Meyers Responds to Letter of Concern to MP

Several men including myself wrote a letter of concern to the Missouri Presbytery concerning Jeffrey Meyers, a signer of the Joint Federal Vision Profession and moderator of the Biblical Horizons group.

You can read the full letter here.

TE Meyers has responded to this letter of concern, and I thought it might be appropriate to print that response here:

He writes:
The clerk of my presbytery received a letter this week making serious accusations against me. I had no knowledge of this letter until yesterday (March 29, 2010) when I received a call from the moderator of Missouri Presbytery informing me that the clerk had just received it. After I got off the phone with the moderator, friends informed me that the letter had been published on the Internet that same day.

The accusations are very serious, but not true. If any of the men who signed this letter to my Presbytery had taken the time to contact me personally, I could have assured them that these reports were false and, if necessary, clarified my own theological commitments.

To defend my good name and ministry, I offer the following response as an accurate summary of my personal convictions relating to these recent accusations. A process is at work now in our presbytery that I intend to respect. Therefore, I do not desire to engage in public discussions of these matters in an informal way on the Internet.

If I have ever seemed to question the fundamental truths I am accused of denying, this process will afford me the opportunity to clarify my intentions and amend any infelicitous or unclear statements I may have made in the past.

I do, however, wish to provide an initial, public, defense of the orthodoxy of my personal convictions for the comfort of my friends and interested parties who may hear of these grave allegations and be concerned.

I will address these accusations in the order of their importance rather than the order in which they are found in the letter.

“He rejects justification by faith alone.”

This charge is false. I wholeheartedly affirm justification by faith alone. Throughout my ministry I have taught and preached the biblical and Reformation doctrine of justification by Christ alone through faith alone. I believe that “justification is an act of God’s free grace wherein he pardons all our sin and accepts us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 33). I have never taken exception to or expressed any reservations whatsoever with the Westminster Standards on the doctrine of justification, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter XI, “Of Justification.”

Just to be crystal clear, I deny that fallen humans can merit salvation through works. Salvation is a free gift of God graciously granted to sinful humans in spite of their demerit, only because of the sinless life, death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ. I repudiate all forms of salvation by works.

“He rejects the idea that Christ’s merits are imputed to us.”

This accusation is false. I affirm the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers. I have always affirmed this Reformation truth. Apart from the judicial imputation of Christ’s work to us there is no hope of salvation for sinful humans. We are justified by God’s “imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ” (WCF XI.1) to us when we believe the Gospel.

“He denies that all who are saved will ultimately end up in heaven.”

This, too, is false. I deny that any who have saving faith will not attain heaven and the resurrection of the righteous at the Last Day. All those who are truly saved in this life, the elect, will persevere to the end and enjoy the blessedness of heaven and the eternal state. I wholeheartedly affirm the Reformed doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints” as it is formulated in the Westminster Confession, Chapter XVII: “They whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly preserve therein to the end, and be eternally saved.”

“He affirms that baptism effects a saving, covenantal union with Christ. He affirms that this saving union occurs with all the baptized.”

These two accusations seem to be virtually the same. I deny them both. I do indeed joyfully affirm that baptism formalizes a child’s or an adult believer’s covenantal relationship with God. Even before baptism, even in the womb, the children of believers have a covenantal union with Christ as a gracious gift of God. This is why we call them “covenant children,” even before they are born, even before they are baptized. At baptism this covenantal union is formally and publicly celebrated and made official through the application of water in the Name of the Triune God. But baptism does not automatically guarantee their salvation.

Although baptism confers many covenantal benefits, I deny that baptism “effects a saving” union with Christ for everyone baptized. The baptized must believe the Gospel and respond to the grace given and offered to them in baptism. I deny that all baptized persons are saved. Sadly, there will be many in hell who, although baptized, refused to believe the Gospel.

I do not believe that the sacraments are effectual unto salvation apart from “the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 91).

“He denies the bi- covenantal structure of the Standards.”

This is a curious accusation, and I’m not entirely sure what it means. The statements that come after the letter assert that my views are “radically monocovenantal.” These terms “bi- covenantal” and “mono-covenantal” are not found in our Westminster Standards, nor are they part of our traditional Reformed systematic theological vocabulary. I suppose that my accusers object to my reservations about the pre- fall Adamic covenant being characterized as a “covenant of works.” But questions about exactly how to characterize the Adamic covenant have long been a matter of intramural debate among Reformed pastors and theologians. I have had this “exception” to the language of the Westminster Standards registered in every presbytery I’ve been a member of since 1987. All three presbyteries that I have belonged to since then have determined that my disagreement with our standards on this point did “not strike at the vitals of the system of doctrine” found in the Westminster Standards. Full disclosure: here is text of the exception I have registered and have had approved by three different PCA presbyteries:

WCF 7:2-3 (and 19.1). I think that the language of “covenant of works” is at best misleading. The Westminster Standards are not always consistent in using the same language to refer to man’s pre-lapsarian relationship with the Lord (WCF 4.2, 19.1, WLC 20). What I am concerned about is that the languages of “works” not lead to the erroneous conclusion that Adam and Eve did not enjoy life and communion with God before the fall as the gift of God’s goodness. Even WCF 4.2 speaks of pre-lapsarian man being “happy in their communion with God.” Communion with God was not something to be earned by Adam and Eve. They possessed “spiritual life.” It is misleading to say that Adam and Eve would have been rewarded with life because of their obedience. Genesis 1-2 seems to indicate that they had access to the tree of life, that they should have eaten from it, thereby acknowledging their utter dependence upon God for life and happiness. As a judicial consequence of their sin Adam and Eve lost the life that they possessed. They did not pass from a neutral state into an estate of death. The life Adam and Eve possessed, they lost.

What I am trying to guard against is the idea that Adam and Eve would have merited God’s favor through good works. They were created in an estate of favor with their covenant God. I am not denying that pre-lapsarian man’s life was in some sense an “unconfirmed” life. The righteousness they possessed was capable of being lost. It was lost. What I am denying is that Adam’s life—his acceptance and favor before his heavenly Father—was somehow merited or earned by him.

In the interest of clarity let me state emphatically that I deny that God’s pre-fall covenant with Adam was the same as God’s post-fall gracious covenantal arrangement with sinful man in Christ. I have never taught they were the same. They are two distinct covenants.

Conclusion

I pray that this brief response to the false accusations against me will be received in the spirit I offer it. I have been preaching, teaching, and writing for many years. Consequently, there are many thousands of my words available on audio files, essays, articles, and internet blog posts and comments. When I have had the opportunity to read or hear sermons and lectures I delivered years ago, I often cringe at errors I have made in expounding and applying biblical texts. The Lord continues to sanctify and mature me. The past five years of ministry have been especially transformative as the Lord has graciously changed me and re-directed my ministry in many ways. I’ve said many things in the past that I would love to take back and correct. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to do that publicly during this process.

I have always ministered with the conviction that I have been ordained as a minister of the Gospel and of the Word of God. I believe that being “Reformed” is short for being “reformed according to the Word.” My absolute commitment to the infallibility, authority, and sufficiency of the Bible alone has sometimes led me to evaluate human creeds and confessions with an eye to improving them; this includes even our Reformed confessional tradition. I believe Jesus taught us to have a healthy dose of suspicion for tradition, especially when it is venerated in ways that practically supplant the authority of the Word of God. I only ask that my critics interpret such critical comments, when they find them, in the context of 25 years of preaching, teaching, and counseling from a decidedly Reformed theological perspective. My pastoral ministry has predominantly been constructive and not centered on criticism of our tradition. My occasional frustration with traditional ways of formulating things in Reformed systematic and confessional theology should not be misinterpreted as evidence of disrespect for our tradition’s faithful exposition of the Word of God.

Finally, I pray that my presbytery will choose a wise course in answering these “reports” so as to defend the peace and purity of the Church of Christ.

190 Comments

  1. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    JJM’s affirmation above concerning active imputation is consistent with what he said in Oct. ’07 (see combox).

    Letter of Concern: “He rejects the idea that Christ’s merits are imputed to us.”

    JJM: This accusation is false. I affirm the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers. I have always affirmed this Reformation truth. Apart from the judicial imputation of Christ’s work to us there is no hope of salvation for sinful humans. We are justified by God’s “imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ” (WCF XI.1) to us when we believe the Gospel.

    As I understood it at the time and now, he *affirms* that Jesus’ status as obedient Son (and resurrected Messiah) is imputed to us; he *denies* that Jesus’ actions merited quantifiable credits with the Father that are then transferred to us.

    It’s an issue of “status” v. “quantifiable merits”, not an issue of imputation of righteousness per se.

    Put another way, JJM appears to me not to deny WCoF 11.1, but instead to be denying an Anselmian understanding thereof.

  2. April 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Jeff,

    In another blog discussion a few years ago, Meyers emphatically denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, in his words: “Because I can.” When Meyers talks about Christ’s righteousness being imputed, he has previously made it clear that he doesn’t mean Christ’s active obedience. Perhaps you noticed that his response’s wording differs from the original letter. The original letter talked about Christ’s merits and active obedience, Meyers’ response does not.

    This is typical of FV adherents. At first reading, they might sound reasonable. But as you read closer and examine their word choices, you find that they don’t actually address the same issue.

  3. April 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Meyers uses the word obedience in the context of quoting the confession. But given his signing of the Joint FV Statement which denies the need for active obedience of Christ imputed to elect sinners, he is in direct contradiction of the Westminster Confession XI.1. That chapter XI. paragraph 1, he quotes in his defense. But he forgets about paragraph 3 which defines “obedience and satisfaction.” That is not just talking about the passive obedience of Christ imputed. Paragraph 3 clarifies it when it says, “Christ, by His obedience and death…” ‘Obedience’ in the Confession XI refers to Christ’s active obedience, ‘satisfaction’ refers to His passive obedience. Meyers, in his words makes you think he is fine with the Confession, when history and his words have shown otherwise.

  4. April 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Andrew,

    Just so. Well said. Robert Shaw in his commentary on WCF 11.3 says in part:

    The righteousness of Jesus Christ is the sole ground of a sinner’s justification before God. It is not his essential righteousness as God that we intend, for that is incommunicable; but his mediatory or surety-righteousness, which, according to our Confession, consists of his “obedience and satisfaction.” That sinners are justified only on this ground might be demonstrated by a multiplicity of proofs. None can be justified without a perfect righteousness; for the demands of the law cannot be set aside or relaxed. The judgment of God, in pronouncing the sinner righteous, would not be according to truth, unless the sentence were founded upon a righteousness adequate to the requirements of the law.

    And A.A. Hodge’s commentary:

    Our Standards and all the Reformed and Lutheran Confessions teach that the true ground of justification is the perfect righteousness (active and passive) of Christ, imputed to the believer, and received by faith alone. S. Cat., q. 33

    Williamson says the same on page 105 of his WCF study guide. Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr., says in his commentary (page 62, vol 2):

    The whole point of justification by faith alone is that justification is by Christ alone – not Christ assisting me, nor working in me, but Christ working for me in terms of his perfect, active obedience. He actively satisfied every demand of the law of God, and he passively received the punishment for my sin on the cross.

    That’s sola fide at its core. Soli Deo gloria!

  5. jared said,

    April 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Bob,

    We get the result of Christ’s active and passive obedience (i.e. we get His righteousness); it seems quite tangential, even superfluous, to push that any further than is necessary for the receiving of His righteousness. I don’t get Jesus’ works (as if I can claim them as my own), for I have been created to do my own works. What additional benefit is there in suggesting/affirming that His particular (and often miraculous) works are imputed to me, along with having my own to accomplish and, that, after having already received the result of His works?

    Meyers isn’t denying anything in any of the quotes you provide. You gentlemen seem to be equating “righteousness” with “active/passive obedience”, is that the case? How would this be different than equating justification and sanctification?

  6. Vern Crisler said,

    April 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Jeff, why the either/or? Why not both/and? I.e., both Christ’s qualitative status and his quantitative righteousness are imputed to us. What is the point of dividing Christ and his work?

  7. Greg Waddell said,

    April 2, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Sounds like you guys need to all get your heads out of the theological tomes and back to the real world of hurting people.

  8. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 1:15 am

    May the Lord grant you wisdom as you do so.

    Translation: God help you if you should not agree with us.

  9. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Here is the hypocrisy of these men: Keistner and Webb, at the very least, deny the WCF article that a sacrament conveys the thing it signifies. They are WCF deniers, plain and simple. Before bringing charges and writing letters about other men, guilty or not, they should first sort themselves out.

    If they had the courage to admit their own heresy, and recant, they would then be in a position to cast stones. Their sin is both doctrinal and moral – denying an article of the WCF, and hypocrisy.

    Could anyone please tell me how I an non PCA man, can bring charges against Keistner and Webb? I am being serious.

  10. David Gray said,

    April 3, 2010 at 6:28 am

    >Here is the hypocrisy of these men: Keistner and Webb, at the very least, deny the WCF article that a sacrament conveys the thing it signifies.

    Who is Keistner? Do you mean Keister?

  11. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Roger,

    Regarding comment 8: according to the PCA Book of Church order, “Process against a minister shall be entered before the Presbytery of which he is a member” (BCO 34-1). The place to start is to send your grievance to the clerk of the presbytery. Lane belongs to the Siouxlands Presbytery; Andy belongs to the Central Carolina Presbytery. You can find links to the email addresses for the clerks of their presbyteries here. If they require anything further, such as a written letter, they will let you know.

    But please be aware, BCO 31-8 reads: “Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge in a malignant spirit towards the accused; who is not of good character; who is himself under censure or process; who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused; or who is known to be litigious, rash or highly imprudent.” If and when you file a complaint against Lane or Andy, I will contact them with my belief that you indulge in a malignant spirit toward them, that you have a deep interest as a Federal Vision partisan in their conviction under your charge, and that you are highly imprudent.

  12. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Vern,
    Justification is not a commercial transaction, but rather it is penal in nature. Its not like Christ gives me 85 obediences in place of 85 of my own sins. But, rather I get the status of righteous because Christ the righteous one stands in my place.

  13. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Terry, do you still agree that Christ’s active obedience during His life on earth is imputed to believers?

  14. Tim Wilder said,

    April 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

    @8

    Siouxlands Presbytery has already ruled (in a case against Ian Hewitson) that someone who is not a member of the PCA does not have standing to bring charges against a member of presbytery.

  15. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Andy Webb has said to me via email that he disagrees with the WCF on baptismal efficacy. Has he declared his exception to his presbytery? I doubt it.

  16. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Ron, you need to exercise care in your accusations, because you, Like Webb and Keister, are out of accord with the WCF. That makes you a hypoctite too.

    If you are a RE or a TE, please forward me the details of your presbytery, and I will lay charges against you too.

  17. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Vern: Jeff, why the either/or? Why not both/and? I.e., both Christ’s qualitative status and his quantitative righteousness are imputed to us. What is the point of dividing Christ and his work?

    First, an explanation: The reason I posted above was for the sake of conscience. When I first read the Letter of Concern, my mind immediately went to the exchange that I had with JJM, and it struck me that the one particular charge in the LoC did not fit with what he had said there. So I felt that it was only right to provide more information for the record.

    It is possible, of course, that JJM is dissembling in some way, as Bob and Andrew Barnes seem to think. The MO Presbytery will need to sort that out.

    But for my part, distinguishing between Christ’s “merits” (omitted in his response) and Christ’s “righteousness”, “obedience and satisfaction”, and “work” are not obviously significant. Perhaps I’m being deceived out of a desire for folk to not be out of accord with the Standards, but there it is.

    To the question, Vern: What if there’s no such thing as quantitative righteousness?

    We recall that the notion of quantitative righteousness grew out of Anselm’s discussion in Cur Deus Homo, in which he argued that Jesus’ sacrifice of himself was an action of such great merit that it overwhelmed the dishonor of our sin. In medieval theology, this eventually developed into notions like the treasury of merit and of mortal and venial sins and of grace delivered through sacraments that “cancels out” certain quantities of sin.

    But as Reformed folk, we hold that any sin is damnable, and that being justified in Christ means that we are completely and totally forgiven of all sins: past, present, and future.

    That being the case, what’s the point of quantifying righteousness? Does it make sense to say that I am justified because Jesus gives me enough “righteousness credits” to be considered righteous? (putting it crudely, but this is what a quantified notion amounts to)

    Isn’t it rather that we are justified by Jesus’ righteousness in full, imputed to us? We go from 0 to 1, unrighteous to righteous, in God’s sight, because we are in Christ, because he is our Federal Head. And, His life, death, and resurrection are all a part of His status. So: Yes! to imputation of active obedience, Yes! to imputation of passive obedience, Yes! to imputation of resurrected victory over sin (cf. Col. 3.1). But none of that is quantified into smaller bits of righteousness.

    So I think it’s reasonable to question a quantified view of righteousness and think in terms of status. This isn’t dividing Christ and His work, but unifying them: we get all of Christ’s work (by legal reckoning, λογιζετο) when we get Him by faith. Perhaps I’ve missed something that others can correct me on.

  18. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Curate (#15):

    Just to forewarn you — if the exception you have in mind is the same view of efficacy that I expressed in our 15-round on baptism, it is unlikely that you will succeed. Just sayin’.

  19. Steven Carr said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Curate, what do you mean by ‘baptismal efficacy’? Are you suggesting that the WCF teaches ‘in some sense’ baptismal regeneration? Do you need to be brought up on charges too?

  20. David Gray said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Could he possibly mean this?

    “The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.”

    Anyone not believing in baptismal efficacy is out of conformity with the WCF.

  21. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Roger,

    Regarding comment 15: spare me your heretical rants. You do what you have to do, and I’ll do what I have to do.

  22. Wes White said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Curate, I don’t believe you can bring charges per se, since countercharges of slander could not be made against you because you are not under PCA jurisdiction. However, what you should do is outline where you think Keister and Webb are out of accord with the Standards. Then, you can send the report to their respective Presbyteries under the provision of BCO 31-2. You can find my email address at my blog, and I can send you those addresses, if you like.

  23. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Roger,

    I am a deacon’s assistant and a Sunday School teacher at a church in the Suncoast Presbytery of Florida, which is the home presbytery of at least one of the members of the PCA SJC, with whom I have already discussed doing exactly the same thing that Lane, Andy, et. al. have done (only with someone else), they just beat me to the punch. My verbal overture has been warmly welcomed, and I hope to follow through with it at my earliest opportunity.

    Since I am neither an RE nor a TE, you’ll have to file charges with my home church. Please find the contact information here. Please spell my name correctly so I get full credit.

  24. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Steven,

    Regarding your comment 18: we’ve gone around that barn, like, several hundred thousand times with Roger. He is a Federal Visionist, as he has stated more than once. I assume that gives you enough information to draw your own conclusions about what he means by “baptismal efficacy.” If not, I think there are enough people here who can point you in the right direction.

  25. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 9:20 am

    This is the article that both Webb and Keister disagree with:

    “The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.”

    Since it appears that I am unable to bring charges, not being a member of the PCA, it remains for me to bring this information to the attention of the relevant authorities. They will know what to do in the case of both heresy and moral failure, namely, hypocrisy.

    Thank you Ron for your information. I will be making contact with your church.

    Could someone tell me which Presbytery TE Webb is a member of? Thanks.

  26. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Jeff, I am accusing them of being out of accord with the WCF, not with me. From our interaction I have a very good idea of what the PCA position is.

  27. ljdibiase said,

    April 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Could someone please clarify or explain the point that Curate is making? The WCF does seem to say that baptism is efficacious.

