that the FV discussion has operated on several entangled levels. On the one level, the FV has claimed the mantle of historic Reformed theology. On another, it has claimed the mantle of being what the Bible teaches, regardless. (On yet another, it has claimed the pastoral high ground of providing real assurance over against endless introspection, but that’s less relevant here).

    Please understand that in my posts concerning Calvin and baptism, for instance, I’m not appealing to Calvin as a final arbiter of truth. Rather, I’m engaged in the other argument, appealing to Calvin as a benchmark for historic Reformed theology.

    That’s all. I admit, it can be confusing at times to tell which argument is being engaged in.

    A second point, if I may. And take this as a personal reflection, not as gospel truth.

    The structure of many of the arguments in “The Federal Vision” is essentially, “current common teaching/practice in Reformed churches is broken in X way; here’s how to fix it.”

    Some of that lingo creeps into your own statements:

    Seminary curriculum is embarrasingly bad these days, and completely divorced from the life of the Church, where theology belongs — not in the academy. — from an RTS grad who has deliberately chosen the church instead of the academy, Thanks a Lot! :)

    If, after years of study, we find that parts of the Reformed tradition are in error in this regard … then we should acknowledge the error, and find a way to be more in line with God’s Word. — so what happens if I happen to believe that the Bible teaches that part of the Reformed tradition?

    This approach is that it says, “You guys have a real problem, and we’re here to fix you.”

    And of course, being “fixed” is never pleasant at best, and requires some elements: Trust, Buy-In, Relationship. And those elements simply were not garnered in most cases. Granted that the FV folk made the effort to be checked out by their presbyteries; still and all, that’s not a sufficient threshold to garner the trust needed to start Reforming one’s neighbor.

    But more importantly, that approach made the preamble to the “Federal Vision” statement: “The following brief statement therefore should be understood as being in harmony with those other confessional commitments [3FU, WCoF], a supplement to them, and not an example of generating another system of doctrine” take on an ambiguous meaning.

    People begin to wonder: If FV is in harmony with WCoF, then why do all those folk who subscribe to WCoF need “fixing”? Could it be that the FV views their “supplement” as a new minimum standard for doctrinal orthodoxy?

    And the whole thing just went downhill from there.

    I don’t want to ascribe all the downward motion to one side; I suspect that we can never unravel the complicated motives that drive the conflict between, say, LAP and Carolina.

    All I’m saying is that if we want to strive for Eph 4.14ff, as you alluded to in #29, then there will have to be a paradigm shift in the conversation, from fixing to collegiality. Clearly, the responsibility for that is not all on one side. That’s just what is needed here — or else train wreck.

    And yes, I recognize the self-referential criticism in my words. Pot, I’m kettle.

    Jeff

  32. Kyle said,

    January 24, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    It would be a nice starting place, Gabe, if you or Wilson of Jordan or any of the other FVers might demonstrate how and where Turretin and Berkhof are wrong and unbiblical, and why David Gadbois is a Romanist for regarding their exegesis as correct and foundational over against the Federal Vision.

    Frankly, I always find it ironic how Federal Visionists go on about “the Reformed tradition, the Reformed tradition, the Reformed tradition,” lambasting the “baptistic” masses that apparently compose the majority in self-described “Reformed and Presbyterian” chuches—only to ignore and dismiss the great thinkers of the Reformed tradition, whose greatness is guaged in accordace with their fidelity to Scripture and their ability to teach and systematize its sacred doctrines with clarity, by reverting to a seeming close cousin of the “me and my Bible” syndrome that haunts baptistic American Christianity.

    It is especially alarming, when we who oppose FV really do think that the implications go to the very heart of the Reformation—justification by faith alone—to hear the response of semper reformanda, as though the Reformation didn’t actually settle or decide anything.

  33. Ron Henzel said,

    January 24, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Gabe,

    Out of one side of their mouths Federal Visionists claim to have recovered the true Reformed position. When that fails, out of the other side of their mouths Federal Visionists try to turn the Reformed tradition against itself by elevating the fringe opinions of peripheral figures to discredit the historic Reformed mainstream. When that doesn’t work, they speak out of the other side of their mouths, denouncing any systematic approach to theology that gets in their way. I see you have now mastered the art of speaking out of all three sides of your mouth at once.

  34. January 24, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Jeff said, “…from an RTS grad who has deliberately chosen the church instead of the academy, Thanks a Lot! :)”

    haha, oh man I wish I could go to Seminary! But alas, no more single freedom. Dave had to come along and marry me. ;)

  35. greenbaggins said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Denae, welcome to my blog, and congrats on your marriage! May you be blessed with many forthcoming arrows to shoot out into the world.

  36. January 25, 2008 at 12:15 am

    haha :) well thank you. I really enjoy reading your blog. I’m actually fairly newly reformed. Dave’s helped me a lot with its history.

    :)

  37. Gabe Martini said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Maybe you aren’t aware, since I’m not famous or anything, but I was a staunch ‘TR’ for several years before becoming sympathetic to the FV. I was very outspoken against the FV. I understand, respect, and appreciate the Reformed tradition very much. I practically have Berkhof memorized. I have come out on the other side of my studies and experiences appreciating more and more of the nuances of the FV, its as simple as that. Just thought you should know. I fully admit that the FV is nuanced, and novel at certain points. I also believe it stands firmly within the Reformed tradition on several points. When we lump things together (like FV/NPP) so as to dismiss them, we don’t make things easier — it’s just laziness. One of the good things about this blog is discerning the issues one at a time, for better or for worse. Please keep that up, fellas, and pursue peace and love above all.

  38. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 2:44 am

    No FVer wants to correct the Reformed Faith per se, contra several assertions here, except for paedocommunion. That is openly admitted. The realissue is that many of you Antis have departed from the RF on many points, and we are trying to open your eyes to the fulness of the RF on certain issues.

    I repeat, the main problem is not the RF itself, but many of you who believe that you are the epitome of Calvinism when you are not.

    That is not too say that you are not TULIPs at all. You are certainly predestinarian, but dare I say that predestination is not enough? What about Reformed Pastoral Theology, the application of salvation to the elect through the means that God has appointed, the holy catholic Church, IOW the way that the Faith is meant to be lived by us? It is believed that your ecclesiology is deficient.

    What about the grace that is truly exhibited and conferred in the sacraments? It is believed that your sacramentology is semi-baptistic, and in many cases you hold views that the Reformers rejected.

    How many of you agree with the Turretin passage that I quoted on this thread, that Roman baptismal theology is too low in restricting justification to past sins, but excluding future ones? How interesting that there has been no substantive interaction with that! I am not the least bit surprised, since it must be a huge shock for you all.

    What about the normal perspective of the scriptures, which is covenantal and historical, not atemporal. It is believed that your exegetical methods are over-skewed in the decretal direction, resulting in significant distortions of the Bible.

    So please understand that it is not the Reformed Faith itself that requires revision, but yourselves.

    Finally, no FVer known to me thinks of you as reprobate heretics, but brothers. Your errors are not soul-damning heresies, but mistakes.

    Peace

  39. David Gadbois said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Gabe said “To assert without any proof (and it really is an utterly false assertion if you examine even a handful of FV writers and the sources they interact with) that FV men ignore the Reformed tradition or worse are IGNORANT of it, is simply just that; an assertion.”

    Aside from mistakenly thinking that Lusk and Wilson went to seminary, I should say that the proof is in their writings. I don’t know if you’ve ever been a teacher, but when most teachers receive written work turned in by their students, they are able to spot whether or not the student has done the assigned reading by examining the content and argument the student has written. It is the same for FV – if they had taken the arguments of classic Reformed divines seriously, they’d have at least shaped their arguments differently. FVers have put forward the *very error Turretin corrects*, and neither Leithart nor Lusk show any indication that folks have dealt with this before.

    “If, after years of study, we find that parts of the Reformed tradition are in error in this regard — which we certainly have, I don’t know of a single PCA presbytery where at least 75% of the men don’t take exceptions on the Sabbath, for example — then we should acknowledge the error, and find a way to be more in line with God’s Word.”

    Yes, presbyterians take exceptions to things like the Sabbath. Not things like justification. There are weightier matters of the law, as it were, that you don’t just tinker with. To my understanding, the PCA and OPC don’t allow exceptions on the chapter on election and justification. And you’ll notice that the Three Forms of Unity (the confessional standards I subscribe to *quia*, not *quatenus*) that the continental reformed tradition is under says the exact same thing about justification as the Westminster standards (while not taking any stance on Sabbath issues as WS do).

    There is certainly a legitimate diversity of opinion within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy, but justification just isn’t one of those things that is up for grabs. Gabe, why should I even have to explain this?

    “Sometimes we even have to break down a few buildings and re-think the whole thing. That’s how the world works, according to God’s plan. Death and resurrection. Creation and maturity.”

    Actually, that sounds more cyclical (reflecting Eastern patterns of thoughts) than like a linear progressive sanctification of the church. If the Reformed have been wrong on justification, let’s all just pack up our bags and close up shop. To do otherwise would be to build on a shaky foundation. And we could save our tithe and sleep on Sunday mornings.

  40. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Re Doug Wilson never having been to seminary, has anyone mentioned that he has an M.A.? And has anyone mentioned that for centuries the English Reformed Church did not require a theology degree, but a degree of any sort, to be admitted to the Pastorate?

    What one did to enter the church was the required post-graduate reading in theology, and then in your own time present yourself to a Bishop for examination and acceptance. It worked well, and the present trouble with that church has largely coincided with the development of degrees in theology as a requirement. Interesting.

    Did Luther or Calvin have degrees in Reformed theology? They had degrees in Roman Theology, Law, and Humanities. Their humanist education gave them the skills they needed to deal with literature properly.

  41. Ron Henzel said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Gabe,

    You wrote:

    Maybe you aren’t aware, since I’m not famous or anything, but I was a staunch ‘TR’ for several years before becoming sympathetic to the FV. I was very outspoken against the FV.

    For several years I was simply confused by the FV. After all, John Frame was saying nice things about the FVers. A man well-known for his Reformed positions, and who use to attend the same church I did—John Armstrong—started assuring people it wasn’t heresy. What was I to think?

    But then I purchased Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros & Cons, “Reformed” Is Not Enough, and The Federal Vision. It took me but a short time to realize that this movement represented not only a significant departure from the Reformed standards, but outright heresy. It takes Arminianism several more steps back in the direction of Rome, and at various points the FVers own work shows that they do not even know how to read the Westminster standards. A case in point is found on page 103 of “Reformed” Is Not Enough, where Doug Wilson cites WCF 28:1 and then writes, “Raise your hand if you knew that the Westminster Confession taught baptismal regneration—but more on this in a moment.” The theological dyslexia here, as Gary Johnson calls it, is positively stupefying.

    You wrote:

    I understand, respect, and appreciate the Reformed tradition very much.

    I am confident that you truly believe this. I find the errors in this declaration forgivable primarily because I think you’re overly confident in your use of the first verb in your sentence.

    I practically have Berkhof memorized.

    I’m a middle school teacher. In my profession, we’re required to assess students on the basis of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which places knowledge in the cognitive domain of learning, but at the bottom of the list of skills in that domain. Higher than knowledge are comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, in that order. Unless my students can show that they comprehend what the words they’ve memorized mean (by reciting them back to me in their own words), and then apply that meaning to a concrete situation, and then take apart and identify the individual concepts involved (analysis), take those parts and show how they can be attached to other concepts (synthesis), and then evaluate the original content I tried to teach them on the basis of all these skills, I can’t honestly say they’ve learned the material at a very deep level. And yet kids think they “know” something simply because they’ve memorized some words. I have learned that this is a trap that adults are especially prone to falling into with respect to theology. Sometimes it takes years just to master Bloom’s synthesis skill in one particular point of soteriology.

    I have come out on the other side of my studies and experiences appreciating more and more of the nuances of the FV, its as simple as that. Just thought you should know.

    Great! Now you’ve demonstrated competency with FV up to the level of comprehension, and possibly analysis. When you’ve demonstrated synthesis to a sufficient level to make your evaluation credible, your TR brethren will let you know!

    I fully admit that the FV is nuanced, and novel at certain points. I also believe it stands firmly within the Reformed tradition on several points.

    Well, I believe that others here have demonstrated the learning skills up through the level of evaluation that call into serious question whether you could have possibly done the same.

    When we lump things together (like FV/NPP) so as to dismiss them, we don’t make things easier — it’s just laziness.

    Now I see you regressing in your use of learning skills. I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time, and the evidence I’ve seen shows that the other learners here have successfully analyzed both FV and NPP to know that they are separate schools of thought. All they’ve done through the analysis and synthesis skills is to successfully demonstrate how the two schools share components and are similar to each other.

    One of the good things about this blog is discerning the issues one at a time, for better or for worse. Please keep that up, fellas, and pursue peace and love above all.

    Discerning the issues “for better or worse?” What you so generously give with your right hand you seem to take away with your left.

  42. January 25, 2008 at 7:10 am

    curate,

    The truth about DW and Lusk’s lack of seminary education was a correction to Gabe’s mistaken assertion that they did attend seminary in comment #20. Any comparison between these two–or any of us–with Calvin or Luther is just nuts. While one doesn’t technically require a seminary degree according to the BCO to be ordained in the PCA, every prospective TE does have to go through detailed ordination exams, including the original languages, and undergo an extensive examination by their Presbytery. This isn’t a slam against anyone, just a statement of facts made in opposition to the assertion made in #20. I’m certainly willing to be corrected if you can prove otherwise, but if I were you, I’d pick a different line of argumentation. This thread is about theology, not people’s credentials.

  43. January 25, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Gabe, RE #29,

    This isn’t anything political for you, and I very much respect and appreciate that. I wouldn’t have thought so to begin with, and that is my sin to repent of, but I can tell you genuinely care about the faith. Nevertheless, I strongly disagree with you on some points,

    Thank you for recognizing that. Though I disagree strongly with FV theology, I, too, believe that the FV proponents here like yourself honestly believe that for which you argue. I wouldn’t bother with the discussion if I didn’t believe that.

  44. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Ref. 42

    I am not making an argument, but pointing out that DW is in possession of a Masters Degree, and that for centuries Pastors did not require a degree in theology.

    The point about Luther and Calvin is that the greatest and the goodest were not educated at a Reformed Seminary, and to my mind that speaks volumes.

