Will Believers be Judged for Not Knowing English Historical Theology?

Apparently, Mark Jones believes Lee Irons stands condemned:

I am flabbergasted at the cocksure way by which Irons makes these claims. He castigates Piper for several errors, but ends up making a few blunders himself. One in particular stands out.

He says: “Faith has never been viewed as a condition of justification in Reformed theology…” (emphasis mine).

This is simply false.

So it looks like God won’t be pleased with Lee’s works on judgment day.

But will God look favorably on Jones’ own high estimate of his historical theological chops?

Most of the Early Modern Reformed did not view Romans 2:7-11 as hypothetical, contrary to what some in the Reformed camp today have suggested. Rick Phillips has addressed this question in the past, but I remain concerned about some historical and exegetical issues made therin; his post also strikes me as far too defensive. Better, in my view, is the approach taken by Richard Gaffin in By Faith, Not By Sight.

Should this cause people to despair regarding the future judgment? Only if one is a bona fide hypocrite. Christ will rightfully condemn the hypocrites in the church (Matt. 25:41-46). They are marked out as those who did not do good works. They are those who neglect the weightier matters of the law (Matt. 23:23).

I mean, if believers are going to be judged by their good works as Jones says is writ large in English Protestantism, doesn’t that conclusion apply to blog posts? Is it evidence of saving faith or a good work to mock other believers on grounds of the history of English theology?

Sure, this post may even be evidence of my own sinfulness. But I’m not the one promoting obedient faith.

(On the upside, Dr. Jones has abandoned the third-person bi-lines, sure evidence of holiness.)

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204 thoughts on “Will Believers be Judged for Not Knowing English Historical Theology?

  1. John Cotton writes: “We must be good trees before we can bring forth good fruit. If then closing with Christ be a good fruit, we must be good trees before we can bring it forth. And how can we be good trees, before we be engrafted into Christ? 43, A Faire and Easy to Heaven, William Stoever, 1978

    In his introduction to the second edition of Gaffin’s By Faith Not by Sight, Mark Jones suggests that anybody who has a different order of salvation application than the one taught by Gaffin is antinomian.

    Mark Jones– “The position that faith followed imputation was not typical of Reformed thought in his day but rather was ASSOCIATED WITH ANTINOMIANIS….Any view that posits faith as a consequence of imputation (John Cotton) is not the typical Reformed position.

    John Owen—“No blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us… God’s reckoning Christ, in our present sense, is the imputing of Christ unto ungodly, unbelieving sinners for whom he died, so far as to account him theirs, and to bestow faith and grace upon them for his sake. This, then, I say, at the accomplishment of the appointed time, the Lord reckons, and accounts, and makes out his Son Christ, to such and such sinners, and for his sake gives them faith.”. 10:26

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/jones-on-conditions/

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  2. Janice Knight — Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism–”The first group, familiar to readers of The New England Mind, is composed of Perry Miller’s “orthodoxy” : Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, Peter Bulkeley, John Winthrop, and most of the ministers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony…. They identified power as God’s essential attribute and described his covenant with human beings as a conditional promise. They preached the necessity of human cooperation in preparing the heart for that promised redemption, and they insisted on the usefulness of Christian works as evidence of salvation…. Perry Miller, among others, has lamented that these religionists developed structures of preparationism and an interlocking system of contractual covenants that diminished the mystical strain of piety he associated with Augustinianism.”

    Janice Knight—”The second body closely embodies that Augustinian strain. Originally centered at the Cambridge colleges and wielding great power in the Caroline court, this group was led in America by John Cotton, John Davenport, and Henry Vane. Neither a sectarian variation of what we now call “orthodoxy” in New England nor a residual mode of an older piety, this party presented a alternative within the mainstream of Puritan religious culture. In a series of contests over political and social dominance in the first American decades, this group lost their claim to status as an “official” or “orthodox” religion in New England. Thereafter, whiggish histories (including Cotton Mather’s own) tell the winner’s version, demoting central figures of this group to the cultural sidelines by portraying their religious ideology as idiosyncratic and their marginalization as inevitable. “

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  3. If Stephen King was a theologian, he could not write a greater horror story than to write that we are saved by our works. Yes, works do give evidence of our faith, but that concept must be well-defined biblically speaking.

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  4. At least Lee will be able to go to Jones’s post and defend himself in the comments section.

    Oh, wait …

    That no-comment policy is kind of the blog equivalent of hiding behind the wrestler’s mask.

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  5. Irons closes with this outlandish statement:

    “It is important to be precise and clear when explaining the gospel. I am confident that the intent of what Piper wrote is not far from the doctrine as the Westminster Confession articulates it, but I wish he had been more precise and clear in his terminology. ”

    Now. who looks like the over-reacting, bomb-throwing axe grinde — Lee or Rasslemania?

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  6. DG: I’m not the one promoting obedient faith.

    (you mean the obedience of faith?) At least, finally you say it clearly.

    “ Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;” 1 John 3:7

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  7. And I see him often taking popshots at Scott Clark on Mark VanderMolen’s FB wall. What about that commandment to love? Here he calls Irons to publicly apologize to Piper but did Jones ever publicly apologize to Mike Horton for his video where he plays drunk, calling Antinomianism “the Golden White Horse Inn… I mean… the Golden White Devil…..” And who did he accuse of being divisive? We never knew if he was going to laugh or cry when people disagreed with him but now he repeatedly fails to understand how there could be anyone in the Reformed camp who would deny that our good works save us? I’ve had about enough of this, as should Reformation 21. If Mark is so bent on recovering good works for salvation maybe he should move out of James 2 and read James 3. But that won’t be encouraging for this kind of behavior.

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  8. Can we bring him up on charges just for being who he is? “Look, we’ve been following his FB and Ref 21 posts and, really, do we need to do this formally or can we just get a show of hands?” Plus, at the same time we can at least identify the rest of the sympathizers and proceed accordingly.

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  9. cw l’unificateur: Ali, clown.

    Aw cw, when did you become the main henchman. Seriously though, what do you mean clown in what way?

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  10. Imagine a Venn diagram. One circle is all the guys who say you can’t spell justification without “us” or sanctification without “I.” The other is the universe of guys who are shrill and pompous. I’ll let you speculate on the overlap, but the irony is a symphony that carries me away.

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  11. C-dubs, but in addition to charity, Irons clarifies the point just before that:

    I think what Piper is attempting to say is that faith is the sole instrument of receiving the righteousness of Christ, and if we have true faith, that faith will manifest itself in a changed life as we bring forth fruits of evangelical obedience. If that is what he is trying to say, then I fully agree. The Westminster Confession, again, says it well:

    Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love (WCF XI.2).

    In this sense, it is true to say that no one who enters heaven will be devoid of good works and evangelical obedience. But these things have no role to play as means or conditions of attaining heaven. They are the fruit and evidence of saving faith. We do not attain heaven by means of or on the condition of producing the fruit of faith. We attain heaven by being reckoned as righteous in Christ by faith. But faith is never alone “in the person” who is justified, “but is ever accompanied” with its fruits.

    Why is this so hard?

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  12. DG: Ali, God is just to forgive sins. Same apostle says so. Think about it.

    I think about it (and ask for it) all the time DG. They are not mutually exclusive. You act like you can only ‘promote’ forgiveness of sins OR promote obedience, but not both.

    Walton, obedience of faith. A gift. And the point of it all – SALVATION – deliverance from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin. Predestined to be conformed to the image of the Father’s Son, Jesus.

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  13. I know, I know. Google says it’s seven hours between Vancouver and Moscow, and Leithart is somewhere way down south, I hear. So, there’s a position of obscurant latin professorship open at New St. Andrews, plus that’s what Greyfriar’s needs, another pretender, this one complete with mask(why bother with the ruse) to show them how to handle women as well.

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  14. “This means asking the state not to use acquisitiveness and covetousness to separate people from their means of living.”

    Yeah, I just hope the state doesn’t try to stop Wal-Mart from using my (covetous?!?) desire for ice cream to separate me from my means of living

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  15. @ Ali:

    Sorry, you just got caught in some crossfire.

    When DGH talks of obedient faith, he is not dismissing a faith that leads to obedience (which James and Paul both require), but rather a faith that includes obedience as part of its definition, which is the formulation if the neonomians (eg Baxter).