  28. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Ron,
    Yes, but not in a commercial sense. But, rather Christ as the righteous obedient son stands in my place as my substitute. Just as he died in my place as my substitute.

  29. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Ron,
    just to try to clarify what I’m saying let me draw the parallel with Christ’s death. When Christ died in my place its not as if my individual sins ( lets so there are 100 for purposes of clarity) where imputed to Christ, but rather my sin as catergory was imputed and not only mind but the sin of the human race as Adam’s posterity. And by doing so the legal obstacle is removed God’s justice is satisfied and salvation is the offered freely to all upon the condition if faith. In the same way when I believe I not only get forgiveness for my sin, but I also get the status of a righteous obedient son because I am declared so in Christ and am treated as such because Christ is my substitute.

  30. Ronnie said,

    April 3, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Charge:
    “He denies the bi- covenantal structure of the Standards.”

    Response:
    This is a curious accusation, and I’m not entirely sure what it means.

    Not no what it means? The sounds unlikely. Did he not read the PCA paper on the Federal Vision where this is clearly explained and discussed?

  31. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Ron,
    Here is a couple links that may help clairfy as well.

    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=1371
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?cat=63

  32. April 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

    jared/terry,

    Please reread the quote from Shaw in #4. Christ’s inherent righteousness as the 2nd member of the Trinity is incommunicable. It is his merit earned through his perfect obedience to, and thus fulfillment of, the law that is imputed to the elect in its totality, thereby making us perfectly righteous in God’s eyes. Simul justus et peccator, eh? No one outside of Rome is engaging in bookkeeping with God. On the cross, all of our actual sins were imputed to Christ on the cross, not some theoretical category or status. This is a judicial act and exchange, not a philosophical treatise. This has been the view of the Reformed church since the beginning, and is what WCF 11.1 and 11.3 mean by the “obedience and satisfaction of Christ”.

  33. jared said,

    April 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Bob,

    This is what you are saying: that just as all of our actual sins were imputed to Jesus, so all of His actual obedience was imputed to us. In effect, then, Jesus is viewed by God as having committed all of my sins and I am viewed by God as having accomplished all of Jesus’ obedience? When God looks at me He sees that, by imputation, I fed the 5000, I cast out demons, I walked on water, I turned water into wine, etc. culminating in my death and ultimately resulting in my resurrection and glorification. Is that about right?

  34. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Bob,
    Actually what you are describing is a pecuniary transaction not a penal substitute. And it is incorrect to say that the reformed have been in total agreement on this subject since the beginning. I would encourage you to follow the links I provided and research it for yourself. There is a substantial amount of documentation on the site I provided that has been compiled on this subject.

  35. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Roger,

    I posted a reply to a couple of items from your comment 23, but it seems to be stuck in the comment queue. I think it’s because it has a link with a long URL in it. I hope one of the moderators will “unstick” it soon.

  36. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Terry,

    If you don’t believe that Christ’s active obedience is imputed to us as part of His atoning work “in a commercial sense,” why did you point us to articles that pervasively apply commercial terms like “value” and “payment of debt” to the atonement?

  37. Vern Crisler said,

    April 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    #11, 16,
    Terry & Jeff,

    I think Bob, jared (perhaps unwittingly), and Ron have it just right. I just don’t understand the NPP and FV hostility to commercial transactions in justification. What are they trying to accomplish by denying quantity? What danger do they see in active and passive obedience in justification? How do they interpret Matt 3:15, John 21:25, or Rom. 5:19? Curious….

  38. April 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    jared,

    All I related was the traditional Reformed view in a nutshell. May I refer you to pages 103-105 of Dr. Sproul’s excellent book Faith Alone, where after quoting Turretin on being clothed by Christ’s righteousness:

    Turretin makes a crucial point that is often overlooked in popular forms of Evangelism today. He speaks of Christ’s fully satisfying the justice of God by his perfect obedience. Too often Christ’s work of satisfying the justice of God is reduced to his work of atonement….

    The atonement is vicarious because it is accomplished via imputation. Christ is the sin-bearer for his people, the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) who takes away (expiates) our sin and satisfies (propitiates) the demands of God’s justice….

    The atonement also involves a forensic matter. God declares Christ to be “guilty” of sin after the Son willingly bears for his people sins that are imputed or transferred to him….

    The cross alone, however, does not justify us. We need not only a substitute to pay for our demerits, but also positive righteousness. We are justified not only by the death of Christ but also by the life of Christ.

    Christ’s mission of redemption was not limited to the cross. To save us he had to live a life of perfect righteousness. His perfect, active obedience was necessary for his and our salvation. He earned the merit of perfect righteousness, no only for his own humanity, but for all those whom he redeems. Christ perfectly fulfilled all the demands of the law, meriting by his active obedience the blessing promised in the old covenant.

    We are constituted as righteous by the obedience of Christ, which is imputed to us by faith. The New Testament draws a parallel between Adam and Christ, the “new” and “second” Adam. Turretin comments: “As by the offense of one [supply “guilt”] came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one [supply “the blessing redounded”] upon all men unto justification of life….” The act of one cannot be made the act of many, except by imputation.”

    That’s justification as preached in the Reformation by men like Calvin, Turretin, et al.

  39. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Roger,

    In comment 24, you wrote:

    Could someone tell me which Presbytery TE Webb is a member of?

    I thought I already supplied you with this information when I wrote back in comment 10:

    Lane belongs to the Siouxlands Presbytery; Andy belongs to the Central Carolina Presbytery.

    TE Webb’s first name is Andy. Didn’t you read the online copy of the letter to the Missouri Presbytery, which has all the names and presbyteries of the signers listed right in it? Don’t you think it would be a good idea to do that before you go around rattling cages all over the place?

    You also wrote, in the previous paragraph:

    Thank you Ron for your information. I will be making contact with your church.

    I hope it is never said of me that I refused to cooperate with Presbyterian due process.

  40. April 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    jared/terry,

    You may benefit from an excellent address by Dr. Sproul back in 2006 which you can download here for free. The pure doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience is at the point where about 14 minutes are remaining, but the entire address is well worth the time to listen.

    Sproul rightly point out that without Christ’s righteousness, all we have to offer is filthy rags. That’s the alternative to the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.

  41. Reed Here said,

    April 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Ron no. 35, Roger: unstuck, see no. 39 (changed the date stamp so it wouldn’t get lost back up in the comments.)

  42. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Ron

    FYI, and for the information of others who may be interested, I contacted Andy Webb by email over a year ago on this matter. My stated intention was to bring him to repentance before filing charges, which he understood. He answered me fairly and honestly.

    I have given it a very long time so as not to be hasty in a grave matter. I trust that that information answers your concern. This is no bomb out of the blue to him.

    He made it clear that he did not agree with the Reformers on sacramental efficacy. Until he gives me permission I cannot quote from his correspondence. He has, however, given me permission to paraphrase him.

    To find out where he and Keister stand, ask them this simple syllogism:

    Sacraments confer the things they signify.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism conveys forgiveness.
    Do you agree?

    That is sufficient proof and evidence.

  43. April 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Roger,

    Sacraments confer the things they signify.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism conveys forgiveness.

    They only confer or convey it to those who (perhaps eventually) respond in faith per WCF 28.6 in the case of baptism. That’s the clear statement of the Confession. In the case of the Lord’s Supper, Scripture says that those who do not discern the Lord’s body by faith eat and drink condemnation to themselves. You probably should get that right first.

    As has been said before, since you are not a member of the PCA you have no standing to bring a complaint against anyone in the PCA. Otherwise any Arminian or Roman Catholic could try to bring charges against almost every officer in the PCA. Wilson’s attack dogs have tried it against me in the past, much to our amusement.

  44. Reed Here said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Roger: two questions seem to pop out at me from this syllogism (and prior conversations here). One is relevant to the means of conveyance. The second is relevant to the grace conveyed. To frame these questions, let me quote the relevant section of WCF 28 (paragraph 5):

    The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed time.

    (emphasis added).

    Are you keeping in mind this key distinction, namely that baptism in and of itself conveys nothing? Rather it is the Spirit who does the spiritual conveyance by means of baptism. (I think you’re a “yes” on this). If so, I don’t believe I’ve heard either Lane of Andy deny this.

    Or is your concern on the basis of what grace is conveyed? I.e., do you hear the WCF saying that initial grace (e.g., at regeneration, justification) is what is conferred by the Spirit via baptism?

    Do you think Lane and Andy deny this distinction, instead affirming that only additional grace (e.g., sanctifiction) is what the Spirit confers via baptism?

  45. David Gray said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    >Are you keeping in mind this key distinction, namely that baptism in and of itself conveys nothing? Rather it is the Spirit who does the spiritual conveyance by means of baptism. (I think you’re a “yes” on this). If so, I don’t believe I’ve heard either Lane of Andy deny this.

    It is notable that the initial SJC panel report on Leithart denied this although Lane attributed it to an accidental error (I hope he’s right).

  46. stuart said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Sacraments confer the things they signify.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism conveys forgiveness.
    Do you agree?

    Perhaps this “simple syllogism” needs to be qualified a bit before most Reformed folsk would give their hearty consent.

    For example,

    Westminster Shorter Catechism 91 How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?

    A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.

    It would seem the SC writers are not given a blanket statement that baptism conveys forgiveness but that the sacraments become means by the blessing of Christ, the work of the Spirit, and received by the faith of those who receive it. So bare baptism doesn’t convey anything.

    This seems to be further expressed in Westminster Confession of Faith 27.3 . . .

    The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it; but upon the work of the Spirit,and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

    Not everyone who receives the sacraments benefits from them, only worthy receivers. Certainly one must admit that part of being a worthy receiver (whatever else one might want to suggest) would be faith.

    Again this is further displayed in WCF 28.6 . . .

    The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, not withstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.

    So again . . . whatever efficacy is bound up with baptism is not tied to the moment baptism is adminstered, nor is it given to all who receive baptism. The grace is given when the Spirit sovereignly works in those “to such as that grace belongeth unto.”

    So I don’t now too many Reformed pastors who would feel comfortable with that syllagism as it is stated.

    Sorry.

  47. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Ron (#36):

    Terry’s point is that the “commercial transaction” metaphor is a metaphor and can be misleading if pressed on every detail. His citations are given to that end.

    My point is orthogonal to the propriety of commercial transactions. There’s no problem with saying “Jesus paid my debt.” I’m simply saying that justification is all-or-nothing, and I wouldn’t expect that to be a controversial point. As Bob said, no-one outside of Rome quantifies justification.

    What might be less obvious, though, is the clear implication of the all-or-nothing nature of justification: that Jesus’ righteousness likewise cannot be measured in quantity. Instead, it is legally bestowed, imputed to those who are united to Him in their effectual calling, the work of the Spirit to create faith in us. Or as WSC 30 has it, justification is a manifestation of our union with Him.

    Back to you Ron: what do see at stake in speaking of righteousness as a quantity?

  48. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Vern,
    The rejection of the literal use of commercial categories rather than as metaphor is not a NPP or FV thing but has a long history in the reformed tradition. It is even arguably the majority position historically as can be seen by the evidence compiled at the website I linked to. Take the time to check it out. But to answer your question. A commercial transaction would undermine the gracious nature of salvation because when a commercial debt is paid the benefit is applied ipso facto or by default. One would need not even believe it or even know about it for that matter. The elect in this case would receive salvation by right not grace there would be no condition for them to meet, namely faith. This can be explained by more able men than me if u want to take the time to read through the mountain of material on the website I linked to.

  49. curate said,

    April 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Bob M

    Ask Andy Webb and Lane Keister if baptism, rightly received, by faith, confers justification.

    Webb has answered in the negative, as has Keister on this blog, as you well know.

    I know that I cannot bring charges, but I can speak truth to power. The point is that everyone can identify hypocrisy when they see it, and the authorities are duty bound to act upon it, regardless of who brings it into the open.

    Even if they do not, Webb’s little secret is out, that he is a WCF denier on a key point of the FV dispute, and everyone will know what to think.

  50. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Roger,

    Regarding your syllogism:

    Sacraments confer the things they signify.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism conveys forgiveness.
    Do you agree?

    First of all, the word “convey” does not mean precisely the same thing as the word the confession uses: “confer.” To convey is simply to transfer something from one place or person to another. To confer is more along the idea of “to grant,” as when a superior (e.g., a university) confers something (e.g., a degree) on an inferior (e.g., a student). I find the former term more mechanical and the latter more personal, and I also find the latter term less susceptible to Catholic notions of grace as a “substance” than the former term.

    Why change words in mid-syllogism; why not just stick with the language of the confession? Assuming there’s no objection, let’s see how that makes things look now:

    Sacraments confer the things they signify.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism confers forgiveness.
    Do you agree?

    But as long as we’re getting nit-picky about confessional wording and all that, why not make sure we’re qualifying how sacraments confer grace the same way the confession does? I wonder how that would look…

    Sacraments confer the things they signify, not by their own power or the power of ministers, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism confers forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit
    Do you agree?

    I hope this isn’t beginning to look too muddled already, but it occurs to me that since we’re talking specifically about baptism here, we really also ought to clarify when it confers forgiveness, since the confession seems to go out of its way to do that. Hmmm…let’s see…

    Sacraments confer the things they signify, not by their own power or the power of ministers, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily at the moment of administration, but at God’s appointed time.
    Baptism signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore baptism confers forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily at the moment of administration, but at God’s appointed time.
    Do you agree?

    There! I think it’s finished. I hope it’s not too cumbersome. But there’s one more thing. We have to add one more thing to make sure that everyone really understands what we mean by “conferring” God’s grace (which, of course, includes forgiveness). Therefore, we also have add the following syllogism, with the understanding that the two are parallel statements in which the word “confer” is used univocally between the two of them and that they cannot be separated without attributing too much to baptism:

    Scripture confers the things it signifies, not by its own power or the power of ministers, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily at the moment of administration, but at God’s appointed time.
    Scripture signifies forgiveness.
    Therefore Scripture confers forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily at the moment of administration, but at God’s appointed time.
    Do you agree?

    As long as we make Calvin’s “settled principle” clear, we have no problem:

    Therefore, let it be regarded as a settled principle that the sacraments have the same office as the Word of God: to offer and set forth Christ to us, and in him the treasures of heavenly grace. But they profit nothing unless received in faith.

    [Institutes 4.14.17; Battles translation 2:1292.]

  51. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Terry,

    In comment 48, you wrote:

    A commercial transaction would undermine the gracious nature of salvation because when a commercial debt is paid the benefit is applied ipso facto or by default. One would need not even believe it or even know about it for that matter. The elect in this case would receive salvation by right not grace there would be no condition for them to meet, namely faith.

    So when a debt is paid by Party A for Party B, it cannot be considered gracious unless Party B “meets the condition” of putting faith in the payment? How does that work?

    Gee, I think if someone told me that they paid off all my debts, and I was too shocked to believe it until I saw the evidence for myself, the payment still would have been gracious from the very beginning.

  52. Ron Henzel said,

    April 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Terry,

    Also regarding comment 48: things we receive “by right,” because we are in Christ, are therefore not gracious?

  53. Vern Crisler said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    #48,
    Hi Terry, I was wondering if you could comment on the Scriptural passages I supplied.

  54. Phil Derksen said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I don’t want to seem self-promoting, but Wes White has begun posting a series of articles that I wrote about baptism and the Westminster Standards, which is certainly germane to much of what is being discussed here. I would invite anyone who may be interested to check it out.

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/04/baptism-in-westminster-standards-vs.html

  55. Vern Crisler said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    In Romans 4 Paul uses a common commercial transaction to illustrate justification. A commercial transaction is a species of value-exchange, more precisely an exchange of economic values (vis-a-vis, exchange of marriage vows, exchange of covenantal or compact promises and obligations, etc.).

  56. jared said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    My question(s) still hasn’t been answered. Again, no one on either side is denying the necessity of Jesus’ perfect obedience for our (and His human) righteousness.

  57. April 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Roger, RE #49,

    You’re all talking past each other. I read a large number of your posts on another thread in this topic. At the end, I have no idea what you really believe or what the words you use mean in your mind. That’s why I quit even trying to communicate with you on theological issues. If people are using words in different ways, there can be no meaningful communication – especially via an impersonal medium like blogs.

    Lane and Andy, to the best of my knowledge and experience with them, take no exceptions to the Standards as far as baptism is concerned. You, on the other hand, seem to be an indefatigable defender of Federal Vision and the errors thereby implied. I’d be happy to write to their presbyteries as an officer in the PCA supporting them in this matter, as I imagine many here would. If you want to speak nonsense to power, I guess you’ll do whatever you want.

  58. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Ron,
    So you would disagree with Hodges, dabney, shedd, and the host of other reformed theologians cited that faith is not a condition for receiving justification? And and as far as a commercial transaction undermining grace I think pretty clear that if I receive benefit by default then I have receive it bcause it is now owed to me. A commercial transaction would put God in my debt… he would be unjust to withhold from me. But this is not the Biblical teaching on salvation. The Bible is clear that it is offered freely and that I must believe to be saved. And if I remain in unbelief I receive no benefit. That is the nature of a penal satisfaction. As shedd said the atonement could have been made but unless applied upon the condition of faith no one would be saved. At the risk of being redundant, the benefit of a commercial transaction is owed to me. It would be absurd to offer something applied ipso facto.

  59. terry west said,

    April 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    That first sentence should have been worded this way – ron, so u disagree with Hodge, Dabney, Shedd… that faith IS a condition that must be met for receiving justification?

  60. April 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    jared, RE #56,

    no one on either side is denying the necessity of Jesus’ perfect obedience for our (and His human) righteousness.

    Again we see the clever rewording of the statement at issue. The imputation of the active obedience of Christ is core to the Reformed understanding of justification. Will you say that clearly? It’s also core to WCF 11.1 and 11.3, and carries significance concerning the Covenant of Works.

    Many FVers see Jesus’ perfect obedience as only necessary for his expiation of our sins on the cross and define his righteousness in that way and on that basis, leaving out the necessary imputation of his righteousness based on the merit he earned through perfect obedience and fulfillment of the law.

    Here’s the historical difference. If our sins are only expiated by his death on the cross, then Jesus’ sacrifice made us innocent but we’d still lack the positive righteousness needed to enter heaven. The imputation of the merit of Jesus’ perfect obedience in his life to the elect gives us the positive righteousness needed for justification and eternal life.

  61. Reed Here said,

    April 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Roger, no. 49: concerning TE Webb’s quibbles with what grace is conferred by the Spirit via baptism, it is not secret, but quite public knowledge. I, as well as other regular commenters here, and I expect a host of readers, know of Andy’s views in this regard, simply because he put out a paper on this some years ago.

    Whether or not you are right that this is a difference with the CoF I’ll not enter into here, I as expect it will need more nuancing. I will say you are quite wrong to say “his little secret is out.” It is an uncharitable comment, not based on the facts at all.

    As to hypocrisy, consider this: if you are right concerning Lane’s and Andy’s differences with the CoF in this regard, this is no way justifies a charge of hypocrisy against them. Such a charge would be valid if they were unwilling to submit to the same process to which they’ve asked TE Meyers to submit.

    I note for the record that TE Meyers is submitting, as per his vows. I applaud and affirm what I expected from this brother. As well, if similar circumstances were applied to Lane and Andy I fully expect they would submit as well.