  45. Roger Mann said,

    January 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Here’s a great passage showing what John Owen thought of a first and second (or “final justification”). Apparently, Owen and Turretin were on the same page on this point, while the FVists are off the page:

    (5.) There is that in the Scripture ascribed unto our first justification, if they will needs call it so, as leaves no room for their second feigned justification; for the sole foundation and pretence of this distinction is a denial of those things to belong unto our justification by the blood of Christ which the Scripture expressly assigns unto it. Let us take out some instances of what belongs unto the first, and we shall quickly see how little it is, yea, that there is nothing left for the pretended second justification. For, — [1.] Therein do we receive the complete “pardon and forgiveness of our sins,” Rom. iv. 6, 7; Eph. i. 7; iv. 32; Acts xxvi. 18. [2.] Thereby are we “made righteous,” Rom. v. 19; x. 4; and, [3.] Are freed from condemnation, judgment, and death, John iii. 16, 19; v. 25; Rom. viii. 1; [4.] Are reconciled unto God, Rom. v. 9, 10; 2 Cor. v. 21; and, [5.] Have peace unto him, and access into the favour wherein we stand by grace, with the advantages and consolations that depend thereon in a sense of his love, Rom. v. 1–5. And, [6.] We have adoption therewithal, and all its privileges, John i. 12; and, in particular, [7.] A right and title unto the whole inheritance of glory, Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. viii. 17. And, [8.] Hereon eternal life does follow, Rom. viii. 30; vi. 23. Which things will be again immediately spoken unto upon another occasion. And if there be anything now left for their second justification to do, as such, let them take it as their own; these things are all of them ours, or do belong unto that one justification which we do assert. Wherefore it is evident, that either the first justification overthrows the second, rendering it needless; or the second destroys the first, by taking away what essentially belongs unto it: we must therefore part with the one or the other, for consistent they are not. But that which gives countenance unto the fiction and artifice of this distinction, and a great many more, is a dislike of the doctrine of the grace of God, and justification from thence, by faith in the blood of Christ; which some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a pretended sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own righteousness in its robes, and exalt it into the room and dignity thereof. (Doctrine of Justification by Faith, V, 1.)

  46. January 25, 2008 at 10:16 am

    The fact that DW doesn’t have a seminary degree (from an approved TR seminary) and is a leading light in FV thought, IMO plays a signifiacant role, if even in the back drop, to this debate. I get the impression some TR’s don’t feel DW is worthy of their time, simply because he could not possible be their academic equal. Yet over and again, I’ve seen TR’s refuse to even debate him.

    I think it is foolish or naive to think denominations and seminaries don’t play favorites to their own. Is it “technically” possible for a self taught man to receive credentials and ordination in the PCA, OPC or other TR church? Yes, techncially it’s possible. But the simple truth of the matter is, very few (if any) qualified men are going to placed in these churches because the seminaries and the churches are going to look out for their own graduates and ensure them a position first.

    I believe, though this may not be pretty, it’s the truth.

    I apologize for veering off from topic on this post.

  47. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Ref. 45 First and Second Justification

    If we mean by a second justification the imputation of righteousness to those who do not work but trust God who justifies the ungodly, then it is an abomination to be abhorred of all Christian men.

    If, on the other hand, we mean by a second justification the imputation of righteousness to those who, having been justified apart from works, are later declared to be righteous on the basis of their works performed in faith, not for the remission of sins, but for a declaration by God that they are godly in their actions, then there is no problem.

    Both are declarations of righteousness, but the first is to the ungodly, and the second is to those who have been justified sola fide and then produce a harvest of good works subsequently.

    Both are rightly called justifications, because they are judgements, but there must be no illegitimate totality transfer of meaning between them.

  48. Ron said,

    January 25, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Nicely done Curate. What is also abominable is the equivocal language that too often plagues these discussions. I have often wondered when considering certain Federal Visionists whether they actually deny Reformed teaching or are simply muddled in their thinking. To say the least, I’ve been very unimpressed with their theological precision. (Truth be told, I’m no more impressed with the men from Escondido.) With respect to those FV’ists who at least have made some attempt to clarify their statements, I find it troubling that they don’t withdrawal themselves from those who if taken literally still deny essential Reformed teaching.

    May we strive to be truthful in all our dealings.

    Ron

  49. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 25, 2008 at 11:59 am

    So here’s a distinguishing question:

    Is the judgment that occurs (and it certainly does — Matt. 26, Rev. 20) a judgment that

    (a) decides one’s place in the afterlife (to put it really crudely!),
    (b) confirms one’s place in the afterlife, or
    (c) vindicates to all the decision already made in the first justification?

    I think *that* question is the dividing line between sound and unsound theories of justification.

    Jeff Cagle

  50. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    A and C are not mutually exclusive.

  51. Ron said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Mark,

    If the last judgment vindicates the first decision (and the first decision is irrevocable), then in what sense is a decision rendered at the last the judgment? What is left undecided that must be decided upon? What is it to decide something after all? That a decision is to be broadcasted to a watching world does not imply that anything is left undecided. In fact, it presupposes the opposite.

    Ron

  52. Roger Mann said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    49: Mark Horne wrote,

    A and C are not mutually exclusive.

    Please, there is only one justification/judgment that “decides one’s place in the afterlife” — justification by faith alone, apart from works of any kind!

    “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” — John 5:24

    “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” — Romans 5:1-2

  53. Roger Mann said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    47: Curate, here’s another pertinent John Owen quote you should read carefully:

    The examples of them that did believe, and were justified, which are recorded in the Scripture, do all bear witness unto the same truth. The continuation of the justification of Abraham before God is declared to have been by faith only, Rom. iv. 3; for the instance of his justification, given by the apostle from Gen. xv. 6, was long after he was justified absolutely. And if our first justification, and the continuation of it, did not depend absolutely on the same cause [i.e., faith alone], the instance of the one could not be produced for a proof of the way and means of the other, as here they are. And David, when a justified believer, not only places the blessedness of man in the free remission of sins, in opposition unto his own works in general, Rom. iv. 6, 7, but, in his own particular case, ascribes the continuation of his justification and acceptation before God unto grace, mercy, and forgiveness alone; which are no otherwise received but by faith, Ps. cxxx. 3–5; cxliii. 2. All other works and duties of obedience do accompany faith in the continuation of our justified estate, as necessary effects and fruits of it, but not as causes, means, or conditions, whereon that effect is suspended. It is patient waiting by faith that brings in the full accomplishment of the promises, Heb. vi. 12, 15. Wherefore, there is but one justification, and that of one kind only [i.e., faith alone], wherein we are concerned in this disputation, — the Scripture makes mention of no more; and that is the justification of an ungodly person by faith. Nor shall we admit of the consideration of any other. For if there be a second justification, it must be of the same kind with the first, or of another; — if it be of the same kind, then the same person is often justified with the same kind of justification, or at least more than once; and so on just reason ought to be often baptized; — if it be not of the same kind, then the same person is justified before God with two sorts of justification; of both which the Scripture is utterly silent. And [so] the continuation of our justification depends solely on the same cause with our justification itself [i.e., faith apart from works]. (Doctrine of Justification by Faith)

  54. Anne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Setting aside whether A and C are mutually exclusive, the real question is whether or not the set of people initially justified are the same set of people – no more, no fewer – that are justified, i.e. “vindicated”, at the end.

    Traditional Reformed theology says yes, they are identical.

    I’m thinking to the FV they are not the same, with the number of people initially justified being larger than the number of people vindicated at the end.

  55. Ron Henzel said,

    January 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Anne wrote:

    …the real question is whether or not the set of people initially justified are the same set of people – no more, no fewer – that are justified, i.e. “vindicated”, at the end.

    I think another question would be whether those who are justified at the end are more justified than they were when they were “initially justified.” This seems to me to be an inevitable consequence if “final justification” is based on works. If so, then justification must be a process analogous to the doctrine of justification posited in Roman Catholic theology, thus calling into question the basis of the Protestant Reformation.

  56. Gabe Martini said,

    January 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Re: #39– Yes, presbyterians take exceptions to things like the Sabbath. Not things like justification.

    I don’t take an exception to anything the WCF says about Justification, fwiw.

  57. Roger Mann said,

    January 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Here’s another pertinent John Owen quote that FVists should read carefully:

    The examples of them that did believe, and were justified, which are recorded in the Scripture, do all bear witness unto the same truth. The continuation of the justification of Abraham before God is declared to have been by faith only, Rom. iv. 3; for the instance of his justification, given by the apostle from Gen. xv. 6, was long after he was justified absolutely. And if our first justification, and the continuation of it, did not depend absolutely on the same cause [i.e., faith alone], the instance of the one could not be produced for a proof of the way and means of the other, as here they are. And David, when a justified believer, not only places the blessedness of man in the free remission of sins, in opposition unto his own works in general, Rom. iv. 6, 7, but, in his own particular case, ascribes the continuation of his justification and acceptation before God unto grace, mercy, and forgiveness alone; which are no otherwise received but by faith, Ps. cxxx. 3–5; cxliii. 2. All other works and duties of obedience do accompany faith in the continuation of our justified estate, as necessary effects and fruits of it, but not as causes, means, or conditions, whereon that effect is suspended. It is patient waiting by faith that brings in the full accomplishment of the promises, Heb. vi. 12, 15. Wherefore, there is but one justification, and that of one kind only [i.e., faith alone], wherein we are concerned in this disputation, — the Scripture makes mention of no more; and that is the justification of an ungodly person by faith. Nor shall we admit of the consideration of any other. For if there be a second justification, it must be of the same kind with the first, or of another; — if it be of the same kind, then the same person is often justified with the same kind of justification, or at least more than once; and so on just reason ought to be often baptized; — if it be not of the same kind, then the same person is justified before God with two sorts of justification; of both which the Scripture is utterly silent. And [so] the continuation of our justification depends solely on the same cause with our justification itself [i.e., faith apart from works]. (Doctrine of Justification by Faith)

  58. Ron said,

    January 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    “Re: #39– Yes, presbyterians take exceptions to things like the Sabbath. Not things like justification.”

    Yes, Presbyterians all too often take exception to God’s moral law but they love the doctrine of forgiveness. Dispensational thinking can be convenient during football season.

    Ron

  59. January 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    This has already been addressed.

    “The future aspect is merely a public acknowledgment of what has already happened on the basis of Christ’s work. That judgment in the future has already been brought into the present in all its finality. There is nothing uncertain about our standing before Christ if we be justified now. We are not going to plead our own works on the day of judgment as the reason why we should be openly acquitted.”

    https://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2006/09/

  60. its.reed said,

    January 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Ref. #50:

    And this is the kind of equivocation that does not advance any conversation.

  61. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 25, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    David Mc,

    Thanks for the link. I like the way in which Lane puts the question.

    JRC (#48):

    Is the judgment that occurs (and it certainly does — Matt. 26, Rev. 20) a judgment that

    (a) decides one’s place in the afterlife (to put it really crudely!),
    (b) confirms one’s place in the afterlife, or
    (c) vindicates to all the decision already made in the first justification?

    MH (#49):

    A and C are not mutually exclusive.

    JRC: *blinks*.

    OK, maybe we’re talking past each other.

    (a) intends that at the moment of judgment, the decision of eternal life or eternal judgment has not yet been made, and that some work we have done will be the contingent basis on which that decision is made.

    (b) intends that at the moment of judgment, the decision of eternal life or eternal judgment has already been made, and that the works are presented to the one judged as the confirming evidence for the judgment.

    (c) intends that at the moment of judgment, the decision of eternal life or eternal judgment has already been made, and that the works are presented to the world as confirming evidence for the judgment.

    It seems like (a) is incompatible with (b) and (c), though (b) and (c) might be compatible.

    What did you have in mind?

    Jeff Cagle

  62. January 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    All,

    I think Mike Horton’s point is a powerful one (in Covenant and Salvation) in which he says, contra Wright in this case, that the claim that initial justification has one basis (Christ’s work received by faith) while final justification has another (the whole of one’s life) demands that we forfeit the claim that we are talking about one justification that has intruded eschatologically from the future into the present.

    To put it more simply for those without seminary degrees (relax, I’m just kidding): If our present acquittal is the inbreaking of the future verdict, then there simply cannot be two bases or reasons for these present and future acquittals.

    So the FV claim seems to posit two distinct justifications, rather than a single justification whose future verdict we receive proleptically now.

  63. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Re: #41

    Ron, you may want to try practicing some of those cognitive-domain skills you’re hammering Gabe on. Instead of cherry-picking one sentence from a guy who admittedly likes hyperbole and tends to use it to grab attention, you could look at the rest of the section, which explicitly argues against Rome’s view of baptism and asserts several times that baptism is only efficacious unto salvation for the elect (pp. 104 & 107), or the previous portion, in which he is arguing against both Rome and against those who think that baptism has nothing to do with salvation, who act like baptism didn’t actually seal anything at all.

    Re: #48

    Jeff, would you accept as orthodox the idea that B and C are not mutually exclusive? Could that judgment have a confirming role for the subject, and a vindicating role for any observers? I suppose we would have to qualify the terms properly…

    Re: #51

    Wilkins certainly doesn’t say that, since he reverses Turretin’s direction in having true justification in the present be the final verdict applied to us now. The reprobate, whose final verdict will be guilty, is not justified now–only “justified” (!) Therefore, the only people who receive true justification in the present are those who will received the final one at the end; thus, the number is determined by the end and does not actually increase. Nota bene: this how Wilkins uses the terms. As I have stated on this site, I would not use the term justification to refer to a temporary benefit bestowed upon the reprobate.

    Re: #52

    Actually, Thomas’ view of justification was that it was instantaneous:
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2113.htm#7

    So, that can’t be the difference. For Thomas, though, justification is explicitly infusion of grace (sigh–there’s some of Thomas I like so much…but not that!), rather than anything external. The FV, however, denies that grace is even something that can be infused: it is relational, the favorable attitude of God toward something. So, no Romanism here for the FV.

  64. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Re: #63

    I haven’t read Cov’t and Salvation yet, but I’m not surprised that Mike reverses Turretin’s direction, given the eschatological bent of WSC’s perspective (which I’m in favor of, by the way!). Nota bene: Turretin argues that the future one is nothing more than the public version of the real, current one (as in #59), while Mike argues that the current one is the inbreaking of the future one. As does Wilkins, oddly enough.