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  16. stop the presses, it has again been determined that it’s almost impossible to communicate exhaustively the concepts of law and grace for a believer in such a way as it shuts up people who don’t want to listen in the first place (or are nitpicking)

    some day we’ll have a decent theory to perfectly explain sovereignty and free will and the calibrated right amount of sin you can commit and still be a Christian, in your own mind and in the minds of those who see it as their business to determine by your walk if you are a Christian

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  17. Rawls! Nice. Who’s the mayor? And who’s the good lieutenant with the shady past and wife/ex-wife who’s always dogging him?

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  18. Or as Mr. Hollywood would say, ‘Play ball you squintly little putz or you’ll end up like Richard Greco, Poof, you’re gone”

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  19. Chris Gordon:

    Where can one view that video of Jones where he “plays drunk, calling Antinomianism ‘the Golden White Horse Inn… I mean… the Golden White Devil…..’”?

    A google search brought me to some blog called “RPCNA Covenanter,” where the video appears to be posted. But when I click on the video, it says it is private.

    Know of any place I could be view it?

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  20. “He made it private on Youtube.” That’s perfect. It fits everything. It’s right up there with Wilson carrying on about how everybody keeps misunderstanding him. MJ just really means it. But puritians…………….

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  21. First the Toronto Blue Jays mix it up and then Jones. What happened to nice Canadians? I’m staying on the US side of Niagara Falls.

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  22. Darryl- Lee made a spurious historical claim and Mark corrected him. Embarrassing for Lee? Yes. But surely appropriate in light of a very big historical blunder. You frequently castigate individual scholars and pastors on this blog for their perceived errors, views, claims, etc. How is Mark’s post any different? I could point to a number of posts on this blog which are much harsher and more polemical than Jones’. Take the log out of your eye.

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  23. I suspect “Jordanus” is really Jones (hiding again by not linking to his site), baiting us into making a scatalogical comment playing on his name, at which point he can then turn around and point to our incivility.

    Not gonna work, Jord Anus, Mark!

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  24. Jordanus, but did I not say I’m not the one upholding sanctity? Haven’t I always (the opposite of never) said that good works are filthy rags?

    Anyway, is this a question of scholarship or sanctification? I question whether Jones’ post grasp the distinction.

    And by the way, why doesn’t a pastor cite Scripture?

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  25. RL- My name is Jordan, I’m a student at Westminster Theological Seminary, you can access my blog by clicking on my name, and I’m only pointing out what seems to be obvious and should be obvious to a church historian like Darryl- sloppy historical scholarship which claims that Reformed theologians “never” held to a position which, as Mark shows, many in fact did, should be taken to task.

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  26. Mark Jones is for Reformed diversity, except if you disagree with his views. When he is divisive, it’s only because somebody else does not know the history like he knows it. Jones is trying to teach us that the order of application does not matter, since “union” is the main thing under all the other things, except that it does matter if you disagree with Gaffin and Jones about faith being before “union”. (they don’t make a distinction between Christ “in us” and us “in Christ”)

    If you think faith is between God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness and God’s justification of the sinner, then Jones will explain in that case that the order of application matters, because John Cotton was “antinomian” for making faith a benefit and not a condition of God’s imputation.

    Jones criticizes Lee Irons—“I tend to think that theology by prepositions is, well, not all that helpful. But Jones promotes Gaffin’s distinction between prepositions in By Faith Not By Sight.

    Lee Irons— “But if we replace “entering into a right relationship with God” with “being justified,” then it is not true that faith is the sole condition, since faith is related to justification not as a condition but as a means. Faith has never been viewed as a condition of justification in Reformed theology or in the Reformed confessions. Paul himself never uses the prepositional phrase dia + accusative, “justified because of faith.” Instead he uses dia + genitive or ek + genitive, “justified by faith.” Faith is not the ground of justification, but the means by which we are justified, by which we rest upon Christ and receive the gift of his imputed righteousness.”

    John Fesko asks a simple question about Gaffin’s distinction.. Are sins the ground of God’s condemnation of the non- elect, or only the means of God’s condemnation of the non-elect? Are the evil works of the non-elect the ground of condemnation or only the means of condemnation?

    Fesko: “Richard Gaffin tries to argue, on the basis of the grammar involved in a similar Pauline statement, that works are not the ground of judgment: “It is not for nothing, I take it, and not to be dismissed as an overly fine exegesis to observe, that in Romans 2:6 Paul writes, ‘according (kata) to works,’ not ‘on account of (dia),’ expressing the ground, nor ‘by (ek) works,’ expressing the instrument” (By Faith, Not By Sight).

    Fesko: ” Though Gaffin’s comment concerns Paul’s statement in Romans 2:6, at the same time we find the same prepositional combination with the accusative in John’s statement in Revelation 20:12e, the only difference being in the use of the singular and plural pronouns (cf. Rom 2:6). Gaffin argues this point because he wants to preserve sola fide in the judgment of the works of the believer. Relying upon the analysis of Ridderbos and Murray, Gaffin’s finer point is that the judgment kata works is “in accordance with” the works, and such works are synecdochical for faith in Christ .

    Fesko: Yet can such a fine distinction be supported by the grammar alone? The use of “dia” with the accusative means “because of, on account of,” and the use of “kata” with the accusative means “in accordance with, corresponding to” (Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 368-69, 376-77). One must ask, what difference exists between the two? In fact, when we delve more deeply into the significance of “kata” with the accusative, we find that “often the noun that follows kata specifies the criterion, standard, or norm in the light of which a statement is made or is true, an action is performed, or a judgment is passed. The preposition. will mean ‘according to’, ‘in conformity with’, ‘corresponding to.’ This use is
    common in reference to the precise and impartial standard of judgment that will be applied at the great Assize (Matt. 16:27; Rom 2:6; 1 Cor 3:8; 2 Tim. 4:14; 1 Peter 1:17; Rev 2:23)” (Murray J. Harris, “Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament,” in NIDNTT, 3:1200).

    Fesko—“The argument apparently fails to account for judgment kata works for the wicked. This point seems to be borne out by Paul’s own use of kata, as he says, “He will render each
    one according to [kata] his works” (Rom. 2:6), but this rendering kata works is for both the righteous (v. 7) and the wicked (v. 8). According to Gaffin’s interpretation, are the wicked judged according
    to their works, but are they not the ground of their condemnation (see 2 Cor. 11:15)? Again, note how Paul uses kata: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due [to de ergazomeno ho misthos ou logizetai kata charin alla kata opheilema]” (Romans 4:4; see also Yinger, Paul, 21-26, 89-90, 135-136, 175, 182, 186). Judgment therefore is indeed kata (in accordance with, or on the basis of) works – the evil works of the unbeliever and the good works, or righteousness, of Christ.”

    John Fesko, Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine, p. 315

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  27. Mike Horton, Westminster California—”Even if it is granted that justification is an exclusively forensic declaration, the rest of the order of salvation has usually been treated in Reformed theology as the CONSEQUENCE of an entirely different event the implantation of new life in regeneration.” (Covenant and Salvation p 216)

    Jonathan Gibson, Westminster Philadelphia— “The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of Christ”, From Heaven He Came, p 355— ”Some conclude that the efficacy of Christ’s work occurs only at the point of faith, and not before. This ignores the fact that union with Christ precedes any reception of Christ’s work by faith. It is union with Christ that leads to the efficacy of Christ’s work to those who belong to Him.”

    Herman Hanko—”By making faith the condition of salvation, faith is set outside the benefits of the atonement. if the atonement is for every sinner, but faith is not for every sinner, then faith cannot be a blessing given by means of the atonement. Then faith is not one of the blessings of Christ’s death, but becomes a condition for making Christ’s death effective. One cannot have it both ways. Faith is either part of salvation or a condition to salvation; but both it cannot be.”

    Calvin (3:2:10)–”Christ, having been made ours, makes us sharers with Him in the gifts with which he has been endowed.”

    Bruce McCormack—”The problem is that one of the ‘gifts’ –regeneration–is very difficult to distinguish conceptually from that ‘union’ which is supposed to give rise to BOTH justification AND REGENERATION….Where regeneration is made— if only logically–to be the root of justification, then the work of God in us is once again made to be the ground of the divine forgiveness of sins.” p 110, “What’s At Stake in Current Debates Over Justification?”

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  28. Thanks, Jordan. Just joshin.

    So you simply Latinized. Got it.

    Your comments strike me as a case of straining at gnats.

    Did you read Lee Irons’ post, linked above? Do you think Jones is reading Irons charitably?

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  29. Does this mean Mark Jones is not a Calvinist?