    You’ve no cause to accuse them of hypocrisy. They believe TE Meyers maintains errors sufficient enough to warrant examination by his fellow elders. There is a just and equitable biblically consistent process in place in the PCA for such things to proceed. I’ve seen enough of TE Meyers to believe he will continue to act with integrity in his submission to this process. Likewise I know many of the signers of this letter. I know them to be men who likewise are by faith submitting to this process.

    It is not a pleasant matter when brothers disagree. It is not hypocrisy for them to manage such disagreements in a manner that holds out the promise to maintain the peace and purity of the Church.

    Quite the contrary to accusations of hypocrisy, they are to be commended (both sides) for the integrity they’ve shown to their vows.

    Again, this is not to say you are wrong in your CoF challenge. I make no judgment there. I do think you should reconsider if hypocrisy is really a just and accurate charge.

  62. David Gray said,

    April 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    >It is an uncharitable comment, not based on the facts at all.

    It is an uncharitable comment but it is hardly unique in that matter in the comments on this site.

  63. jeffhutchinson said,

    April 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    For a variety of reasons, I am shutting down comments on this thread (if one of the other moderators wants to open this thread back up, I won’t object).

    And please no sneaking in comments about this thread on another thread. Thanks, fellows.

    Meanwhile, as Tiny Tim said, “God bless us all, everyone.”

  64. April 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    […] Letter to Missouri Presbytery on TE Jeff Meyers 29 elders from around the PCA signed a letter asking Missouri Presbytery to investigate Federal Vision advocate TE Jeff Meyers’ views as to their conformance with the Westminster Standards. You can read the complete letter on the Aquila Report. TE Meyers wrote an almost immediate rebuttal which you can read on Greenbaggins. […]

  65. David Gadbois said,

    April 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Jeff,

    I re-opened the comments for this thread, because I think that the actual topic of this thread is important to discuss.

    I will, however, be monitoring this thread to make sure that Curate does not continue beating his heretical sacramental hobby horse. I will delete ALL off-topic posts that do not address the substance of the post.

    Both Curate and David Gray are on notice that they should confine their respective hobby horses to threads where such subjects would be on-topic. Each new post at Greenbaggins does not present an opportunity to renew your personal agendas using this blog space.

  66. David Weiner said,

    April 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Bob, Re #60,

    I believe I understand your view expressed here and that it is a settled part of reformed theology. I personally don’t see it in Scripture and would be very appreciative if your could cite a few Scriptures where this idea of needing more than saving faith and a ‘neutral’ sin scorecard (because of Jesus paying the price of my sin) is at least near the surface of the text.

    In other words where does Scripture assert that we need the imputation of positive righteousness to enter heaven?

  67. April 4, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    David W., RE #66,

    Fair question. I would start with Mt 5:20, but in the interest of time allow me to offer a portion of Shedd’s argument from Scripture:

    The chief function of Christ’s obedience of the moral law is to earn a title for the believer to the rewards of heaven. This part of Christ’s agency is necessary, because merely to atone for past transgression would not be a complete salvation. It would, indeed, save man from hell, but it would not introduce him into heaven. He would be delivered from the law’s punishment, but would not be entitled to the law’s reward: “The man which does the things of the law shall live by them” (Rom. 10:5). Mere innocence is not entitled to a reward. Obedience is requisite in order to this. Adam was not meritorious until he had obeyed the commandment, “Do this.” Before he could “enter into life,” he must “keep the commandment,” like every subject of divine government and candidate for heavenly reward. The mediator, therefore, must not only suffer for man, but must obey for him, if he would do for man everything that the law requires. Accordingly, Christ is said to be made of God unto the believer “wisdom” and “sanctification” as well as “righteousness” and “redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). Believers are described as “complete” in Christ (Col. 1:10); that is, they are entitled to eternal blessedness as well as delivered from eternal misery. Christ is said to be “the end (telos) of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Rom. 10:4). This means that Christ completely fulfills the law for the believer; but the law requires obedience to its precept as well as endurance of its penalty. Complete righteousness is conformity to the law in both respects: “By his obedience shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19); “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many” (Isa. 53:11); “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6); “in the Lord have I righteousness” (45:24; Rom. 8:4; Phil. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:21).
    Shedd, W. G. T., & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology (3rd ed.) (721). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.

    Shedd’s argument goes on longer, but I hope that this portion answers your direct question. Turretin also has a long discussion in Vol II of his Elenctic Theology, pages 649-656, but each Scripture has its own section that’s too long to copy here. He includes discussions on most of the verses cited by Shedd plus Rom 4:3,5, Phil 3:9, Gal 3:19, and others.

    Also, if you have a chance to listen to Dr. Sproul’s address which I linked in #40 above, he goes through a series of Scriptures and their significance at about 14 or so minutes remaining in the talk.

    I hope that this is helpful.

  68. todd said,

    April 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    David, #66

    Though Bob will also answer I’m sure, let me give it a try:

    1. Adam did not yet have an impeccable nature, could not see God as he is, did not yet possess a perfected body, *until* he obeyed God in the covenant of works.

    2. The High Priest, who alone could approach God’s presence in the Holy of Holies, not only brought a bloody sacrifice to symbolize the need for atonement for sin, but he wore a breastplate of righteousness to symbolize the need for positve righteousness to stand in God’s presence and not be consumed.

    3. Psalm 24:3-10 begins with the question; who can stand in God’s holy presence? (v. 3). The answer – those who are positively righteous (4-6). Who then is worthy to enter God’s presence? The king, the Lord of glory – Jesus! And he on our behalf! (see also Psalm 15)

    4. The position we have in Christ is by the gift of righteousness in Christ (Romans 5:17).

    5. It the positive righteousness of Jesus Christ that is the basis of our justification (Romans 5:18&19).

    6. In the wilderness, Jesus needed to obey God where Israel failed, thus qualifying him to be our Savior and representative. After he passed his test, the angel ministered to him, opposed to the angel warning Adam to stay away from God’s holy sanctuary.

    7. It is Christ’s obedience in keeping God’s precepts, opposed to Adam’s breaking it that gives us life (Romans 5:19). That obedeince is the cross, but also his whole life of pure trust, devotion and obedience to God required of all his image bearers. .

    8. We are saved from condemnation, and we also have the law’s righteousness fulfilled (Romans 8:1-4).

    9. Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might have his righteousness (II Cor 5:21).

    10. Paul rejected his own righteousness and desired the righteousness of Christ granted to us through faith (Phil 3:9).

    11. In Revelation, the only ones who can stand before God and not be judged are those who are clothed in righteous garments, not only those who have had their sins forgiven (7:9)

  69. jared said,

    April 5, 2010 at 12:06 am

    David Gadbois,

    Thanks for opening comments again.

    Bob (Re #60),

    You say,

    Again we see the clever rewording of the statement at issue. The imputation of the active obedience of Christ is core to the Reformed understanding of justification. Will you say that clearly? It’s also core to WCF 11.1 and 11.3, and carries significance concerning the Covenant of Works.

    Regardless of how you feel about the FV, I am not trying to cleverly reword anything. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is core to the Reformed understanding of justification and Christ’s active and passive obedience is necessary for His righteousness (as it is tied to His incarnation). So, let me say it as you said it: the imputation of the active (and passive) obedience of Jesus is core to the Reformed understanding of justification. Without this obedience there is no righteousness and without His righteousness we can only stand condemned. I was mistaken and/or unclear in my original comment (#5). To have the result of Christ’s obedience is to also have Christ’s obedience. You continue,

    Many FVers see Jesus’ perfect obedience as only necessary for his expiation of our sins on the cross and define his righteousness in that way and on that basis, leaving out the necessary imputation of his righteousness based on the merit he earned through perfect obedience and fulfillment of the law.

    Jeff Meyers is clearly not “leaving out the necessary imputation of his righteousness”; from his response quoted above it looks to me like he is equating “Christ’s righteousness” with “Christ’s merits”, isn’t that what the Reformed position does? Isn’t that essentially what you’re saying here?

  70. greenbaggins said,

    April 5, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Roger, I am not currently under the impression that I need to recant on anything. You may issue a call to repentance, of course. However, unless I am convinced by sound reasoning from the Word of God that I am in error, it would actually be wrong of me to recant that which I hold to be true. The same is true for the FV authors, actually. I believe they are wrong, and I have issued many calls for them to repent of their views. But they won’t recant unless they become convinced that their views are out of accord with Scripture. This has not happened yet. At any rate, recanting hardly needs to take place before the discussion continues. We hope that the truth will come to light precisely through these discussions.

  71. April 5, 2010 at 7:47 am

    jared,

    I apologize for misunderstanding your comment in #56.

    So, let me say it as you said it: the imputation of the active (and passive) obedience of Jesus is core to the Reformed understanding of justification. Without this obedience there is no righteousness and without His righteousness we can only stand condemned.

    Exactly so. We have communication!

    Jeff Meyers is clearly not “leaving out the necessary imputation of his righteousness”; from his response quoted above it looks to me like he is equating “Christ’s righteousness” with “Christ’s merits”, isn’t that what the Reformed position does?

    That is the Reformed position, but that’s not what Meyers has meant by that statement in the past. In the debates that I’ve witnessed with Meyers, he, along with many FVers including Jordan, openly and fervently denies the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Here’s an excerpt from Meyers’ post during an earlier debate:

    Dr. Hart asked me why I reject “the imputation of the active obedience of Christ” (IAOC). My answer to the question is simple: the most significant reason denying the IAOC is important to me is the odd recent insistence by some that confessing that formulation is necessary in order to maintain one’s Reformed credentials….

    The real reason I deny it is because I’m being told that I must affirm it even though I do not find it in the Westminster Standards or in the Bible.

    Jordan later in the same discussion says of Christ:

    His blamelessness qualified Him to be the perfect blood-sacrifice, to be sure. But I am justified and saved from hell by his DEATH FOR ME. Period.

    These are plain, simple, and clear denials of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ as required by WCF 11.1 & 11.3, WLC Q. 71, and WSC Q. 33.

  72. April 5, 2010 at 7:49 am

    todd, RE #66,

    Nicely done! I ran out of time last night so punted by quoting Shedd and citing Turretin.

  73. Ron Henzel said,

    April 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Terry,

    Now that this thread has been re-opened, in comments 51 and 52 I asked you:

    [51] So when a debt is paid by Party A for Party B, it cannot be considered gracious unless Party B “meets the condition” of putting faith in the payment? How does that work?

    Gee, I think if someone told me that they paid off all my debts, and I was too shocked to believe it until I saw the evidence for myself, the payment still would have been gracious from the very beginning.

    [52] Also regarding comment 48: things we receive “by right,” because we are in Christ, are therefore not gracious?

    And you responded in comments 58 and 59:

    So you would disagree with Hodges, dabney, shedd, and the host of other reformed theologians cited that faith is a condition for receiving justification?

    Why would you think I was doing that? Of course I don’t disagree with them! But receiving justification and having Christ’s righteousness imputed to you are two different things.

    You seem to be presupposing that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is either simultaneous or immediately subsequent to the individual’s receipt of justification. This, however, is not the case in the Reformed ordo salutis, in which imputation has already been accomplished for the elect as a whole, and thus Christ’s righteousness already in a true sense belongs to each member of the elect prior to faith. This imputation already belongs to each of the elect by right, and is simply awaiting application.

    By faith the sinner appropriates the righteousness of the Mediator already imputed to him ideally in the pactum salutis; and on the basis of this he is now formally justified before God.

    [Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapid, MI, USA: William B. Eerdmans, 1938; 1996), 522]

    Hence the imputation of Christ precedes the gift of the Spirit, and regeneration, faith, and conversion do not first lead us to Christ but are taken from Christ by the Holy Spirit and imparted to his own.

    [Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, (Grand Rapid, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2006), 3:525]

    You wrote:

    And and as far as a commercial transaction undermining grace I think pretty clear that if I receive benefit by default then I have receive it bcause it is now owed to me.

    I don’t think it’s pretty clear at all. The meaning of the phrase “by default” is always dependent whatever sets the terms under which something happens “by default.” The mere fact that something happened “by default” does not settle the matter; we have to ask the question: “Under what kind of terms does it happen by default: gracious terms or non-gracious terms?” The answer in Scripture (and hence Reformed theology) is that it happens “by default” to those who were elected by God’s grace, not because of any obligation on God’s part, but merely because of His good pleasure.

    You wrote:

    A commercial transaction would put God in my debt… he would be unjust to withhold from me.

    This logic does not apply to all kinds of commercial transactions. There are all kinds of commercial transactions that do not involve the kind of obligation you’re writing about here. If I go to your bank and deposit money in your bank account as a pure gift, it was not because I was in your debt, but because I chose to do something out of my own good pleasure. That’s what happens in imputation.

    I’ll refrain from replying to the rest of your comment, since as you’ve already noted it’s a bit redundant.

  74. David Weiner said,

    April 5, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Bob, re# 67:
    Todd, re# 68:

    Great responses; thank you. I now have my work cut out for me.

  75. April 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    jared,

    Relative to my comment #71, I amended it with a link to Meyers’ statements. I wanted to print the pages to PDF before they disappeared. It seems that many of Meyers’ writings on the web have been purged recently, and I didn’t want to lose these before the evidence was shredded.

  76. April 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Thanks, Ron

  77. April 5, 2010 at 8:56 am

    David W., RE #74,

    While you’re digesting all that, John Brown of Haddington has another outstanding, extended discussion in his Systematic Theology, pages 386-393, based on Christ as our surety. It is infused with tons of Scripture references in that context. Obviously too long to post here, sorry.

  78. terry west said,

    April 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Ron,
    Here are several links that deal with the danger of using commercial or pecuniary categories literally. If you want to take the time to read them you will see that the reformed have not beeno in agreement on this issue.
    The following links deal with the difference between pecuniary and penal atonement:
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5530
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=1883
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=304
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=301

    The following links deal with the necessity of faith for salvation or imputation:
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=1371

  79. David Gray said,

    April 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    >Both Curate and David Gray are on notice that they should confine their respective hobby horses to threads where such subjects would be on-topic. Each new post at Greenbaggins does not present an opportunity to renew your personal agendas using this blog space.

    Would you please clarify what hobby horse you have in mind?

  80. David Gadbois said,

    April 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    David, I was referring to your statements on a previous thread, regarding your calls for Wes White’s repentance on an unrelated thread.

    Sorry for the confusion, there is no problem under this particular post.

  81. David Gray said,

    April 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    >Sorry for the confusion, there is no problem under this particular post.

    Thanks, I was a bit puzzled.

  82. Dave H said,

    April 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    GB writes: “At any rate, recanting hardly needs to take place before the discussion continues. We hope that the truth will come to light precisely through these discussions.”

    Discussions, huh? And this is done by counting noses, or S. Clark spouting off initials of NAPARC denominations which share his sword? God help Luther and Calvin… Oh yeah, he already did, didn’t he?

  83. Ron Henzel said,

    April 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Dave H,

    Do you have an actual point?

  84. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Bob (#71):

    Isn’t JJM saying, “I’m not going to say it the way you want me to say it, for the simple reason that you’re demanding so loudly” ?

    If so, then I would be cautious in reading out his actual view from the post. The only thing I’m sure about in reading that post is that he’s dug in his heels and taken a stand on WCoF 1.10 and 20.2.

  85. David Weiner said,

    April 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Bob, re# 67,

    I am working my way through your suggestions. Your first was to start with Matthew 5:20 and I did. The Scribes and the Pharisees had no righteousness, yes? To have more than them does not seem to help us decide at all how much righteousness we need to enter heaven. By the way, are the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and ‘heaven’ the same thing? Is this really a good starting place?

    I started into Shedd (definitely not through yet) and ran right into “It (Christ’s atonement) would, indeed, save man from hell, but it would not introduce him into heaven.”’ Is there a third place? If not hell, then what, other than heaven?

  86. David Weiner said,

    April 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Todd, re# 68,

    11 specific bullet items! Now that is what I call a worthy defense of your position.

    I have given each one a detailed examination. However, in the interest of brevity, I won’t respond to all of them. But, if I skip one that you think especially germane, I will be happy to address it directly.

    2) I can find no place where the breastplate of the high priest is called the breastplate of righteousness. I do find it called the breastplate of judgment. It had stones representing the sons of Israel. The breastplate was a memorial to Jacob (Israel) and the promises that God had made to him. Where does Scripture say that it symbolized any need for positive righteousness?

    3) You say the Psalms 24:4-6 tell us that only those who are positively righteous may stand in God’s holy presence. When I read those verses I see the person who can stand there described as having a) clean hands, b) a pure heart, c) not lied, d) not sworn deceitfully. Sounds like it is describing somebody who has kept the law, no? Of course, we agree that Jesus kept the law. However, this Psalm would not seem to be addressing those of us who have been declared righteous as a gift through faith.

    4) Romans 5:17: Yes, we receive the ‘gift of righteousness.’ How can this be understood to mean the IAOC?

    10) Philippians 3:9: Again this verse talks about righteousness i.e., “that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith” God grants us (declares us, imputes to us, etc.) righteousness on the basis of faith. Period. Nothing here about imputing Christ’s righteousness?

    11) Revelation 7:9: I don’t find any place where Scripture defines ‘white robes’ as the IAOC. How does this support the idea of IAOC?

  87. Ron Henzel said,

    April 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Jeff,

    Regarding comment 83: I think Meyers was saying more than that. The only way someone can seriously invoke WCF 1.10 and 20.2 the way he’s doing is if that person believes the doctrine in question is either “contrary to [God’s] Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship.” So I think he’s intentionally implying that IAOC is at the very least a doctrine not found in Scripture, and for that reason he says he will deny it “with gusto.”

  88. April 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Ron, RE #86,

    Meyers said much more than that. The link I provided to the De Regno Christi Sep 2007 discussion above has a lot more detail across multiple days’ discussions. Meyers had a lot more to say, agreeing with Jordan at all points that I can recall on the IAOC. I was frankly shocked and blogged about it here.

  89. April 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    David W., RE #67,

    I’m on the road right now and don’t have my library handy. As to the scribes and Pharisees, they were the most outwardly righteous in all Israel, even tithing their mint and cumin. People looked up to them as being as good as it gets. The point Jesus was making was that it still wasn’t nearly good enough.

  90. David Weiner said,

    April 5, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Bob, re#88,

    In this electronic mobile age I would have thought you would not leave home without your entire library on your Apple iPad!

    Surely I agree with you that what people think is not the point. We people get it wrong all the time. Jesus was of course right in His assessment of them. Nevertheless, the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be anything here pointing to IAOC. A person who has all of their sins forgiven would certainly be more righteous than the any of the lost Scribes and Pharisees, no? For, they would have nothing ‘unrighteous’ on their account.

  91. Tom Wenger said,

    April 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    But ,David, they would have nothing righteous on their account either, and we know that there is no neutral ground between the two.

    God can only allow those into His presence who have loved Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Simply being forgiven for failing to do so does NOT make you someone who now succeeds at such things.

    That is why we need Christ to be our righteousness.

  92. jared said,

    April 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Bob (Re. #71),

    Thanks for the link to Meyers’ discussion, the post and the comments were very interesting and stimulating. I need some time to digest. I spent a good two hours talking with my father-in-law (who’s an elder at the church I attend) about justification, obedience (concepts of merit and earning), righteousness and imputation. He suggested I read Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied, which I’ve read before but it’s been more than several years since I read it last.

    Also, there were a couple of questions from the linked discussion that caught my attention and I’d be interested in your (or anyone else’s) thoughts. The questions were raised by Anthony Cowley and I paraphrase them:

    (1) What would be the benefit (or theological relevance) of affirming an imputation of Christ’s pre-resurrection acts of righteousness to post-resurrection Christians?