    Help me out here, though. The future judgment certainly has *something* to with works: those judged will receive “according to” their deeds, in WCF, which, while certainly distinguished from “on the basis of,” still concerns works in some way. But if that future judgment which has something to do with works is brought into the present as justification, how is that justification apart from works. And this is an honest question: I don’t have access to Mike’s book here where I am…

  65. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    And Jeff, #62 seems to answer my question in #64, since you suggest that b) & c) may be compatible…

  66. January 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Joshua,

    Before I start, I will ask all FV lurkers to pardon my stubborn insistence on employing confessional nomenclature in what I’m about to say. I know we’re supposed to “use the language of the Bible,” but as a WSC grad for whom, according to Horne, the Bible falls miserably short of the glory of the Westminster Standards, I will proceed with an attempt to answer your question from a confessionalist’s perspective.

    Whew! That caveat wore me out….

    Confessionally speaking, “justification” refers only to the present verdict, not to the future vindication. Of the latter, the Confession speaks of our being “openly acknowledged and acquitted” by means of our works being brought forth. Then, we turn around and participate in the judgment of the wicked.

    We have to keep clear, I think, the idea that the final judgment doesn’t determine our destiny, with our works being the arbiting factor. Rather, we are separated from the goats (Matt. 25) before works even enter the discussion.

    So any FV proponent in a presbyterian denomination, if he insists on “using the language of the Bible” to say that final justification is partly in accordance with works, should be made to take an exception to the statement in the Confession that says that “justification is irrespective of anythingor wrought in, or done by, us.”

    Does that make sense?

  67. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Jason,

    Sure, it makes sense. Regardless of whatever sympathies I may have with elements of the FV, or the fact that certain members of this blog have i.d.’ed me as FV, I agree with you. I don’t use the term justification for the verdict rendered at the final judgment, as you may have noticed, in #65.

    But I’m not sure you answered my question. “If our present acquittal is the inbreaking of the future verdict” and that future verdict (not called justification!) has something to do with works, then doesn’t our present acquittal have something to do with works? Again, I’m just wondering whether and how Mike addresses this, or how you would.

    The “inbreaking” idea seems to me to indicate that the final verdict is logically prior, that it is the ground of our present verdict. But that final verdict does concern works in some way: it is not entirely apart from works, even according to the confession. So, wouldn’t that mean that if the ground of the present acquittal is the future verdict, and the future verdict has something to do with works, that therefore the present acquittal has something to do with works (even if very “downstream” or indirect)?

    Have I misconstrued the nature of the “inbreaking”? Does it not make the future verdict the grounds of the present acquittal? Or is Mike’s point that the future verdict, just like the present acquittal, must be entirely apart from works? If the latter, how does that square with the confession, in which works have something to do with the final verdict?

  68. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Greetings, fellow WSC grad, by the way–HT, class of 2002…so by my diploma I’m technically a graduate of WTSC.

  69. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Ref. 67

    Confessionally speaking, “justification” refers only to the present verdict, not to the future vindication. Of the latter, the Confession speaks of our being“openly acknowledged and acquitted” by means of our works being brought forth.

    Would you say that being openly acknowledged and acquitted is the same thing semantically as being justified? If not, then why not?

    So any FV proponent in a presbyterian denomination, if he insists on “using the language of the Bible” to say that final justification is partly in accordance with works, should be made to take an exception to the statement in the Confession that says that “justification is irrespective of anythingor wrought in, or done by, us.”

    According to this argument James the brother of Jesus would be refused ordination as a Presbyterian, for he says: You see that man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

  70. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Revisiting #41:

    Um, maybe folks on this blog have not blurred the NPP and FV, but some have: see Scott Clark here: http://www.wscal.edu/clark/tuning.php

    “Together these parallel movements [Shepherd and NPP] converged in a series of conferences at Auburn Avenue Church and they gave themselves the name: The Federal Vision.”

    So, Gabe is on good grounds for protesting a confusion of these things, when as prominent a critic as Clark does so.

  71. Ron Henzel said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Joshua,

    You wrote:

    For Thomas, though, justification is explicitly infusion of grace (sigh–there’s some of Thomas I like so much…but not that!), rather than anything external. The FV, however, denies that grace is even something that can be infused: it is relational, the favorable attitude of God toward something.

    This doesn’t seem to square well with statements from Peter Leithart like, “…the Protestant doctrine has been too rigid in separating justification and sanctification…” (“‘Judge Me, O God’: Biblical Perspectives on Justification,” in Wilkins and Garner, eds., The Federal Vision, 211), and “justifying” is never merely declaring a verdict” (ibid., 213; emphasis his), and “justification and definitive sanctification are two ways of describing the same act” (ibid., 227). Leithart’s argument in 208ff. seems to be that he actually disagrees with Turretin’s position that “even if ‘justify’ does not always mean ‘to pronounce just,’ it never carries the ‘physical sense’ of infusion” (ibid., 208).

  72. January 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Curate,

    No, I would not say that our final vindication (or, our “open acknowledgement and acquittal”) is “the same thing” as our present justification.

    My reason for this is that the divines go out of their way to exclude from justification any works done in or wrought by us. But at the final judgment, our works will indeed play a role in our vindication.

    So the conclusion seems warranted, as most of our theologians have stated, that the role our works play is neither non-existent nor ultimately decisive. Rather, they are brought forth to demonstrate to the wicked and to the devil, and to any other accusers, that we truly belonged to God all along.

  73. January 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Re: 71, how does saying that one movement (FV) involves a convergence of two other movements (NPP and Shepherd) the same thing as confusing or identifying the two movements? Especially when the former constantly cites the latter two?

  74. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Ref. 73

    If acquittal and vindication do not mean justification, then we are not acquitted now. I can’t see how that conclusion can be avoided.

    How do you explain James’s use of the verb “to justify” when he says that we are justified by works, not by faith only, if works have nothing at all to do with justification? Was he a bad Presbyterian?

  75. Machaira said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    #71

    Dr. Kim Riddlebarger points out that while NPP and FV are not the same, there are significant similarities and overlap between them.

    You can listen to the lectures here – http://christreformedinfo.squarespace.com/mp3s-and-real-audio-of-academy/

  76. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Hm. It seems to me that to explain a movement by treating it as a convergence of two others is a lot like lumping them together…

  77. curate said,

    January 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Ref. 73

    I didn’t ask if you thought that our final vindication is the same thing as our present justification. I asked if you thought that “open acknowledgment and acquittal” and justification were different things.

  78. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    And certainly the various committee reports lumped them together…

    But that’s a minor point. Never mind.

  79. January 25, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Re. 75, yes, James was deplorable presbyterian, and his epistle is pure straw.

    Not really.

    As virtually every Reformed commentator has insisted, James is using the word “justify” differently than Paul. This shouldn’t surprise us, since the Bible was written by lots of different men who didn’t huddle together in a room beforehand to make sure they sounded exactly alike all the time.

    The role of systematics (pardon the expletive) is to figure out a way that we can talk about God and our religion in a way that makes sense and lessens confusion to whatever degree possible.

    So if James uses “dikaioo” but his example (Abraham sacrificing Isaac) clearly shows that he is talking about something different from what Paul’s doctrine of justification says, then it makes sense to employ a different term, like vindication.

    It is poor exegesis to insist that every usage of a word must inform a doctrine’s meaning, or that the doctrine must be present every time a particular word is used.

  80. January 25, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Re: 78, Yes, confessionally speaking, “justification” is the present verdict, and “open acknowledgement and acquittal” refers to our final vindication on the last day. Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

  81. Machaira said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    #75

    The word “justification” in Scripture can mean “to declare right” and “to be proven/demonstrated right.” The latter is the way James uses it. Luke is seen to use it this way too.

    Luk 7:35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

  82. January 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    That’s a great example. Must we, then, widen our doctrine of justification to account for Jesus’ usage here? Or conversely, must we read into Jesus’ usage of dikaioo Paul’s strict understanding of justification?

  83. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Those are not two meanings. “To declare right” covers all instances of the word.

  84. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Anne #54

    Thank you for your precision. You are absolutely right and helpful in the way you phrase the issue.

    And yes, those who are truly justified initially is exactly identical to those who are justified finally.

  85. tim prussic said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I’ve not read Turretin on this, so I’m one of those ignorant ones (and I have two degrees from a Reformed seminary… how do ya figure that?), since eschatoloigcal justification CLEARLY has something to do with a person’s words and works, and forensic justification CLEARLY has nothing to do with a person’s words and works, why MUST we link the two so tightly? Why cannot one be the pardoning of sin and accepting as righteous the unrighteous sinner? Why cannot the other be the public vindication of a perfected sinner? Have we lost something by clearly distinguishing the two uses of justify? ISTM that we’ve not lost a thing and are truer to our Standard, that is, the Bible.

    In my limited experience, I find that too often 1) Protestants are too quick to make sola fide = every single aspect of our salvation has nothing to do with us, but faith is the alone instrument for all of it. Thus, in doing so, they actually attack the doctrine of sola fide justification. Also, 2) touchy Reformed folks have to read the limited definition of the doctrine of justification into every usage of the word justify, etc. Curiously, mistake #2 is just the opposite of some misguided FV thinking (certainly not ALL FV thinking) that wants to read all lexical possibilities for “justify” into the doctrine.

  86. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    “Confessionally speaking, “justification” refers only to the present verdict, not to the future vindication. Of the latter, the Confession speaks of our being “openly acknowledged and acquitted” by means of our works being brought forth. Then, we turn around and participate in the judgment of the wicked.”

    This not only doesn’t use the language of the Bible, but it doesn’t use the language of the Confession. If one is barred from using synonyms then rational thought is being barred. The document in question becomes a magic spell rather than an actual vehicle for communicating content.

    And for the record, there simply is no invective strong enough to describe the crimes of Westminster West against the Bible and the Reformed Faith.

  87. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Here is some of what Gaffin said at the 2005 AAPC lectures with Wright (this was from his last, I think):
    ————————–

    What about justification and the “not-yet” of our salvation? May we think of our justification as, in some sense, still future?

    In other words, as I would want to pose the question for us now, and I would hope that you would be with me in this—on the same page—should we see Paul’s teaching on justification in terms of his already/not-yet view of the Christian—the anthropological grid provided by Second Corinthians 4.16?

    Now it might seem, as an initial action, that our answer here should be in the negative, and, in fact, an emphatic negative. And the reason that many have for this reaction is not only understandable, but bound to be appreciated. To speak of justification as in any sense future, that appears to take away from its already definitive character, its settled certainty. To view justification as in some sense still future seems to threaten or to undermine its definitive finality for the Christian.

    And I will just say here that it would surely betray and misrepresent Paul if anything I go on to say here should be heard or allowed to call into question that settled certainty. No more or no less, by the way, than the settled certainty of my/our already being resurrected.

    But now, consider with me for a few moments that Paul’s teaching on justification should not be excluded or isolated from his present/future, already/not-yet outlook on the Christian.

    Some reasons that I think point us to that conclusion:

    But first—not so much as a reason, but to put things in a certain theological/historical/confessional perspective—a background that is provided by the Westminster Standards. The Westminster Shorter Catechism 38 asks this question: “What befits to believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?” The Larger Catechism asking, as I understand it, essentially the same question, phrased somewhat differently: “What shall be done to the righteous at the Day of Judgment?” And the answer to that question includes this phrasing, as many of you will be aware: “believers shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the Day of Judgment.”

    So, you see, the point of the Westminster Standards is that, for Christians, the Final Judgment is relevant and will involve, in fact, our acquittal—what is said more precisely to be an open acquittal. And, as you might anticipate in terms of the principle of Second Corinthians 5.7, that notion of open acquittal, the openness, is an important factor, as we’ll see further.

    See, for believers, the outcome, the verdict (still future), and what the Shorter Catechism identifies as one of the benefits involved, that outcome/verdict (judicial) will be their acquittal, their being declared “not guilty.”

    Now, to be acquitted or to be justified, are largely interchangeable. They overlap semantically, even if they’re not fully synonymous. Acquittal is at the heart of justification. So the catechisms are saying, in effect, virtually, for the believer the Final Judgment will have in some sense an acquitting, that is to say, justifying significance. The Final Judgment will be in some sense my justification

  88. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    “As virtually every Reformed commentator has insisted, James is using the word “justify” differently than Paul.”

    Machen taught otherwise wihout being called a heretic by other Presbyterians for it.

    And the Westminster Confession includes the verse in its chapter on justification to prove that we are not justified by a dead faith. How can that be a different use of the word?

  89. Ron Henzel said,

    January 25, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Josh,

    Regarding comment 64, where you wrote:

    Ron, you may want to try practicing some of those cognitive-domain skills you’re hammering Gabe on. Instead of cherry-picking one sentence from a guy who admittedly likes hyperbole and tends to use it to grab attention, you could look at the rest of the section, which explicitly argues against Rome’s view of baptism and asserts several times that baptism is only efficacious unto salvation for the elect (pp. 104 & 107), or the previous portion, in which he is arguing against both Rome and against those who think that baptism has nothing to do with salvation, who act like baptism didn’t actually seal anything at all.

    I see you missed my point, which was to demonstrate that Wilson horribly misread the WCF, and has Romish tendencies. Just because he’s good at distinguishing exactly how he parts company with Romanism does not mean that he isn’t misrepresenting Reformed theology in ways that would tend to belie his other disclaimers. I’m all for providing a full picture of the theology of the FVers, but just because they’re not swimming the Tiber doesn’t mean they’re not dipping their toes in it.

  90. Jeff Moss said,

    January 25, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Jason (#83),

    Must we, then, widen our doctrine of justification to account for Jesus’ usage here? Or conversely, must we read into Jesus’ usage of dikaioo Paul’s strict understanding of justification?

    To the second question I would say no, definitely not. The whole includes the parts, but the parts are not determinative with respect to one another. Paul’s usage of dikaioō most often refers to a man’s being declared righteous, definitively, at the beginning of his Christian life (but see Romans 2:13; 3:4; 1 Tim. 3:16). This is only one category of the usage of dikaioō, and Christ’s use of the word in Luke 7:35 belongs to a different category — although they are still related as Mark Horne points out.