    If Calvinism makes you proud, you’re not a Calvinist. The doctrines of grace should produce graciousness.

    Me? Heck Mark Jones knows I’m Lutheran.

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  30. On another note, you say DG that Jones is actually a pastor? It’s one thing for an academic, a historical theologian to hold his views and say what he does.

    But based on everything of his that I’ve read, I can’t imagine him caring for souls.

    Imagine a bruised reed — doubting himself, wondering whether he’s done enough good works or put to death his sin, but suspecting he hasn’t — seeking counsel from Jones.

    That is truly a frightening thought.

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  31. R L, Jones admits that he’s drawn to pastoring more than scholarship these days:

    This is a term I’m starting to feel a little suspicious about, especially if the words “pastor” and “scholar” are not going to be diluted regarding their meaning or compromised regarding the quality demanded of each “job”.

    Why?

    Because the longer I remain in the ministry, the more I am beginning to realize that the life of the minister and the life of the scholar are very different. The scholar is, to my mind, someone who has proven oneself at the top of one’s field for many years, with publications showing one’s worth. The scholar is continually on the “cutting edge.” I doubt very many pastors could ever attain to such a level.

    Why?

    Because my understanding of a full-time pastor – note, I said “pastor” and not “preacher” – involves real-life interaction with the sheep. The sheep are not just faces in a building, but people to whom pastors must give their lives to and for. Sheep need a lot of attention from shepherds.

    But if pastor-scholar is out, maybe pastor-blogger.

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  32. DG: Ali, you act like obedience is not filthy rags, like depravity isn’t as deep as Paul says it is.

    It what way do I act like that DG?

    Kent:stop the presses, it has again been determined that it’s almost impossible to communicate exhaustively the concepts of law and grace for a believer

    How about communicating at least in a way that someone like TVD (and every other disgusted non-believer or believer) doesn’t say “TVD: “Oh well, nothing matters except sitting around waiting to die and go to heaven”.

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  33. Curious why Jones, Piper, Phillips, DeYoung, et al are so gung ho about “nuance” to a topic that ought to be presented with clarity for all of us non-pastor-scholars who haven’t read the entire corpus of Reformed Scholasticism.

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  34. McMark posted: “Calvin (3:2:10)–”Christ, having been made ours, makes us sharers with Him in the gifts with which he has been endowed.”

    I think someone posted more of this section a week or so back, which I first read many years ago, and Calvin goes on to say, as I remember it, that we get all of Christ- not a divided Christ- and thus all the benefits: justification, sanctification,glorification. We don’t get a divided Christ. I guess it is fair to discuss how this blessing happens, the role of election and so forth, but Christ can’t be divided.

    I have read others opine that that was one of Calvin’s great insights. I am not qualified to judge the relative contributions of long dead theologians, but it seems profound and helpful to me. I think you can find similar expressions by Luther.

    I recall some time back that Jones seemed to think DGH was closer to Lutheran than Reformed theology on some similar issue. This dumb non-reformed Baptist thinks Luther and Calvin would agree– we get all of Christ- or nothing.

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  35. Mboss, what will the people do if they think it is all grace? People can’t handle it. There will be drunkenness, orgies, and Old Life. If our contributors from the Roman Catholic churches jump into this one, they will surely agree.

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  36. mboss, you must’ve missed the missive a few months back at Ref 21(where they struggle making round wheels), there will be no requiring of precision from doctors who read latin, merely deference and genuflecting in their general direction.

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  37. @ (A different) Dan

    This dumb non-reformed Baptist thinks Luther and Calvin would agree– we get all of Christ- or nothing.

    So did Machen…

    Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.

    J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism

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  38. Ali, i think it was around two years ago *Happy Annivesary!!!* that I realized almost nothing was going anywhere with most of the un-Reformed people who keep posting here…

    Ali, maybe you can begin on the wonderful trail of researching all the positions on the Republication of the Covenant of Works and use your findings as a cudgel and scourge against us?

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  39. Ali, I can’t tell what your point is here, but if it helps, someone once relayed that during a class lecture or conference or some such thing, in answer to the question “what is the Christian life in one word?” our host answered “obedience.” So if you’re worried that the OL emphasis somehow makes the world safe for license or disobedience, (ahem) relax.

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  40. CDubs –

    Publius, so is stupid a justice issue too?

    Well, you can’t fix it, and that’s unjust, terribly unjust. There oughtta be a law!

    And I’m sure the SB Ethics & Religious Commission is drafting one…

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  41. Dan who is different,

    Calvin (Inst. III.16.1): “This faith, however, you cannot apprehend without at the same time apprehending sanctification; for Christ “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” (1 Cor. 1:30). Christ, therefore, justifies no man without also sanctifying him. These blessings are conjoined by a perpetual and inseparable tie. Those whom he enlightens by his wisdom he redeems; whom he redeems he justifies; whom he justifies he sanctifies. But as the question relates only to justification and sanctification, to them let us confine ourselves. Though we distinguish between them, they are both inseparably comprehended in Christ. Would ye then obtain justification in Christ? You must previously possess Christ. But you cannot possess him without being made a partaker of his sanctification: for Christ cannot be divided. Since the Lord, therefore, does not grant us the enjoyment of these blessings without bestowing himself, he bestows both at once but never the one without the other. Thus it appears how true it is that we are justified not without, and yet not by works, since in the participation of Christ, by which we are justified, is contained not less sanctification than justification.”

    Paul Helm: “Calvin makes plain that both justification (‘being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness) and sanctification (the cultivation ‘of blamelessness and purity of life’) are two aspect of the one gift of Christ. (Inst. III.11.1) In his debate with Andreas Osiander he says that ‘as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable – namely, righteousness and sanctification’ (Inst. III.11.6) … This way of coupling justification and sanctification, as a double gift of the Saviour, is a stroke of genius, the genius of insight. In one bold move, grounded in the Pauline teaching of union with Christ in Romans 6, Ephesians 4, Philippians 3, and especially I Corinthians 1.30, Calvin sees that justification and sanctification are the one gift of the King, a gift with two aspects, a two-fold grace. Justification does not cause sanctification. Sanctification does not follow in time after justification. Justification is not sanctification. Sanctification is not justification. Each is given directly by the King. One is a status-matter, the other is a matter of subjective renewal. Yet they are inseparable gifts, two gifts wrapped together. In fact, one gift with two inseparable halves.”

    McGrath: “The two consequences of the believer’s incorporation into Christ are iustificatio and sanctificatio, which are distinct and inseparable. … Justification and sanctification are aspects of the believer’s new life in Christ, and just as one receives the whole Christ, and not part of him, through faith, so any separation of these two soteriological elements—which Calvin refers to as les deux principales grâces is inconceivable. … Calvin understands both justification and sanctification to be the chief beneficia Christi, bestowed simultaneously and inseparably upon believers as a consequence of their insitio in Christum. Sanctification is not the effect of justification; both justification and sanctification are effects of union with Christ.”

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  42. Zrim—In answer to the question “what is the Christian life in one word?” our host answered “obedience.”

    mcmark—Trust him in many places does not mean trust his death as a satisfaction of God’s law, and that imputed by God to you. Trust him means—do what he says to do. If you sin, you don’t trust him. Not that anybody is denying his death as a satisfaction of God’s law, of course….

    Richard Baxter—“Barely to take a Prince for her husband may entitle a woman to his honours and lands; But conjugal fidelity is ALSO NECESSARY FOR THE CONTINUANCE OF THEM…Covenant-making may admit you, but its the Covenant-keeping that must continue you in your privileges.” (Of Justification: Four Disputations Clearing and amicably Defending the Truth, against the unnecessary Oppositions of divers Learned and Reverend Brethren ,London, 1658), 123

    mcmark—To which I say–Everything or Nothing.

    If you want “more than” imputation, so that imputation only comes after Christ’s presence and regeneration and a faith which is never alone but obeys and works (enough) , then you have practically denied the efficacy and reality of God’s legally joining the elect ungodly sinners to Christ’s death.

    If you want imputation of Christ’s death PLUS “your own actual death to sinning”, then you have not yet been “joined by God to the death of Christ. All or nothing.

    Romans 6: 14 For sin will not rule over you, BECAUSE you are not under law but under grace.

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  43. from an excellent essay by one of Piper’s students

    http://www.oocities.org/mattperman/romans45.html

    Matt Perman—”Since works of the law are not faith (Romans 3:28) and whatever is not faith is sin, theologians like Dan Fuller conclude that works of the law are therefore sin. They argue that “works of the law” refers not just to sin in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn from God. ..They infer that “works of the law”are things that are done in our own strength with a view to earning merit from God in the sense of doing God a favor such that God is obligated to return the favor.”

