2k is Unobjectionable

Here’s why:

If all 2K people want is for Christians to speak as individuals rather than through the institutional church except in cases extraordinary, I have no serious objection.

The only qualification to make is that when Christians speak as individuals they do so not as the Bishop of Rome. That means that when Christian persons speak, they do not define the Christian religion or the normative, Christian view of gay marriage legislation, baking recipes, who plumbers fix leaks, or which method an accountant should use (accrual vs. cash). Just because a Christian is speaking doesn’t mean any other Christian needs to recognize or heed the person who invokes Christianity for his or her views. And just because a beliver thinks Christianity requires a certain curricular choice, a specific set of historical circumstances, a particular policy initiative, doesn’t make it so.

In other words, if the institutional church is near to your understanding of Christianity, as in you need to belong to the body of Christ, then what churches say about Christianity carries weight. What church members say is like just an opinion, man. (Remember, in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, study committee reports are merely pious advise.)

And when you look at what institutional churches say about public policy, you find surprising little or nothing, unless, of course, you belong to the Roman Catholic Church where for over a century popes have pontificated about almost every square inch.

Yet another reason why anti-2k is the gateway drug to Christendom and the bishops who created it.

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “2k is Unobjectionable

  1. Wow, you mean I may choose to shop/not shop (or urinate) at Target, drink/not drink beer, and march/not march in the pro-life parade and still be in fellowship with my fellow church members?

    Like

  2. Though there are good contributions that 2KT makes to our understanding of how we can interact in society, the prohibiting the Church to address political issues is something that needs to be challenged. This is especially true since that phohibition was a key part of the 1933 Konkordat between the Nazi government and the Roman Church.

    IN addition, it isn’t 2KT that suffers from the error of prohibiting the institutional Church from addressing political issues, the methods used by the NeoCalvinists to change culture also prevent the institutional Church from addressing political issues. Of course, this prohibition is conditional. Many 2Kers and NeoCalvinists had no problem in expressing their views on the Obergefell decision.

    Like

  3. One could lay out from Scripture that a human is a life from conception, aka the traditional pro-life point of view.

    It would be much tougher (from the pulpit), and not very advisable (from the pulpit), to advocate (or not advocate) shutting down a government because of a budget line going to Planned Parenthood.

    Like

  4. One gateway drug to Christendom is the Lutheran notion of regeneration by water. But another gateway drug to Constantinianism is the Reformed notion that infants need to be in “the covenant” before they can be taught law and gospel.

    But Christians could discipline their children to teach them how God hates sin in order to lead them to the gospel. This would be simply the first use of the law. The law is to be a mirror.. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness.

    Many of the Reformed read the Great Commission as teaching that water must come BEFORE teaching. If no water, then no teaching.

    The law of Christ continues to act as a tutor even for Christians to push them back to the gospel But many of the Reformed argue that the third use of the law is the only valid use for sinners after they become Christians.

    Seifrid–“For Calvin, the most important function of the Law lies in its speaking to us as regenerate persons, urging us onward to the goal that lies before us. In speaking to the regenerate, the Law has lost its condemning function– it no longer works our death, but only furthers the new life which is partially present in us already.” http://www.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2010/07/sbjt_102_sum06-seifrid1.pdf

    Mike Horton— “How could infants fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership, then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end?”

    Like

  5. We need to include the Roman Catholics in the political coalition of which Russell Moore dreams. But to do that, the Confederate remnants will need to be excluded. Exclusion for the sake of inclusion. To avoid sectarianism while “fighting against the world”, baptists and protestants are going to need to get a new attitude about “the church” (Rome included)

    Russell Moore—We teach our people that their vote for President of the United States is crucially important. They’ll be held accountable at Judgment for whomever they hand the Romans 13 sword to.
    http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/03/23/the-erlc-ethics-religious-liberty-and-catholics-or-how-russell-moore-sacrifices-our-gospel-ethic/

    OPC clergyman Richard Gaffin ( By Faith, Not By Sight, p 38)—”The antithesis between law and gospel is not a theological ultimate… The gospel is to the end of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer.”

    Like

  6. ” Many 2Kers and NeoCalvinists had no problem in expressing their views on the Obergefell decision.”
    Why should they? What they shouldn’t do is claim that there is a ‘Christian’ view on the political matter. Christians can disagree about whether it is prudent for the state to recognize ss relationships. A Christian who engages in ss intimacy (or advocates for its moral licitness) should be disciplined. 2k does not demand that believers not have political opinions or express those opinions. It simply says one should not claim biblical warrant for issues on which the Bible is silent and the church may only bind the conscience on matters where the Bible speaks. The church should care a lot about the proper administration of baptism, keeping the Sabbath holy, and worshipping rightly. The “church” shouldn’t care about the merits of string theory, how the state recognizes the transgendered, whether we have wage mandates or subsidies, whether we have open borders or build a wall, etc…

    The only exceptions I can think of would be laws that directly impact the mission of the church or mandate sinful behavior.

    Like

  7. Ummm, yea, well as long as the working principle of the siniatic cov is lev 18:5, I’m gonna stick with an antithetical gospel and a morality born of the spirit not the letter. I know I’m just a lay slob but is the Romans and Galatians antithetical that difficult to comprehend?