    The idea here is not to downplay or deny the necessity of that obedience for the accomplishing of justification and, ultimately, salvation. Rather the question is what redemptive purpose could there be for desiring an imputation of Jesus’ pre-resurrection righteousness and merits? Isn’t it His post-resurrection life that we are baptised into?

    (2) If righteousness is imputed to believers through Jesus’ one act of obedience (Rom 5:18), then do we need His pre-crucifixion righteousness and merits to be imputed to us in some distinct fashion?

    Paul seems to be saying that Jesus’ pre-crucifixion life and death on the cross were to pay for our sins and that His resurrection was to obtain our justification.

  93. todd said,

    April 5, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    David # 85

    The breastplate of righteousness is of course taken from Eph 6. I’m using the term to summarize the different aspect of the High Priest’s attire that symbolized his (the priest’s) holiness.

    (Ex. 28:6-12). The ephod was fine twined linen with gold. Gold symbolizes holiness in the tabernacle articles.

    (Ex. 28:36-38). This headpiece was fine white linen which pictures of the righteousness of Jesus throughout the New Testament. Upon the headpiece was a golden plate with the inscription, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” fastened with a blue ribbon.

    Also important is the vision of the High Priest in Zechariah 3:1-8:

    “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.”

    Here you see the priest clothed with righteousness if he was to stand in God’s presence, and that the OT priestly garments did symbolize righteousness.

    You wrote, “Of course, we agree that Jesus kept the law. However, this Psalm would not seem to be addressing those of us who have been declared righteous as a gift through faith.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “not addressing” Both Psalms ask the question – who is qualified to enter heaven? The answer in both is – the one with perfect righteousness. How then will you enter heaven if that is God’s revealed requirement? If you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

    You wrote, “Philippians 3:9: Again this verse talks about righteousness i.e., “that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith” God grants us (declares us, imputes to us, etc.) righteousness on the basis of faith. Period. Nothing here about imputing Christ’s righteousness?”

    Are you trying to distinguish the righteousness that comes from God as Trinity and the righteousness of Christ? Is that your point?

    “11) Revelation 7:9: I don’t find any place where Scripture defines ‘white robes’ as the IAOC. How does this support the idea of IAOC?”

    How did you receive the white robes? Imputation (declaration) or infusion? And by what basis does God declare you righteous, if not that the One who represents you before Him is your righteousness?

    (Jer. 23:5&6) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”

    The Lord here is Jesus. He is our righteousness.

  94. Mark Horne said,

    April 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    The imputed righteousness of Christ needs to be washed in the blood of the Lamb? o_O

    (Revelation 7.14)

  95. David Weiner said,

    April 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Todd, #93

    Yes, Paul uses the metaphor of a Roman soldier’s ‘breastplate’ to make his point in Ephesians. All of the items there are ones initially worn by soldiers; not OT high priests.

    One of your points in support IAOC was: “2. The High Priest, who alone could approach God’s presence in the Holy of Holies, not only brought a bloody sacrifice to symbolize the need for atonement for sin, but he wore a breastplate of righteousness to symbolize the need for positive righteousness to stand in God’s presence and not be consumed.”

    The high priest did not wear the ‘breastplate of righteousness’ of Ephesians. He wore a breast piece of memorial to Israel. I think that there is a mixing of metaphors here that leads to a faulty conclusion of IAOC. But, I do see that the sinful high priest had to wear items of clothing that symbolized purity/righteousness before God. On the other hand, I have to disagree with you that it symbolized “his (the priest’s) holiness.”

    Referring to Zech 3:1-8 you say: “Here you see the priest clothed with righteousness if he was to stand in God’s presence, and that the OT priestly garments did symbolize righteousness.”

    I don’t argue the symbolism of dirty/clean clothing in Scripture. The point you originally put forth was that the breast piece of the high priest symbolized righteousness. I just don’t know what the high priest’s breast piece has to do with IAOC.

    I’ll stop here because this is getting too long. Everyone of your other points deserves a response and I would love to do so. I just don’t think we ought to keep expanding our comments here. I’d be happy to continue this in another venue.

  96. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Ron and Bob, you may be right. I had an ongoing discussion with TE Meyers back in 2007, and my recollection was that he affirmed IAOC (or IAOX) but denied that it was taught explicitly in the standards as such. Ron, to your point, one might well invoke WCoF 20.2 for the sake of one’s friends, not for one’s own sake. And I understood Meyers to be in this position. I haven’t taken the effort to re-find this discussion, because I think it’s less dispositive than whatever might come out in process.

    But it may well be that he goes beyond this, as you suspect.

    Whatever is the case, we should pray for truth to out.

  97. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

    David Weiner (#66):

    I would endorse Bob and Todd’s basic approach to the imputation of active obedience. Additionally, there is another way to see the matter.

    Hebrews 5.7-10 affirms that Jesus became the source of our salvation not only by his death on the cross but also through obedience during the sufferings he endured in life.

    This point is then reaffirmed in 7.23-28: that Jesus is qualified to be our substitutionary atonement because he is holy, blameless, and pure. In context, this does not refer to Jesus’ divine nature, but his human nature — he was holy, blameless, and pure in his conduct (reaching back to chapter 5).

    And finally, Heb 10.5 – 10 teaches that we are made holy, which is to say, righteous, by Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

    If we put this together, it appears that

    (1) The righteousness that Jesus brings to us consists not only of his suffering on the cross, but also of his qualification to be the one who suffered — the unblemished lamb, the mature, obedient Son; and

    (2) Jesus’ righteousness becomes ours by means of that sacrifice (received by faith, of course…also a large theme in Hebrews!).

    So that regardless of our need, it appears to be a fact that Jesus’ righteousness, including the active obedience aspect, is in fact ours by imputation.

  98. David Weiner said,

    April 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Jeff, #97:

    First – Hi, hope all is well.
    Second – I am not trying to be difficult about IAOC; I am just not able to see it in the Scriptures.
    Third – The Scriptures that have been put forward (not the Hebrews ones that you provided) just don’t seem to have it near the surface. Somehow, you all have the ability to go deeper than I can to find it.

    Now, the Hebrews passages:
    Hebrews 5:7-10
    a) God heard His prayers because of His piety
    b) He learned obedience from His suffering
    c) God designated Him high priest and thus He became the source of our salvation.

    Where is the imputation here?

    Hebrews 7:23-28
    a) He holds His priesthood forever
    b) Thus, He can keep on saving forever
    c) thus, there is no need for another priest
    d) Because He is holy, etc. He does not need to daily offer sacrifices for Himself and us. Once was enough!

    Where is the imputation here?

    Hebrews 10:5-10
    a) Sacrifices of Bulls is not what God desired
    b) Jesus was given a body and came to do God’s will
    c) He takes away the sacrificial system of the law and establishes a second system
    d) By His one willing sacrifice (once and for all time) we have been sanctified.

    Where is the imputation here?

    I must be truly thick headed. What you and Todd and Bob say is eminently logical and makes all the sense in the world. I just can’t see it in Scripture. However, I do see it asserted by a number of great theologians.

    Why is being sinless not enough? Isn’t that the very definition of righteous? How much more than zero does one need to come before our holy God?

  99. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    David: was being sinless enough for Adam?

  100. Andy Gilman said,

    April 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    In #98 David asks:

    Why is being sinless not enough? Isn’t that the very definition of righteous? How much more than zero does one need to come before our holy God?

    And the OPC report on justification answers:

    God required of Adam a perfect obedience, tested over time, not only the original righteousness and moral guiltlessness in which he was created. Adam was born righteous and continued in that state for a time, but God required a course of obedience to his law, the passing of a probationary test, for Adam to attain to a state of irreversible judicial approbation and eschatological life. If Christ indeed came as the Second Adam, to succeed where Adam failed, and brought in much more than Adam lost, then simply seeing passive obedience in 5:18 [Romans] and surrounding verses seems radically insufficient. Christ’s passive obedience brings forgiveness, resulting in a condition of moral guiltlessness. But that was not enough for justification resulting in eschatological life.

  101. Manlius said,

    April 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Reed and Andy:
    You’re right that being sinless wasn’t enough for Adam, but that’s because he’s not the resurrection and the life. Paul refers to Christ as the Last Adam, but that doesn’t mean he shares the same limitations as the first.

    OPC Report: “Christ’s passive obedience brings forgiveness, resulting in a condition of moral guiltlessness. But that was not enough for justification resulting in eschatological life.”

    True, but it was the resurrection, not the active obedience to the Mosaic Law, that confirmed Christ’s victory over sin and death on the cross. Our eschatological life is founded not only in Christ’s death, but also in his resurrection.

    Romans 4:23-25 (ESV): 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was DELIVERED UP FOR OUR TRESPASSES and RAISED FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION.”

    Peace, Manlius

  102. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Manlius: interesting quote. I see the dual statement in v. 25 actually quite declaring the passive obedience (delivered for trespasses) and active obedience (raised for justification).

    This verse actually defines te OPC report statement referenced.

  103. David Weiner said,

    April 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Reed, #99,

    Being sinless, he would still be in the garden. But, that was not God’s plan. I don’t believe that God ever said to Adam that if only he would trust in Jesus he would be given eternal life. God makes the rules; not me (Thank God for that!). The rules he gave us are entirely different than the ones he gave Adam. Please don’t misunderstand me here; I am not saying that God’s law has changed.

  104. Reed Here said,

    April 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    David: what? God’s rules are different for Adam than for us? Can you support that?

    I don’t think you answered the prior question yet either. I never implied Adam needed faith in Jesus. I asked was sinlessness enough to remain in relationship with God?

    Surely you recognize the answer is no – the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil required not merely a passive obedience, remain sinless. It required an active obedience, do not eat.

    If all Jesus does is remove our transgressions, all he has done is restore us the passive state of obedience in which Adam began. What about the requirement of active obedience? Does not the law still speak to us an active requirement, just like it did Adam, do this and live?

  105. David Weiner said,

    April 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Reed, #104:

    Sorry; but we seem to have crossed wires. Let me try to fix it.

    Support for different rules for us and Adam:
    Adam: Genesis 2:16-17 is the only command I see God giving to Adam.
    Us: 1 John 3:23 seems to summarize our commands quite nicely. ‘Us’ meaning lost people with sinful natures after Adam.

    “I don’t think you answered the prior question yet either.” The prior question being: “was being sinless enough for Adam?” My answer is I didn’t understand the question until you added in your next post “enough to remain in relationship with God.” My answer to that question is yes. The proof being that that is exactly what he had before he ate.

    Now we come to ‘active’ and ‘passive’ obedience. Sorry; but, this sounds like a distinction without a difference as relates to Adam. Adam remaining sinless was passive? The only way he could sin was to eat. Not eating was active? If he didn’t eat (active) then he was remaining sinless (passive). What is the import of this? Wasn’t his only job to remain sinless regardless of whether we call it active or passive or both?

    “If all Jesus does is remove our transgressions . . .” But, as you well know, that is not all He does for us. Scripture tells us all about all of what He does for us. IAOC does not seem to be in the list.

    “Does not the law still speak to us an active requirement, . . . ” I don’t think so. We blew the law thing. Thank God, he provided the gospel way as an alternative to the law way. The gospel way is not an addition to the law way, is it?

  106. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Hi David (#98):

    Yes, recovering from a stressful March. Lord willing!

    The flow of thought from Hebrews is as follows:

    Heb 5 and 7 establish that Jesus was considered righteous not merely because of his sacrifice BUT ALSO because of the life he lived. No imputation just yet!

    Heb 10 establishes that Jesus’ righteousness makes us righteous also — which we understand to be by imputation, not infusion based on Romans.

    So since we are made righteous by the imputation of His righteousness, and His righteousness includes the life He lived, it follows that the righteousness imputed to us includes the “active obedience” aspect.

    Better?

  107. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Re: #105

    Strangely, “passive” is not the antonym of “active” in these discussions. Rather, “passive” means “of the sufferings” — that is, the righteousness Jesus made available by the suffering on the cross.

    For Anselm, this was enough, and it established source of merit great enough for the sin of the whole world (read Cur deus homo for his account. His literary device includes a character named “Boso” == “Bozo” :) )

    For this reason, Catholic theology has emphasized the sufferings of Christ as the source of our salvation. Think of The Passion of the Christ, or of the stations of the Cross, or of Catholic crucifixes.

    Over against this, the Reformed have emphasized that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were all integral parts of our salvation (“He was raised for our justification…”). Hence the empty crosses in Protestant churches.

    The actions that Jesus took on earth are His “active righteousness”, even including his refraining from sinning at the temptation.

    So Adam never had nor could have had “passive righteousness” == “suffering righteousness.” Rather, he was required to have righteousness of action: Don’t Eat The Fruit.

    His failure in this regard resulted, among other things, in the imputation of active unrighteousness to us, which usually goes by the term “Guilt of Original Sin.” (compare WCoF 6.3).

  108. jared said,

    April 10, 2010 at 12:12 am

    *points back to comment #92*

    The second question has been toyed with a bit. The confusion seems to be stemming from a disagreement as to what all is entailed by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Anyway, I’ll repeat the questions so you don’t have to scroll up:

    (1) What would be the benefit (or theological relevance) of affirming an imputation of Christ’s pre-resurrection acts of righteousness to post-resurrection Christians?

    The idea here is not to downplay or deny the necessity of that obedience for the accomplishing of justification and, ultimately, salvation. Rather the question is what redemptive purpose could there be for desiring an imputation of Jesus’ pre-resurrection righteousness and merits? Isn’t it His post-resurrection life that we are baptised into?

    (2) If we receive justification through the imputation of one act of righteousness (Rom 5:18), then do we also need His pre-crucifixion acts of righteousness to be imputed to us in some distinct fashion?

    Paul seems to be saying that Jesus’ pre-crucifixion life and death on the cross were to pay for our sins and that His resurrection was to obtain our justification and consequent life. Not only that, but the one act of righteousness is referring to what? Isn’t it referring to His being raised by the Father? What other singular act of righteousness would net us justification?

  109. Reed Here said,

    April 10, 2010 at 7:41 am

    David, no. 104:

    Adam and us: yes Adam had only one command to obey, but no this does not mean the required obedience was different than for us. For both the obedience required is perfect and personal. No difference. You are making too much of a distinction between Father Adam’s proto-Law and the fullness of the Law expounded to Moses in the Decalogue. The Decalogue was the same Law for the Garden of Adam (pre-fall) and for the wilderness of his children (post-fall).

    The distinction (not a difference that severes relationship) is that one was proto-law (the tree command) and the other was full-law (the decalogue). The one (full, decalogue) is inherent in and essential to the other (proto, tree).

    Active vs. passive: I think you’re not justaposing these properly (Jeff’s comment helps define the normal theological usage). The command to Adam to not eat did not require a passive obedience; simply remain in the sate in which he was in. It required an active added obedience; remain (passive) and also do not eat (added). To be sure the obedience in view is a negative (not do something) vs. a positive (do do something), but that is not the focus of the point being made.

    Adam was to remain in the state in which he was in and the test of the Tree was added to maintain that state. Your’s is a theoretical position that is not warranted by the actual facts. Could Adam have remained sinless in relationship without the tree, with nothing more being asked of him but to remain in the state of personal passive obedience? Yes of course. But God added something more, he required something more of Adam to remain in that state, an act of personal active obedience.

    As in all these discussions, there is a distinct tendency to draw inferential lines with a dark fat point black Sharpie. Not all inferences are necessary, and the use of the Sharpie sometimes eliminates what the Bible does not.

  110. Paige Britton said,

    April 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

    To Jared’s #108 —
    Not only that, but the one act of righteousness is referring to what? Isn’t it referring to His being raised by the Father? What other singular act of righteousness would net us justification?

    How could an “act of righteousness” (implying an active agent) be accomplished by somebody other than the agent? (Okay, the Father and the Son are one, but in the economic Trinity, the Son and the Father have different roles.) So if the Father raises the Son, we don’t call it the Son’s “act of righteousness.”

    Is it possible that Paul does not see a distinction between separate “acts of righteousness” by which Christ earns us justification, but that the life, death, and resurrection to him are a continuum of righteousness, all of which is necessary for our salvation? So that he (and other NT writers) may speak now of one, now of another as leading to our justification.

    Noticing this in Paul’s writing would not cancel out our theological categories of active and passive obedience: but weren’t these categories given theological labels for the sake of polemical discussion at a certain point in church history? If they are worthy labels, they accurately represent God’s ideas: but perhaps Paul expressed the same ideas in a more general way.

  111. David Weiner said,

    April 10, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Reed, #109:

    yes Adam had only one command to obey

    The Decalogue was the same Law for the Garden of Adam (pre-fall) and for the wilderness of his children (post-fall).

    Sorry; but I am not able to hold both of those statements at the same time without some cognitive dissonance. I wonder how Adam was supposed to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” No, Adam did not have the decalogue to deal with, even in proto form. Scripture is clear on what God told him. And, God’s plan did not require that to include the decalogue.

    Active vs. passive: I think you’re not justaposing these properly

    Quite possibly; for I see no need for them and didn’t use them in anything that I said. You asked if Adam would have stayed in relationship with God if he remained sinless. I tried to answer – Yes.

    he (God) required something more of Adam to remain in that state (sinlessness), an act of personal active obedience.

    Of course Adam had to do something to remain sinless. I do hope I haven’t given the impression that I disagreed with that. I just don’t see how this leads to or supports IAOC. I am in Christ and that seems to be all that I need to come before God. IAOC seems to be an added unnecessary slogan.

  112. David Weiner said,

    April 10, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Jeff, #106:

    Heb 10 establishes that Jesus’ righteousness makes us righteous also — which we understand to be by imputation, not infusion based on Romans.

    You referenced Hebrews 10:5-10 so I assume you are referring to verse 10 here: By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    We have been sanctified (purified, set aside as sacred to God, cleansed; but, not made righteous) by the offering of Jesus’ body according to this verse. IAOC is not here; only the offering of the sacrificial body to effect cleansing. And yes I do agree the issue is not infusion.

    Over against this, the Reformed have emphasized that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were all integral parts of our salvation (“He was raised for our justification…”).

    I am quite sure that it was God’s plan for you and me to be place ‘in Christ.’ Further, I don’t think you and I would have been real happy about this if Christ were still dead and in the grave. Of course, he was raised. Also, I can take no credit for the introduction or use of ‘active’ or ‘passive’ in this discussion. Those terms are neither helpful nor clarifying for me.

  113. Reed Here said,

    April 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

    David, no. 111:

    Adam’s vs. Moses’ law: sincere question here, not fishing for anything, just trying to understand you better. Are you a member of a PCA church, a reformed church, layman or officer?

    Do you agree with this?

    God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; Eph. 4:24; Rom. 2:14-15; 5:12, 19; 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12; Eccl. 7:29).

    This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables (James 1:25; 2:8, 10-12; Rom. 3:19; 13:8-9; Deut. 5:32; 10:4; Exod. 34:1); the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man. (Exod. 30:3-17; Matt. 22:37-40).

  114. Reed Here said,

    April 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    David, no. 111:

    Active vs. Passive: you said,

    Of course Adam had to do something to remain sinless. I do hope I haven’t given the impression that I disagreed with that.

    Yes, yes you have. In fact, I think it is more than an impression. You’ve actually denied what you affirm here. All Adam needed to do to remain sinless was not remain in the relationship as was. He was required to add something to his obedience.