    To your first question — “Must we, then, widen our doctrine of justification to account for Jesus’ usage here?” — I answer emphatically yes. How can a doctrine of justification claim to be Biblical if it is based on passages that use dikaioō, but simply ignores other passages with the same key word? Any Biblical doctrine of justification MUST account for such passages as Luke 7:35 (wisdom is justified by her children), and 1 Timothy 3:16 (God-in-the-flesh was justified in the Spirit), and certainly Romans 6:7 (“For the one who has died has been justified [dedikaiōtai] from sin”).

    If any doctrine of justification does not at least touch on these passages, it is not a complete doctrine of justification — just as, say, a doctrine of love that did not account for every NT usage of agapaō would not be a complete Biblical doctrine of love. (By the way, what is the Reformed doctrine of love? Why do we have so much to say about justification, but so little about love? I’m just wondering… :-) ).

  91. tim prussic said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Mr. Moss, our doctrine of justification doesn’t necessarily need to include every text of Scripture that includes the word. That’s simply silly, because words can be used in different senses. Broaden your scope a bit: Every theologically significant word of Scripture needs rightly to be understood and correctly fit into our man-made system of doctrines IN THE CORRECT PLACE. The distinction is one of form and matter. Formal adherence would necessitate word-for-word correspondence; material adherence would focus on the meaning.

  92. January 25, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Mark H.,

    Dr. Clark addressed the historic relationship between justification and vindication here. I treated the subject here, providing citations from some historic Reformed witnesses.

  93. Machaira said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    #84

    Those are not two meanings. “To declare right” covers all instances of the word.

    No, it certainly does not. My example proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    3. pronounce and treat as righteous, justify, VINDICATE, LXXEx.23.7, Je.3.11; heautous Ev.Luc.16.15 , etc.:–freq. in Pass., ib.7.35, etc. – Liddell and Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon

  94. January 25, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Mark H. , RE #87,

    And for the record, there simply is no invective strong enough to describe the crimes of Westminster West against the Bible and the Reformed Faith.

    I couldn’t decide if you were talking about Norm Shepherd or NT Wright. Then I realized that they are the darlings of Westminster East. My bad. :)

    As for invectives, Jordan can probably teach you some if you are at a loss.

  95. Mark T. said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Jeff Moss asks, “Why do we have so much to say about justification, but so little about love?”

    Just shootin’ from the hip here, but I would opine that someone put a knife to it.

    Thank you.

  96. Machaira said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Jason #83

    That’s a great example. Must we, then, widen our doctrine of justification to account for Jesus’ usage here? Or conversely, must we read into Jesus’ usage of dikaioo Paul’s strict understanding of justification?

    No on both questions. Paul’s and James’ use of dikaioo should not be confused. Paul speaks of a legal declaration, while James speaks of the vindication or demonstration of faith as more than merely lip service. Likewise, Jesus in Luke is saying that true wisdom shows itself by its works.

  97. Jeff Moss said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Tim (#92),

    Whenever a comprehensive treatment of the Biblical doctrine of justification is written, shouldn’t it at least note that the NT term for “justify” is dikaioō…and then show what the relationship is between the (for us) paradigmatic uses and the other usages of the same word family? Especially when they are connected by the same writer in the same chapter. It’s self-evident that the justification (dikaioō) of God in Rom. 3:4 is intimately connected with the “righteousness (dikaiosynē) of God” in Rom. 3:5, and the righteousness of God is at the heart of the doctrine of justification in Romans. Similarly, how can we say that “being justified/freed (dikaioō) from sin” through death, in Rom. 6:7, is not relevant to the doctrine of righteousness (dikaiosynē) in Rom. 6:12-23? And in general, why should our doctrine of justification be based largely on the use of dikaioō in Romans, yet ignore some key instances of the very same verb in the same letter and elsewhere in Paul?

  98. January 25, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    RE #84, 94,

    1467 δικαιόω (dikaioō): vb.; ≡ DBLHebr 7405; Str 1344; TDNT 2.211—1. LN 34.46 put right with, justify, vindicate, declare righteous, i.e., cause one to be in a right relation (Ro 3:24); 2. LN 88.16 show to be right, demonstrate to something is morally just (Ro 3:4); 3. LN 56.34 acquit, remove guilt, set free, i.e., clear of a transgression (Ac 13:38); 4. LN 37.138 set free, release from the control of (Ro 6:7); 5. LN 36.22 obey righteous commands (Lk 7:29)

    Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.) (GGK1467). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    Swanson follows Louw-Nida, so I won’t copy that into here. Although, the individual semantic definitions in Louw-Nida are quite interesting.

    δικαιόω put into a right relationship (with God); acquit, declare and treat as righteous; show or prove to be right; set free (Ac 13.38; Ro 6.7); δ. τὸν θεόν acknowledge God’s justice or obey God’s righteous demands (Lk 7.29)

    Newman, B. M. (1993). Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. (46). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies.

    δικαιόω fut. δικαιώσω; 1 aor. ἐδικαίωσα; 1 aor. pass. ἐδικαιώθην, subj. δικαιωθῶ, ptc. δικαιωθείς; 1 fut. pass. δικαιωθήσομαι; pf. pass. δεδικαίωμαι Ro 6:7; 1 Cor 4:4, ptc. δεδικαιωμένος Lk 18:14 (Soph., Hdt.+; pap., LXX; Jos., Ant. 17, 206; Test. 12 Patr.).
    1. show justice, do justice τινά to someone (Polyb. 3, 3l, 9; Cass. Dio 48, 46; 2 Km 15:4; Ps 81:3)to one who is just 1 Cl 16:12 (Is 53:11); χήραν (χήρᾳ v.l.) 8:4 (Is 1:17).
    2. justify, vindicate, treat as just (Appian, Liby. 17 §70; Gen 44:16; Sir 10:29; 13:22; 23:11 al.) θέλων δ. ἑαυτόν wishing to justify himself Lk 10:29; δ. ἑαυτὸν ἐνώπιόν τινος j. oneself before someone 16:15 δ. ἐαυτόν (as En. 102, 10; but s. JoachJeremias, ZNW 38, ’39, 117f). Of wisdom ἐδικαιώθη ἀπὸ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς is vindicated by her children (on δικ. ἀπό cf. Is 45:25. S. also Appian, Basil. 8: δικαιόω=consider someth. just or correct) 7:35; also ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς Mt 11:19 (v.l. τέκνων). On this saying s. DVölter, NThT 8, ’19, 22-42; JMBover, Biblica 6, ’25, 323-5; 463-65; M-JLagrange, ibid. 461-3. τελῶναι ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν θεόν tax-collectors acknowledged God’s justice (opp. τὴν βουλὴν τ. θεοῦ ἀθετεῖν) Lk 7:29 (cf. PsSol 2:15; 3:5). δεδικαιωμένος 18:14. ὁ δικαιούμενός μοι the one who vindicates himself before (or against) me B 6:1 (cf. Is 50:8).—Dg 5:14; Hm 5, 1, 7.
    3. Paul, who has influenced later wr., uses the word almost exclusively of God’s judgment. Esp.
    a. of men δικαιοῦσθαι be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous and thereby become δίκαιος, receive the divine gift of δικαιοσύνη, as a theological t.t. be justified Mt 12:37; Ac 13:39; Rv 22:11 t.r.; Ro 2:13; 3:20 (Ps 142:2), 24, 28; 4:2; 5:1, 9; 1 Cor 4:4; Gal 2:16f (Ps 142:2); 3:11, 24; 5:4; Tit 3:7; Phil 3:12 v.l.; B 4:10; 15:7; IPhld 8:2; Dg 9:4; (w. ἁγιάζεσθαι) Hv 3, 9, 1. οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο δεδικαίωμαι I am not justified by this (after 1 Cor 4:4) IRo 5:1. ἵνα δικαιωθῇ σου ἡ σάρξ that your flesh (as the sinful part) may be acquitted Hs 5, 7, 1; δ. ἔργοις by (on the basis of) works, by what one does 1 Cl 30:3; cf. Js 2:21, 24f (ἔργον 1a and πίστις 2dδ); διʼ ἐαυτῶν δ. by oneself=as a result of one’s own accomplishments 1Cl 32:4.
    b. of God’s activity Ro 3:26, 30; 4:5 (on δικαιοῦν τὸν ἀσεβῆ cf. Ex 23:7; Is 5:23); 8:30, 33 (Is 50:8); Gal 3:8; Dg 9:5. For the view (held since Chrysostom) that δ. in these and other pass. means ‘make upright’ s. Gdspd., Probs. 143-6, JBL 73, ’54, 86-91.
    c. δικαιόω make free or pure (Ps 72:13) and pass. δικαιοῦμαι be set free, made pure ἀπό from (Sir 26:29; Test. Sim. 6:1, both δικ. ἀπὸ [τῆς] ἁμαρτίας) ἀπὸ πάντων ὧν οὐκ ἠδυνήθητε ἐν νόμω Μωϋσέως δικαιωθῆναι from everything fr. which you could not be freed by the law of Moses Ac 13:38; cf. vs. 39. ὁ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τ. ἁμαρτίας the one who died is freed fr. sin Ro 6:7 (cf. KGKuhn, ZNW 30, ’31, 305-10; EKlaar, ibid. 59, ’68, 131-4). In the context of 1 Cor 6:11 ἐδικαιώθητε means you have become pure.—In the language of the mystery religions (Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 258ff) δικαιοῦσθαι refers to a radical inner change which the initiate experiences (Herm. Wr. 13, 9 χωρὶς γὰρ κρίσεως ἰδὲ πῶς τὴν ἀδικίαν ἐξήλασεν. ἐδικαιώθημεν, ὦ τἔκνον, ἀδικίας ἀπούσης) and approaches the sense ‘become deified’. Some are inclined to find in 1 Ti 3:16 a similar use; but see under d.
    d. God is proved to be right Ro 3:4; 1 Cl 18:4 (both Ps 50:6). Of Christ 1 Ti 3:16.—Lit. s. on δικαιοσύνη 3 and 4.—HRosman, Iustificare (δικαιοῦν) est verbum causativum: Verbum Domini 21, ’41, 144-7; NMWatson, Δικ. in the LXX, JBL 79, ’60, 255-66. M-M.*

    Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996, c1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (197). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament write-up runs about a page, way too long to post here. So, I think that “To declare right” does not cover all instances of the word by a long shot.

  99. Machaira said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Yep. That’s quite a range Bob.

  100. tim prussic said,

    January 25, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Mr. Moss, to answer your well-stated initial question: absolutely. To answer your final question: It shouldn’t necessarily. A doctrine’s not a word study, but it’s partially based upon such work. All relevant passages (*whether they include specific terms or not*) should fit into the consideration of the specific doctrine within our system of doctrine. Our system of doctrine ought to, as best as man-made synthesis can, cover all relevant passages in the whole Book. You still seem a bit stuck on the formal adherence, which I don’t think is too helpful of a way to think about how exegesis and biblical theology moves toward systematic theology.

    It’s funny, I’ve been working on this over at Pastor Wilson’s blog, too.

  101. Jeff Moss said,

    January 25, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I was thinking, in large part, about discourse analysis as applied to the Letter to the Romans. Given that justification (dikaiōsis) is a major part of the book’s doctrine, and given that several different usages of the dikaio- word stem are intricately woven together in the fabric of the Apostle’s rhetoric, shouldn’t they all be relevant for us as we attempt to formulate a systematic-Biblical doctrine of justification? (E.g., in Romans 3, “Let God be justified” and “we are justified” are two of the major links in a single chain of argument.)

    Otherwise, we are letting our preconceived notions dictate to us what is a “justification” passage and what is not, and largely missing the point of the Spirit-taught authors’ arguments.

  102. markhorne said,

    January 25, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    95

    Rob, regarding your material on vindication at the Last Day. Your survey is great. Your assertion that your sources (Shaw, A A Hodge) are saying something different that Peter Leithart is saying, is baseless.

    At the Last Day, everyone is saying that the “open acquittal” will be a declaration that one is already justified. Very well. Will the declaration be made on the basis of evidence? Yes, we are told, the judgment is certainly not imputation and regeneration all over again. No, it is a declaration based on evidence.

    So there you have it. This verdict is not according to the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone.” just like Peter says. Rather it is according to works which are God’s gift to all who have the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone” and thus are evidence of that state.

    As Shaw writes

    he sentence to be pronounced will be answerable to the several states in which mankind shall be found. They shall receive their doom according to their works. – Rev. xx. 13. It is to be remarked, that the good works of the righteous will be produced in that day, not as the grounds of their acquittal, and of their being adjudged to eternal life, but as the evidences of their gracious state, as being interested in the righteousness of Christ. But the evil deeds of the wicked will be brought forward, not only as evidences of their being strangers to Christ, but also as the grounds of their condemnation (my emphasis).

    I like A. A. Hodge even better:

    Their good deeds will be publicly cited as the evidences of their union with Christ. Their union with Christ is the ground of their justification. Their faith is the instrument of their union with Christ; and their faith, as the Apostle James says, is shown by their works. Phil. iv. 3; Rev. iii. 5; xiii. 8; xx. 12, 15.

    Exactly. Rich Lusk couldn’t say it better.

  103. January 25, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Mark H., RE #103,

    First, I do appreciate our interaction here.

    You were very selective in your excerpts and emphasis from my original post. When put into context, they say exactly the opposite of Lusk (whom you did not quote) and Leithart. Let me restate my original case for the benefit of those here. For Shaw, you removed the emphasis from the operant phrase. Try this:

    The sentence to be pronounced will be answerable to the several states in which mankind shall be found. They shall receive their doom according to their works. – Rev. xx. 13. It is to be remarked, that the good works of the righteous will be produced in that day, not as the grounds of their acquittal, and of their being adjudged to eternal life, but as the evidences of their gracious state, as being interested in the righteousness of Christ. But the evil deeds of the wicked will be brought forward, not only as evidences of their being strangers to Christ, but also as the grounds of their condemnation. [my emphasis]

    Did you catch the “not as grounds of their acquittal, and of being adjudged to eternal life” part? Works are merely evidences to the rest of creation “of their gracious state”, not the basis of their acquittal. Shaw and the Confession say elsewhere that the elect’s acquittal is based solely on the righteousness (that is the active and passive obedience) of Christ imputed to them. Leithart say just the opposite, and says it explicitly:

    When anyone associated with the FV says “final verdict of justification,” they mean “final judgment.”