    Like

  8. McMark: But another gateway drug to Constantinianism is the Reformed notion that infants need to be in “the covenant” before they can be taught law and gospel.

    I’m confused. I thought earlier you said this *wasn’t* your argument? I’d have to go back and look carefully, but I thought at the time you disclaimed the argument that infant baptism necessarily leads to Constantinianism. But that was a while ago, and I might be fuzzy.

    In any event, to respond, wouldn’t the implication be that OT Jews who circumcized by God’s command, were *necessarily* confusing Law and Gospel?

    This seems very near the neighborhood of arguing that the Jews made a mistake in entering into the Mosaic covenant.

    Like

  9. Curt, a church that addressed social issues is not 2k.

    Maybe we’ve covered this before, but would you care to compare Hitler and Nero? Was Paul wrong to command submission to the Roman Emperor?

    Like

  10. Curt: Many 2Kers and NeoCalvinists had no problem in expressing their views on the Obergefell decision.

    Right, there’s no contradiction there. As US citizens, 2K or NeoCals have as much right or duty to be involved in the political process as any other (in contradiction, btw, to the 1933 Konkordat, which forbade clergy to be members of political parties).

    When they do involve themselves, they wear the hat of US citizen, not church official or ambassador for Christ. For Paul is clear on the message of ambassadors: “be reconciled to God.” Anything unrelated is off-message and thus unsuitable.

    But for US citizens, discussion of Obergefell is imminently suitable.

    It’s all about jurisdictions.

    Like

  11. Darryl,

    Out of curiosity: would a pastor be reprimanded or even dismissed from an OPC parish if he were to state explicitly that a Christian (which would include his parishioners) ought to vote on Prop. X that defined the unborn as a person?

    Like

  12. Justin, not likely. Any judicial discipline would have to start in a presbytery with an General Assembly being the last court of appeal.

    The charge would include that pastors are forbidden from speaking on elections. It would be a hard case to make in an air tight way from Scripture or the Confession. If a pastor said that voting for X was sin, and if a session followed up by examining church members on their vote, then the authorities would have grounds for discipline (I think).

    Bottom line: OPC pastors have long leashes (as do elders).

    Like

  13. Jeff—I thought earlier you said this *wasn’t* your argument? I’d have to go back and look carefully, but I thought at the time you disclaimed the argument that infant baptism necessarily leads to Constantinianism. But that was a while ago, and I might be fuzzy.

    mark–thanks for the question. No need to go back. Look at my first sentence above. “One gateway drug to Christendom is the Lutheran notion of regeneration by water. ” There are many various (and contradictory) arguments for infant water. Augustinians for many years have argued that water cleanses away original sin, and the argument from “the one covenant, many administrations” is relatively new , and invented by Bullinger (with others, and with antecedents). And I rather suspect that not all who teach “reformed covenant theology” would agree with how Mike Horton describes “new covenant sanctions” .

    Mike Horton—”Covenant theology doesn’t teach that the covenant of grace itself is “breakable” (67). God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. … The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ with all of his benefits. …..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? ”

    mcmark—So, Jeff, is the indicative law or grace? When the law promises curse conditioned on the sinner, is that law grace? I am not assuming that you are agreed with Kline or Horton about the curses of “the covenant”. I really don’t know. All I was saying was, if you need to have children in the covenant before you can teach them, then you need a Christendom in which Christianity is assumed at birth, not presumptive regeneration, but presumptive water efficacy with the timing to be delayed ( or the grace and efficacy later withdrawn). Why not simply say that God’s law applies to everybody, without suggesting that the law is grace, or that the “covenant status” is grace?
    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton

    Jeff—In any event, to respond, wouldn’t the implication be that OT Jews who circumcized by God’s command, were *necessarily* confusing Law and Gospel?

    mark: That’s a great question, and a very relevant question. My short answer is that no elect person was justified by means of “the circumcision covenants” (Abrahamic and MosaIc) but only by the promise of everlasting new coveenant. But of course this answer depends on showing there is not “one covenant of grace in substance, with accidental administrations”. I simply don’t have time today to do that debate, but I would hope you would agree with me that all who believed in the gospel during the circumcision economies (not only Mosaic but Abrahamic) did not find their hope in what circumcision had to say about their own physical children or even about what Abraham but about circumcision pointing to the bloody death of Christ, the one seed of Abraham.

    I am sorry i don’t have time to get into a larger discussion, and I don’t even remember, Jeff, where you are on the “republication” debate. but I would hope we agree about the distinction between law and gospel. It’s true that I think a flattening of the Abrahamic covenant with the new covenant leads to law gospel confusion. But it’s also quite clear to me that not all who teach Reformed covenant theology flatten the covenants in the same way. Those like Mark Jones and John Frame and Richard Gaffin who think the law-gospel antithesis are overdone are much more likely to talk about grace before the fall and grace in the Mosaic covenant.

    sorry to stop, but just to let you know that I know it’s not simple– Your question does not come down to “credobaptists vs paedobaptists”. The question you ask (how would they know how to distinguish law an gospel if they did circumcision was a question a baptist (Schreiner) asked a Klinean (Mark Karlberg) a long time ago. You see, in that case the credobaptist follows Daniel Fuller in confusing law and gospel in a way that Kline and Karlberg object to. Not all paedobaptists agree with Kline and Karlberg. And for sure, not all of us anti infant water folks agree with Schreiner.