    Maybe this will help: my first question was prompted by a comparison to Adam that you made:

    Why is being sinless not enough? Isn’t that the very definition of righteous? How much more than zero does one need to come before our holy God?

    To use the analogy of a number line with three points,
    -1 ———- 0 ———– +1,

    We both agree that as fallen beings we begin at the -1 point. The position that denies IOAC says that all Christ accomplished was to restore us to the 0 point, (passive) sinlessness. You appealed to Adam’s circumstances to demonstrate that this was sufficient, a restoration to the position from which Adam fell. You are correct that Christ’s payment for sin does indeed restore us to the 0 point.

    The problem is that this was not the final state God intended for Adam or us. My point in noting the requirement of additional (active) obedience from Adam is expressly that remaining at the 0 point was insufficient. God expressly required an active act of obedience that was intended to move him to the +1 point.

    This is all the IOAC is arguing for. It is not enough to be restored to Adam’s pre-fall state. This was not the final state for Adam, but a provisional, probationary state. God’s intention was for Adam to move on from this state to the final state, from posse pecarre (possible to sin) to non posse pecarre (not possible to sin). This was the purpose of the tree test. It required an added obedience that had the test been sustained Adam would have been secured in the final state.

    (This is clearly the necessary inference from the opposite, God’s removal of access to the Tree of Life was to make sure Adam was not secured in the wrong final state, non posse non pecarre, not possible not to sin.)

    The evidence from Adam, which you’ve both affirmed and denied, is that it was not enough for Adam to remain in the state of obedience in which he was, a child who walked with His Father, carrying out his work (tending the garden). God added a command, one that required an active obedience from Adam beyond his probationary state.

    After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, (Gen 1:27) with reasonable and immortal souls, (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; Luke 23:43; Matt. 10:28) endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; (Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24) having the law of God written in their hearts, (Rom. 2:14-15) and power to fulfill it (Gen. 2:17; Eccl. 7:29): and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change (Gen. 3:6, 17). Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, (Gen. 2:17; 2:15-3:24) and had dominion over the creatures (Gen. 1:28-30; Psa. 8:6-8).

  115. David Weiner said,

    April 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Reed, #113-114:

    First, I really do appreciate the effort that you are making here to help me better understand the truth. I mean that sincerely. And while I haven’t commented on every point you have made, I have given all of them serious consideration and am profiting from them.

    Are you a member of a PCA church, a reformed church, layman or officer?

    I am a layman and not a member of a PCA church. However, I’d prefer to be thought of as a sinner saved by grace trying to grow in knowledge of and service to my Lord.

    God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, . . .

    Well, given all that you have said here, a simple yes or no seems too simplistic to me. Without re-writing the WCF let me just say that I believe that God’s Law has always been the same. All I know about how He has conveyed this to man throughout the ages is what I find in Scripture. And, Scripture only tells us that he talked to Adam about the tree and that death (although not threatened) was put forward as the consequence for eating.

    From what I can tell he was sinless before he ate; so whatever his situation was vis-a-vis the law, it didn’t play a part in the main story. What happened was God’s plan. So, speculation about Adam, for example, inheriting eschatalogical life, seems to me to be a futile endeavor.

    So, after Adam did what he did, the whole human race had a fatal problem. From the human perspective, believing what God has said, has always been the solution He provided.

    my first question was prompted by a comparison to Adam that you made

    OK, I get it that I wrote something that was misleading. I am sorry and can only say that it was not my intention. In fact my question “Why is being sinless not enough?” did not involve any thought on my part of Adam. I was thinking about us (you, me, Jeff, etc.). When Jesus paid the price for our sin, we were ‘sinless.’ God could then be just and still justify us. All He requested of us at that point was to believe Him concerning Jesus. At least, that is what I was considering as I asked the question.

    The position that denies IOAC says that . . .

    I am really not trying to deny anything. I started this exchange by trying to find Scripture that supported IAOC. The passages that were graciously offered seemed to me to be taken out of context or at least they were saying something else to me. So, I have been trying to resolve the matter. If I can find IAOC in Scripture, then that would be just fine. I know that my hope is secure either way.

    My point in noting the requirement of additional (active) obedience from Adam is expressly that remaining at the 0 point was insufficient. God expressly required an active act of obedience that was intended to move him to the +1 point.

    How do you know that? Isn’t that speculation on your part? As far as I know, Adam never moved to +1. So to say that that was God’s intention seems to me to be erroneous. I am pretty sure that God’s intention, will, desire, whatever, was for Adam to do just exactly what he did. I am sure that you believe that Jesus and the cross was not plan B.

  116. Reed Here said,

    April 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    David, appreciate the sincerity and irenic tone. Please believe it is reciprocated. Any sharp verbage is not intended to offer any personal offense, but merley try to clarify the discussion.

    As to your last point, not I don’t think this is speculation on my part. Look at the nature of Adam’s probationary period. What was the purpose of the test of the Tree of Good/Evil? What was the purpose of removing the Tree of Life from Adam?

    I agree that unnecessary inferences can be read into these things. That does not obliterate that there are at least some inferences that are necessary and good. What was the purpsose of these?

    I’ve argued that it was to move Adam from his probationary state to his eternal state. If I’m speculating, than most of reformdom has as well.

    Have you ever read Boston’s Four-fold State of Man? It will be very helpful here.

  117. David Weiner said,

    April 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Reed, re #116:

    I’ve argued that it (the test of the tree) was to move Adam from his probationary state to his eternal state. If I’m speculating, than most of reformdom has as well.

    It is as you say” ;)
    Let me just say that I did not use the term ‘speculate’ in a pejorative sense. Rather, since it is not explicit in Scripture, then it is a product of the reasoning of man. One more thing, I do understand that many outstanding reformed theologians are aligned with this thinking. Nevertheless, it is of man. Great men of God, yes; but, men nevertheless. I just feel on surer ground if I can find it in Scripture. The idea that Adam was on ‘probation’ is not something I find there.

    What was the purpose of the test of the Tree of Good/Evil? What was the purpose of removing the Tree of Life from Adam?

    So you want me to speculate, do you? ;)

    Of course, the purpose of all of this is for God to glorify Himself. There was no test in the sense of God thinking: “Gee, I wonder what Adam will do if I set things up in such and such a fashion?”

    Nevertheless, the first man had to sin even though he was in a state in which he could avoid sin. That was the plan, after all. Adam was not supposed to break God’s law, per se. He was supposed to break a really simply to understand and to follow command. That shows us just how far below God we humans are; even when we are innocent and able to avoid sin, as Adam was. So, God chose a simple tree with some good looking fruit to show this to us.

    The tree of life shows up as sort of book ends to Scripture. It comes back onto the scene in Revelation. So I speculate: God did not intend for sinful mortal man to have access to it. Man in a sinful condition was not to live forever. Thus, Adam could not have access to the tree of life while a sinner. At the end, saved sinless mortal men/women will again have access to the tree. We will, at that time, be immortal and will not have any need for the tree to live.

    But I am still left looking for Scripture that tells me that God could not simply put me in Christ since my sins had been paid for and I had saving faith without having to invoke IAOC?

  118. Reed Here said,

    April 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    David: I did not take “speculate” in a perjorative sense, but thank you for clarifying.

    I think you may be setting up an unnecessary, indeed unbiblical standard in terms of what you’ve described as speculation. There are two questions to consider: 1) whether or not the Bible requires us to speculate, and 2) if so, whether or not our speculations are warrantable.

    As to the first, I prefer to use the phrase “draw inferences” for your “speculation.” The notion of speculation suggests a warrantless condition; i.e., we have no right to speculate. To use this better language, as to drawing inferences, does the Bible expect us do to so?

    To answer, let me ask, do you believe in the Trinity? I assume you do? So where is the Trinity expressly taught in the Scriptures? Your “no speculation” standard requires that it be expressly stated somewhere.

    I asume you agree it is not. Instead the Trinity is an inferential conclusion we draw from considering a truth that must underlie certain passages in order for the passages to be true. Using the example of the Trinity, I conclude that we not only can draw inferences from Scripture, God expects us to do so.

    The second question is more important to the issue at hand. The issueis not whether or not to draw inferences, but whether the inferences we draw are valid, does the text warrant them? Traditionally two words are used to express this idea of warrant: good (are the inferences consistent with the text and the Bible), and necessary (are the inferences necessary to make sense of the text and the Bible).

    You do recognize that any system of theology is built largely on such inferential reasoning? Hopefully you’ll see that your position is no less built on inferential reasoning than mine. The issue is which inferences are warranted, good and necessary to the text in the whole of the Bible.

    The issue in the questions I asked about Adam was not whether or not to speculate, but to answer this question, what is God intending to say to us in these things? You demonstrate the right process (which makes inferential reasoning not mere speculation) when you looked to Rev. 22 for insight into the Tree of Life. Now you need to go and fill in the rest of the inferences between Gen and Rev.

    Let me make it simpler, what is God’s stated reason for removing Adam’s access to the Tree of Life? Was it for blessing, cursing, or both? Now go the next step, and relate the test of the Tree of Good/Evil. From what the Bible says, what must we say was God’s reason(s) for the test?

    Back to the point of your criticism of my “speculation,” it is not speculation but inferential reasoning. You may disprove it from Scripture. I find your alternative inferential reasoning distinctly insufficient. I think you are allowing a priori considerations hinder the necessary inferential reasoning that applies.

    Of course, I do recognize, if I may offer some perfecting of your criticism of me, you will conclude that I am allowing a priori considerations to lead to uncalled for inferences; they may or may not be good, but in your opinion they are not necessary.

    I go back to where I began, was it enough for Adam to remain sinless? If so, then why the added test of the Tree of Good/Evil? What did it have to do with God’s covenant plan? Not asking for speculation (e.g., if Adam and Eve had not sinned, who would their kids marry?). Instead, I’m asking you to consider whether or not your conclusion, all he needed to do was remain in the condition he was in, is actually consistent with what the Bible presents in these two trees.

    Again, if nothing more was expected of Adam, then what was the purpose of the test? Support this from Scripture if you would.

  119. jared said,

    April 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Paige (Re #110),

    It’s the Father’s verdict that the Son was seeking in His life, death and resurrection. Jesus didn’t raise Himself, and it is His resurrection that secures our justification; it culminates in the ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit. I can grant the possibility that Paul is lumping everything together but in Romans 5:18 Paul says one trespass (clearly referring to Adam’s eating of the fruit) and one act of righteousness (clearly referring to the resurrection, which Jesus didn’t do Himself).

    Notice also that it isn’t the act of righteousness that is imputed to us either, rather it’s the result. Justification, therefore, has absolutely nothing to do with our works. It seems that what gets imputed to the believer is everything after Christ’s perfect active and passive obedience as a result of that obedience.

  120. Ron Henzel said,

    April 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Jared,

    In comment 119, you wrote:

    Jesus didn’t raise Himself…

    He didn’t?

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

    [John 2:19-21, ESV]

    No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

    [John 10:18, ESV]

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

    [John 11:25, ESV]

  121. Paige Britton said,

    April 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    #120 Ron –
    Can you think of any spot in the NT after the Gospels where Jesus is said to have been active in his own resurrection? I couldn’t, though I remembered the statements you mentioned from John. Jared is responding to my note in #110, in which I questioned whether the “act of righteousness” that wins justification for us (as per Rom. 5:18) is Christ’s resurrection, as Jared would have it. I just noted that it would be odd to call this an “act of [Christ’s] righteousness,” since (in Acts & Epistles, at least) it is the Father, not the Son, who is identified as the active party!

  122. Paige Britton said,

    April 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Jared,
    I am thinking that “righteous act” in Rom. 5:18 must refer to Christ’s obedience, set contra Adam’s disobedience. I am pretty sure that most commentators take this as Christ’s death, his ultimate act of obedience (though some will read it as referring more broadly to his lifelong obedience in his humiliation). Despite Paul’s reference elsewhere to “raised for our justification,” I can’t see that the resurrection is in view in Rom. 5:18. For this reason I suggested that in Paul’s thought, all these things — life, death, and resurrection — are lumped together, and that he sometimes substitutes one or another piece for the whole when speaking about how Christ accomplished what he did for us.

    I agree with you, though, that Rom. 5:18 is not a clear statement of IAOC. I don’t think we get clear statements of it, though — I think it’s a good & necessary inference, as the professors here are arguing.

  123. David Weiner said,

    April 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Reed, re # 118:

    Surely, you, a pastor, have more important things to do on Sunday than to exchange comments with me? Nevertheless, I thank you for your efforts.

    I agree that ‘inference’ is better than ‘speculation.’ And, yes, I do think we draw inferences when we come to the Bible. I certainly did not intend to set up a standard of ‘no inferences.’ (Who am I to set up standards?) What I tried to convey is that I feel more secure when I can find something ‘directly’ stated. For, drawing inferences requires me to use logic and I am far from perfect at doing that.

    As to the Trinity. I see Scripture identifying three persons who each are God. I also find relationships described between these three persons. Moreover, the Scriptures state that there is only one God. I don’t have to add anything. All I have to do is except the stated facts. For ease of communication we have invented the term Trinity. I don’t see us having to infer anything here. In fact, if we add logic, and start making inferences, then we end up being Jehovah Witnesses!

    was it enough for Adam to remain sinless?

    Again, if nothing more was expected of Adam, then what was the purpose of the test? Support this from Scripture if you would.

    From the text, I see that Adam’s first sin was to eat. He could have sinned otherwise and sooner than when he ate; but, that is not what happened. Up to that point, it clearly was sufficient for him to remain sinless and continue in close relationship with god. The tree was not added at some point. It was there and explained to Adam as God placed him in the garden.

    I have no idea how long Adam had been in a stable relationship with God before he first sinned. Neither do I know how long his sinless condition would have lasted if he had not eaten wrongly when Eve first offered the fruit. Nor, do I have any idea what would have happened if his first sin had been to lie to Eve. Scripture doesn’t tell us.

    As I have said before here, what happened was God’s plan. God’s plan was not for Adam to have obtained eschatological life or pass any test or leave a state of probation. There is not enough information provided (unless you can point to it for me) to conclude that any of these other alternatives are good and necessary inferences.

  124. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    David, a thought if I may:

    We make inferences all the time, sometimes without being self-conscious about it.

    Consider for example:

    As to the Trinity. I see Scripture identifying three persons who each are God. I also find relationships described between these three persons. Moreover, the Scriptures state that there is only one God. I don’t have to add anything. All I have to do is except the stated facts. For ease of communication we have invented the term Trinity. I don’t see us having to infer anything here.

    You’re actually inferring something basic (that I agree with!): that sense can be made out of these data because Scripture is not self-contradictory. Many liberal theologians look at the same data points and simply conclude that Scripture is incoherent. You and I, on the other hand, begin with the premise that Scripture is infallible and conclude that sense can be made of the data.

    And in fact, we make low-level inferences all the time when we exegete: inferences about what words mean, what the structure implies, etc.

    So inferences are impossible to avoid, and the making of them certainly does not lead to JWism! The trick is to be self-aware about one’s inferences, and self-critical of them also: Is my inference a good and necessary consequence from Scripture or is it my own pet theory?

    (If you can get your hands on Silva et al, Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation, it provides a lot of good insight into hermeneutical method. The V Phillips Long piece has a lot on warranting one’s conclusions).

    That’s why I appreciate your willingness to raise these basic questions. We all need to be willing to ask, “Is IAOX genuinely Biblical? Is the rejection of it a strike at the vitals of religion?”

  125. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Here’s what I mean about Heb 10.5ff.

    (1) “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

    We agree that the sacrifice of Jesus is that which makes us holy.

    You’ve limited “holy” to the meaning “sanctified” rather than righteous, but I think v. 14 requires that we see those being made holy (ηγιασμενοι) as genuinely justified.

    (2) What qualified Jesus to be the sacrifice was his active obedience. This is established in Heb 5 and 7.

    (3) What is given to us through Jesus’ sacrifice is a share in forgiveness (vv. 17-18) based on His righteousness.

    Since his righteousness includes his actions here on earth … that’s where the author to the Hebrews is bringing us … it follows that our share in forgiveness is based on, grounded in the righteousness of his actions prior to the cross as well as at the cross.

    In other words, IAOX is focusing on Jesus’ status as unblemished lamb, as obedient Son and high priest of a better covenant. The sacrifice of Christ makes forgiveness available to us, but the prior condition for that sacrifice was the sinlessness of Jesus.

    And since He is our head, when we are reckoned righteous in Him, we are reckoned with the same righteousness he had. We are seen as “righteous in Christ”, not merely “forgiven in Christ.”

    The reason this became important historically was to contrast Protestant justification with the RC view (from Aquinas) that an infusion of grace is required in order for man to be justified. For, argues Aquinas, simple neutrality (Reed’s 0 state) is impossible in someone who has sinned. Thus, we need a positive infusion of grace — sanctification — in order to be justified. In this way, Rome became convinced that justification required a change of nature in the person justified.

    Over against this (and against Osiander), the Reformers argue that we need no infusion of grace because we are reckoned as righteous, not neutral, in Christ. In justification, Christ’s righteousness makes us +1.

    Calvin’s way of expressing this is really nice:

    On the contrary, a man will be justified by faith when, excluded from the righteousness of works, he by faith lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and clothed in it appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as righteous. Thus we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. — Inst. 3.11.2

    This is most clearly declared by the Apostle, when he says, that he who knew no sin was made an expiatory victim for sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21). You see that our righteousness is not in ourselves, but in Christ; that the only way in which we become possessed of it is by being made partakers with Christ, since with him we possess all riches … To declare that we are deemed righteous, solely because the obedience of Christ is imputed to us as if it where our own, is just to place our righteousness in the obedience of Christ. — Inst 3.1.23

    IAOX is not (supposed to be) an “exotic righteousness accounting trick”, but a simple observation that the righteousness imputed to us in justification is Christ’s righteousness, that of the obedient Son and spotless lamb.

  126. jared said,

    April 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Ron (Re. #120),

    What about Acts 2:24, 32; 3:26; 4:10, 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 37; Romans 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; 2:4-7; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; and 1 Peter 1:21? As Paige noted, the rest of the NT seems to understand that it’s the Father who raised the Son.

    Paige (Re. #122),

    The problem I see is that verse 18 says “one act of righteousness” in contrast to the “one trespass” and then in the next verse Paul talks about obedience. In verse 18 the act of righteousness “is justification that brings life for all men” whereas verse 19 says that “through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous”. Now, as far as I understand, “righteousness” and “justification” are not synonyms. Neither are “righteousness” and “obedience”. The resurrection is the turn-key doctrine for Paul, it’s the real doctrine on which the church stands or falls. I’m not trying to undermine the importance of justification here, rather I want to couch that important doctrine in its proper setting. The only singular act that could obtain justification and righteousness for us is the vindication of Jesus by the Father. No matter how perfectly obedient Jesus was before (and even unto) His death, if He wasn’t raised then we are still in our sin.

    At any rate, you say that IAOC is a “good and necessary inference”, from what? The question is “do we need Jesus’ obedience imputed to us or do we need His righteousness?” Or, worded a little differently, “do we need Jesus’ pre-cross obedience imputed to us or do we need His post-cross righteousness imputed to us? What’s interesting to me is that the idea of IAOC seems to be saying that righteousness is, indeed, by works; it’s just by imputed works. Because I, through Jesus, lived a perfect life I, through Jesus, gain salvation. But this doesn’t seem to be the way Scripture speaks.