    It appears that the committee condemns the very view that WCF 33.1 articulates, since the Confession says explicitly that what we receive at the final judgment will be “according to what they have done,” which is clearly something other than the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone.” [emphasis original]

    And how about we put A.A. Hodge into context, especially the part you left out of my citation:

    The saints will not be acquitted in the day of judgment on the ground of their own good deeds, but because their names are found “written in the book of life,” or the book of God’s electing love, and on the ground of their participation in the righteousness of Christ. Their good deeds will be publicly cited as the evidences of their union with Christ. Their union with Christ is the ground of their justification. Their faith is the instrument of their union with Christ; and their faith, as the Apostle James says, is shown by their works. Phil. iv. 3; Rev. iii. 5; xiii. 8; xx. 12, 15. [my emphasis]

    That’s pretty much the same as what Shaw, Calvin, Berkhof, a Brakel, and a host of others said. Our works are just “evidences” of our previous justification by faith alone at our regeneration. We are not saved by our evidences, but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith. Faith is the instrument. So say all the Reformers. Again, that is contrary to Leithart’s clear statement.

    As for Lusk, he goes much further astray in The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros and Cons, denying the IAOC to the believer by faith or any other way (page 140):

    The active obedience, then, is not saving in itself. If all Jesus did was keep the Torah for thirty or so years on our behalf, then at best we are back in Adam’s initial position in the Garden: in possession of protological life, but still in need of gaining eschatological life. [my bold]

    Later on page 141 he says this about how we are NOT saved:

    It is not Christ’s life-long obedience per se that is credited to us.

    Further down the page, he redefines God’s righteousness in a way that defies and undermines the very basis of the Reformation:

    God’s righteousness is his own righteousness, not something imputed or infused. God’s righteousness is simply his covenant trustworthiness….Paul is not identifying the gospel with the doctrine of imputed righteousness.

    Now, I can’t see any way to reconcile those statements with the Scriptures (e.g., Rom 1:16, 17; 2 Cor 5:21) or the Westminster Standards. And I have lots of good company in the seven Reformed denominations who also reject these errors. You have personally assured me that you believe in the IAOC, so I cannot see why you would even try to defend Lusk’s outrageous errors.

    Now Lusk doesn’t have to conform to any standard, since he isn’t in the PCA or any of the six other orthodox Reformed denominations who have rejected the Federal Vision. However, those in the PCA will need a better answer than trying to defend the indefensible. We’ll see how that strategy works in the coming week and month with Louisiana Presbytery.

    Blessings,
    Bob

  104. Jeff Moss said,

    January 26, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Mr. Mattes (#104),

    Your claim is that Leithart is opposed to Shaw, A. A. Hodge, the Westminster Confession, etc., because the latter teach that

    the elect’s acquittal is based solely on the righteousness (that is the active and passive obedience) of Christ imputed to them

    while Leithart says,

    It appears that the committee condemns the very view that WCF 33.1 articulates, since the Confession says explicitly that what we receive at the final judgment will be “according to what they have done,” which is clearly something other than the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone.”

    First of all, if Leithart is wrong here, then the Westminster Confession must be wrong too, because after all this is what what he’s quoting from (WCF 33.1):

    God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ…. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

    And if Leithart is wrong on this, then so is the Apostle Paul in the Letter to the Romans, which says (2:6-8),

    [God] “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,

    and then, as if we may not have gotten the point the first time, the Apostle continues (2:9-10),

    tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

    The solution (as Calvin might say) is simple: Our final vindication is grounded on the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, but it is according to the good works that we practice by the grace of God, which are the “fruit of repentance” and the evidence of saving faith.

    On this point at least, as far as I can tell, Leithart is the one who holds the orthodox, Biblical, and historically Reformed position. On the other hand, sadly, the ninth Declaration in the FV report speaks with an unclear voice. If, when saying that that the “final verdict of justification” is based on the perfect obedience of Christ alone, it means simply that the ultimate ground of our vindication is the righteousness of Christ…then Leithart and the other FV’ers would agree, and where’s the problem? On the other hand, if it means that at the final judgment nothing will be taken into account on behalf of the elect except for the personal righteousness of Jesus, then the PCA has contradicted both the WCF and the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul. I would like to think that the first of these options is the case, and if so, this point of controversy is more apparent than real.

  105. tim prussic said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Mr. Moss, #102: Indeed, you’re talking about specific analysis of a limited text. Good enough. I’m talking about systematic theology and its relation to specific terms in Scripture.

  106. January 26, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Jeff M., RE #105,

    I’ve already exposited WCF 33.1 on my blog. In fact, the excepts from Shaw and A.A. Hodge in comment #104 are from their expositions of WCF 33.1. You’re at least one step behind in the discussion in that regard.

    As for Scriptures, Jesus Himself says in Jn 5:24:

    Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

    On which Calvin said:

    Now he affirms that life is obtained by hearing his word, and by the word hearing he means faith, as he immediately afterwards declares. But faith has its seat not in the ears, but in the heart. Whence faith derives so great power, we have formerly explained. We ought always to consider what it is that the Gospel offers to us; for we need not wonder that he who receives Christ with all his merits is reconciled to God, and acquitted of the condemnation of death; and that he who has received the gift of the Holy Spirit is clothed with a heavenly righteousness, that he may walk in newness of life, (Romans 6:6.) [my bold]

    On Rom 2:6, Calvin said:

    But there is not so much difficulty in this verse, as it is commonly thought. For the Lord, by visiting the wickedness of the reprobate with just vengeance, will recompense them with what they have deserved: and as he sanctifies those whom he has previously resolved to glorify, he will also crown their good works, but not on account of any merit: nor can this be proved from this verse; for though it declares what reward good works are to have, it does yet by no means show what they are worth, or what price is due to them. And it is an absurd inference, to deduce merit from reward.

    On Rom 2:9, Calvin sees a different purpose:

    He simply places, I have no doubt, the Jew in opposition to the Gentile; for those whom he calls Greeks he will presently call Gentiles. But the Jews take the precedence in this case, for they had, in preference to others, both the promises and the threatenings of the law; as though he had said, “This is the universal rule of the divine judgment; it shall begin with the Jews, and it shall include the whole world.”

    Then there’s Paul in Rom 8:1-4:

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Since we cannot play dueling verses, we must look across Scripture for the totality of the teaching on an issue. In this case, orthodox Reformed expositors have explained that unity over the past 500 years. “Following the Scriptures” didn’t lead them to anything like the Federal Vision. The problem here is that Federal Vision must create a mythical “objective covenant” to support the already rejected paedocommunion error with “post-theonomic” (whatever that is) and post-mil boundary conditions, then build a new hermaneutic and exegesis inside that framework. Hence Lusk writes:

    The initial clothing in white is received by faith alone. This is the beginning of Joshua’s justification. But if Joshua is to remain justified — that is, if the garments he has received are not to become re-soiled with his iniquity — he must be faithful. Thus, initial justification is by faith alone; subsequent justifications include obedience.

    Subsequent justifications? This flies in the face of everything for which the Reformers stood. Lastly, since the original post cited Turretin, I’ll close with Turretin on this subject from page 603 of Vol 3 of his Institutes:

    However, although in this judgment to each one ought to be repaid “according to his works,” as to quality so that it may be well with the good and evil with the wicked; still there will not be the same relation of good and bad works to the reward and punishment. For evil works indeed will be properly the meritorious cause of the punishment which will be inflicted on the wicked; but there is not the same relation of good works (which can have no relation to merit, as was seen in its place); rather they will be brought forward not as the causes, but only as the consequence, testimonies, and effects of faith and of grace which they obtained in Christ. Thus the casual particle gar (found here) is not causal (denoting the meritorious cause of life), but only ratiocinative (indicating the reason a posteriori of the sentence pronounced by Christ) to denote not the merit of works, but the quality of the workers; not the why and on account of what, but to whom the kingdom is to be assigned….Therefore God will render to believers according to (kata ta erga); from the justice of fidelity and constancy, not from his distributive justice properly so called. For the true cause of the kingdom adjudged to them is to be sought in the mercy of their heavenly Father, who will give to his blessed children the kingdom prepared from eternity under the title of an inheritance in Christ, who purchased it for them from his mere grace, not from any merit of theirs. [my bold]

    So, I am not contradicting the WCF or Paul, but perfectly in line with the way orthodox Reformed theologians have interpreted them. Again, seven Reformed denominations agree. Federal Visionist like Leithart and Lusk, however, must reinterpret both Scriptures and the Standards in a different way to build “support” for their errors.

  107. curate said,

    January 26, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Ref. 80

    As virtually every Reformed commentator has insisted, James is using the word “justify” differently than Paul.

    My point exactly. What, then, is the problem with saying that our open acquittal is a second justification? James’s justification is a second justification, and it is according to works. It is a declaring righteous of our persons, which is a justification, but it is not the free justification sola fide, but a justification according to our works, just as Abraham and Rahab were justified by their works.

    We are following the example of scripture by calling this second justification a justification, for that is what it is.

    It is poor exegesis to insist that … the doctrine must be present every time a particular word is used.

    Precisely. Which is why we are free to call the judgement of the elect a justification, without the slightest suggestion that sola fide is at stake.

  108. January 26, 2008 at 4:11 am

    curate,

    We are following the example of scripture by calling this second justification a justification, for that is what it is

    Example of what Scripture? Do you have verses that explicitly call out a second justification? If not, then it’s just faulty FV exegesis against 500 years of orthodox Reformed exegesis.

    Which is why we are free to call the judgment of the elect a justification, without the slightest suggestion that sola fide is at stake.

    If we are not justified once and for all time at our regeneration, then sola fide is destroyed, Rom 8:29-30 means nothing, and we are dependant either on our works or sacradotalism. Are we justified multiple times by faith? I’d like to see the Scriptural support for that. According to Federal Vision, subsequent “justifications” involve works of some type. That’s not sola fide. You can scream sola fide from the roof tops, but if you’re preaching multiple justifications, you undercut and implicitly deny your affirmations.

  109. curate said,

    January 26, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Ref. 109

    Bob, look again at what I wrote. We are indeed justified once and for all at the time of our regeneration. You have misread that post.

    Roger:We are following the example of scripture by calling this second justification a justification, for that is what it is.
    Bob: Example of what Scripture?

    The one I quoted from James: So you see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. Read again how I distinguished this second justification from sola fide.

  110. curate said,

    January 26, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Correction: and not by faith only.

  111. Ron Henzel said,

    January 26, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Jeff,

    Regarding comment 105, where you wrote:

    The solution (as Calvin might say) is simple: Our final vindication is grounded on the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, but it is according to the good works that we practice by the grace of God, which are the “fruit of repentance” and the evidence of saving faith.

    Precisely how does “grounded on” differ from “according to?” (By the way: if John Calvin rolls over in his grave one more time thanks to all you’ve written, we may finally discover where he was buried!)

  112. Ron said,

    January 26, 2008 at 6:29 am

    *bump*

    From: January 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Mark,

    If the last judgment vindicates the first decision (and the first decision is irrevocable), then in what sense is a decision rendered at the last the judgment? What is left undecided that must be decided upon? What is it to decide something after all? That a decision is to be broadcasted to a watching world does not imply that anything is left undecided. In fact, it presupposes the opposite.

    Ron

  113. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Ref. alot:

    Brothers:

    This all comes down to distinguishing what is the exact nature of the works of the believer in the final judgement. I think we can boil this down to two seminal questions.

    a. What is their source(s)?
    b. What is their role in the judgment?

    Those opposed to the FV argue that:

    a. These works are fruits of sanctification, and thus the ONLY source is the Spirit of Christ.
    b. These works play only an evidentiary role; they document that the work of Christ does indeed belong to the believer, because only the believer united to Christ is the proper recipient of the Spirit’s work evidenced in a.

    The response of FV’ers to this summary seems to consistently be along the lines of,

    “Yes, of course, exactly, agree completely, … (not really a dramatic pause, but actually and rather hurried response that tends to blur that a bait and switch is about to occur) … AND …”

    The FV’ers go on to additionally qualify a & b with such loaded, undifferentiated terms that so easily lend themselves to equivocation that the original simple monergistically defined explanation (a&b) are morphed into a synergistic (a&b+c) God + Man definition. This synergist formulation always seems to end up insisting that the works of the believer (his source) are essentially necessary for the positive outcome of the final judgment.

    Let me stress that this explanation is not offered in the clearest and simplest of terms. This is where the bait & switch appearance comes from. (Take no umbrage FV brothers; I’m purposely using the word appearance to make it clear that I’m not imputing motive or goals to you, just fuzzy thinking and expression).

    Thus, all the while insisting on “Christ alone” the FV’ers offered at best a confused explanation corrupted with “Plus Man Necessarily”.

    P.S. Mark Horne, you cut off Dick Gaffin’s qualifications too short, thus leaving the impression that what you are saying is merely a repeat of his position. I demur. Dick’s lectures to which you refer were the basis of his recent book By Faith, Not By Sight in which he provides the traditional (and exceptional I might add) systematic differentiation expected from theologians delving into matters of eternal life and the destiny of souls.

    Reading that book, it is clear his position is that summarized in a&b above. It may simply be that your own thinking is still muddled on these things. Might I recommend his work as a help to clearing up the confusion? A sincere suggestion; no dissembling intended.

  114. curate said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Ref. 114

    Reed, are our works performed by Christ alone?

  115. Ron Henzel said,

    January 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Jeff,

    To follow up on my comment 112, in which I asked you: “Precisely how does ‘grounded on’ differ from ‘according to?’ [in your comment 105]”—my question here is similar to the one expressed (or implied) at greater length by John Piper, who recently wrote (and I just read it this morning):

    …Wright repeatedly refers to works—the entirety of our lives—as the “basis” of justification in the last day. However, Wright also uses the language of judgment and justification “according to works” in a way that inclines one to think that the terms “according to” and “on the basis of” may be interchangeable for him. For example, he refers to Romans 2:13 and says, “Here is the first statement about justification in Romans, and lo and behold it affirms justification according to works.” “Paul, in company with mainstream second Temple Judaism, affirms that God’s final judgment will be in accordance with the entirety of a life led—in accordance, in other words, with works”

    But in these contexts where he is discussing justification on the basis of works or according to works, he does not discuss the finer distinctions between “based on” and “according to.” I suspect his view of how works really function in relation to final justification would become a good bit clearer if Wright discussed this difference.