    Perman—“Faith can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God tells us to. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But “doing what God tells us to do” is not the definition of obedience to the law. Moral obedience does not simply mean “doing what God says” but doing what is virtuous. Faith in the gospel is not love for our neighbor”.

    Romans 9:11-12 …for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls….

    Perman– “Works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, works is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel.

    Romans 14:23 — “whatever is not of faith is sin”

    Perman—“By faith” in Romans14:23 Paul means the belief that a certain behavior is right. Paul is not using faith in the sense of believing in Christ for salvation. But even if Paul were speaking of saving faith in Romans 14, it would not follow that faith and obedience are the same thing. Paul is saying that what is not from faith is sin. Paul is not saying that anything which is not faith is sin.”

    Perman—“Some theologians still would not want to say that faith and obedience are the same thing, and they argue that faith and obedience are so closely tied together that you cannot have one without the other….But many of them do not mean simply that obedience always results from faith. What they mean, rather, is that while obedience involves things other than faith, faith is still part of the very nature of obedience. Faith is an ingredient in obedience on their view–and, in fact, for them faith is the ingredient that makes obedience virtuous.”

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  44. Cletus quotes McGrath with the soundbite—-“Sanctification is not the effect of justification; both justification and sanctification are effects of union with Christ.”

    questions

    1 Why is it a problem to deny that “sanctification” results from justification, as long as “sanctification” results?

    2.. Is the problem that “justification” is defined, but that “sanctification” and “union” are not?

    3. Once you have defined “union”, will you consistently use the word “union” in the way you defined it? Will you be thinking of “Christ in us” as only a result of faith? Will you be thinking of “us in Christ” as only a result of faith?

    4. If “faith-union” is a result of faith, and if faith is a result of regeneration, where do regeneration and faith come from?

    5. Is the problem with saying that “sanctification” results from “justification” the fact that we are either already justified or we are not justified? Are we not also either “united to Christ” or not?

    6..When you deny that “sanctification” is a “mere consequence” of the forensic, do you mean to deny that “sanctification” is a consequence of the “merely forensic”? What do you have against “merely” ? Do you have a problem with any “sola” which points back to Christ’s death (without also your future work) as the righteousness God imputed to elect ungodly sinners?

    7. If “sanctification” is “more than” than a “mere consequence” of justification , does that mean that “sanctification” is also more than a mere result of “union”? Is “sanctification” in someway identical to “union”? Is “union” about Christ in us or about us in Christ? if faith is Christ indwelling us, how can faith be before Christ indwells us?

    8. Does “union” result from transformative (not merely legal) factors? If “union” includes transformation, and union must come before justification, how is it that God justifies the ungodly?

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  45. DG Ali, you act like obedience is not filthy rags
    DG Ali, you don’t qualify good works.

    And qualification from you DG?

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  46. Zrim : Ali, cute, but you seem to be implying that he’s promoted disobedience somewhere. Careful, pious one.

    just a suggestion then Zrim – it would be more believable if his men didn’t pull out the “piety, pompous, shrill, cudgel, scourge” guns (this post alone) when someone mentions God’s word on obedience ; and that when one questions God Himself when He says” the righteous practice righteousness” (1 John 3:7) “ with: “so what’s the point of faith if all I need to do is be righteous?” clarity to that confusion immediately forthcomes. Just a suggestion.

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  47. Ali, it’s not mentioning God’s word on obedience that draws fire, it’s the emphasis on it in such a way as to confuse the question of justification, as well as never making room for failure in the Christian life. If one never fails, is the gospel really all that great?

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  48. Ali,
    The reason I ask that is because you post 1 John 3:7 out of context of the Bible and in the context of responding to “I’m not the one promoting obedient faith” so no one really knows if you mean what they think the Bible means. 1 John 3:7-10 teaches us the righteous practice righteousness as evidence of their status as righteous. i.e. the obedience OF faith. This may have been exactly what you were saying.

    The problem with your method of proof-texting though is that no one has any clue what you’re actually saying. Everyone agrees with the Bible.

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  49. Mark,

    Perman– “Works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, works is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel.

    27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

    I have a Catholic friend who always get on to Protestants for saying we are not saved by works, but then telling people they must repent and believe. But this is a good clarification.

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  50. This has absolutely nothing to do with any real antinomianism or disobedience. This has everything to do with the same Shepherd error/fight the american reformed world has been having for working on forty years now. Neonomianism’s shape shifting abilities is the stuff of Marvel comics.

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  51. Walton,

    -everyone does not agree with the Bible, especially parts we each don’t like
    -I’m just a Bible quoter
    -the Holy Spirit has His work
    -the term ‘obedient faith’ must be a complicated man-made term, but I think to the average joe, it simply means -there is a faith that obeys

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  52. DG: Ali, you don’t qualify good works

    ok…. I’ll qualify….this is not a good work and will burn up:
    sean :And right on cue, the new empty headed, talking head talks with an accent and wears a mask.

    have a great day.

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  53. Ali, but if there’s a meaningful difference between a Christian plumber and a plumber that’s a Christian (and there is), there is a meaningful difference between obedient faith and a faith that’s obedient. Even so, faith doesn’t obey, a believer does. Faith isn’t a work, it’s a passive instrument of reception. It rests. If that’s true, why call it obedient?

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  54. Careful Ali, you might accidentally trip onto a real topic that interests us Truly Reformed on here. Been almost totally tumbleweeds the last 2 months…

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  55. Mark,

    Do you think McGrath is opposed to Helm and Calvin? I think most of your questions are answered in the 3 citations I provided.

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  56. Zrim: Ali, but if there’s a meaningful difference between a Christian plumber and a plumber that’s a Christian (and there is), there is a meaningful difference between obedient faith and a faith that’s obedient. Even so, faith doesn’t obey, a believer does. Faith isn’t a work, it’s a passive instrument of reception. It rests. If that’s true, why call it obedient?

    CT: If they don’t call it obedient faith then you’ll find people resting in Christ and trusting in His sufficiency and as a consequence of that attending upon the means of grace and striving after new obedience to God’s revealed will as an expression of gratitude instead of getting to work on some pet project or cultural transformation item that is hot right now. There’s that. They’ll probably also be very joyful and have a new disdain for false piety and pietism in general and that doesn’t help sell books or keep people enslaved. Maybe?

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  57. I’m pretty sure I can identify where Jesus defines sarcasm as a virtue when he commends Nathaniel for his blunt assessment of those from Nazareth. Regardless, I’m sticking to it and I’m not open to hearing any rebuttal.

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  58. Two interesting John Owen quotations from Lee Irons.

    John Owen—“For after they have given the specious name of a condition, and a causa sine qua non, unto faith, they immediately take all other graces and works of obedience INTO THE SAME STATE WITH FAITH, and the same use in justification; and after this seeming gold hath been cast for a while into the fire of disputation, there comes out the calf of a personal inherent righteousness, whereby men are justified before God, virtute foederis evangelici, for as for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed unto us, it is gone into heaven, and they know not what is become of it” (5:106)

    John Owen —“The word condition is no where used in the scripture in this matter; which I argue no farther, but that we have no certain rule or standard to try and measure its signification by. Wherefore it cannot first be introduced in what sense men please, and then that sense turned into argument for other ends. For thus on a supposed concession, that it is the condition of our justification, some heighten it into a subordinate righteousness, imputed unto us, antecedently as I suppose, unto the imputation of the righteousness of Christ in any sense, whereof it is the condition. And some who PRETEND to lessen its efficiency or dignity in the use of it in our justification say, it is only causa sine qua non, which leaves us at as great an uncertainty as to the nature and efficacy of this condition as we were before. Nor is the true sense of things at all illustrated, but rather darkened by such notions” (5: 113).

    http://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/2015/10/response-to-mark-jones-on-faith-as-a-condition-of-justification.html

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  59. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
    ali, a person obeys. A person has faith. Faith is not a person.

    If you were thought police you’d be dangerous.