    Jeff (Re. #125),

    You say,

    IAOX is not (supposed to be) an “exotic righteousness accounting trick”, but a simple observation that the righteousness imputed to us in justification is Christ’s righteousness, that of the obedient Son and spotless lamb.

    You’re conflating righteousness and obedience. Yes Jesus was the obedient Son and the spotless Lamb. He was the accepted sacrifice. But what gets imputed to us is what happens after the sacrifice has been accepted. Traditional Reformed theology says that it’s a package deal: if you have Christ’s righteousness then you have His obedience also (for they go hand-in-hand). This is precisely the point being questioned and neither is this questioning tantamount to denying Sola Fide, as some here have it in their heads.

  127. Ron Henzel said,

    April 12, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Jared,

    You wrote:

    What about Acts 2:24, 32; 3:26; 4:10, 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 37; Romans 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; 2:4-7; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; and 1 Peter 1:21? As Paige noted, the rest of the NT seems to understand that it’s the Father who raised the Son.

    But what about this?:

    The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

    [Rom 8:11, NLT]

    And this?:

    …and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

    [Rom 1:4, NLT]

    Now it seems that the Holy Spirit also raised Jesus from the dead! (Cf. also Calvin’s commentary on Jn 2:19). Perhaps we should further take the following into account regarding the resurrection:

    “So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”

    [Jn 5:19, NLT]

    What? Are we going to pit the NT against itself? Apparently all three members of the Trinity were active in the resurrection.

    By the way, in comment 92, you wrote:

    Isn’t it His post-resurrection life that we are baptised into?

    No.

    Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

    [Rom 6:3, ESV]

  128. Ron Henzel said,

    April 12, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Paige,

    In comment 121, you wrote:

    Can you think of any spot in the NT after the Gospels where Jesus is said to have been active in his own resurrection? I couldn’t, though I remembered the statements you mentioned from John.

    I’m not sure why we would require additional texts on this point. Are the words of Christ Himself insufficient to establish a point? I don’t mean to imply that you’re saying that, but perhaps some are.

    You wrote:

    Jared is responding to my note in #110, in which I questioned whether the “act of righteousness” that wins justification for us (as per Rom. 5:18) is Christ’s resurrection, as Jared would have it. I just noted that it would be odd to call this an “act of [Christ’s] righteousness,” since (in Acts & Epistles, at least) it is the Father, not the Son, who is identified as the active party!

    I think there are better reasons for concluding that the “act of righteousness” that wins justification for us is not Christ’s resurrection. If we leave Christ’s activity (which He Himself expressed in the strongest terms) out of His own resurrection, we potentially compromise the doctrine of His deity.

    No, a better argument against this idea is simply that the NT does not teach it. Paul may have said that Christ was “raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25, ESV), but he also said that “we have now been justified by his blood” (Rom 5:9 ESV). The latter statement makes it clear that justification was secured by Christ’s death, thus there was no more “justification” left over to be secured for us by His resurrection. So what does the former statement mean?

    As Bavinck explained in a passage that I entered into a comment to another post:

    …God reconciles the world to himself in Christ, who was handed over to death on account of our sins, was raised for our justification; that is, to acquire this justification by his death and to communicate it to us by his resurrection.

    [Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2008), 4:122.

    Thus, following the title of Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied, what Rom. 4:25 is describing is part of the application of salvation (including justification), not the actual accomplishment of it.

    Furthermore, the entire NT—I would say the entire Bible—makes the cross the focal point of the actual accomplishment of salvation by grace. Scripture is also clear that we can divide Christ’s incarnate state into two main categories: His humiliation and His exaltation. It is further clear that it is in Christ’s humiliation that the work of our salvation is completely accomplished.

    When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    [Jn 19:30, ESV]

    The resurrection is crucial for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is not that it secured our justification. The resurrection is part of the exaltation of Christ. Our justification was secured by Christ’s humiliation, “by his blood.”

    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

    [2 Cor 8:9, ESV]

  129. Paige Britton said,

    April 12, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Jared —
    Thanks for your interaction. I agree that Christ’s resurrection is hugely important for our salvation — but it is like the capital at the top of the column, or the exclamation point at the end of a sentence. It’s the grand (and necessary) finish to all of Christ’s “act” of humiliation. As you said, if he is not raised we are still in our sin: but then, too, if he did not live flawlessly and die in our place, we are also still in our sin.

    I think we differ greatly on our reading of the Romans 5 passage: I simply see a literary balance between trespass & obedience (“act of righteousness”) in 5:18, but you seem to have inferred a lot about justification there. I can’t say I have ever read any other example of your interpretation. Have you?

    You write, What’s interesting to me is that the idea of IAOC seems to be saying that righteousness is, indeed, by works; it’s just by imputed works. Because I, through Jesus, lived a perfect life I, through Jesus, gain salvation. But this doesn’t seem to be the way Scripture speaks.

    …This seems to be what many have heard Scripture speaking, though; isn’t this the understanding behind the Covenant of Works? We ARE saved via the CoW — because Christ kept that covenant for us. It’s like two sides to the same coin — we’re saved by his obedience/righteousness/life-death-resurrection; AND we’re saved by grace through faith.

    As to what the “good and necessary inference” of IAOC is drawn from, I’ll just rest in what Jeff, Reed, and Ron have said much better than I could ever say.

  130. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Jared (#126): You’re conflating righteousness and obedience.

    Yes, absolutely. That’s where the author of Hebrews goes:

    “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

    The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
    “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds:
    “Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.””

    Is there a reason not to equate righteousness with obedience?

  131. Paige Britton said,

    April 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Ron —
    thanks! Yeah, I didn’t mean to dismiss Jesus’ own words! It’s fascinating, isn’t it, to see that all the members of the Trinity are mentioned at one spot or another as being involved in the resurrection. But do you have any inklings as to why, apart from his own statements in John, Jesus’ resurrection is usually attributed to the Father or the Spirit rather than to his own activity? It seems that the expression of agency reflects a choice on the authors’ part — something is being communicated by it. (Similarly, grammatically speaking, Jesus doesn’t exalt himself — it’s in keeping with his humility and obedience and worthiness that he receives his exaltation passively!)

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I always learn a lot from you.

  132. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 12, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Jared, if I understand, you want to preserve the place of the resurrection in our justification (“He was raised for our justification…” “If Christ was not raised from the dead, then we are still in our sins…”, etc.).

    Amen.

    But the importance of the resurrection is not opposed to IAOX.

    As Paul develops it, the resurrection demonstrates God’s power over sin and death; Jesus conquers sin and death and not the other way round.

    And thus we are raised with him and seated together with him at the right hand of the Father.

    But in saying these things, Paul is also not shy about saying that Jesus’ death is the source of our forgiveness

    Just take Colossians for example:

    “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

    I may be misunderstanding, but it seems like you’re arguing “since the resurrection is supremely necessary for our salvation, therefore, IAOX is incorrect.”

    But in fact, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus each plays its role. The life, in that Jesus the man became the obedient Son through what he suffered; the death, as our passover Lamb received punishment in our place; and the resurrection, as Jesus is vindicated by the Father as the Son of God and the conqueror of sin and death.

    As you say: it’s a package.

  133. Reed Here said,

    April 12, 2010 at 7:14 am

    David: no need for self-deprecation. You’ve expressed some willingness to explore. I’m eager to do so.

    You said:

    He could have sinned otherwise and sooner than when he ate; but, that is not what happened.

    O.k., this is an inference. Where do you get this from the text?

    I never implied anything about length of time in the garden. My point about the tree being added was not a time referent, but a command referent. Adam was given the fruitful/multiply/subdue command. Following this he was given a test. Why was the first not sufficient to test him? Why add another?

    David, you’re flattening the necessary interactions in the text. There was a point to the Tree of Good/Evil – it was to see Adam would choose to remain sinless (an active argument construction). If he had, then he would have been confirmed in that state via the second tree (the good/necessary inference from the negative; God says let’s drive him out so Adam doesn’t eat and stay a sinner).

    Your original point was that all Adam had to do was remain sinless, not do anything other than what he already was doing in the garden (a passive argument construction). The tree test denies this. He had something more he had to do.

    He was not to remain in that sinless state, a state from which it was possible to fall. Adam was to go on to a permanent state, one from which he could not fall. This required the added action on his part, of not eating from the Tree of Good/Evil. We don’t know how long the test would have lasted (to infer this goes beyond the text). We only know that the potential for the test to end was there, as the presence of the Tree of Life infers.

    (Also, on the Trinity, you present your inferences as minimal. They’re actually quite not. The whole history of the Early Chuch Councils and their opponents in the host of heresies demonstrates that it took some 300+ years to work these inferences out. That is not a process of discovering simple, on the surface inferences. Your reading is not as simple and minimal as you’re suggesting.

    This is the second time you’ve agreed with some challenge I’ve made, and then tried to inappropriately mitigate it. No need for that. Instead, let the refinement work on your position. The Spirit will use it to either strengthen it or correct it. You can’t lose either way.

    You remind me of myself when I sat down with Dr. Dick Gaffin and I had six arguments proving covenantal credo baptism. He was very kind and gentle in similarly showing me where I was letting my position cause me to misspeak the text. I may not be as good or gentle as he was with me, but I have the same good will toward you.)

  134. Ron Henzel said,

    April 12, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Jared,

    In comment 126, you wrote:

    What’s interesting to me is that the idea of IAOC seems to be saying that righteousness is, indeed, by works; it’s just by imputed works.

    And what’s interesting to me is that you seem to be confusing “Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Titus 3:5, KJV) with “Not by works of righteousness which He has done.”

    You wrote:

    Because I, through Jesus, lived a perfect life I, through Jesus, gain salvation. But this doesn’t seem to be the way Scripture speaks.

    Scripture doesn’t speak that way because that puts it in an active sense (“I…lived a perfect life, I…gain salvation”). Our role is entirely passive. He lived a perfect life for us, and thus He gained salvation for us.

  135. David Weiner said,

    April 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Jeff, re #124:

    You are exactly right that we all make inferences all the time. So, I am not against inferences per se. The problem is that one’s ‘good and necessary inference’ may be faulty. And, it is impossible to attach all of one’s inferences to every assertion one makes so that they can be examined. But, as you say, we just have to keep trying to test and break through our own prejudices. Being comfortable with a ‘lie’ is just not acceptable to me.

    Let me be defensive for a moment in case I wasn’t clear when I mentioned JW’s. I did not mean that making inferences leads to one being a JW. What I meant was their understanding includes wrong inferences about the Trinity. But, their main error is in not figuring out who Jesus is.

    A lovely JW couple have visited me for several years now. Unlike most of my fellow church members, they are truly committed to spreading the results of their good and necessary inferences. They recently came by with an article that they thought I ‘must’ read. It’s title is What Jesus Taught about Himself. The following sentence appears in the article – “He referred to himself as “the only-begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) That expression means that Jesus is the sole direct creation of God.” These people are not stupid and they are sincerely seeking to please God. Nevertheless, they are making a lot of tragic ‘good and necessary inferences.’

  136. Reed Here said,

    April 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    David: your example of the JW’s is horribly wrong, and quite offensive to the proper use of inferential reasoning.

    I agree the JW’s believe their inferences are good and necessary. However, we all know that these inferences rest of abuse of the text. In particular their translation of the Greek intentionall is changed to follow their a priori convictions. Thus their inferences are neither good nor necessary, but quite wicked.

    It impugnes the right reading of Scripture to characterize things as you have. I’m assuming it is carelessness. Yet you still seem bent on allowing some a priori convictions lead you to misspeak. In doing so you infer that those who make inferences you disagree with are doing the same as JW’s. That is quite unfair and not helpful to discussion.

  137. David Weiner said,

    April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Reed, re#136:

    WOW! Let’s see if I can grasp this?

    your example of the JW’s is horribly wrong, and quite offensive to the proper use of inferential reasoning.

    I really am sorry for being offensive; truly that was not my intent. It would be helpful if you could be a little more specific as to what it was that I wrongly wrote to Jeff.

    It impugnes the right reading of Scripture to characterize things as you have.

    OK, maybe you are right. What did I actually say about JW’s?

    their (JW’s) understanding includes wrong inferences about the Trinity. But, their main error is in not figuring out who Jesus is.

    These people (JW’s) are not stupid and they are sincerely seeking to please God. Nevertheless, they are making a lot of tragic `good and necessary inferences.’

    Then you follow with:

    Yet you still seem bent on allowing some a priori convictions lead you to misspeak. In doing so you infer that those who make inferences you disagree with are doing the same as JW’s. That is quite unfair and not helpful to discussion.

    Where are you getting this stuff? Surely, not from anything that I wrote here? Are you psychic?

  138. Paige Britton said,

    April 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Hey, David & Reed,
    FWIW, I’m observing that David is new to the idea of “good and necessary inferences,” and I’m remembering that this kind of thinking takes some getting used to. I note that he shows an admirable desire to keep in step with Scripture as well as an understandable reluctance to be taken in by “schemes of men.” I can totally relate to this perspective.

    David, I think Reed might be reacting to something you wrote in #123: For ease of communication we have invented the term Trinity. I don’t see us having to infer anything here. In fact, if we add logic, and start making inferences, then we end up being Jehovah Witnesses!

    It’s possible to take what you’ve said as a comment on what it’s worth to “make inferences” at all — i.e., that it’s just like what the JW’s do. I don’t think you meant that, though I do think you aren’t yet seeing the good and necessary inference of making good and necessary inferences. ;)

    Keep pushing Reed and Jeff on this topic: they are some of the best explainers you’ll encounter.

    pax,
    pb

  139. jared said,

    April 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the interaction all, I’m gonna go re-read Murray’s book. What I know is that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to me. Why I need anything else imputed to me doesn’t make any sense; that’s all I’m trying to say. I understand His righteousness to include His life, death, resurrection and ascension so if I have His righteousness then I have His life, death, resurrection and ascension. This seems to be what Meyers is getting at, that we don’t need to speak of IAOC as if it is something separate from His righteousness. In his estimation, affirming the imputation of righteousness makes speaking separately and distinctly about the imputation of obedience a superfluous endeavor. At any rate, clearly I still have a lot of homework to do. Thanks again.

  140. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 12, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Jared, I think you rightly point to the reason that

    P: Any denial of IOAX amounts to a denial of sola fide

    is likely false.

    SOME denials of IAOX are denials of sola fide;

    but OTHERS are denials of particular formulations without denial of the ground concept: that we are positively righteous by imputation, and that Jesus’ life (his “active obedience”) is one aspect of that righteousness.

    That’s why on that particular charge I don’t think the case against Meyers is at all straightforward; but as I said to Bob, I may be wrong.

  141. Paige Britton said,

    April 13, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Jeff wrote,

    …but OTHERS are denials of particular formulations without denial of the ground concept: that we are positively righteous by imputation, and that Jesus’ life (his “active obedience”) is one aspect of that righteousness.

    I’m thinking along similar lines, especially because a “denial” of IAOX may be for some people due to a lack of familiarity with or conviction about the concept (or the necessity of the concept). Not that this is necessarily the category Meyers would be in (I wouldn’t know), but that others reading this (like Jared & David) may well wonder if they are perceived as denying sola fide too.

    I’m not sure I know the history of the theological idea of the IAOX, but I’m assuming it didn’t come out of the blue, but was articulated in response to a harmful theological teaching. “Parsing” Christ’s righteousness became necessary in that theological climate, and for many it has remained a powerful and joyful insight into God’s grace.

  142. Reed Here said,

    April 13, 2010 at 6:53 am

    David: please re-read Paige’s comment and then mine. I do take you are not intending to offer offense. You have though, even inadvertantly. You’ve said that the JW’s have used inferential reasoning to come up with witih good and necessary inferences.

    Please re-read your comment as well. You may not intend it, but you end up inferring the following: look at where “good and necessary” inferences get you, heresy, like the JW’s. I.O.W., you impugn the use of of inferential reasoning.

    This is unfair and wrong for three reasons:

    1. The JW’s are not arriving at good and necessary inferences. This is easily seen in that they must change the translation of their Bible to fit their heresy’s a priori convictions.
    2. This is in no way akin to the inferential reasoning used in the IOAC arguments, which when rightly done (Scripture interpreting Scripture) is consistent and required to a given text.
    3. You yourself have used inferential reasoning continually throughout this thread, even if you do not recognize it.

    I don’t remember the logical fallacy, but your comment seeks to deny your opponent’s argument by comparing it to a heretical position. This is offensive.

    I return back to my challenge at the end – you are arguing like someone who knows his opponent has a good weapon in hand, one that he has little defense for, and so seeks to deny them the use of the weapon. Since you have the same weapon in your hand, this is also a rather pointless exercise on your part.

  143. Paige Britton said,

    April 13, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Reed, please forgive me shoving my oar in again, but I am not sensing what you are about David’s approach. I think it’s entirely possible that the word “inference” carries a connotation for people of “eisegesis,” rather than the more neutral use we are working with (i.e., for us it’s about making connections and noting implications in a text, which could be done well or poorly, righteously or wickedly). David simply seems to be using the word as he understands it, not in a polemical ploy as you suggest. Hopefully your explanation above puts our use of the word in its proper perspective (esp. #2).
    pax,
    pb

  144. David deJong said,

    April 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I would just say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not a good comparison to the IAOX. I think what David W. is trying to say is just this: the Church Fathers arrived at the doctrine by resisting drawing “good and necessary inferences.” They took Scriptural data that could not be logically neatly correlated (three persons, one God) and confessed it.

    It might be less incendiary to use Arius as a point of comparison, rather than the JWs. Arius, one could argue, was far better at drawing logical conclusions than his opponent.

    This isn’t really an argument against IAOX. It has nothing to do with it. All it suggests is that neither side of this debate should use the doctrine of the Trinity as an analogue. Those who favor IAOX shouldn’t use the Trinity as another example of the Church drawing logical inferences (since the doctrine of the Trinity is hardly “logical”), while those who question IAOX shouldn’t use the doctrine of the Trinity to say that good and necessary inferences are not permissible. [Sorry, I realize that’s a convoluted sentence with a lot of negatives.]

    I would suggest that a more fruitful analogue to IAOX in terms of being a “necessary inference” that explicitly stems from a covenantal hermeneutic is infant baptism.

  145. Reed Here said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Paige: I appreciat eyour nunace. However, David has specifically chosen to use the “good and necessary” (in quotes) in an comparison that is perjorative.

    I agree he may not fully understand the valid use of inferential reasoning. My pointis that his comments blur valid usage with invalid usage. That is wrong.

    David DeJong’s comment does the same.

  146. David Weiner said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Paige,

    Let me just say that I have been a fan of your faith, wisdom and grace for some time now. I want to thank you for your kind words.

    You point out that I had written “then we end up being Jehovah Witnesses!” Careless indeed! I tried to be clearer in a subsequent post to Jeff. Don’t know if I succeeded. My JW friends had visited recently and I had just looked over their pamphlet. I was thinking about how sad it was that these two wonderful and caring people are so very lost. So, they were on my mind as I wrote.

    Oh, a couple of things just for the record. I most definitely hold to sola fide. I absolutely do not believe in infusion of righteousness. Finally, ‘good’ and ‘necessary’ are subjective terms. One person’s idea of good or for that matter a group of people voting on what is good, does not make something actually good. Same for necessary. So, inferences are a part of our mental processes. Inferences are not the problem; erroneous inferences are. But, now how do we find out which are which given that we are just sinful beings?

  147. Reed Here said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

    David DeJong: you are not aware that Arius is the forerunner of the JW’s? Actually you increase the offense.