    But even Kline argued (weakly many think) that the Mosaic covenant was of the same substance as the other post-fall covenants. And remember I quoted Mike Horton, who despite being all about law vs gospel, in a context in which he’s debating Wellum and other creobaptists, says that the infant need to be in before they can be taught (or cursed)

    John Owen, comments on Hebrews 8:6-13)—This Sinai covenant thus made, with these ends and promises, did never save nor condemn any man eternally. All that lived under the administration of it did attain eternal life, OR perished for ever, BUT MOT BY VIRTUE OF THIS SINAI COVENANT. IT…. was “the ministry of condemnation,” 2 Cor. iii. 9; for “by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified.” And on the other hand, it directed also unto the new covenant promise, which was the instrument of life and salvation unto all that did believe. But as unto what it had of its own, it was confined unto things temporal. Believers were saved under it, but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. …No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect.

    Like

  14. dgh—Aren’t you perpetuating Christendom by saying that babies need to be in “the family” before rearing them?

    mark–no , the gospel doesn’t depend on how many professing parents or grandparents you have, and certainly not on the fallible decision of a presbytery about which professions are creditable. The gospel does not even depend on being able to define what a “family” is.

    Tom Chantry—1. When circumcised Esau sins and asks for forgiveness from God, can I assure Esau that his sins are forgiven?

    2. When I ask Esau to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics? On what grounds do I ask Esau to forgive Jacob? Because it is the nice thing to do? Or because Esau should forgive in the same way the Messiah has forgiven him?

    3. Can Esau sing “Messiah loves me, this I know” and enjoy all of the benefits spoken of in that song? (“To him belong…He will wash away my sin”)

    4. When Esau prays during family worship to his heavenly Father, what are the grounds for Esau praying such a prayer? Does Esau have any right to call God his “heavenly Father”?

    http://confessingbaptist.com/a-reformed-baptist-response-to-mark-jones-daddy-am-i-really-forgiven-tom-chantry-reformation21/

    Like

  15. Jeff—This seems very near the neighborhood of arguing that the Jews made a mistake in entering into the Mosaic covenant.

    David Gordon—“The Sinai covenant itself, as it was delivered by the hand of Moses ….was characteristically legal,
    Gentile-excluding, non-justifying because characterized by works, therefore cursing its recipients and bearing children for slavery. If this doesn’t sound like any bargain, recall that the original Israelites did not consider it a bargain either, and they resisted Moses’s efforts to engage them in it. All things considered, many of the first-generation Israelites, who received this covenant while trembling at the foot of a quaking mountain and then wandered in the wilderness, preferred to return to Egypt rather than to enter covenant with a frightening deity who threatened curse sanctions upon them if they disobeyed. I don’t blame them; their assessment of the matter was
    judicious and well-considered, albeit rebellious. The Sinai covenant-administration was no bargain for sinners, and I pity the poor Israelites who suffered under its administration, just as I understand perfectly well why 73 (nearly half) of their psalms were laments. I would have resisted this covenant also, had I been there, because such a legal covenant, whose conditions require strict obedience (and threaten severe curse-sanctions), is bound to fail if one of the parties to it is a sinful people.”

    http://www.tdgordon.net/theology/abraham_and_sinai_contraste.pdf

    David Gordon–When Sinai comes along, the point is not that there aren’t conditional blessings associated with it; the point is that what is new and distinctive is the threat of curse-sanctions….And Paul, knowing (as any first century Jew would have known) Israel’s actual history under those conditions, knew perfectly well that the prophets were right for pronouncing judgment on a people who rather consistently failed to remain obedient to their covenant duties. So, even though in theory Sinai proffered either blessing or cursing, in plain historical fact it rarely brought anything but cursing. The Israelites were constantly harassed by the indigenous nations during the period of conquest; their first monarch was removed from office in disobedience and shame; their second monarch was not permitted to build the house of God because he was a violent (and adulterous) man; their third could not even teach his own sons to heed the counsel of their elders (though his Proverbs constantly encouraged such); after which the Israelites were
    divided into two nations, weakened, and increasingly battered by (and once captured by) their enemies.”

    Charles Hodge—“Besides this evangelical character which unquestionably belongs to the Mosaic covenant, it is presented in two other aspects in the Word of God. First, it was a national covenant with the Hebrew people. In this view the parties were God and the people of Israel; the promise was national security and prosperity; the condition was the obedience of the people as a nation to the Mosaic law; and the mediator was Moses. In this aspect it
    was a legal covenant. It said, “Do this and live.”…

    Like

  16. mcmark, but you do think that parents may only rear their own children. In other words, you need to be in a family before parents will rear a baby. By your logic, the way families operate — only caring for biological or adopted — are also perpetuating Christendom.

    This isn’t theological. It’s biological.

    Like

  17. DGH: …and if a session followed up by examining church members on their vote

    I can’t imagine that any Presbytery would let that stick.

    Like

  18. @ McMark: I would definitely find myself on the side of a “sharp” law-gospel distinction rather than a “blurry” one. I don’t know whether you and I agree would agree on all the particulars.