    In Calvin’s Geneva, a person obeyed because he was sacred to shit of the government. Mandatory church attendance? Check. Doubt the Trinity? They burn you up, bye bye M. Servetus. Edgardo Montoya my ass, Dr. History: A Calvinism.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

    Calvin shocked me by rejecting key elements of my Evangelical tradition. Born-again spirituality, private interpretation of Scripture, a broad-minded approach to denominations – Calvin opposed them all. I discovered that his concerns were vastly different, more institutional, even more Catholic. Although he rejected the authority of Rome, there were things about the Catholic faith he never thought about leaving. He took for granted that the Church should have an interpretive authority, a sacramental liturgy and a single, unified faith.

    These discoveries faced me with important questions. Why should Calvin treat these “Catholic things” with such seriousness? Was he right in thinking them so important? And if so, was he justified in leaving the Catholic Church? What did these discoveries teach me about Protestantism? How could my Church claim Calvin as a founder, and yet stray so far from his views? Was the whole Protestant way of doing theology doomed to confusion and inconsistency?

    Whose Calvinism is it, anyway, Dr. History?

    Calvin took very seriously the obligation of the laity to submit and obey. “Contradicting the ministers” was one of the most common reasons to be called before the Consistory and penalties could be severe. One image in particular sticks in my mind. April, 1546. Pierre Ameaux, a citizen of Geneva, was forced to crawl to the door of the Bishop’s residence, with his head uncovered and a torch in his hand. He begged the forgiveness of God, of the ministers and of the city council. His crime? He contradicted the preaching of Calvin. The council, at Calvin’s urging, had decreed Ameaux’s public humiliation as punishment.

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  60. Darryl, ding. Now about that ‘plague of antinomianism’ that’s EVERYWHERE in the reformed churches and Jones’ christological cure

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  61. John Owen—“No blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us… God’s reckoning Christ, in our present sense, is the imputing of Christ unto ungodly, unbelieving sinners for whom he died, so far as to account him theirs, and to bestow faith and grace upon them for his sake. This, then, I say, at the accomplishment of the appointed time, the Lord reckons, and accounts, and makes out his Son Christ, to such and such sinners, and for his sake gives them faith ” (10:626)

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/owen-new-covenant-conditional-or-absolute/

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  62. DGHart: ali, a person obeys. A person has faith. Faith is not a person. If you were thought police you’d be dangerous.

    Aren’t you the thought police DG?
    Also, Zrim says so – you do hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, right?

    Curt Day: Ali,What is confusing is that we really do not admit to the depths of our sin.

    Speaking of judging thoughts Curt, who doesn’t admit this? (though I do agree with you generally – it takes real faith and intentionality to believe and repent regularly) Just look at how we all puff ourselves up here

    Sean:Now about that ‘plague of antinomianism’ that’s EVERYWHERE

    Sean, please tell your people to quit contaminating people I personally know over the airwaves with this (not DG necessarily…yet)

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  63. Ali, I’m trying to promote Jones’ christological cure for all Antinomians/Lutherans everywhere. I’m so misunderstood, said all neonomians everywhere.

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  64. DGHart: ali, a person obeys. A person has faith. Faith is not a person.

    where is the grammar Nazi Muddy (and cw) when you need him, oh yeah, partiality, I forgot :)

    even Jesus uses adjective and adverbs… eg. little, great, sincere, common, holy- faith
    though in His word faith =obedient faith, except where He tells us about demon kind of faith or dead faith

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  65. Ali, isn’t it all about on the one hand claiming through faith in Christ a forgiveness and cleansing from sin and on the other hand realizing that one still sins, often very willfully until they come to their senses and repent, rinse and repeat, hopefully without too much collateral damage?

    That is if you have a 3 digit IQ and don’t flap your arms and fly to the moon and scream out a gospel song or something useless to a 3 digit IQ whenever reality hits you?

    that’s the quest for Reformed theology and those of us seeking knowledge of God…

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  66. kent:

    Ali, isn’t it all about on the one hand claiming through faith in Christ a forgiveness and cleansing from sin and on the other hand realizing that one still sins, often very willfully until they come to their senses and repent, rinse and repeat, hopefully without too much collateral damage?

    That is if you have a 3 digit IQ and don’t flap your arms and fly to the moon and scream out a gospel song or something useless to a 3 digit IQ whenever reality hits you?

    Wow kent. Yes indeed, to paragraph one (and solid food is for the mature) and then because of your paragraph two- see paragraph one again -Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

    Have a great day! and I do hope you do desire that “quest for Reformed theology and seeking knowledge of God”.. and speaking of a knowledge of God, sounds like your theology may include earning saving via a 3 digit IQ, but I think it is very likely the Lord has saved many with a 2 digit IQ

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  67. Ali, I would enjoy a format that lets me put up the key points of the sermon(s) from a Sunday but it would be attacked with fart jokes and gross obscenity and irrelevant and pointless nonsense.

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  68. Ali: even Jesus uses adjective and adverbs
    DGHart: ali, you’re not Jesus. hello.

    Aw, don’t make me laugh 🙂 trying to be very serious here

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  69. My hope is not my obedient faith but Christ’s obedient death.

    Galatians 6: I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world. … 16 May peace come to all those who follow this rule,

    Romans 5: 18: As through one trespass there is condemnation, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification…

    Machen—-From the beginning, the Christian gospel consisted in an account of SOMETHING THAT HAD HAPPENED. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth then there was Christian doctrine. “Christ died”–that is history; “Christ died for our sins”–that is doctrine. Without these two elements, there is no Christianity. (Christianity and Liberalism)

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  70. USC
    (3-3, 1-1 Away)
    10 14 7 0 31

    14 Notre Dame
    (6-1, 5-0 Home)
    21 3 0 17 41

    7 Michigan State
    (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten)
    0 7 7 13 27

    12 Michigan
    (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
    0 10 10 3 23

    Penn State
    (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
    3 0 7 0 10

    1 Ohio State
    (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten)
    0 21 0 17 38

    Yep.

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  71. Does self-righteousness cause God’s grace to decrease or to stop? No.

    If we put our working into the equation which keeps us “not under the law”, we are still under law. This is evidence that we are still under law.

    I would not say that the working of those puritans who are self-righteous to get more blessing (than other Christians) is a cause of their condemnation, but rather that this attitude is a result of their still being condemned.

    All the elect are born in condemnation, and when God joins them to the death of Christ, they are not justified without knowing and believing the gospel.

    We need to be careful to good works. We do not need to avoid good works in order to keep believing the gospel. Only those who believe the gospel can or will be able to please God with their good works. We need to know the gospel and keep knowing the gospel.

    John 3: 19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

    Hebrews 13: 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

    I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

    Romans 12 –I appeal to you therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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  72. This one is pretty easy. Irons is correct; Jones is dead wrong, unless he means by “condition” something besides the ordinary meaning of the word. And if that’s the case, then pick a word that more clearly defines what you actually mean.

    Also, why does he need to go around a defend someone like Piper? Isn’t this the same John Piper who believes that husbands are entitled to beat their wives, as long as it’s only for a season? Also, isn’t this the same John Piper who denies the historic Nicene formulation of the Trinity?

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  73. I am curious how it is that since all our actions (or almost all of them) flow from either faith or lack of faith, why it is that we would say that actions and faith are totally different in every circumstance. Of course people could always be deceived that there works were meritorious but that notion can get destroyed without negating the necessity of works by reminding them about who God is and what a creature is. Then again, you have another crowd who thinks that mental assent to particular doctrines proves they have faith and yet they may be deceived. I think the problem lies not in insisting that good works must accompany faith since they are inseparable, but prescribing what those works are or to what degree those works be performed to say a person has faith – which would differ from person to person.

    Now, what is wrong with this? Of course faith is first. Faith is the alone instrument, but if it could be agreed that actions result from faith or lack of, then isn’t the problem solved? I guess the problem would be with justification being instantaneous?

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  74. Matt, it’s not like we have to re-invent the wheel. Behold the WCF on good works:

    2. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith… their fruit unto holiness….

    3. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do….

    5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.

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  75. “………….but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.”

    But what about rewards and Rom 2 and Christology that necessitates our works? Even Gentiles whose conscience even clears them will be judged aright on that day. Well, that’s what some folks are saying. Maybe nobody understood Rom 2 before now.

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  76. So, as Irons demonstrates, the root of this dust-up is Piper’s at-best imprecise language in a book blurb. Not the first time he’s tried to be quirky and innovative (Christian Hedonism?). But, again, it is telling, and troubling, that so many P&R guys are quick to defend a charismatic, sorta-Calvinist Baptist who hangs with the Doug Wilsons, Rick Warrens, and Mark Driscolls of the Evangelical world. One of these things is not like the other.