    [The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright, (Wheaton, IL, USA: Crossway Books, 2007), 117-118.]

  116. Ron Henzel said,

    January 26, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Jeff,

    Regarding what I just wrote in comment 116: I should have pointed out that just prior to my citation Piper provided examples of Wright using “based on” language with respect to the role of works in “final justification.” He referred to an instance “…when Wright speaks of final justification ‘on the basis of the entire life a person has led int he power of the Spirit—that is…on the basis of “works”‘” (ibid.). All the citations of Wright I’ve quoted here include emphasis added by Piper and come from Wright’s “New Perspectives on Paul” contribution to Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges, Bruce L. McCormack, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2006). In a footnote Piper also quotes Wright from page 129 of his What Saint Paul Really Said, as follows: “Present justification declares, on the basis of faith, what future justification will affirm publicly (according to 2:14-16 and 8:9-11) on the basis of the entire life.”

  117. markhorne said,

    January 26, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    #114 There simply is no bait and switch. All the people being accused under the label “FV” are monergists. There simply has been no equivocation.

    #105 “You were very selective in your excerpts and emphasis from my original post.”

    To make a selective point that in no way denies the truth of the things you chose to emphasize. I’m assuming readers will follow to the original post.

    The point, in fact, is that none of this is contrary. Judgement according to works at the last day is not incompatible with justification only by faith only by grace.

    I’ll let you have the last word on the rest of what is written. And in replying to this. I’ve got a thousand projects calling to me and need to give them some attention. Thanks.

  118. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 26, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    If you have time for one last thought, Mark, I would like to know your response to #62.

    Jeff

  119. January 26, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Mark H., RE #118,

    Thanks for the time that you spent on this. I, too, have other things to accomplish this weekend. I’ll just agree to disagree at this point with malice towards none and charity towards all.

    Have a blessed Lord’s day,
    Bob

  120. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Re: #112

    As confessionalists, we have to consider that there is a difference between “grounded on” and “according to,” regardless of what Wright is doing, since the WCF makes this precise distinction: the final judgment is “according to” works, but certainly that does not mean that our final state is “grounded on” those works, since that would contradict, e.g., 16.5 (which points out that our works cannot merit eternal life–as I understand it, “grounding” has to do with that which is the actual and meritorious cause).

    So, WCF states that the final judgment is “according to” works, but that this accordance is not in any way meritorious. But the WCF does not say that the final judgment will concern only Christ’s imputed righteousness…

  121. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    On the question of biblical and confessional language (i.e., whether our doctrines should take into account all the biblical usage of a particular term), I think the concern might be pastoral: if we emphasize the confessional definition of justification, might that not cause ordinary Bible-readers to mistakenly read that confessional meaning into every use, and thus produce confusion? So, in our approach to justification, should we begin with the caveat that Scripture uses that term in a variety of ways, and take that into account in our teaching of doctrine at least, even if not in our formulation of it?

    “It is poor exegesis to insist that every usage of a word must inform a doctrine’s meaning, or that the doctrine must be present every time a particular word is used.”

    I agree with the latter half of this statement (as would the FV–isn’t their point that they can follow the Bible in using the term “justification” without talking about that doctrine?), but I’m not sure about the first half…Isn’t biblical usage informing a doctrine an issue of systematics, not exegesis per se? What if I were to say that it is good biblical systematics to insist that the overall biblical use of a term should inform a doctrine’s meaning? Don’t we want our systematics terminology to reflect biblical usage? If we don’t do that, then don’t we leave ourselves open to those who do push BT as being against ST somehow (whether FV or otherwise)? I’m not saying that our doctrine of justification (in the strict, WCF sense) needs to be modified based on every occurrence of any form of dikaioo, but then how do we avoid the charge that ST is removed from real BT? How should the relation look, if not having the language and vocabulary of the one inform that of the other?

  122. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Re: #114

    Oddly enough, I’ve never felt a sense of “bait and switch” in reading the FV. I always thought they were pretty clear that the source of any good works is entirely from the work of God the Holy Spirit…

  123. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    But I’m sure Ron H. will trot out Bloom’s taxonomy again to lash me with: clearly I just haven’t achieved the higher orders of cognitive thought…like taking one sentence (that explicitly says it is incomplete: “more on that in a minute”) as the entirety of Wilson’s commentary on the meaning of WCF. And I am also a teacher, by the way, so I’m not just dismissing what I don’t understand…

  124. Ron Henzel said,

    January 26, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Josh,

    Wilson’s entire view of baptism, as he outlines it in his eleventh chapter titled, “Baptism Now Saves,” in “Reformed” Is Not Enough,, 99-107, is fairly comprehensively summarized in his opening paragraph, where he writes:

    We have noted repeatedly that baptism in water is objective, and it establishes an objective covenant relationship with the Lord of the covenant, Jesus Christ. Of course this baptism does not automatically save the one baptized; there is no magical cleansing power in the water. We reject the Roman Catholic notion that saving grace goes in when the water goes on. We deny any ex opere operato efficacy to the waters of baptism. We also deny the modern Protestant reductionism that says that when the water goes on, somebody gets wet.

    Everything that follows in Wilson’s chapter is essentially a defense of these opening statements, which I have quoted fully in order to avoid the charge of lifting them from their context. But there is more to heeding context than simply quoting paragraphs in full, as I hope to demonstrate.

    The points of contention here circle around one primary question: “What does baptism do?” Wilson claims it does something very specific: it may not automatically save, but it’s clear from his chapter title—”Baptism Now Saves”—that for Wilson it does save in some sense. It may not automatically guarantee to the baptized person the eternal enjoyment of the blessings of the New Covenant (which is the only covenant in Scripture with which baptism has anything to do), but for Wilson, in a very real, “objective” sense, it does automatically (especially in the case of baptism believers’ infants) make the baptized person a member of the New Covenant.

    Wilson is extraordinarily clear on all this. He writes:

    As we have said, baptism therefore accomplishes something, in much the same way that the simple words I do accomplish something at a wedding. But what? And how does the bible actually speak of baptism? The answer is disconcerting to many within the evangelical tradition. [99]

    Yes, it is. For then he goes on to quote a favorite passage of baptismal regenerationists, 1 Peter 3:18-22, which he follows up with a string of other such passages, until he stops long enough to write:

    All this seems to be pretty plain. What are we to do with this? Are we Roman Catholics yet? [101]

    Of course, he backs off at that point, and proceeds to submit an alternative explanation, one that he believes adequately represents the position of the Westminster standards. And then he writes:

    Return for a moment to the illustration of marriage. Does anyone really stumble over the words “with this ring I thee wed”? Does anyone really think that a little piece of metal contains awesome powers? [102]

    And, of course, no, we don’t. We realize that this archaic phrase (which I haven’t actually heard at a wedding lately) is either an example of metonymy (the use of a word for a concept) or ellipsis (i.e., a shortened form of “with this ring I symbolically wed you”). We also realize that, legally speaking, the actual covenant relationship of marriage is not effected or accomplished by the giving of a ring, but rather by the exchanging of vows (a fact to which Wilson himself alludes on page 99). We further realize that even the vows themselves do not fully and finally seal the marriage, for if left unconsummated the marriage can be annulled, which is simply a legal declaration that the covenant relationship never actually existed in the first place.

    But does it dawn on Wilson how an analogy that he thinks is designed to demonstrate that a symbol such as a ring or a baptism actually “accomplishes” (his word) a real covenantal union in truth only serves to signify and seal the fact that such a union is intended to take place on grounds other than the proffering of the symbol itself?

    Apparently not, for he then goes on to make his little remark about how the Westminster Confession supposedly teaches baptismal regeneration (103), after which he plainly states, on the same page, “the one baptized has been grafted into Christ.” As I understand it, this is in stark contrast to the Reformed position that grafting into Christ (i.e., membership in the New Covenant) is not actually accomplished by the sign and seal of baptism, but rather on grounds to which baptism points.

    If I have somehow misrepresented Doug Wilson’s position on baptism in anything I’ve written, I would sincerely appreciate it if someone would point it out to me.

  125. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Ref. #118:

    Mark,

    I tried to be careful to not accuse any FV’er of bait and switch. Rather I am merely saying that there is the appearance of such. My criticism at this point is that the FV expressions offer confusion. In that confusion, it appears to me that the FV expressions equivocate: they affirm the monergistic and then offer synergistic (at least sounding) qualifications.

    I never doubted, in fact I am aware, that each FV proponent claims to be a monergist. Indeed, in much of the works of some of the men with whom I am more familiar, things not touching on FV things, they are clearly monergistic.

    That someone claims a label, and in some areas of their doctrine, rightly claims the label, is not an argument against what I challenge.

    The thing to do is respond in substance, to offer some clarification on the nature of the works and their role in the final judgment. Respectfully Mark, after you find sometime (I appreciate that this blog is not even on the priority list), a helpful response would be to clarify.

    Of course I respect if you choose not to do so. Still, it is the kind of distinguishing and differentiation that is the hallmark of sound scholars that will help eliminate the appearance issue. All I’m asking if that the FV wants to propound things that so easily disturb the rest of us, they treat us like Christ would, patient and gentle explanations until we get it.

  126. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Ref. #115:

    Roger,

    You’re reading into my statement again.

    I never said anything about who performs the works. My point (of two) is who is responsible, who gets the credit and the glory for the works.

    I’m sure you agree with me that the works I do (perform) by faith as a result of the Spirit of sanctification effectually at work in me, are to God’s glory alone and not mine. Thus, the final judgment will be one in which such works redound to His glory.

  127. greenbaggins said,

    January 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Mark Horne, number 87 last paragraph is way out of line.

  128. Ron Henzel said,

    January 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Lane,

    Regarding comment 128: I hate to say this, but I believe Mark’s statement is an indication of the true spirit behind so much of the FV attack on traditional Reformed theology. Al Gore has been quoted as saying, “If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If you’ve got nothing, then pound the table.” But what if you’ve not only got nothing, but you have seven Reformed denominations and scores of Reformed academics opposed to you? Well, I guess there’s no invective strong enough then, is there?

  129. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    In that confusion, it appears to me that the FV expressions equivocate: they affirm the monergistic and then offer synergistic (at least sounding) qualifications.

    I don’t see how we can avoid this and be faithful to Holy Scripture. In regards to Justification, and final vindication, we are saved by grace through faith to perform good works (Eph 2). If someone claims Christ in this life, but lives a life of faithLESSness to Jesus, he will not be saved on the last day? Why? Because he didn’t perform any good works? Not entirely; he never really had true faith. But either explanation gets to the same point, so long as both are acknowledged or understood.

    If we are judged according to our deeds on the last day, as the Bible clearly says we are, we have to reconcile that with the rest of the Bible. The way to do this is to say that we’re Justified by faith, and that faith looks forward to our future vindication and lives a life that is transformed by that faith and hope. When God looks at our deeds on the last day, he doesn’t see our deeds as works done in the flesh; he sees them as done by a life transformed by and in union with Jesus Christ. Christ alone is the only reason any deeds are acceptable and righteous in God’s sight, and they do nothing to “contribute to” our Justification or “add to” our righteous status; they are simply inevitable in the life of one transformed by God’s grace.

    We are Justified ALONE by Faith, and that Faith is no dead faith, but worketh through love.

  130. anneivy said,

    January 26, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    How would any Christian believe his or her works are “good”? If my works play any part whatsoever in whether or not I’m ultimately saved, well, y’all can have my share of the Tex-Mex at the resurrection feast, for it’s a certainty that *I* won’t be there.

    Now, if what they do is provide me with rewards, such as being closer to the chocolate section, or crowns suitable for casting at the feet of the Lamb, that’s different. Some Christians will have crowns galore to cast, and be chocolate-covered to boot, while others will be poster children for “Proof positive salvation is all of grace, which is the only thing that can account for this person being here.”

    How many good works do we need? How “good” IS “good”? How can we be certain we’re performing works for the right reason? If we perform them for the wrong reason, does that get us barred from the pearly gates?

    If we think we’re doing them for the right reason, wouldn’t that be a sign we’re actually doing them for the wrong reason? And if we’re afraid we’re doing them for the wrong reason, wouldn’t that destroy any assurance in our salvation?

  131. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Ref. #130:

    Gabe:

    Equivocation occurs when one uses a word (phrase, concept, etc.) in two different senses, without distinguishing the different sense, thereby leaving the conclusion that the two different senses are the same.

    Your response itself belies your claim that equivocation is inevitable (such a conviction is not helpful in one called to feed sheep Gabe. Let me urge to re-think). You offer some differentiation, thus at least beginning to distinguish and thereby remove equivocation.

    Anne’s response as well demonstrates the need to do an even more thorough job of not equivocating, of being thorough in your distinguishing. Your first paragraph really does give a synergistic impression. Your following paragraphs offer some clarification, yet not directly and focused on the point your make in your first paragraph. Anne is right to not be sure what you are saying – and you owe her clarification, or do not speak about such matters. This is the same advice I try to live by, so please don’t let the flatness of the blog atmopsphere make it sound like I’m trying to be harsh. I’m not, rather just serious.

    Of course the works of the Christian are necessary. Yet unto what is the question. Are they necessary for my judgment, my unfinished justification? Or are they necessary expressly and only in an evidentiary role?

    If you are willing to affirm the latter, and expressly state so, you will find me and others standing by your side insisting that such works are of the (ordinary) essence of the Christian life.

  132. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    “Christ alone is the only reason any deeds are acceptable and righteous in God’s sight, and they do nothing to “contribute to” our Justification or “add to” our righteous status; they are simply inevitable in the life of one transformed by God’s grace.”

    You did read that, right? I’m perplexed by both of your replies, and only see them as evidence of a lack of charity in reading what I say (a pre-disposition to find the dreaded doctrine of “works-righteousness” in anything I say, perhaps?).

    I also said, “We are Justified ALONE by Faith, and that Faith is no dead faith, but worketh through love”, which is straight out of the Westminster Standards, really.