    You are making a silly argument: the Church Fathers stuck to what the Bible says. On the other hand Arius relied on logical inferences. You are mkaing the same ridiculous and outlandish arugment David Weiner; your’s is just more blunt and brash.

    Your’s also makes it easier to see the foolishness of such a argument. The Early Church Fathers did not rely on logical reasonng, huh? They did not draw any inferences from the text, huh? C’mon, for someone who has presented himself here as one with a modicum of study of theology and Church history, surely you recognize your argument is bogus.

    The issue is not between inferential reasoning verses no inferential reasoning. The argument is between valid and invalid inferential reasoning. This is the whole point of the use of the qualifiers “good” and “necessary”. By “good” it is meant that it is indeed a logical valid argument. By ‘necessary” it is meant that the Bible in its fullest context (Scripture interprets Scripture) requires the argument.

    This is a part of the process the Early Church Fathers used. Spurred on by the heretics invalid inferential reasoning, these men were led to carefully recognize the good and necessary inferential arguments of the texts (one God, three persons).

    The IOAC and the argument denying it are both, in part, based on inferential reasoning. It is wrong for those denying it to claim the supposed moral superiority of “only saying what the Bible says.”

    It is an invalid argument, for goodness sakes. If you are bent on persuading others of the correctness of your position using such tactics, then there is a valid comparison to be made with the JW’s and Arius. Both use(d) such “moral high ground” arguments in their attempts to silence their opponents.

    it is beneath you to attempt the same.

  148. Reed Here said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:43 am

    David: “good” and “necessary” are not as subjective as it seems. They actually have a history of usage in theological argumentation that provides boundaries for them. A simple summary is as follows:

    Good: an argument that is logically valid.
    Necessary: an argument that is needed to make sense of a proposition.

    The word “inferential” denotes that such arguments are not expllicitly stated, but are inferred in what is written.

    In use in the Bible, good inferential arguments are those which are consistent with the broad scope of the biblical data. I.e., a good inferential argument will be supported throughout the Bible, and will not be contradicted by any one statement.

    In use in the Bible, necessary inferential arguments are those which are necessary to make sense of the biblical data. I.e.,, an inferential argument is a non-stated argument that must be inferred for the stated proposition to be true.

    The classic case is the Trinity. The inferential arguments for three persons are good, as a wide variety of text demonstrates this. The inferential arguments for these three persons being united in one God are necessary given that the Bible’s insistance on monotheism.

    To get a full scope of the breadth of these inferential arguments, read the Athanasian Creed. There is no way one can reasonably conclude that these arguments are merely the obvious on the surface expressions of the Bible.

    The issue is vald (good and necessary) inferential reasoning verses invalid (good, but not necessary, or not good not necessary) reasoning.

    The JW’s and their denial of the Trinity is an example of invalid inferential reasoning (in part). To deny that the IAOC is not a valid argument, it is only necesary to show that the arugment is not necessary to make sense of the Bible.

  149. David deJong said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I’m well aware of who Arius was, I was hoping that a historical rather than contemporary example would decrease offense. I guess it’s not that simple.

    Look: I’m not trying to offend anyone. The fact it is, it was the Arians, Sabellians, Monophysites, Nestorians, and all the other heretical groups that were trying to fit the square peg into the round hole. Those are just the historical facts. I’m not sure why you are saying the doctrine of the Trinity is a logical inference. It’s not. From what premises would you infer the Trinity?

    I’m not saying the Church Fathers didn’t ever draw inferences. I’m just wondering whether we are using the term “inference” in the same way. You seem to be using it in the sense of “any conclusion that is drawn from Scripture.” That is a very broad usage, perhaps acceptable, basically equivalent to “interpretation.” I’m using “inference” in the more narrow sense: a logical conclusion that is drawn from a set of premises.

    Anyway, I don’t want to get into a big debate over this. The point is: the doctrine of the Trinity is not a helpful analogue to IAOX for either side of the debate.

  150. Reed Here said,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

    David DeJong: please re-read the Anthanasian Creed. To demonstrate that this best explanation of the Trinity is not based on any inferential reasoning, please provide the biblical texts for each argument. In doing so you need to demonstrate that each text actually expresses, on the face of it, the stated argument. In any case where this cannot be done, you have in front of you an inferential argument.

    (I do not expect you to actually do this. Instead I hope this focusing makes the point clearly enough for you to at least say, “Oh, oh, yeah, I see what you’re saying. I agree.”

    The example of the Trinity here is merely to challenge David Weiner’s prior argument against the inferential nature of the IAOC argument. He was denying the validity of inferential reasoning. I’ve only introduced the Trinity example to demonstrate to him that this is not true, that in fact inferential reasoning is not only sound but necessary.

    The point has never been that the Trinity is a helpful analogy to the IAOC. The point has merely been that the same process of inferential reasoning is used to arrive at both – and that this is valid means of interpreting the Bible.

    Sounds like you agree with this and are trying to deny a comparison not being made. I still think you are discounting the use of inferential reasoning in your refernece to Arius and the Early Church Fathers. As long as you’re not using that to deny the validity of inferential reasoning, I’m more than willing to drop the sub-topic.

  151. David deJong said,

    April 13, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Reed,

    You say of the Athanasian Creed:

    “To demonstrate that this best explanation of the Trinity is not based on any inferential reasoning, please provide the biblical texts for each argument. In doing so you need to demonstrate that each text actually expresses, on the face of it, the stated argument. In any case where this cannot be done, you have in front of you an inferential argument.”

    This is incorrect. The Athanasian Creed does not contain an argument. It contains a series of assertions. What is the argument that you see there?

    “The point has merely been that the same process of inferential reasoning is used to arrive at both – and that this is valid means of interpreting the Bible.”

    I don’t really agree. Which is my point: it’s not a helpful analogue. In the case of the Trinity, there isn’t an “argument” to speak of; it’s a reflection of the deposit of Scriptural teaching. The IAOC more obviously belongs to a “system” of doctrine and is logically necessary for that system.

  152. David deJong said,

    April 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

    But I do agree that those who oppose IAOC should not be opposed to all inferential reasoning (see my 144, where I said both sides shouldn’t use the Trinity as analogy).

  153. David Weiner said,

    April 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Reed,

    He (that would be me) was denying the validity of inferential reasoning.

    I just saw this latest assertion as I was getting ready to post and just had to deal with it directly. This is simply one of many erroneous inferences that have appeared here recently. Anyway, to my post . . .

    I may indeed be naive and/or ignorant when it comes to many theological issues. Actually, one of the reasons I come here is to try to reduce both. However, I do call Jesus my Lord. I expect that there are a number who come here who do not do the same.

    Over the years, I have been embarrassed for my Lord at the things that get said here by men who say they are called to minister God’s Word. Of course, the occasional ‘I’m sorry’ seems to make it all OK. Not so.

    You are making a silly argument:

    You are making the same ridiculous and outlandish arugment as . . .

    surely you recognize your argument is bogus.

    your example of the JW’s is horribly wrong

    Yet you still seem bent on . . .

    you infer that those who make inferences you disagree with . . .

    It impugnes the right reading of Scripture to characterize things as you have.

    And that last one in the face of there having been no such characterizations at all; just faulty inferences. It escapes me how one walking in the Spirit could possibly say such things to another person.

  154. Andrew Duggan said,

    April 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Some ot those are valid things to say, because Scripture pretty much says the same thing two quick examples:

    It impugnes the right reading of Scripture to characterize things as you have.

    2 TIm 4:3,4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables

    Yet you still seem bent on

    Isaiah 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
    and Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:…

    So do you say that Paul the Apostle and the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were not “walking in the Spirit” when they wrote such things?

  155. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    David DeJong (#151):

    You seem to be using it in the sense of “any conclusion that is drawn from Scripture.” That is a very broad usage, perhaps acceptable, basically equivalent to “interpretation.” I’m using “inference” in the more narrow sense: a logical conclusion that is drawn from a set of premises.

    I’d like to make a case that will set Sean Gerety’s teeth on edge, or perhaps flip them inside out.

    Here’s the thesis: when we approach Scripture, we are constantly relying on hundreds of “microinferences”, most of which are inductive conclusions rather than formally valid logical conclusions.

    It is the job of an exegete to identify and test these microinferences, and bring the best approximation of the meaning of the author to his readers. This we call the “historical-grammatical method.”

    Here’s the case:

    (1) First, all of our lexicons are based on inductive research. We know that και means “and, even, or also” because we observe its many uses (either as adults, studying the language; or as children, learning from our Greek-speaking parents) and learn what it means.

    Crucially, there are no “received definitions” of Greek or Hebrew words. There are only observed definitions. This is painfully obvious when slogging through the OT. Lexicons such as Brown-Driver-Briggs are often at a loss as to what a particular word means.

    The upshot is this: saying “και” means “and, even, or also” is not a statement with mathematical certainty. It is a statement with a high degree of confidence. It might just be the case that the sentence in front of me is presenting, for the first time ever in history, an instance where the author is using και in some fourth way. The likelihood is small, but not mathematically 0.

    (2) Ditto for grammar. We learn grammar by observation; we map meanings from one language to another by forming analogies:

    παυλος δουλος ιησου χριστου

    Is like

    “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

    Once again, there are no received grammars (not even Machen!), only observed grammars.

    (3) Even if we were to wrongly believe lexicons and grammars to be received, we would still need context to make the best inference about the semantic meaning of what we are looking at.

    Computer languages use what is called a “context-free grammar”, which means that the grammar of sentences can be parsed without having to know the meanings of words. Not so for human languages. Strictly grammatically speaking, the phrase above

    παυλος δουλος ιησου χριστου (from Rom 1)

    could mean

    (a) “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ”
    (b) “Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ”
    (c) “Paul, an apostle of Jesus of Christ”
    (d) “Paul is an apostle of Jesus of Christ”

    It is only by the literary context: the rest of the sentence, our knowledge of the structure of epistles, and the patterns of usage we see in Pauline epistles — that we know that (b) and (d) are very unlikely.

    And it is only from knowing who Jesus is, that He is the Christ, that we know that (a) is correct and (c) is unlikely.

    Now, Mr. Gerety strongly disagrees with me; he thinks that theology is simply a matter of employing propositional logic on the propositions given in Scripture, and that any whiff of inductive reasoning injected into our theology amounts to denial of absolute truth.

    So clearly we are at odds on this point.

    But I mention it NOT to undermine our confidence in Scripture, not one bit. Instead, I want to create a small amount of daylight between Scripture itself (infallible) and our reading of Scripture (good, but not infallible). IMO, this was one of the keys to the Reformation — that God’s Word stands like a rock, but man’s word, even the Pope’s, does not. Compare WCoF 1 and 31.

    The second reason I mention it is that I want to suggest that the difference between two extremes, “the plain meaning of Scripture” and “wild inference”, is a quantitative difference. BOTH involve inference; but the first is superior because it sticks closer to known meanings of words, known grammatical patterns, known literary genres, etc. The “plain meaning” is not inference-free, but is instead, when best practiced, based on good and necessary inferences, a term which is not subjective (sorry, David W) but instead describes the use of best practices in exegesis.

    In short, I’m arguing that the historical-grammatical method that we all aspire to using well is not contrasted with “inference” but instead contrasted with “bad inference.”

    I would put the JW teachings about Christ in the category of “bad inference.” Not because they come to an opposite conclusion from me, but because they ignore patterns of word usage — in fact, patterns noticed by Granville Sharp in 1798.

  156. Wayne Sparkman said,

    April 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    For those who might want to dig a bit deeper behind WCF I.6 and the phrase “good and necessary consequences”, see George Gillespie, A Treatise of Miscellany Questions, chapter 20, “That Necessary Consequences from the Written Word of God Do Sufficiently and Strongly Prove…”

    That work can be found online at http://www.archive.org in the texts section:

    Direct link: http://tinyurl.com/y5s396r

  157. David deJong said,

    April 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Jeff:

    Very interesting post. Unfortunately I don’t have time to get into a discussion on hermeneutics. Let me just say that you are using the term “inference” in a much broader sense than I am (and I believe much broader than David W). In a technical sense, an inference is a logical conclusion demanded by certain premises. One doesn’t “infer” the various means of kai in this precise way (as conclusions of an argument), although you are right to point out that underneath our lexica and grammars are often hidden assumptions that sometimes need to be questioned.

    You also aren’t using “inference” in the sense of WCF 1.6. For you, inferences lie behind all interpretations of Scripture, whereas WCF 1.6 contrasts truths that derive from the plain sense and those that derive from good and necessary inference. (You therefore had no need to apologize to David W., as it didn’t really seem that you refuted him.)

    My main point was and is: there is a difference between the doctrine of Trinity, which only rests on the assumption that all Scripture is inspired (and therefore the apparently contradictory teaching of one God in three persons must be maintained), and doctrines like IAOC and infant baptism, which also are not explicitly stated in Scripture but do involve certain logical inferences drawn from the text (relating to a particular soteriological system/covenantal theology).

    P.S. I would note that “doulos” means “servant/slave” not “apostle” (or were you drawing a different inference?). :)

  158. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    P.S. I would note that “doulos” means “servant/slave” not “apostle” (or were you drawing a different inference?). :)

    Oh my goodness, how embarrassing! I got fixated on the grammar issues and was just being stupid.

  159. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    David D:

    In a technical sense, an inference is a logical conclusion demanded by certain premises.

    “Inference” can refer either to deductive or inductive conclusions, which was the broader point I was making: much of what we do is inductive.

    You also aren’t using “inference” in the sense of WCF 1.6. For you, inferences lie behind all interpretations of Scripture, whereas WCF 1.6 contrasts truths that derive from the plain sense and those that derive from good and necessary inference.

    Two things.

    First, the actual conclusions drawn in the Confession show a large degree of inductive reasoning. So whatever we might say about inference, we should assume that it includes inductive reasoning.

    Second, I agree with you that the distinction is there in the Confession between things “expressly set down” and “good and necessary inferences.” But we should not make too much of that distinction, as if the writers of the Confession believed that the text is so plain that its meaning leaps directly off the page and into the mind. I offer the caution on these grounds:

    (1) First, both categories of expressly set down and good and necessary inference are held to be binding on the conscience as actual teachings of Scripture. So pragmatically, it matters little if I argue that

    “The text of Gal 3.29 expressly teaches that all Christians are children of Abraham”

    OR

    If I draw up several lines of reasoning demonstrating that Paul can only mean that all Christians are children of Abraham (and not “spiritual children of Abraham”).

    (This example is a friendly wink in David W.’s direction. We had a long and enjoyable dialog concerning covenant membership)

    (2) We find the Reformers engaging in reasoning concerning the things “expressly set down” in Scripture.

    Calvin on 1 John 2.2:

    Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world.

    So I would take “expressly set down” as a species of “obvious inference from the meanings of words”, rather than something qualitatively different from “good and necessary inference.”

  160. Paige Britton said,

    April 14, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Perhaps “inference” is just too freighted a word now, given its formal logical use and its informal connotation of “guesswork.” I like Jeff’s idea of ‘microinductions’: the point we are making is that when we talk about “good and necessary inference” we are talking about responsible, close, careful and humble reading of the texts of Scripture. Sometimes this does mean noting the implications of what we read — i.e., things that are not baldly stated in so many words, but which follow reasonably from the text.

    (David W., thanks for your own very kind words. I’m sorry you feel you’ve had the sharp edge of Reed’s keyboard here. I hope you can turn the other cheek there, and maybe understand that he is motivated by a great love for the truth, even if you disagree with his style of expression. I’d hate to think that you’d end up discounting his solid teaching on other matters.)

  161. Reed Here said,

    April 14, 2010 at 7:11 am

    David Weiner, no. 153: I appreciate that the hard edge of those words in uncomfortable. Please note than in each of them I never said anything about you. I’ve merely addressed your arguments. As well, at a number of points I added sincere words of my desire to bless, not harm. I was not lying when I said them.

    Consider how I might read your words, words that prompted my hard resposnes.

    You compare my use of inferential reasoning to the JW’s use of inferential reasoning. Is that not hard? Should I question, how can anyone walking by the Spirit say that of another?

    I never inferred what you meant by comparing my argument to the arguments of a heretical group. I never asked why you were implying that a minister of the gospel was making an argument that was no better than ministers of Satan.

    I never questioned, insinuated or implied anything other than you are a brother in the Lord, making a wrong comparison that is actually unhelpful the case of your argument (contra IAOC). I always ended up (aside from the last comment) referring you back to my main question, what was the purpose of the added command to Adam.

    (You never quite got around to really answering that. I admit you made some attempts, but these did not address the question head on. You’ve never responded to my follow ups.)

    I ask you to consider if maybe you have unnecessarily inferred things in my words, things that led you to accuse me of unchristlike behavior. I ask you to consider if you are not demonstrating the same kind of behavior. Finally, consider that I’ve not taken personally your hard words. Please do not take mine so. I’ve never implied otherwise, and you infer wrongly in doing so.

    [Edit]

    David, please re-read all the post you’ve collated my “hard” words from. Please also re-read the rest of the words. I ask you to consider that this is the sum of my hard words:

    1. You’ve made a wrong comparison in your effort to deny the IAOC.
    2. The comparison is offensive, not personally, but offensive to the calling of the Spirit Who intends God’s children to use such a tool in their study of Scripture. (Another example would be the structure of Proverbs, where usually 2 points are stated and 2 are necessairly inferred.)
    3. I re-affirm that I do not believe you intentionally offered such offense.
    4. I re-affirm that it is possible that you only did so because you grabbed a hold of this angle of debate as a means of proving your denial.
    5. I’ve offered my counter-challenges to this sub-point only to urge you away from a means of arguing that will not only be harmful to this debate, but if you adopt it in general, will result in harmful conclusions in your doctrinal development in other areas.
    6. This is not personal, as in being opposed to you as a person. This is personal, as in caring about you a brother in the Lord who is doing something I believe will hurt him.

    Iron sharpens iron brother. The wounds of a friend are faithful. I’ve not attacked you personally. Please, think and pray about my response. Thanks.

  162. Reed Here said,

    April 14, 2010 at 7:22 am

    David DeJong: think you may be using “argument” in a different sense. Yes, the Athanasian Creed contains a series of statements, of propositions, if you will. These were arrived at not merely from a plain reading of the Bible – you’ll find bits and pieces explicitly stated, but not whole statements as constructed in the Ath.C. Yes, these statements were deduced in a process of negation – they were working against the faulty inferential reasoning of the heretics. The Fathers used inferential reasoning to arrive at these statements.

    As to your comparison between the Trinity and baptism or IAOC, it is not that the first does not use inferential reasoning, whereas the latter two do. Instead the issue is one of degrees. All use inferential reasoning in arriving at the stated positions. It can be debated which use more or less inferential reasoning, but to say that the Trinity does not use any is (pardon my hard word) silly.

    This should not be all that controversial. I am surprised you would want to push your opinion so strongly against what is relatively obvious, innocuous, necessary, and a part of your own theological heritage.

  163. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

    “It can be debated which use more or less inferential reasoning, but to say that the Trinity does not use any is silly.”

    Why is this silly? Can you show me the inferential reasoning that led to the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity? You keep asserting that the Fathers used such inferential reasoning, but you never spell out the actual reasoning process. Again, it was Arius whose logical head could not handle the Trinity – it made his brain explode. He is the one who tried to reduce God to something he could comprehend – a Platonic monotheism, with the Logos as the first creature.