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  77. Matt : I guess the problem would be with justification being instantaneous?

    wouldn’t that be lack of faith?
    He sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge ( 2 Cor 1:22)

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  78. not mutually exclusive cw

    always gonna love scripture utmost, cw

    it would be good not to give the impression you don’t love it utmost also or that you disdain His word

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  79. Ali, when I was five years old a middle-aged man brought his face right down to mine and gave me a close-up of his nose shrubbery. I was close enough to see if there were bugs going to and fro. I averted my eyes only to see shadows of the branches coming out his ears. My eyes, no longer under my control, looked directly at his prodigious ear follicles. Now if I see something growing out of my ears I have someone at the office pull it right away.

    I’m damaged. Do you have a scripture for me?

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  80. wow, weird mud.

    anyway you digress and deflect.

    Are you saying there isn’t scripture to support all that the WCF says and that one shouldn’t point to it?

    you’re an elder, right?

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  81. Muddy Gravel” Nouthetize me.

    ookk, if you want…

    James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

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  82. mboss, maybe it’s the occasional toll for making sure those SGM/Gettysburg ditties keep flowing freely to the more earnest P&R churches.

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  83. Ali, for all your pious purring you sure seem to assume the worst of others. Scripture is too important to be flung about as you do. The WCF presents a balanced, reasonable, reliable helpful summary of teaching, much preferable to the biblicists’ whims and fancies.

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  84. cw: Ali, for all your pious purring you sure seem to assume the worst of others. Scripture is too important to be flung about as you do. The WCF presents a balanced, reasonable, reliable helpful summary of teaching, much preferable to the biblicists’ whims and fancies.

    can we agree to just call each other hypocrites cw.- as you sure seem to assume the worst of others (me).

    just love that verse is all, cw. sorry. I love to know I’m sealed by the Spirit – I don’t lose even a second of sleep worrying that justification was not an instantaneous gift from the Lord

    have a great day.

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  85. Admittedly, I often engage with half my brain tied behind my back, but I’m not sure I ever really understand Ali. It’s a bit like listening to a CC pastor who was a poor reader but insisted we needed to embrace contradictory notions about salvation. I always thought, no, you need to read better. Now, I don’t think that’s what the neo-nomians are doing, for them there’s a purposeful reordering of the Ordo, and in it’s latest manifestation the attempt is to smuggle it in under the ‘threat’ of antinomianism, everywhere-(behind the bush, under the cush, see the lush((loosh)), even the one with the big tush(gluttony)). Let’s talk about gluttony and Lord’s day observance and the second commandment and the judaizer’s gospel and celebrity and praying so that everyone can see you, and doctors and latin and lack of precision and pride and getting it wrong. We have lots to talk about.

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  86. Sean, good post this am here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/are-there-degrees-sin/

    and let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

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  87. cw- maybe you should stop going on about how important Scripture is and actually read it. Then we’ll take your protestations seriously.

    And are you going to criticise Mark for his incessant, un-contextualised Scripture quoting? Or are you not because he agrees with you?

    I agree: it’s hard to choose who’s worse between Piper and Irons. But Irons claims to be of the Reformed camp, and he’s not. It’s strange for him to criticise Piper for his lack of fidelity to the precise language of the WCF when he (Irons) explicitly rejects whole article of it.

    And for all his talk of “brotherly concern” when’s he going to stop fleeing justice and submit to brotherly discipline?

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  88. The Reformed scholastics typically spoke of faith as the “instrumental cause” of justification (as Irons states in his response to Jones). The “instrumentality” language comes from the Aristotelian four-fold causation scheme that was commonly used during the Reformation and Post-Reformation. Its meaning was well-defined and clearly understood by the theologians of the day.

    The problem w/ “condition” is that it is not typically used in historic (or modern) Reformed theology.

    How does Jones or Piper define “condition”? After all, it is not well defined in Reformed theology. Does it mean the same thing as “instrument”? or something else? How do Piper and Jones define “condition”?

    Poor theological terminology can easily lead to poor theology.

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  89. Alexander: “I agree: it’s hard to choose who’s worse between Piper and Irons.”

    Why is this a hard choice? It seems like one of the easier choices I’ve made today.

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  90. Shocking I tell you! Just shocking! Can’t believe it. How’d this happen? Who’da thunk it? Blown away, I tell you, just flabbergasted. No way! Somebody call the pope. Good question, but I presume the one in Moscow already knows. Oh my gosh, never in a miilion years. What? Tools R Us.com is suing New/Old error St. Andrews for naming rights infringement?! Just stunned. I mean this would be like discovering that Hagee was just in it for the money or there was a scheduled release of end times books that coincided with taking advantage of the christmas season and NOT based on current events in Israel. Unberivable. I just can’t believe it. So, this is what the Blood Moon has wraught. The horra. Actually, it’s convenient for shooting practice, that’s right, it’s a just a group photo. Somebody unbox those Groucho Marx things we wore a few years back.

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  91. sean: they give us so much to work with

    cw, we should let sean join us in the “ can we agree to just call each other hypocrites “ or we could also call it “we sure seem to assume the worst of others”

    Hypocrite: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs

    Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Romans 12 9 Let love be without hypocrisy.

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  92. Actually, “condition” does have Reformed pedigree and it’s strange that you Escondido sympathisers wouldn’t know that, because of your obsession with the so-called “covenant of redemption”. Those who held to the two fold distinction between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace, stipulated faith as the condition of the covenant of grace, e.g. Thomas Vincent in his commentary on the Shorter Catechism. After distinguishing between a covenant made between God and Christ as mediator (covenant of redemption) he comes to the covenant between God and the elect, in Christ. On this covenant he says: Q. “What is the condition of the covenant of grace?” A. “The condition of the covenant of grace, whereby the elect have an actual interest in the things promised, is faith; by which they have an interest in Christ.” Of course he goes on to say that faith itself is also given as a gift of God. However, those who distinguished between these two covenants stipulated faith as the condition of the covenant of grace. Fearing the neo-nomian implications of this, later generations did not make this distinction and spoke of only one covenant of grace and only two covenants as respecting man’s salvation: that of works and that of grace.

    It’s maybe a slightly different topic; or not. But the notion of faith as condition- understood in a specific way- has a long pedigree.

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  93. Sean,

    I’m with you 99%, but I have to speak up for Latin.

    Let’s talk about gluttony and Lord’s day observance and the second commandment and the judaizer’s gospel and celebrity and praying so that everyone can see you, and doctors and latin and lack of precision and pride and getting it wrong. We have lots to talk about.

    Our Reformed forefathers knew their Latin so well, they never used it for ostentation. It didn’t give them the right to preen, it gave them basic access to the theological conversations of others. We are intellectual pygmies by comparison, and anyone who struts their Latin these days wouldn’t be allowed to enroll in a sixteenth or seventeenth-century Protestant university for their gross ignorance of that tongue. It was the beginning, not the end of an education.

    Sadly, the world’s leading humanists follow the Pope, like the unparalleled Luigi Miraglia:

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  94. Alexander: Actually, “condition” does have Reformed pedigree and it’s strange that you Escondido sympathisers wouldn’t know that, because of your obsession with the so-called “covenant of redemption”.

    The WCF addresses the “so-called” Covenant of Redemption more than a few times. It’s hardly an Escondido obsession.

    Many of us on the Escondido wavelength are 3FU people, just FYI….

    Republication, what a beautiful word.

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  95. @Muddy: You’ve been talking to your pastor? A little inside baseball maybe? I don’t know what Latin is in Hodge. Worth translating?

    @Zrim: Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

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  96. No hidden joke, David. It’s just a mystery to me why his systematic theology has never been fully translated. There are numerous quotes in Latin, sometimes being key points

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  97. David, it’s an association that doesn’t work for me. All the guys I knew who could read and speak Latin also had multiple post grad degrees on the wall and couldn’t get the gospel right either. So, Jonesy not being able to sort out Rom 2 and Gal 3 isn’t much of a surprise. What is a surprise is the whole, genuflect because I have an abbreviation after my name but don’t hold me to precision. I don’t remember the priests that way, it was genuflect and let me tell you how it is because I’m precise enough to have multiple abbreviations after my name. So, Jones can’t even get his haughtiness sorted.

    But after all these years of watching all the bastard children of monocovenantalism come to adulthood, you get tired of the same plot just with different actors. Now it’s ‘antinomianism everywhere’ when what they mean is, this is our latest trial balloon to see if we can get away with reordering the ordo while keeping our jobs and for this round we’re going to fly the puritan flag with a splash of Latin from a canadian,south african who has a thing for lucha libre. Maybe it’s a sign of desperation.