    Here’s the setup for a couple of questions:

    In Heb 10.19-39, the writer speaks to those whom he counts as belonging to the faith (vv 19, 23, 34, 39). Yet he simultaneously declares that they are not “of those who shrink back” AND ALSO warns them against shrinking back, lest they fall under a curse (vv 26 – 31).

    Likewise in Rom 11, Paul speaks to those who have been “grafted into the tree” by faith (v 20), yet warns them of the possibility of being broken off if they do not persist in their faith (vv 21 – 22).

    Let us take it as read that we believe in the perseverance of the saints. How then do you read this?

    For my part, I understand both writers to be speaking of

    (1) A curse contained within the covenant of grace,
    (2) Toward those who do not believe,
    (3) Who appear outwardly and even perhaps affectively (ie emotionally) to believe, but
    (4) Who manifest their unbelief through apostasy.

    Perhaps one might quibble about (1), that the nature of the curse derives from the Law proper rather than from the covenant of grace proper. Still and all, one cannot deny that the curse applies to those who received within the body of believers AS participants in the covenant of grace. In other words, regardless of the “essence” of that curse, its scope is still those who are counted by the writer (anon and Paul respectively) to be within the covenant of grace. Yes?

    Like

  19. dgh—-a church that addressed social issues is not 2k.

    mcmark—Is family and child raising a social issue? Do you need to be Christian to raise children or even to define what’s family? A church that does not define its covenant membership by biology is not a Reformed church.

    And this is where you are caught. On the one hand, you want southern baptists to leave a denomination which comments (one way or the other) on social issues like Confederate flags. You want these baptists to be transformed by identification with the 2k opc, which defines “succession in the covenant” by biology.

    If you talk about the biology of one professing parent, then you are not 2 kingdom about family as a social issue. But if you don’t talk about the biology of one professing parent, then you are not Reformed. I mean, you could be Lutheran and talk about water regeneration from original corruption. But unless you want to reform away all the Romanism and Constantinianism, you need to continue to say that water trumps blood when infants are watered according to “the promise”, which is not for all sinners but for the biological children of Christian families.

    If you begin to ask about which “promise” the argument from “the one covenant” is talking about, you will get to some notion that biology continues to play some role (but one grandparent is not enough) This means that a person who has left the politics of the Southern Baptists has not yet arrived at the new Jerusalem,

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

    Tom Chantry—Mark Jones is attempting to jump from federal holiness to regeneration. It is for exactly this reason that Rutherford and Goodwin had their debate over the nature of a covenant child’s holiness—-the category of New Covenant child doesn’t exist in the Bible, and the category of Old Covenant child is distinctly unsatisfying.

    Tom Chantry—Mark Jones concedes near the end of his piece that perhaps one of his children might be non-elect, but what exactly does that mean if federal holiness means being a Christian? It is distressing to hear a New Covenant believer speaking of his children – or anyone – as being in that covenant, enjoying the benefits of that covenant, and yet still possibly being non-elect. Mark Jones speaks – in keeping with the Goodwinian tradition – of judging his children to be Christians, but again, we must ask why? I

    Chantry– His are the sort of rhetorical questions Pedobaptists love to bat about between themselves without ever asking them of any actual, real-world Baptists. How do I deal with my children when they ask questions about their salvation? With this answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.

    Like

  20. https://chantrynotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/how-presbyterianism-solves-everything-or-not/

    Jeff, to review

    1. Not all arguments for infant water are based “one covenant with many administrations”. Romanists, Lutherans and others don’t use the argument from circumcision.

    2. All Reformed folks say that “the covenant” includes more than the elect. All Reformed folks deny that election governs the number in “the new covenant” (some say “externally”) But not all Reformed people are “federal visionists” because many make a distinction between “apostasy from the covenant” and “apostasy from election”. Where the “federal visionists” ( from Norman Shepherd to Doug Wilson) have two kinds of election, so that they speak of a “covenant election” which can be lost, other Reformed folks speak of one election and then argue that “non-elect are in the new covenant”. Those of us who teach salvation of all the elect by means of the new covenant and Christ the mediator of the new covenant also speak of one election, but deny that the elect are in a theological construct call “one covenant of grace in substance, with many administrations”.

    Jeff—Perhaps one might quibble that the nature of the curse derives from the Law proper rather than from the covenant of grace proper. Still and all, one cannot deny that the curse applies to those who received within the body of believers AS participants in the covenant of grace.

    mcmark—-1. The gospel does not curse. Jesus did not come to condemn. We are born already condemned. No Christian is more justified than another Christian. And no non-Christian is more condemned that another. 2. There is no “the covenant of grace, with many administrations”. You are simply begging the question. Is the law grace? If you have a covenant of grace and it’s also a covenant of law, how is it a covenant of grace?

    3. I do not deny a distinction between a visible congregation and the future gathering of the elect when Christ comes to earth on Resurrection Day. You call this “the invisible church” and we both agree that there is no exact identity between that called out future gathering (ecclesia) and those now received into membership in visible congregations. But you simply assume what you need to find in the Bible when you call identification with a visible congregation “participation in the covenant of grace” . So for me this is not a quibble.