    I don’t think equivocation is inevitable, Reed. I think believing in mongergism while speaking (sometimes, in certain circumstances, when we don’t feel like making clarification after clarification in normal speech) synergistically is inevitable. For example…

    Bill: Pastor Reed, do I need to obey God’s commandments or can I live however I want since I have Jesus’ blood and righteousness?
    Pr. Reed: Yes, you do need to obey God’s commandments. Obedience to God’s commandments is how we show gratitude to God for saving us. If we’re willfully dis-obedient and unrepentant, we have no reason to believe we’re saved; it would show a lack of true faith if our lives are not transformed by the Gospel.

  133. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    And, in the example above, Bill is not saved because he obeys God’s commandments.

    Bill is saved, therefore he obeys God’s commandments.

  134. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Is that all clear enough?

  135. Roger Mann said,

    January 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    What about the case of “elect infants, dying in infance” (WCF 10.3), who never perform any good works? If good works are necessary for “final justification,” as the FVists insist, then how will they be “justified” on the last day? Or how about the thief on the cross? What good works will “justify” him before the bar of God’s justice?

    “The story of the penitent thief has sometimes been considered the most surprising, the most suggestive, the most instructive incident in all the Gospel narrative. … In the salvation of one of the thieves, theology finds one of its finest demonstrations. Sacrementalism was refuted, for the thief was saved without recourse to baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church, ceremony, or good works. The dogma of purgatory was refuted, for this vile sinner was instantly transformed into a saint and made fit for paradise apart from his personal expiation of a single sin. The teaching of universalism was refuted, for only one was saved of all who might have been saved. Jesus did not say, “Today shall ye be with me in paradise,” but “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The notion of soul-sleep was refuted, for the clear implication of the entire incident is that the redeemed thief would be in conscious fellowship with his Saviour in paradise even while his body disintegrated in some grave. Too, it is doubtful whether any other gospel incident presents the plan of salvation more clearly or simply.—Dr. Charles R. Erdman” (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Luke 23:43)

  136. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 26, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Gabe (#133):

    I don’t think equivocation is inevitable, Reed. I think believing in mongergism while speaking (sometimes, in certain circumstances, when we don’t feel like making clarification after clarification in normal speech) synergistically is inevitable. For example…

    That’s a really interesting point. I would argue that the entire Lordship Salvation controversy began because certain ways of speaking synergistically and certain ways of speaking monergistically basically cut loose from their moorings and started to take on a life of their own.

    Here’s what I mean: One can be a monergist and then say to his congregation (borrowing here from Johnny Long), “You’ve got a new nature. Now go use it!”

    Or on the other end, one could easily say, “Once saved, always saved.”

    Both of those statements, interpreted in a nuanced setting, are valid expressions of Biblical theology.

    But turned loose on a congregation that contains people of mixed ability to nuance, those statements take on a life of their own. The first ends up attaching itself to the sin nature’s tendency towards legalism and self-reliance, and becomes entirely synergistic in its outworking.

    And the second attaches itself to the tendency towards antinomianism and becomes a niche in which many an Evangelical lives today.

    So the difficult part in communicating to a congregation, much as communicating to a classroom, is to not teach things that you’ll have to go back and unteach later.

    I would submit that “saving faith includes faithfulness” falls into the category of things that have to be untaught, whereas “saving faith always leads to faithfulness” does not.

    Jeff Cagle

  137. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Ref. #135:

    Gabe:

    I credited you with that meaning from the prior post. It wasn’t that clear, at least to Anne.

    Can’t quite tell if you’re a little testy, or its just the blog. I’m not really trying to offend you.

    And I still disagree – one does not need to sound synergistic, while intending to be monergistic. I admit that this requires work. Yet we are caled to be workmen approved in handling the word.

    And finally, no I would not respond to Bill in the manner you said. I’ve learned that if I say “you must,” to be consistent with the gospel I must then add, “but you can’t, you won’t; rest in Christ because He has, and then – in Him – you will will.”

    I know this is what you mean. I believe the emphasis is essential to equipping people to walk by faith, not by sight.

  138. its.reed said,

    January 26, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Ref. #137:

    Also Gabe, there is a lot of wisdom in Jeff’s observations in his comment here. I speak not as one who has never had to heed Jeff’s admonition, but one who continues to pray that God would keep me under that admonition.

  139. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Re: #136,

    Good works are not necessary for final justification, true faith is. True faith is a lively faith that works through love. An obedient faith. A faith that yields to God’s commands. Dead faith cannot and never will justify a person — that doesn’t mean you see the results of the lively faith in all cases, though; infants being a good example. Even if an elect infant dying in infancy never performs any “good works”, they are still heirs of true faith, even if it isn’t manifested or seen by us before their tragic death.

  140. Gabe Martini said,

    January 26, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Re: #138,

    That is in no way consistent with the gospel, Reed. The gospel is not anti-nomian. It calls us to be slaves of righteousness; it calls us to perform good works; it calls us to action, not lethargy or cheap grace.

  141. Ron Henzel said,

    January 27, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Gabe,

    Regarding your comment 141: on the contrary, Reed seems to be clearly saying that people can and will obey God only after they rest in Christ. How is that antinomian?

  142. Kyle said,

    January 27, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Gabe, re: 140,

    What is true faith? Is obedience a constituent element of true faith, or the fruit and evidence of it?

  143. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 27, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Gabe (#141):

    That is in no way consistent with the gospel, Reed. The gospel is not anti-nomian…

    Are you willing to consider the possibility that certain formulations have been labeled “anti-nomian” which are not in fact anti-law? Certainly, Luther was accused of being antinomian without being so.

    When I read Reed’s reading, I’ve learned that if I say “you must,” to be consistent with the gospel I must then add, “but you can’t, you won’t; rest in Christ because He has, and then – in Him – you will will.”

    it sounds exactly like Luther to me. He’s expressing the classic flesh/Spirit dichotomy (right, Reed? Correct me if not…) and asking Bill to direct his attention to Christ and His resources rather than to Bill and his own (lack of) resources … so that the “righteous requirements of the Law will be fulfilled” in Bill.

    That’s simply not anti-law; it’s anti-flesh-nature.

    Let’s come back to your statement, “Bill is saved, therefore he obeys God’s commandments.”

    I agree with it. That’s the consistent message of the epistle of James. And now, if I were to preach it, I would always, always preach it as “Bill, you are saved; therefore, you have the resources in Christ to obey God’s commandments. Rest in Him and obey by faith.”

    Jeff Cagle

  144. its.reed said,

    January 27, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Ref.# 140 & 141:

    Gabe:

    It sound like in 140 you hear me arguing for somethng that is not true faith. In 141 you clarify your objection. If I’ve got it right, you hear me arguing for false faith (opposite of true faith), fake faith (opposite of genuine faith), dead faith (opposite lively or active faith). In sum, you hear me arguing for a faith devoid of works and so run afoul of James’ explanation that such faith is dead.

    I think the last two phrases in my response to mythical Bill is clear that this is not the case, “rest in Christ because He has, and then – in Him – you will will.” Ron (142) and Jeff (144) offer helpful clarification to show I am not arguing for dead faith, but rather am arguing from the position of true faith.

    Lest I leave you with an impression of equivocation, let me also clarify some.

    I’m basing my comment on the principle of the new life via the Spirit. He is its immanent source. As you agree, it is only in a union with Christ maintained by the abiding Spirit that we have th new life. Should the Spirit ever depart the Christian (an impossibility) our new life would cease. I.O.W. the new life, the regenerate life, only exists in union with Christ. A mystery is here, to be sure. Nevertheless, this is the teaching of Scripture.

    Thus Christ is the essential source of my good works, the works I do according to James which evidence that my faith is living (vital union with Christ) not dead (no vital union with Christ).

    [An aside, these are the only two kinds of faith Scripture knows. The RCM’s temporary faith is expressly the dead kind – they have no vital union with Christ and thus share none of His benefits in any manner.]

    Thus, if I am to do, if I am to walk by faith (Eph. 2:8-9) in the good works preordained by God (Eph. 2:10) then this must flow by faith. A simple definition of faith is resting in Christ; relying, depending, and drawing one’s resources for life ONLY from Him.

    I’m sure you (in essence at least) agree with everything I’ve just said. It sounds to me that you are disturbed by what sounds like a, “you don’t need works,” statement. Not what I said – look at my very last phrase to mythical Bill, ” – in Him [Christ] – you will will.” Notice the repetition of “will” and let me be clear that this was not a typographical error but intentional. Resting in Christ is not being passive to the end of eschewing works. It is the only way in which I can actually do them, for my choosing (my will) will not be aligned (and thus enabled) with His choosing (His will) unless I am living by faith, resting in Him.

    This is the glorious emphasis of Eph. 2:8-10. I do the good works only because of Christ in me.

    It sounds like you are struggling with what I call the “yeah, buts.” Often in Scripture we see things that seem to contradict one another. So we affirm both with a “yeah, but,” or a “on the one hand, but on the other.” “Yeah its all by grace, the gift of God, not by any works, but now that I’m in I must do works,” is a very common misunderstanding. I don’t think your objection is that simple, but I do wonder if you’re not struggling with some of it.

    Or maybe you think something else. If you feel Ron, Jeff, and myself are talking past you, I think Kyle’s question (143) is worth answering for us so we can understand what you are thinking.

    P.S. thanks for the antinomian charge. I plan on keeping it handy the next time someone accuses me of legalism :)

  145. neilrobbie said,

    January 27, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    In response to Gabi Martini and Roger man on the question “are good works necessary for salvation?” Turretin states “we affirm” (Topic 17, Qu 3). To save double posting, it’s here

    In summary, Turretin distinguishes between the status of the believer and their purpose. He writes that the question does not concern “merit, causality or efficiency” but rather “the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order”.

  146. Roger Mann said,

    January 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    143: Kyle wrote,

    Gabe, re: 140, What is true faith? Is obedience a constituent element of true faith, or the fruit and evidence of it?

    That’s a great question, and get right to the heart of the matter. I’m not sure what Gabe’s answer will be this time, but in another thread he clearly stated that works/obedience is a “constituent element” of true faith:

    The WCF presents obedience and yielding to God’s commands as part of the definition of saving faith. (Post 45 “The Discussion Phase is Clearly Over”)

    Of course, this is just plain sophistry. The WCF clearly distinguishes between the “grace of faith” — which is the “the work of the Spirit of Christ” (WCF 14.1) — and the various “acts” that it produces in the life of a believer:

    “By this faith, a Christian…acteth differently, upon that which each particular passage [of Scripture] containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.” (WCF 14.2)

    The “grace of faith” is what causes the Christian to yield “obedience to the commands” — obedience is not “part of the definition” of saving faith itself. This is precisely what Scripture teaches as well: “By faith Abraham obeyed…” (Heb. 11:8). “Faith” and the works of “obedience” it produces is clearly distinguished in Scripture!

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (Rom. 3:28)

    “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace.” (Rom. 4:16)

    “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” (Rom. 11:6)

    Furthermore, “obedience to the commands” and “the principle acts of saving faith” are quite plainly distinguished from one another in the WCF:

    “But the principle acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.” (WCF 14.2)

  147. Kyle said,

    January 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Roger,

    Yes, I do recall that thread and Gabe’s response there. I wasn’t able to say anything further there as the thread was closed, but I thought Jeff’s comment was good.

  148. neilrobbie said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Roger,

    I hope you don’t mind me joining in. Your distinction between the “grace of faith” and the product of obedience concurs with Turretin who writes (Topic 17 Q3) noted above:

    the question [are good works necessary for salvation] concerns the necessity of means, of presence and of connection or order – are they [good works] required as the means and way for possessing salvation? This we hold.
    …This can be demonstrated more clearly from the nature of the thing and the state and condition of man, whether we look to the covenant of grace entered into with him and attend to the doctrine of the gospel which he professes; or to the state of grace in which he is placed; or to the benefits which depend on it, past as well as present and future. All these draw after them the absolute necessity of good works.
    …all the benefits of God tend to this, whether regarded as to the past in eternal election or as to the present in grace, or as to the future in glory. For all these are destined to or conferred upon us for no other reason than to promote the work of sanctification. On this account, good works are set forth to us as the effects of eternal election (Eph 1:4); the fruit and the seal of present grace (2 Tim 2:19; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Jn 15:4; Gal 5:22); and the “seeds” or “firstfruits” and earnests of future glory (Gal 6:7-8; Eph 1:14; Rom 8:23).

  149. Roger Mann said,

    January 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Hi Neil,

    I don’t mind you joining in at all. Thanks for your input. However, I’d probably have to read more of Turretin’s context to fully understand his argument here. In the meantime, I’ll just have to take your word that the distinction the WCF makes between the “grace of faith” and the obedience it produces “concurs” with Turretin’s. Take care.

  150. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Re # 147

    Does WCF 14.1 give us the definition of “faith”? It gives the sources, but doesn’t explain what it is…The fuller definition is found in WLC, #72, in which part of the definition is what WCF 14.2 calls the principle acts of faith, i.e., the receiving and resting. So, the principle acts of faith are part of the definition of faith: what about the other acts of faith? They differ from resting and receiving only in degree (the latter are “principle,” the former are not), not in essence (both are the “acts” of faith). Are the acts of faith part of its essence? If only the “principle” acts are part of its essence, then how do the other acts relate?

    Or can we apply something syllogistic (I’m sure Lane will correct my logic here, if necessary)? If it is SF(Saving Faith), then Y (it yields obedience). Not Y, therefore not SF. This can be taken as essential: If it is E (equilateral) then T (it has three equal sides).

  151. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Joshua, you have a standard modus tollens argument there. However, the way in which the argument is applied is tricky, since different aspects of faith apply to different doctrines. For instance, in justification, the act of faith is receiving Christ’s righteousness. Its role is instrumental. The question of whether it is obedient faith is a good question when it comes to sanctification. However, since faith has more than one application to the Christian life, it is illegitimate to read obedience back into justification, even though a true faith is always obedient. I am not sure if this is where you were going with this. I’m just saying it.

  152. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Yeah, thanks Lane. I’m a former and still occasional logic teacher, so that was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

    I would point out that WCF 14 does not appear to divide up saving faith in terms of how it relates to different doctrines, but rather seems to be after giving a comprehensive definition of it. Different parts of a bird serve different functions, but all those parts are still necessary to the definition of the bird. If it don’t have a beak, it ain’t a bird–but that doesn’t mean the beak makes it fly…So, obedience is part of the nature, the definition, of saving faith: but that doesn’t mean that obedience is the aspect of faith that it operative in justification.