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  98. sean,

    I’m not carrying water for Jones or anyone with degrees and some learning. I am saying that a smattering of Latin, or even a lot of Latin by the debased and puerile standards of the 21st century is not real education. I don’t idolize Rome and her learning. My point was a modest one: that ‘learned’ Protestants of this generation don’t hold a candle to our Reformed forebears or even our Papist contemporaries. So a much larger dose of humility is in order. I think we are in agreement there. And even a lot of learning – and who in this generation has that? I don’t see anyone – is not the same thing as being true to the Scriptures.

    Maybe you understood me as saying that anyway. If you could just come around now to real music, we’d be friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRVSt1w4zlc

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  99. Hodge:

    During the lifetime of the Reformers, a very earnest controversy began in the Lutheran Church on the nature of justification. This arose from the views of Andreas Osiander, a man of distinguished learning and of a speculative turn of mind; eminent first as a preacher, and afterwards as a professor in the university of Königsberg. His principal work is entitled “De Unico Mediatore Jesu Christo et Justificatione Fidei. Confessio Andreæ Osiandri.” His difference of opinion from the other Reformers so clearly indicated in the following words, in which he denounces the errors which he means to oppose: “Omnes horribiliter errant. Primo, quia verbum justificare tantum pro justum reputare et pronunciare intelligunt, atque interpretantur, et non pro eo, quod 180est, reipsa et in veritate justum efficere. Deinde etiam in hoc quod nullam differentiam tenent inter redemptionem et justificationem, quum tamen magna differentia sit, sicut vel inde intelligi sit, quod homines furem a suspendio redimere possunt, bonum et justum efficere non possunt. Porro etiam in hoc, quod nihil certe statuere possunt, quid tandem justitia Christi sit, quam per fidem in nobis esse, nobisque imputari oporteat. Ac postremo errant omnium rudissime etiam in hoc, quod divinam naturam Christi a justificatione separant, et Christum dividunt atque solvunt, id quod haud dubie execrandi Satanæ opus est.”178
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/theology3.iii.iii.x.html

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  100. David, are you calling mathematics not beautiful? Don’t tell Jeff Cagle. But don’t listen to some of these anti-intellectuals. Must have been deployed by Le Roy.

    PS both Gary Meadors and Jeffery AD Weima taught me Greek masterfully, though I learned less than masterfully.

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  101. David, good. I didn’t think you were. I have a lot of respect for my former professors as wrong as they often were about the faith. Jones couldn’t hold up to their learning. But while you’re here, let’s work on your music.

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  102. @mg
    I tried google translate – it’s still all Greek to me:

    Omnes horribiliter errant. Primo, quia verbum justificare tantum pro justum reputare et pronunciare intelligunt, atque interpretantur, et non pro eo, quod 180est, reipsa et in veritate justum efficere. Deinde etiam in hoc quod nullam differentiam tenent inter redemptionem et justificationem, quum tamen magna differentia sit, sicut vel inde intelligi sit, quod homines furem a suspendio redimere possunt, bonum et justum efficere non possunt. Porro etiam in hoc, quod nihil certe statuere possunt, quid tandem justitia Christi sit, quam per fidem in nobis esse, nobisque imputari oporteat. Ac postremo errant omnium rudissime etiam in hoc, quod divinam naturam Christi a justificatione separant, et Christum dividunt atque solvunt, id quod haud dubie execrandi Satanæ opus est.

    Everyone was terribly wrong. First, because they understand the word of the righteous, to pronounce and to consider that only for the just , and expound them, and not for the fact that the 180est , for the quantity and in the truth just to make it. It should also hold in the fact that any difference between the redemption and the doctrine of justification , when , however, a great difference , for example, or if they have to be understood that the men of a thief can be hanged to redeem it , it is good and just are not able to bring about . It was further in this, that all events nothing to establish to what is in the end the justice of Christ , which, by means of faith in us, ought to be imputed to us . Finally, of all the crudely also err in this, that they separate the divine nature of Christ from justification , and Christ, and they divide the loose , that which is the work of Satan , no doubt, is accursed .

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  103. The Sole Mediator Jesus Christ and the Justification of Faith – The Confession of Andreas Osiander

    “They are all tragically mistaken. First, because they understand and interpret the verb ‘justify’ merely as to count and proclaim someone as just, and not according to its actual meaning, namely to render just really and truly. Then, they also err on this point, in holding that there is no distinction between redemption and justification. But the distinction is actually quite large, as can be seen from the following example: men can redeem a thief from the gallows; they cannot render him good and just. Next, they are also wrong here: they cannot establish with any degree of certainty what the justice of Christ in the final analysis actually is, a justice which must through faith come to exist in us, and be imputed to us. And finally, their most clumsy mistake of all is that they separate Christ’s divine nature from justification; they divide and destroy Christ, which we cannot doubt is the work of the damnable Satan himself.”

    “Omnes horribiliter errant. Primo, quia verbum justificare tantum pro justum reputare et pronunciare intelligunt, atque interpretantur, et non pro eo, quod est, reipsa et in veritate justum efficere. Deinde etiam in hoc quod nullam differentiam tenent inter redemptionem et justificationem, quum tamen magna differentia sit, sicut vel inde intelligi sit, quod homines furem a suspendio redimere possunt, bonum et justum efficere non possunt. Porro etiam in hoc, quod nihil certe statuere possunt, quid tandem justitia Christi sit, quam per fidem in nobis esse, nobisque imputari oporteat. Ac postremo errant omnium rudissime etiam in hoc, quod divinam naturam Christi a justificatione separant, et Christum dividunt atque solvunt, id quod haud dubie execrandi Satanæ opus est.”

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  104. David, thanks. I wonder why such an obvious need (Latin quotes throughout his systematic theology) has never been addressed.

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  105. You’re welcome. One reason it has never been addressed is that until relatively recently, many theologically astute could read Latin. As the ability to do so deteriorated (Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) so did the interest, in part, of works that contain such writings also waned. Maybe there will be a – dare I say it on Old Life? – revival in such skills.

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  106. Calvin, 3/11/4—He declares the sum of the Gospel message to be reconciliation to God, who is pleased, through Christ, to receive us into favor by not imputing our sins, (2 Cor. 5: 18-21.) Osiander holds in regard to the mode of receiving Christ,that by the ministry of the external word the internal word is received; that he may thus lead us away from the priesthood of Christ, and his office of Mediator, to his eternal divinity. It would be incongruous to say that that which existed naturally from eternity was made ours. But granting that God was made unto us righteousness, what are we to make of Paul’s interposed statement, that he was so made by God? This certainly is peculiar to the office of mediator, for although he contains in himself the divine nature, yet he receives his own proper title, that he may be distinguished from the Father and the Spirit.”

    mcmark—We need to question the idea that “union with Christ” is only about Christ’s indwelling presence in us. God’s joining of the elect to Christ’s death to the elect justifies them. There is union by election from before the ages, but in our lifetimes, nothing is more fundamental than justification by God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

    1. We need to think about this new birth in terms of “effectual calling” by the power of the Holy Spirit with the word of the gospel.

    2. We need to define “in Christ” in terms of justification. Although the Bible does teach that the sheep are always in Christ by election, Romans 16 teaches that some of the sheep are in Christ before other of the sheep. This change is not a first of all a change of regeneration or birth but legally a change of state before God.

    3. God justifies the ungodly. God does not justify because of Christ’s indwelling presence. God does not justify a person because God knows that God is going to live inside a person. Christ lives in a person because God has justified a person.

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  107. I’m enjoying the dueling musical links from Sean and David. I love those short KEXP concerts from Seattle. I’m an avid listener of the Tiny Desk NPR concerts too. Here is some Nashville music- from my neck of the woods these days:

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  108. You bit CW, I knew I would get a cynical response from someone at Oldlife with the Sierra Hull video. You must be a misfit in the Appalachian parts of TN, CW. I bet there is no riff-raff like me that stinks up the halls at your church. Just kidding- kind of.

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  109. Both you, knock it off. I can’t take all the plink, plink, plink, I can’t sing but here’s a plink, plink, plink fur yuuuu.

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  110. I just want to say I’m not being all judgey about the preponderance of youtube links, but Alexander’s comments are welcome here.