    Jeff—In other words, regardless of the “essence” of that curse, its scope is still those who are counted by the writer (anon and Paul respectively) to be within the covenant of grace. Yes?

    mark: no. Paul does not speak of any such “the covenant of grace” as you assume. I do want to address your questions about the Hebrews warnings, because I agree that chapter 10 is a big part of the argument Horton makes against Wellum. Horton even claims that nobody who does not agree with him about “covenant apostasy” could possibly understand Hebrews 10. But before I do that, I would remind you of questions I have asked you that you have left unanswered. If you want a discussion, and not just one monkey on this end typing, you need to tell me where you come down on some of these issues.

    Is the indicative law or grace?

    When the law promises curse conditioned on the sinner, is that law grace?

    Is all sin against Grace? If God does not have grace to one of God’s creatures, does God have a right to command that creature and to judge that creature as a sinner?

    Do you agree with Horton that we need to have children in the covenant before we can teach them?

    Do you agree with Horton that God promises His saving grace in Christ to each person in water baptism,?

    Do you agree with Horton that for infants to be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings?

    Hebrews 10: 8 If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

    The Reformed assumption— the people of God in the new covenant are both believers and unbelievers because some of the people of God end up in hell. The future tensed in Greek indicates that this will in fact happen and so this passage can’t be taken hypothetically. So you have got a problem here the covenant people of God end up in hell….

    Mcmark 1. The particular sin being warned against is the sin of going back to the Mosaic law and the Levitical economy for salvation. And there is (and never was) any salvation to be found in the Mosaic law or the Levitical economy. I am not denying that some people living during the Mosaic economy were justified by grace through hearing and believing the gospel of Christ, the seed of Abraham, the mediator of the new covenant. I am saying that there was never justification ever to be found in law-keeping by sinners, nor was there ever any salvation to be found in the Abrahamic ceremonies and rituals. The types pointed to Jesus, and the way Jesus opened for the elect through His flesh, by His obedience to death. . In context, it seems we have some people who have professed to have believed in the gospel, to trust in Christ, and yet some of them have, or are tempted to, go back to that Judiasm which has rejected the blood of Jesus.

    2. There is nothing “hypothetical” about this warning (or the others in Hebrews). The logic of “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin” is not that Christ died for every sinner, so that there is grace for every sinner, or a “conditional promise of grace” for every sinner. No. The logic rather is that now and always there has been only sacrifice that really takes away sin, and that’s the sacrificial death of Christ. The old covenants (Noahic, Davidic, Mosaic, Abrahamic) pointed to this one sacrifice of Christ. Now that Christ has come, now that the new covenant has arrived, not only in promise, but in fulfillment, still there remains one (and only one) sacrifice for sins.

    Put it this way— for every sinner, for any sinner, there is only one sacrifice that can take away sins, and it’s Christ’s propitiatory death. This does not at all mean that Christ has died for every sinner. It means every sinner needs Christ’s death. But only the sins of the elect the Father has given the Son were imputed to the Son, and the Son has only made a propitiation for those sins. Christ’s death is not enough for every sinner, because it was never intended for every sinner. The point of Hebrews 10 is—Christ is the only propitiation there is, and if you don’t trust Christ, then there can be no propitiation for you. Go back to Judiasm, (and without getting into the longish question about if apostates can come back to the gospel), and don’t come to Christ, then there “remains no other sacrifice”.

    3. And Jeff, you might read this, and say, well there you have it,mcmark is supralapsarians who can’t make a distinction between covenant and election. And the guy also wants to say “providence” instead of “common grace”!

    I would insist that what I have indicated in the paragraph above is true even on an infralapsarian understanding, unless one is an Amyraldian who thinks Christ obtained some kind of “general fund” of atonement, and then somehow the Holy Spirit causes the elect to exercise faith to unite themselves to the “general fund” . In other words, if you believe in definite atonement, What I write above about Hebrews 10 is a fair reading of the warning—no hope but in Christ’s grace, no mercy except in Christ’s bloody death.

    4. In principle, the Hebrew warnings are no different from those found in places like Galatians and Philippians. It’s not a warning about immorality, but about going to another gospel, about not trusting Christ, but instead trusting Christ PLUS ALSO our “covenantal nomism” ( covenantal nomists like Norman Shepherd are not Pelagians —they thank their god for grace) .

    Because if you trust Christ and your Spirit enabled obedience, then you don’t trust Christ! Galatians 2: 21–”If justification were through the law, then Christ died for NO purpose. (not for some purpose, not to provide a “plan” to get started!). Galatians 5:2–If you accept circumcision, Christ will be of NO advantage to you. So this is a serious real, life or death warning. Although Paul does not tell the Galatians that he thinks most of them are lost judiasers, he does not discount the possibility that some who profess to trust Christ and are members of a visible congregation are in reality still in their sins, without grace, without propitiation.

    5. The danger is not hypothetical then or now. Grace does not mean we stop preaching the law and the seriousness of sin and the wrath of God. It means confusing the law of God with the gospel of God which is about Christ’s satisfaction of the law for the elect. Christ preached this gospel in John 5: 24. “As many as hear my word and believe him who sent me has eternal (lasting quality) life! HE DOES NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT

    6. “The covenant” is in verse 29.. Which covenant? The phrases “old covenant” or “Mosaic covenant” are not in verse 26, which says the “law of Moses”, but I think we could agree that verse 26 is about the Mosaic economy. The reference is to the covenantal curses on folks who are Abraham’s sons but not Abraham’s sons (Ishmael, Esau, Judas, etc).