    I can certainly show you the reasoning that requires IAOC. It’s the reasoning you supply above, where we cannot move from 0 to +1 without it. IAOC is part of a soteriological system of doctrine; it logically coheres with the rest of that system (which is precisely why Lane has said a denial of LGD leads to a denial of sola fide). Specifically, it is part of a bi-covenantal soteriological system, requiring the so-called “covenant of works” as an essential aspect. The various parts of the system logically cohere.

    What I think should be obvious, innocuous, and uncontroversial is that the Trinity is not that sort of doctrine. Furthermore the difference is not just one of degrees but of kind. IAOC is arrived by assuming that a soteriological system must “cohere”; i.e. be internally consistent. The only assumption behind the doctrine of the Trinity is the inspiration of Scripture, as far as I can tell. There is no assumption of logical coherence that drives the formulation of the Trinity; in fact, it was that very assumption that drove Arius to his heretical formulations and is the same assumption from which present-day Muslims and Jews make their charges against Christianity. (“How can you believe in three persons, but one God? That doesn’t make sense.”) (I’m not intending for this to be an offensive comparison, because I don’t deny the validity of inferential reasoning. I only deny its validity when we’re talking about God, whose nature goes beyond what our puny brains can fathom.)

    I’ve belabored this point because you seem not to be grasping it. But at this point I believe I’ve said it as clearly as I can, so I’ll have to bow out. Let me conclude by saying that I am not opposed to inferential reasoning, and I do believe doctrines can be arrived at by good and necessary inference.The reason why the Trinity is sui generis is due to the fact that God himself and his unfathomable identity is the subject of the doctrine.

    If you think I’m wrong, please show me the “inferential reasoning” process that led to the doctrine of the Trinity. Even if in a lower “degree” than that of IAOC.

  164. Reed Here said,

    April 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    David DeJong: respectfully I’m not wasting my time with you any further on this sub-topic. I mean no perjorative inferences in my use of “wasting.” I frankly cannot believe you are denying something that is so obvious.

    You’re own observation fro both Jews and Muslims (not received as offensive) demonstrates the necessity of inferential reasoning in even the basic structure of the Trinity. That God is one is the explicit statement of Scripture.

    That there are three persons is itself inferentially derived from a number of texts. None of the text used to support tihis formulation explicitly state three persons in the Godhead. Instead the languaged used implies something that is onloy arrived at by the use of good and necessary inferential reasoning.

    Any reasonable reading of any point in the Ath. C. demonstrates that inferential reasoning played a necessary role. I refer you back to my previous post with the link to this statement.

    Please do not bother to respond further on this topic. I see no value in it.

  165. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    In 124, Jeff Cagle said:

    As to the Trinity. I see Scripture identifying three persons who each are God. I also find relationships described between these three persons. Moreover, the Scriptures state that there is only one God. I don’t have to add anything. All I have to do is except the stated facts. For ease of communication we have invented the term Trinity. I don’t see us having to infer anything here.

    You’re actually inferring something basic (that I agree with!): that sense can be made out of these data because Scripture is not self-contradictory. Many liberal theologians look at the same data points and simply conclude that Scripture is incoherent. You and I, on the other hand, begin with the premise that Scripture is infallible and conclude that sense can be made of the data.

    Jeff, you claim the Trinity is “inferred” because we believe Scripture is inspired. But the inspiration of Scripture is not an inference arising out of the data on the Trinity, it is an assumption we bring to the scriptural data.

    I would acknowledge that a doctrine such as the “eternal generation of the Son” is one that is reasoned at from the foundational fact of the Trinity. Given the Trinity, we need language to speak about Jesus’ eternal Sonship. But to me, the Trinity itself is not inferred, and I’m at a loss to see what premises it could be inferred from (despite Reed’s astonishment at my denseness).

  166. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Sorry, I forgot to close my italics.

    Btw, how does one quote with the nifty green line?

  167. David Weiner said,

    April 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    David DeJong, re#166,

    Now there is something that I know a little about, i.e., the nifty green line. Scripture, not so much. The starting code is

    ; the ending code is

    . The line spacing is taken care of by the interpreter and so there is no need to have spaces or line feeds either before or after these codes.

    By the way, I am quite thankful you are here. I was beginning to think I had lost the ability to communicate coherently. Of course, I guess we could both be very wrong!

  168. David Weiner said,

    April 14, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    David DeJong,

    OOOOPS, pride apparently still goes before a fall. Let me try again.

    The starting code is an ”

    The ending code is the same except that a ‘/’ goes between the ‘<' and the word blockquote.

  169. David Weiner said,

    April 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    David DeJong,

    Hopeless!!!

    Let me try this. The opening code has the word blockquote between a less than and a greater than sign and I think the last message says enough to see what the closing code is. Maybe Reed was right!

  170. David Weiner said,

    April 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Paige, re #160,

    Well after those three attempts to communicate something simple to David D I am a little concerned about being able to say anything coherent to you here. But, I’ll give it a try.

    In all of this I have not felt as though I had “the sharp edge of Reed’s keyboard.” Nor, do I feel as though I need to “turn the other cheek.” He said what he said; I never decided to take offense. The problem I saw was the witness we are giving here. And, yes, he has a lot to offer, no question about it. I’ll definitely continue to benefit from that. On the other hand, I can’t quite get 1 Cor 13:1-2 out of my head in this.

  171. Reed Here said,

    April 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    David: did you read my response to your complaint? Does 1Co 13:1-2 apply to my concerns for your “hard” words?

    Here is the format:

    {blockquote}quoted text{/blockquote},

    Where the “{ }” symbols stand for the “” symbols.

  172. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Let me try this again:

    Jeff Cagle said to David W. (124):

    You’re actually inferring something basic (that I agree with!): that sense can be made out of these data because Scripture is not self-contradictory. Many liberal theologians look at the same data points and simply conclude that Scripture is incoherent. You and I, on the other hand, begin with the premise that Scripture is infallible and conclude that sense can be made of the data.

    Jeff, you claim the Trinity is “inferred” because we believe Scripture is inspired. But the inspiration of Scripture is not an inference arising out of the data on the Trinity, it is an assumption we bring to the scriptural data.

    I would acknowledge that a doctrine such as the “eternal generation of the Son” is one that is reasoned at from the foundational fact of the Trinity. Given the Trinity, we need language to speak about Jesus’ eternal Sonship. But to me, the Trinity itself is not inferred, and I’m at a loss to see what premises it could be inferred from (despite Reed’s astonishment at my denseness).

  173. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for the help. That does look professional. Now I can comment like Ron Henzel. :)

  174. Reed Here said,

    April 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    David deJong: seriously, are you reading my responses? Did you see this:

    That there are three persons is itself inferentially derived from a number of texts. None of the texts used to support this formulation explicitly state three persons in the Godhead. Instead the language used implies something that is only arrived at by the use of good and necessary inferential reasoning.

    Inferential reasoning, used to arrive at the doctrine of the Trinity, no?

  175. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Reed: Just because x is restated in different terms as y does not mean one has had to make any logical inferences to get from x to y.

    I’d be happy to continue the discussion, if you interact with my 163. There I attempt to explain the difference between IAOC as a doctrine that is arrived at by inference, and the Trinity as one that is not.

    The fact is we are talking past each other anyways. You are using “inference” so broadly as to include any aspect of thinking. I’m using it in a specific sense: as being a proposition logically derived from a set of premises which is not tautologous (i.e. it coheres with those premises but is really a new proposition).

  176. Paige Britton said,

    April 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    David W. #170 –
    Good, I’m glad you didn’t take offense. I know that Reed is careful to avoid ad hominem, personal cuts, but (as I know from being a writer) it can be hard to separate our selves from our words and ideas when the latter are being criticized. Re. 1 Cor 13, I think there is room for bluntness and sternness in love, though we’re going to disagree among brethren about where to draw the line as to degree. Probably we each have a certain level of tolerance for that kind of speech. I’m more of an Abigail (given to nuance, but hopefully not to too much sentimentality), but I’ve come to appreciate my brothers who are Nathans.

  177. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Hi David D and David W,

    I wasn’t ignoring your point, but I am still trying to collect the primary source materials I used to use when teaching on the Trinity.

    Here’s the issue: In order for the Trinity to be explicitly stated in the text, it would have to be the case that the text of Scripture literally said, somewhere:

    “The Father is God. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God. All three are of one substance, but three persons. All three are ontologically equal but the Son submits himself to the Father, and the Spirit glorifies the Son. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Each person in the Trinity plays different roles, but their works cannot be separated.”

    As it is, these statements are not expressly set down in Scripture, but can be inferred.

    That’s what I have in mind. Thoughts?

  178. Rob said,

    April 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I’m a member of a PCA church. Although I’ve not taken any graduate-level classes in theology, I have a PhD in physics and a JD, both with high honors from T1 schools. I spend the better part of my day reading, analyzing, and drafting legal documents. So, I think I can generally understand complex topics.

    But frankly, I just do not understand what the heck is at stake here. This debate has gone on for about 5 years now, and I can’t help but see it as an inane exercise in navel-gazing. Please explain why I’m wrong. Please!

  179. David deJong said,

    April 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Let me separate out some of these claims.

    1. The Father is God.
    2. Jesus is God.
    3. The Holy Spirit is God.
    4. All three are of one substance, but three persons.

    This is the essence of the doctrine of the Trinity; the rest of your paragraph is related but not intrinsic. I’m sure any commenter here can find a great many proof-texts for each statement. I’m not going to even offer one for #1; that would be almost insulting. For #2, see John 20:28; for #3, see 2 Cor 3:18; #4 see Deut 6:4. In statement 4, “of one substance” recalls the Nicene Creed’s homoousios. It’s worth recalling that there was a great deal of debate over this term because it was not precisely biblical, but ultimately it was chosen as that which clearly expressed biblical truths. Restatement, however, does not necessarily imply inference.

    Continuing with your paragraph:
    5. All three are ontologically equal but the Son submits himself to the Father, and the Spirit glorifies the Son.

    The first half is a restatement of the oneness of God, in Greek terms, and the second half is straight out of the Gospel of John.

    6. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    Stated many times in Scripture (see especially John’s gospel, where Jesus confers the Spirit by breathing on his disciples, but also says that the Father will send him in his name). Though there was a debate about this (Eastern-Western schism), and I wouldn’t call this a part of the doctrine of the Trinity as such. The Eastern church still holds to the Trinity, but wouldn’t accept this statement.

    7. Each person in the Trinity plays different roles, but their works cannot be separated.

    Well, the roles of the persons of the Trinity are obvious, for example, in epistolary greetings such as that of 1 Peter 1:1-5. And there are countless other examples – see, e.g, the role of the Spirit in the OT (Judges). The role of the Son in our salvation is sort of the point of all four gospels. These are such large and consistent and obvious truths I don’t really see how they can be said to be inferred.

    Jeff said: “As it is, these statements are not expressly set down in Scripture, but can be inferred.”

    To be sure, the statements as you have written them are not found in Scripture. But they do not need to be inferred. The truth of them is all expressly set forth in Scripture.

  180. Paige Britton said,

    April 15, 2010 at 2:57 am

    David deJ. wrote:
    To be sure, the statements as you have written them are not found in Scripture. But they do not need to be inferred. The truth of them is all expressly set forth in Scripture.

    I think all we are meaning by “infer” is “do the responsible work of connecting the dots,” or “come to valid conclusions given the evidence at hand.” There IS work to be done by the reader of the texts that you cite, whether that means simply registering the implications of the words or gathering all the ideas from disparate places into a coherent theological statement. If there is less of this literate labor to do for the doctrine of the Trinity than for the IAOX, it’s nevertheless labor of the same sort in both cases.

    Can anyone tell me why we are using the phrase “good and necessary inference,” rather than “good and necessary consequence” (which is the direct quote from WCF 1.6)? Did somebody slip us into a synonymous phrase that tripped us up on the word “inference,” or does the former phrase actually occur somewhere in the Standards?

  181. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 15, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Paige: Can anyone tell me why we are using the phrase “good and necessary inference,” rather than “good and necessary consequence” (which is the direct quote from WCF 1.6)?

    Good point. I’ve been a little loose with that, using “inference” as a synonym for “deduced” as in “by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture”

    David deJong: To be sure, the statements as you have written them are not found in Scripture. But they do not need to be inferred. The truth of them is all expressly set forth in Scripture.

    I’m having trouble putting these three sentences together. It seems to me that something not directly stated would have to be inferred. You seem to have a middle category, things not directly stated but not inferred either.

    Which would then raise the question, does IAOX fall in the “inferred” category or the “middle” category?

    Well anyways, I’m confused about what you have in mind.

    I think the key here is your statement

    I’m using [inference] in a specific sense: as being a proposition logically derived from a set of premises which is not tautologous (i.e. it coheres with those premises but is really a new proposition).

    So you want to disallow renaming as a type of inference, which is understandable.

    But in any event, there’s a whole lot packed into “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance …”

    I don’t see how we get from the prooftexts you cite to this statement, without making some inferences.

  182. David deJong said,

    April 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Jeff: recall above that you wanted to put some “daylight” between the text of Scripture and our doctrinal systems. What I’m trying to argue is, when it comes to the Trinity, there’s no “daylight.”

    “You seem to have a middle category, things not directly stated but not inferred either. Which would then raise the question, does IAOX fall in the “inferred” category or the “middle” category?”

    Restatement of Scriptural truths, for example in Greek philosophical dress, is a middle category between quoting Scripture and drawing inferences (related propositions) from Scripture. What about the statement “Jesus Christ is true man and true God”? Do we use inferences to arrive at that?

    “I don’t see how we get from the prooftexts you cite to this statement, without making some inferences.”

    Please tell me what inference you want to make. Upon reflection, the only one that I suppose might occur is the inference that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons. I’m hesitant to call this an inference because it is basically tautologous, but not quite.

    Then you’d have:

    1. The Father is God.
    2. The Son is God.
    3. The Holy Spirit is God.
    4. There is one God.

    Conclusion: There are three persons in the one God.

    If there is any inference here, it is (to me) only that 1+1+1=3.

  183. David deJong said,

    April 15, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Paige 179:

    “If there is less of this literate labor to do for the doctrine of the Trinity than for the IAOX, it’s nevertheless labor of the same sort in both cases.”

    This is what I am disputing in my 163. Yes, we have to reflect on the meaning of words to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity. But we don’t have to supply any propositions not explicitly stated in Scripture to fit with a logical system. (Unless that proposition is, as I said above, 1+1+1=3, which is actually tautologous.)

  184. Paige Britton said,

    April 15, 2010 at 7:36 am

    David (#182) –
    …we don’t have to supply any propositions not explicitly stated in Scripture to fit with a logical system.

    So you are arguing that, in contrast, in the case of IAOX the (theo)logical system drives the development of the doctrine? And that, as a result, we must “supply propositions not explicitly stated in Scripture” in order to get to it?

    Is it possible to have no explicit passages available, but yet arrive at a doctrine “by good and necessary consequence” from the implications of Scripture, rather than being driven by the demands of a theological system?

  185. David deJong said,

    April 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Paige asked:

    So you are arguing that, in contrast, in the case of IAOX the (theo)logical system drives the development of the doctrine? And that, as a result, we must “supply propositions not explicitly stated in Scripture” in order to get to it?

    More or less, yes.

    Is it possible to have no explicit passages available, but yet arrive at a doctrine “by good and necessary consequence” from the implications of Scripture, rather than being driven by the demands of a theological system?

    I suppose infant baptism might fit this description.

  186. Reed Here said,

    April 15, 2010 at 8:56 am

    David deJong: I thought I had responded to your no. 163. I’ll leave Jeff’s and Paige’s recent responses to you to make up for my weaknesses.

    I appreciate Jeff’s effort to draw middle ground for you. I still think you are drawing too narrow, too tightly. You’ve as much as admitted to Jeff that that three persons must contain some inferences (of course you could only bring yourself to say “I suppose”).

    If you prefer, use baptism as the “proof” case of the validity of using inferential reasoning and its use to make a case for any doctrine, including IAOC. (Not a claim that any casre made is correct, just that this is valid). I know you already said you;ve no problem with inferential reasoning. Yet I’ve not seen that pan out in your comments yet. Maybe we can drop the Trinity discussion and move back to the main point.

    Again, this whole thing about the Trinity began in terms of David.W. denying the use of inferential reasoning with regard to one simple question: was being sinless in his created state sufficient for Adam to remain in relation with God?

    My point on this is simple: no it was not. Adam needed to move from his posse peccare position to the non posse peccare position. The two trees were instrumental in this.

    This is parallel the argument of the IAOC. Christ’s pasive obedience suffices to cover and remove (propitiate and expiate) our record of unrighteousness. In effect this returns us to the posse peccare state. Christ’s active obedience suffices to make us righteous, to move us (in promise in this life) to the non posse peccare position (at glorification).

    The paralleling of Adam and Jesus in Rom 5 is a strong argument for this one for one comparison. The point there is not simply that Jesus fixed what Adam broke (Jesus died for the sin nature introduced by Adam). It also includes the notion that Jesus provide for us what Adam did not, an inheritance of righteousness (Jesus obeyed for us what Adam did not).

    I’m tempted to be cute and say this argument is tautologous, but I recognize that some Scripture compared to Scripture needs to occur. I recognize that there is a mutual supporting here as well, between IAOC and the bi-covenantal structure. Yet, both are seen in the text. Together these make the best sense of the Scripture.

    Why did God give Adam the test if his relationship was already sufficient? How is the ministry of Adam compared/contrasted with the ministry of Jesus? It seems to me that the IAOC better explains the fullness of the Bible in these matters.

  187. Reed Here said,

    April 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Paige: yes I used “inference” in place of “consequence”. Call it a practied slip of the fingers on the keyboard. I won’t say that categorically consequence = inferentce. I will say that the consequences in view are usually the results of the interplay o finferential reasoning combined with deductive reasoning. I.e., it is rare that one to find the exclusive use of either.

    I focused on inferential here because that was the angle from which David W.’s challenge to the question I asked him came from. He attempted to deny the use of inferential reasoning (instead of merely demonstrating that the reasoning was itself was invalid).

    Hope that clarifies.

  188. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

    David (#179):

    The conclusion that you draw from (1)-(4), that there are three persons and one God, is problematic. It demonstrates IMO that you have some inferring going on behind the scenes.

    NOTE that I’m not disagreeing with your conclusion at all. The doctrine of the Trinity is a doctrine that, Lord willing, we would go to the stake for.

    I’m only saying that (1) – (4) don’t actually get you to your desired conclusion.

    Here’s the first sign of trouble: in the conclusion, you introduce the concept of “person” which is not contained anywhere in (1) – (4). This indicates that you have an additional premise somewhere.

    Here’s the second sign of trouble: a modalist would have no problem agreeing to (1) – (4), but would disagree with your conclusion. Sabellius would say,

    “The Father is God; Jesus is God; the Holy Spirit is God; there is one God … so, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the same, in different forms.”

    So your conclusion doesn’t actually follow from the premises. Again, I like your conclusion! :)

  189. Paige Britton said,

    April 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Reed & Jeff – re. consequence becoming inference – thanks for clarifying! I infer (or deduce?) the consequence of the slip of the keyboard, there. :)

    Hey, did anybody else take a look at Wayne Sparkman’s link to Gillespie’s book of Miscellanies (see #156)? 17th c. spelling is trippy!

  190. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Yeah it is. I haven’t tried yet to decipher Gillespie, but I notice that he starts with problems in prophecy. How nice to pick the easiest problems first. ;)


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