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  111. did I miss click,- is this OL- reformed faith and practice?

    degenerated fast, John Yeazel; since no one else will probably say anything – since it’s so great to have you back and all –
    watch out that the light in you is not darkness. Luke 11: 35

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  112. Eight track cw,

    and won’t want to disappoint you by being slient on ‘pietism’ cw…so not a rebuke, of course, but an appeal – be a ‘father’

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  113. Muddy: Today is the greatest day. don’t make me laugh, trying to be very serious here.

    yeah ‘edgy’ is one creative word, John

    just saying, cw, maybe there is a more apropos title – maybe something like: OL: hey, it’s not Sunday…so whatever

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  114. Norman Shepherd defends Turretin against Daane.

    http://www.trinity-pres.net/essays/ns19-1974NSElectionAsGospel.pdf

    Turretin Locus 4, Question 10, AIthough we are not elected on account of Christ, yet we are not elected without and out of him; because by the very decree which destined salvation to us, Christ also was destined to acquire it for us, nor was it otherwise destined, than as to he acquired by Christ. Election, therefore, does not exclude but includes Christ, not as already given, but as to be given” (Paragraph 14);

    Turretin—“The Election of Christ as Mediator should not be extended more widely than the Election of men who are to be saved, so that he was not destined and sent for more than the elect” (Paragraph 19).

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  115. DGH, Do you listen to those IV series video’s and CD’s while writing your history books or while imbibing on your favorite Top Shelf Kentucky Bourbon? I’m just seeing what I can get away with in questions regarding your personal life.

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  116. DCN, Zrim: David, are you calling mathematics not beautiful? Don’t tell Jeff Cagle.

    Sting, jumping up and down frenetically: So lonely, so lonely, so …

    But seriously, people think beetles are ugly, too. And German.

    But somehow not German Beetles. *beep-beep*

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  117. Before you can be judged, you have to know something. How can anybody know anything unless you first put them into the visible church, and after that who can ever really know who never got into the invisible church? Therefore, only those with PHDs in historical theology will be judged.

    I agree with Scott Clark in questioning that particular application of the caste system.

    elders who rule
    elders who rule and teach
    elders who rule and teach and have PHDs in Puritan historical theology

    http://heidelblog.net/2010/08/is-the-reformed-faith-a-second-blessing/

    “To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? “

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  118. Bruce McCormack—”Where regeneration is made— if only logically–to be the root of justification, then the work of God in us is once again made to be the ground of the divine forgiveness of sins.” p 110, “What’s At Stake in Current Debates Over Justification?”,

    Jonathan Gibson, “The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of Christ”, From Heaven He Came, p 352—”Some conclude that the efficacy of Christ’s work occurs only at the point of faith, and not before. This ignores the fact that union with Christ precedes any reception of Christ’s work by faith

    L Berkhof , ST, 452–“It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification.

    Ed Clowney—“Faith is unique because it presents nothing, but looks to Christ to meet all conditions.” http://theaquilareport.com/edmund-clowney-on-norman-shepherds-controversial-distinctive-theology/

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  119. Cunha—The foreword to the recently published second edition of Gaffin’s By Faith, Not By Sight is written by PCA pastor Mark Jones and is, unfortunately, fully consistent with the understanding that there has been no positive change in Gaffin’s teaching on justification.

    Cunha–The selection of Jones to write the foreword, a man who has on more than one occasion publicly suggested that works of evangelical obedience have some efficacy in justification, is itself noteworthy. Jones gushes at the beginning of the foreword that “It is a unique privilege and a remarkable providence to write a foreword for a book that has been so deeply influential in my own theological thinking.” He then attempts to defend Gaffin’s views on soteriology, and especially justification, largely on the basis of historical theology….

    Cunha–Jones says that Reformed theologian Peter Van Mastricht (1630-1706) taught that there are three stages of justification and that in the third and final stage “in which believers gain possession of eternal life, good works have a certain ‘efficacy,’ insofar as God will not grant possession of eternal life unless they are present.”

    Cunha–Jones goes on to say that, based on what he discerns to be a shared view on Paul’s teaching in the first half of the second chapter of Romans, both Gaffin and Van Mastricht “hold firmly to the Reformed view that good works are a necessary condition (consequent, not antecedent, to faith) for salvation.”

    Cunha— When I first read this last statement, I was struck by Jones’s sudden shift from the word “justification” to the word “salvation” at this place. The word “salvation” can be used to denote something broader than the word “justification” (e.g. encompassing sanctification and glorification), but, based on the context, is clearly being used here as an equivalent term for justification….

    Cunha–“Jones suggests, approvingly that both Van Mastricht and Gaffin stretch justification out into multiple stages and that good works are in some way efficacious in the final stage. Such a scheme violates the antithesis between works (Law) and faith (Gospel) with respect to justification. This is entirely consistent with the explicit denial of the Law/Gospel contrast expressed by Gaffin in By Faith, Not By Sight.”

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/update.php?id=3

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  120. Mark Jones—Is it possible to question the Marrow today without being accused of being neonomian? Boston had reservations about the conditionality of the covenant of grace, but pretty much every orthodox Reformed theologian I have read affirmed the conditionality of the covenant of grace .. in describing how faith is an antecedent condition for receiving the benefits of the covenant. They had to in order to ward off the Antinomian view that faith was not a condition for receiving the benefits of Christ.

    Mark Jones—-I know Boston and his friends did not think the Marrow taught hypothetical universalism. And many scholars try with all their might to avoid the implications of this thought, but I simply cannot see how we can deny that the Marrow teaches hypothetical universalism….Culverwell, whom Fisher quotes in the Marrow in relation to the Fee Offer, held to Hypothetical Universalism (Ussher convinced him).

    Mark Jones—-No particularist at that point in Reformed history) would be comfortable with the language used by Fisher. That later particularists in Scotland aren’t uncomfortable with Fisher’s language is a very interesting historical point.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/the-marrow-part-1.php

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  121. Lee Irons—“Mark Jones fails to mention this, but the treatise by Flavel wasn’t on justification but was part of a debate over paedobaptism. Philip Cary, the credobaptist, had argued that the new covenant or the gospel covenant is absolute or unconditional—a position that was even held by some paedobaptists, most notably John Owen. Flavel disagrees and argues that the gospel covenant is conditional upon faith. I happen to agree with the paedobaptist (Flavel) against the credobaptist (Cary) in this particular debate.

    Lee Irons—“Flavel’s entire discussion of the various meanings of the word “condition” has to do with paedo- vs. credo-baptist debates over covenant theology, e.g., questions like whether the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision was the same in substance with the new or gospel covenant, and whether the new or gospel covenant is conditional. The precise question of the role of faith (instrumental vs. conditional) in justification is not directly in view (although justification is mentioned several times and Flavel… argues that faith is a condition in the obvious sense that it is necessary for justification).”
    http://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/2015/10/response-to-mark-jones-on-faith-as-a-condition-of-justification.html

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  122. Mark Jones—According to Ferguson: “Later, however, [Boston] was of a very different mind: ‘I had no great fondness for the doctrine of the conditionality of the covenant of grace'” (p. 67). Boston says also, “I had no great gust for faith’s being called the condition…”

    Mark Jones—“Now, just because Boston held to this view doesn’t make him unorthodox. I own his collected Works. He is a great pastor-theologian. He’s Reformed. But, I believe he was guilty sometimes of poor historical theology, which wasn’t totally his fault due to the lack of resources he had at his disposal.”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/great-scott-thomas-bostons-ort.php

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  123. Mark Jones—I have heard that one or two have argued that sanctification is by faith alone. No one disputes that it is by grace alone, but the more contentious question is whether sanctification is by faith alone. I do not think so, and I agree with Kevin DeYoung who also denies that sanctification is by faith alone. Of course, whatever does not comes from faith is sin. So sanctification always involves faith (Acts 26:18)… But the phrase itself is decidedly unhelpful.

    Mark Jones—In the process of becoming holier, are we sanctified by faith alone? I think what’s at stake is whether there are other means that God uses in a positive way to conform his people to the image of Christ Jesus. We could ask whether God’s gospel threats or his moral law are true and valid instruments of sanctification in the life of a Christian who is united to Christ

    Mark Jones—For Christ, keeping God’s commandments functioned as a means of sanctification (John . 15:10). For us, keeping the commandments likewise functions in part as the means by which we remain in Christ’s love

    http://christopherjgordon.blogspot.com/2015/11/how-arminian-has-sanctification-debate.html

    Like

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