    So which covenant is it in “profaned the blood of the covenant”?
    How can there be a new covenant if there is only one “the covenant of grace” and the old covenant is part of the “substance” of “the one covenant of grace?

    I think Reformed people tend to have three answers at once here:

    answer one: the new covenant is “substantially” the “one covenant of grace”

    answer two: because of the contrast with Moses, the covenant here is “the new covenant” (which of course has always existed along side the old covenant, since the gospel has always existed)

    answer three: it’s not really the “new covenant” which the apostates were in but only the “external administration” of the new covenant

    Jeff, I am not sure how you can have all three different answers at the same time, so maybe it’s best to use only one or two as needed. Or maybe you have a different answer, and don’t want this monkey putting words in your mouth.

    7. John Owen makes sense to me on it being Christ who is sanctified by the covenant. I know that category exists in John 17. But if John Owen is not correct, I don’t need to say that nobody except sovereign grace credobaptists understand “eternal security” or perseverance/ preservation. John Owen was not baptist. And Mike Horton is wrong to imply only his Klinean version of “covenant theology” can make sense of the warning texts. Even if it turns out that “the covenant by which he was sanctified” is in reference to those who professed and left a visible congregation but never belonged, this does not prove that the new covenant includes the infants born of one professing parent (as opposed to all infants born to all biological Abrahamic seed, professing or not professing).

    Even if “the covenant by which he was set apart” is phenomenological ( by appearance because of membership in a visible congregation) this does not prove that there is “one covenant of grace”. The covenant in question is not the Mosaic covenant, which is also supposed to be included –in some sense–in construct “the one covenant of grace”. The covenant in question is contrasted with the Mosaic circumcision covenant.

    Like

  21. D.G.,
    In most instances I would agree with you. However, natural law was cited as a reason to oppose same-sex marriage and that is where I think some 2K churches used to comment on this issue. And all this would show would be a possible inconsistency int the preaching of some 2K ministers. Isn’t such an inconsistency possible when many 2K theologians took such strong positions opposing and then lamenting the Obergefell decision?

    Like

  22. McMark, not caught at all. The Bible has nothing to say about whether or not parents may watch The Wire with kids.

    You really think wives submit to husbands?

    Like

  23. @ Mark:

    Thanks. I struggle to understand how to focus the discussion in a helpful and not overly reductive manner. Perhaps you feel my pain. 🙂

    Perhaps it would be best to begin with answers to your questions.

    Is the indicative law or grace?

    Properly speaking, the indicative (the forensic benefit of salvation) is the result of grace, with implications for our relationship to the law.

    When the law promises curse conditioned on the sinner, is that law grace?

    No indeed.

    Is all sin against Grace?

    I don’t understand this question. To sin is to transgress God’s prescriptive will. Prior to Moses, that will was written on the heart alone; afterwards, it was specified by the letter “so that transgression might abound” (Rom 5.20).

    There is a command to believe and be saved, and Jesus indicates that to transgress this command is to incur condemnation (e.g. John 3.18 et al)

    If God does not have grace to one of God’s creatures, does God have a right to command that creature and to judge that creature as a sinner?

    Certainly. Esau.

    Do you agree with Horton that we need to have children in the covenant before we can teach them?

    I haven’t read Horton specifically on that point, but I would argue that if we have every reason to disbelieve the indicative about our children — that is, if we assume they are non-believers until what we feel to be credible profession of faith — then teaching them the imperative is at best worthless and at worst, placing them under law for no cause.

    Do you agree with Horton that God promises His saving grace in Christ to each person in water baptism?

    Again I plead ignorance of Horton’s writing specifically. However, I believe and teach that the sacraments are physical signs of the promises of God. When baptism is received, that baptism means that the Holy Spirit washes away the sins of those who receive by faith. It promises saving grace on condition of faith, not just to that person, but to the whole congregation.

    N.B. that baptism does not mean that the recipient is necessarily receiving by faith and is therefore saved. The sacrament is an objective, conditional promise, not a subjective, unconditional promise.

    This is true regardless of ones paedo/credo position.

    Do you agree with Horton that for infants to be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings?</b

    This really circles back to our main discussion. Is there a threat in Heb 10 and Rom 11? You seem to agree that there is, and that the threat is not hypothetical.

    So then the question is, "Is that threat directed to those 'claimed as part of God's holy field'"? Here we seemed to be bogged down. We agree that there is a visible congregation of the saints. We seem to agree that the threats are directed to that visible congregation. It might be that we disagree that said congregation has been "claimed."

    For the purposes of this discussion, I don't think we need to define the term "covenant" nor pursue the question of whether Jacob and Esau were in a covenant the same as or different from our children. Really, the only question is whether to think of and speak of the visible congregation as Christians or not. If so, then there is a threat directed at Christians who fail to persevere. If not, then there might not be.

    I hope those answers are clear.

    Like

  24. D.G.,
    It is whether their churches talked about those issues. And if they did, which I am presuming some did, all it was was an inconsistency.

    But there is something else. That something else is this: Doesn’t 2KT restrict how individual members of Church can talk about issues? Isn’t it true that individual members of 2kers cannot speak in ways that represent Christianity? And according to you, isn’t it true that 2Kers cannot call the legalization of same-sex marriage in society sin?