  153. Roger Mann said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    151: Joshua wrote,

    The fuller definition [of “justifying faith”] is found in WLC, #72, in which part of the definition is what WCF 14.2 calls the principle acts of faith, i.e., the receiving and resting. So, the principle acts of faith are part of the definition of faith: what about the other acts of faith?

    The “definition” of justifying faith is given in WLC 72 is this:

    “Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God…”

    It then goes on to explain what this “saving grace” causes the sinner to do:

    “whereby he [the “sinner”]…not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.”

    Thus, the Catechism distinguishes between the “saving grace” of faith (the “grace of faith” 14.1) and the “assenting,” “receiving,” and “resting” that it causes the sinner to do, just as the WCF does. So I disagree with your characterization that “the principle acts of faith are part of the definition of faith.”

    Furthermore, WLC 73 goes on to say that:

    “Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and his righteousness.”

    Once again, the “saving grace” of faith is the “instrument” by which a sinner “receives and applies Christ and his righteousness.” The “saving grace” of faith is clearly distinguished from the acts of “receiving” and “applying” Christ that it causes the sinner to do. And, without a shadow of a doubt, “good works” are said to be “the fruits” of saving faith, not part of the “definition” of saving faith, as Gabe was asserting.

    Perhaps the following explanation will help illustrate what I’m trying to say better:

    “In Chapter 14 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, saving faith is distinguished from believing. Through the grace of faith, the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls (paragraph 14.1). “By this faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the word…” (14.2.). The Confession does not teach that by this faith a Christian is enabled to have faith, for that would be unintelligible. Rather, the Confession teaches that by this faith – saving faith – God enables his elect to believe. In other words, by distinguishing faith and belief the Confession teaches that God effects the grace of faith by the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of His elect, whereby those with true faith, when confronted with the propositions of Scripture whereby they are understood, exercise this faith unto “obedience to the commands…” and many other “acts” of faith such as “accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life…” Notwithstanding, these “acts” of faith – even the principle act of faith – are not to be confused with the essence of faith, for as we have shown – by faith one believes, which in its principle act is accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone for the whole of salvation.” (Ronald W. Di Giacomo, http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/04/is-faith-belief.html)

  154. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Let’s have a little lesson on good definitions. The best way to define is by what is called “genus and difference”: i.e., you state a general category that the thing belongs to and then what differentiates it from the other members of that category. So, an granny smith apple is “an green apple [general category] with a strongly tart taste [difference]…” etc. It is possible, though, to have a definition that errs through being over-broad: if I were to define a granny smith apple as “an apple [general category] that is green [difference],” it would be too broad, since there are other apples that are green.

    Now, “saving grace” cannot be a good definition of faith, because it is a broad category that includes more than simply faith. For example, WCF 11.2 & 13.1 refer to the plural “saving graces,” and WLC includes repentance as another “saving grace” (76–and this does not exhaust that category, as can be seen from 75, which refers to “repentance…and all other saving graces”). “Saving grace” cannot be a good definition of “faith,” then, because it is over-broad, failing to distinguish “faith” from the other member of the class “saving graces.” So, how is faith distinguished from the other saving graces? In the phrase “whereby” (cf. WLC 76)…Thus, the phrase “whereby” or “by” is in fact part of a good definition of faith, whereby this saving grace is distinguished from other saving graces.

    But that still doesn’t mean that it is the obedience, part of the definition of saving faith, that is operative in justification. Just ’cause it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck don’t mean that the quacking makes it move…

  155. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    It is instructive to fully compare WSC 86 & 87:

    86: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

    87: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

    Clearly, the “whereby” here must be part of the definition of each, since otherwise they would be identical in their essence.

    And this stuff is all out of Aristotle, which the Westminster divines knew pretty well.

  156. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    The quote from the end of 154 seems to indicate that faith is a faculty that has the potential for believing, etc.–especially considering the Aristotelian distinction between “act” and “potency” or “potential.” So, saving faith is simple the potential ability to do those actions–but it doesn’t save by being potential, so in defining how faith is “saving” (heading of WCF 14), it cannot be referring to an unactualized faculty, since just having the potential to have faith does not save, but rather the actual exercise of faith (only instrumentally!).

  157. Roger Mann said,

    January 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    156: Joshua wrote,

    Clearly, the “whereby” here must be part of the definition of each, since otherwise they would be identical in their essence.

    I disagree. The term “whereby” denotes the instrumental causality of the “saving grace,” not a part of its definition. “Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation” (WSC 86). This can be seen even more clearly in the Confession of Faith:

    “The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts” (WCF 14.1)

    Two distinct things are taught here: 1) The “grace of faith” is the work of the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of the elect. 2) This “grace of faith” enables the elect to believe to the saving of their souls. In other words, the “grace of faith” is the work of the Spirit of Christ in our hearts, and this work of the Spirit of Christ is what causes (or “enables”) us to believe the propositions of the gospel. It is also what causes the elect to “yield obedience to the commands” and “tremble at the threatenings” (WCF 14.2), etc.

  158. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    A couple of questions:

    (1) We all agree that faith ==> obedience in a logical sense, yes? (As in the argument of James).

    I just mention that because in the context of this discussion, Gabe was citing Reed’s view (that I would associate myself with) as being antinomian. And I wanted to make sure that we had actually cleared that misunderstanding up.

    (2) So then the debate comes down to, “is obedience a part of the definition of faith, or is it a logically necessary consequence of faith?” Yes?

    In other words, does the syllogism in (1) hold analytically or synthetically?

    (3) Reed and I have proposed a mechanism by which faith leads to obedience because of the ongoing work of the Spirit, leading necessarily to fruitfulness. If that mechanism is correct, then it seems like we all could agree that “faith ==> obedience” is plausibly synthetic.

    (4) And anyways, if justification occurs at the moment of faith, prior to any works being done, then how could the proposition that “faith contains obedience as part of its definition” be tested? At the moment of justification, faith has not yet had opportunity to demonstrate its faithfulness. On this reckoning, “faith ==> obedience” is doubtfully analytic.

    I ask (4) because some of the proponents of the “faith = faithfulness” definition have also proposed the notion of “subsequent justifications”, which suggests that they might ultimately deny that justification occurs at the moment of faith. And that’s concerning.

    So: analytic or synthetic, and why? For my part, I think purely synthetic on the grounds that we are justified apart from the works of the law (or works at all, Eph. 2.8,9).

    Jeff Cagle

    (Oh, and also because Calvin distinguished the two)

  159. Roger Mann said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    159: Jeff C. wrote,

    I ask (4) because some of the proponents of the “faith = faithfulness” definition have also proposed the notion of “subsequent justifications”, which suggests that they might ultimately deny that justification occurs at the moment of faith. And that’s concerning.

    Which is precisely why a correct definition of saving “faith” is so vitally important! The proposition “faith = faithfulness” necessarily implies “faith = works of obedience,” which necessarily implies a false doctrine of justification, and a corrupt gospel — “a different gospel, which is not another” (Gal. 1:6-7). This debate is not over a minor “semantic” difference regarding the one true gospel of grace!

    So: analytic or synthetic, and why? For my part, I think purely synthetic on the grounds that we are justified apart from the works of the law (or works at all, Eph. 2.8,9)

    Bingo! The Biblical and Reformed position has always been that we are justified by faith alone — apart from works of any kind — period. Genuine saving “faith” necessarily leads to works of obedience, but it is apart from works of any kind in the matter of justification. Anything else is a false “gospel” that deserves the unqualified “anathema” of Scripture (Gal. 8:1)!

  160. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 30, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Well, yes, that is my concern in extremis. On the other hand, someone like Joshua who does not (I think) hold to works righteousness is nevertheless (apparently) arguing for an analytic equivalence of faith and obedience — and I want to understand why.

    So cards on the table, gentlemen, if you please?

    Jeff

  161. January 30, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Josh said “Clearly, the “whereby” here must be part of the definition of each, since otherwise they would be identical in their essence.”

    No, the “whereby” more naturally points to faith and repentance as being causes and instruments that effect the elements listed in the following clauses. The preposition “by” indicates instrumentality – it does not indicate identity.

    The artificial demand you are putting on this section of the catechism is the idea that the catechism must explicitly provide the difference in essence between the two, or else it must assume that the two elements are identical. It is perfectly legitimate to define a term by listing its genus (a saving grace) and its effects. And listing two elements of the same genus (faith and repentance) with different effects implies a non-identity in essence.

  162. January 30, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Also, consider the Heidelberg Catechism on the nature of faith:

    Question 21. What is true faith?

    Answer: True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, but also an assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel in my heart; that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.

    Question 22. What is then necessary for a christian to believe?

    Answer: All things promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith [the Apostle’s Creed] briefly teach us.

    That’s pretty unambiguous stuff. No obedience there.

    Also, for those who have access to it, see Turretin’s treatment of the issue.

    And let’s not forget the Bible, shall we? How many times does it put faith (seen as passively resting in and receiving Another) and works in binary opposition? The blending of the two or fuzzying of the boundaries that FV continues, with the unfortuante precedent of Norman Shepherd, is driven not by exegesis, but by philosophical speculations.

    Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

  163. Gabe Martini said,

    January 30, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    The Bible presents faith and obedience as parallel and coterminous. Not in the sense of the initial declaration of one’s Justification, but in the sense of “this is what true faith really looks like, or is.”

  164. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 30, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Gabe (#164):

    The passages you present on your page are excellent support for (1) above: that “faith implies obedience.” Unfortunately, they don’t provide a way to distinguish the question,

    “Does faith imply obedience because faith *is* obedience, or does faith imply obedience because faith *always leads to* obedience?”

    The verses you cite really could, without straining, be interpreted both ways.

    FWIW, the last paragraph on your page offended me. Was it necessary?

    Jeff Cagle

  165. Roger Mann said,

    January 31, 2008 at 12:00 am

    165: Jeff wrote,

    FWIW, the last paragraph on your page offended me. Was it necessary?

    Actually, Gabe’s last paragraph was spot on (with a few minor tweaks):

    “Unfortunately, when [FVist’s] precious [heretical/Romanist] theological systems are threatened, they yield obedience to them as opposed to God’s Word in Scripture.”

    By the way, those “minor tweaks” are meant to “offend” in the same way that Paul’s statement, “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves” (Gal. 5:12), offended the Judaizers.

  166. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I’m not comfortable with the re-write, either. :)

    Jeff

  167. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 31, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the confidence, Jeff. I really don’t believe in works-righteousness, so I’m glad you’re reading me charitably on that.

    Thinking out loud here: for the WCF, the accepting, resting, and receiving of Christ alone stand in the same relation to saving faith that obedience does–the difference is one of degree (the accepting, etc. are “principle”), not of kind (they are still acts, which David G. and Roger are strongly distinguishing from the thing itself). Is this accepting, resting, and receiving of Christ part of the definition of saving faith? I always thought it was…perhaps I missed something, and if so, I’d love some correction. Would we say that saving faith ====>accepting, resting on, and receiving Christ synthetically, because of the work of the Spirit? Maybe. Maybe that’s the difference of degree: both are logically necessary, but resting, etc. is analytically so (and thus principle), while the obedience is synthetically so…I’d be happy with that.

    And I don’t think I was saying that faith=obedience. Faith is obedient: that’s part of the nature of faith, but not the part that makes it justifying. Over on the other thread currently under weigh on Turretin, Jeff, you distinguish an F1 that is obedience-prone and an F2 that is genuine faith, but not necessarily obedience-prone. My point is that there ain’t no such animal as F2: true faith is obedience-prone, just as any living tree is prone to bear fruit. But, again, just because obedience is part of the definition or nature of saving faith does not mean that it is the part that is instrumentally operative in justification. I’ll use Calvin’s analogy of the sun: you can’t get the light without the heat, but that doesn’t mean that you can see because of the heat.

  168. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Joshua,

    Thanks for advancing this in a couple of ways.

    Maybe that’s the difference of degree: both are logically necessary, but resting, etc. is analytically so (and thus princip[al]), while the obedience is synthetically so…I’d be happy with that.

    I would, too.

    Over on the other thread currently under weigh on Turretin, Jeff, you distinguish an F1 that is obedience-prone and an F2 that is genuine faith, but not necessarily obedience-prone. My point is that there ain’t no such animal as F2: true faith is obedience-prone, just as any living tree is prone to bear fruit.

    My arguments over there are decidedly unclear. What I mean is simply that removing the “obedience-prone” from F1 still leaves a faith that results in obedience! Thus, “obedience-prone” is redundant (best-case) or misleading (worst-case) as a part of faith’s definition.

    And of course, the reason is because of the principle we agree to be happy with: that faith results in obedience because of the additional operations of the Spirit (i.e., synthetically). And here I think of this: “Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.” — WCoF 11.2. (Identifying love as the primary fruit of the Spirit that Paul has in view in Gal. 5.6)

    But, again, just because obedience is part of the definition or nature of saving faith does not mean that it is the part that is instrumentally operative in justification.

    I’m glad you mentioned that, because as I read PDuggie’s quotes from A.A. Hodge and re-read WCoF 10.1, it struck me that the operation of the Spirit called “regeneration” in the Confession seems to accomplish *more* than simply providing saving faith:

    All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; (1) enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, (2) taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; (3) renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, (4) determining them to that which is good, and (5)effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace. — WCoF 10.1

    It strikes me that (5) proper is “faith” as I’ve been using it (with (1) and (3) in support) (cf. WCoF 11.1), whereas (2) and (4) are effects closer to what Calvin would term “regeneration”, though he places regeneration most definitely after faith (cf. WCoF 13.1).

    And so I wonder whether this discussion could be obviated by simply observing that what the Spirit does in us in effectually calling us goes beyond simply creating faith in us; rather, a whole constellation of changes are made that prepare us to be united to Christ. Hence, faith is accompanied by obedience on two counts — because the work of the Spirit that creates it also regenerates us; and also, because all who rest in Christ are baptized by His Spirit and thus produce over time the fruit of the Spirit. And yet, “faith” does not properly include “obedience” analytically speaking.

    Thoughts?

    Jeff Cagle

  169. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    February 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Should we move this discussion over to the new thread on Turrentin on justification? We’re at the bottom of a long list of posts here, so maybe it would help to continue where the conversation is a little easier to find…


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