    Like

  25. Thanks, Jeff, I do feel the pain of not being able to talk about all that needs to be said about Hebrews 10 or Romans 11 or John 15. I simply don’t have the time, and like you I want some focus

    mcmark–Is all sin against Grace?

    jeff- I don’t understand this question. To sin is to transgress God’s prescriptive will. Prior to Moses, that will was written on the heart alone; afterwards, it was specified by the letter “so that transgression might abound” (Rom 5.20).

    mcmark—My point would be that there doe have to be grace for there to be sin. Sin is lawlessness (I John). Where there is no grace, there is law. There was no grace before the fall.

    To focus this in two ways. First, even though the gospel has with it the command to believe, that command does not turn the gospel into law. The promise of the gospel is to be published to everybod, but the promise is to as many believe the gospel. The command of the gospel does not make the gospel law. And the conditional promises of the law in the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants does not turn law into grace.

    Scott Clark—“Both the command to “do and live” and the command “believe” reveal the will of God. They are both imperatives. What this means is that not every biblical imperative is “law.” ….Both the command to “do and live” and the command “believe” reveal the will of God. They are both imperatives. What this means is that not every biblical imperative is “law.” … There is a false premise in the initial question. If all imperatives are “law” then the imperative “believe” is a law and the act of faith must be “obedience.” The false premise is this: if imperative, then law. This doesn’t follow.” http://heidelblog.net/2013/06/is-faith-a-work-law-gospel-justification/

    I agree with Scott Clark’s basic point (commands don’t turn gospel into law, or faith into work) even though he would very much disagree with me about the complex nature of the Abrahamic covenant and I would dissent from his (traditional) use of the word “condition” . And more importantly, we would disagree about “common grace”, and certainly about any notion that God has a non-rational desire to be gracious to the non-elect.

    That leads to my second focus. God does not have grace to all sinners, but God’s laws apply to all sinners. Even the non-elect are commanded to believe the gospel. A person does have to make a profession of faith in order for God to have the right to sovereign justice over that person. And this was my point-where Horton asks how can we teach somebody something without having them in “the covenant” first (how can you be cursed by the covenant if you are not in the covenant, how can you be apostate from the covenant if you are not in the covenant, etc), I am insisting that each human creature, both those in the new covenant and those outside the new covenant, is not free from the commands of the New Covenant mediator, and that only those placed into the death of the New Covenant mediator
    are no longer under condemnation.

    They did not have to be placed into “the covenant of grace” in order for the condemnation to be justified. Jesus did not die for all sinners. But all sinners are commanded by the Lord Jesus. Jesus did not die for everybody in order to make it right for Jesus to then condemn. (“You had your chance”) Even those who never hear the gospel (or its imperative) are “already condemned”.

    John 3: 17 For God did not send His Son into the world in order to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. 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. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who LIVES BY THE TRUTH comes to the light

    Jeff: There is a command to believe and be saved, and Jesus indicates that to transgress this command is to incur condemnation (e.g. John 3.18 et al)

    mcmark—-I would be interested in a discussion about some sinners being “more condemned” than other sinners. I still have much to learn about that. I know that there is no such thing as one Christian being “more justified” than another Christian, but there does seem to be some difference from this on the condemnation side. But my point (with which I think you would agree) is that those “already condemned” remain condemned (if and when they hear the gospel) “because they have not believed”. But they did not have to hear the gospel in order to be already under the law. Or as I said above, Jesus does not have to die for everybody and make sure they get the “offer” in order to make it fair for them to be destroyed on the last day. Adam before his sin did not have to be under grace in order to be under law and in order for his sin to be sin. Christians sin against grace, but those without grace still sin. Children born without Christian parents are promised salvation if and when they believe the gospel. Children born with parents who profess to believe the gospel are already condemned until and when God calls them effectually by the gospel (Acts 2, as many as called)

    mcmark: If God does not have grace to one of God’s creatures, does God have a right to command that creature and to judge that creature as a sinner?

    Jeff: Certainly. Esau.

    Exactly, and this was Tom Chantry’s response to the claim of Mark Jones that he could not really be a parent or teach the law without presuming his children to be Christians. Esau was a member of the Abrahamic covenant, Esau was never a member of the new covenant. Esau was not cursed by the gospel. Esau was accountable to God’s law.

    Like

  26. Jeff—“if we assume they are non-believers until what we feel to be credible profession of faith — then teaching them the imperative is at best worthless and at worst, placing them under law for no cause.”

    mark–I wanted to highlight this, because in context you are not talking about all unbelievers but about children with Christian parents, but I think this gets to the larger “two kingdom” concerns of the thread. What makes for a transformationist confusion of two kingdoms? Is it a confusion of law and gospel which leads away from two kingdoms?

    On the one hand, two kingdoms people are saying—when you work with Muslim citizens of the American empire, don’t assume that they are Christians, and they don’t need to believe the gospel in order for you to kill for the American economy (not for Christ). On the other hand, two kingdom people are saying—if i don’t presume my children to be Christians, what’s the point? If they are baptists, if they are not in “the covenant” , teaching them abut right and wrong is “at best worthless and at worst, placing them under law for no cause.”

    Jeff, You can let me know if you think I am being unfair in this analysis. I don’t think it’s impossible to teach the promise of the gospel to those outside the covenant. And I certainly don’t think it’s worthless to teach the law of Christ to those outside the new covenant. We are NOT “placing anybody under the law” We are all born condemned, all born under the law. And teaching the law is not teaching the gospel, which is why it’s important to teach law. One main lesson we teach is that the law is not the gospel.

    I think the tricky part for most two kingdom folks is that they want to teach Bible law or the law of Christ only to Christians, and then teach some “theistic natural law” to non-Christians. And many of them speak out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to first table and second table of the Commandments given through Moses. And beg the question when they cherry-pick is “ceremonial not moral”. But those are are large questions, and I simply want to ask with you —how worthwhile is it to talk about God’s revealed law to non-Christians, if you think it doesn’t do any good to command your own children unless you presume God’s grace to them?

    http://heidelblog.net/2013/11/are-gods-demands-always-gracious/

    Scott Clark— Robertson adds, “all Gods demands are gracious and grace.” He argues that Jesus is “full of grace and truth–and I don’t regard him as having a split personality. Is there any word or action of Christ which is not grace? Did Jesus fail to distinguish between law and gospel when he said “if you love me you will keep my commands? Was the Sermon on the Mount law or gospel? Was it helpful tips for practical living or a set of social and moral demands we must live out? I am not really sure that this hard and fast distinction between law and gospel actually works, because I am not sure it is absolutely biblical.

    Scott Clark—As we read on, it becomes clear that Robertson is not just unsure about the distinction. He doesn’t like it. “There is no doubt that the term law is used in different ways in the Bible, but in the sense of the just and fair expression of the character of God, I think that this is as much part of the Good News as anything.” What Robertson misunderstands is that the law/gospel hermeneutic is not a set of conclusions. It is a question that begins with the recognition that God speaks to sinners in distinct ways in his Word. “Do this and live” is not the same sort of speech as “It is finished.”

    Scott Clark–To sinners, the demand for absolute (not relative) righteousness is not good news because, after the fall, we cannot perform it. The law is good, holy, and just. We, however, are not. The good news announces God’s gracious salvation of sinners. In the history of redemption, before Christ was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, the promises were clothed in types and shadows. They looked forward to fulfillment. After the incarnation, the good news announced the arrival of salvation. The law demands works. Grace receives a gift. These are distinct categories.

    Scott Clark—It may seem pious to say that all of God’s Word is grace but it’s not particularly pious because when we do that, as evident even in Robertson’s post, we tend to turn the good news into bad news. Yes, for those of us who are under grace, the law is a gift. It guides, it norms, and by God’s grace we do learn to love the law but it never becomes gospel. It always remains law. Now that the curse has been extinguished, the record of debt has been nailed to the cross (Col 2:14) we are free, by grace, to see ourselves honestly before the law (because our standing before God is not at stake), confess our sins, to turn from them, to die to self, and to seek to live to Christ, in union with Christ, by the power of the Spirit.

    mcmark– I am sorry, Jeff, if I have taken this in directions which are not about “who’s in the covenant”. But I am also not sure that another discussion about the subjects of water is going to be helpful—if we have not heard each other the times before…

    I am asking if the law goes to everybody, even if grace is only for some.

    But I am asking that question in order to be asking about the relationship of those in the kingdom of Christ to those in the kingdom of Satan. Since we don’t presume them to believe the gospel, is it worthless (or even wrong) for us to teach them the law of Christ? And if we shouldn’t teach them the law of Christ, what’s the point of finding common ground with those outside in some law by which we define family and agree about biology? Are we Christians still “the parents” in this situation?

    Like

  27. McMark: The command of the gospel does not make the gospel law. And the conditional promises of the law in the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants does not turn law into grace.

    OK, but this is a leaky argument. Is there a difference in your mind between “command” and “conditional promise”?

    Is there not literally a condition in the gospel: Believe and be saved, disbelieve and be damned?

    That’s a rhetorical question; of course there is a condition.

    Second, you are insinuating that the covenant with Abraham was a covenant of law, not of grace. Is that your view?

    Like

  28. And here I was wanting to talk about 2k, and if Christians needed to start acting like “the parents” in our society, by helping the pagans to go in the right Christ-less direction? And if we needed to assure sinner of God’s grace in order to make that kind of ‘cultural engagement” useful! How could we possibly teach right and wrong to those not in “the covenant?

    The use of the word “condition” to talk about the gospel promise to “as many as believe” is much debated between various Reformed theologians. And I am not only thinking of the last debate between Lee Irons (don’t use the word conditions) and Mark Jones (advocate of “conditionality”) But If you don’t have time to consider if there might be a reason for diversity on this question in the history of Reformed theology, you can gain hasty closure by asking and answering your own questions.

    First, you asked me about Moses. and I gave you some David Gordon and now you have moved on to Abraham. Jeff—This seems very near the neighborhood of arguing that the Jews made a mistake in entering into the Mosaic covenant.

    David Gordon—“The Sinai covenant itself, as it was delivered by the hand of Moses ….was characteristically legal,
    Gentile-excluding, non-justifying because characterized by works, therefore cursing its recipients and bearing children for slavery. If this doesn’t sound like any bargain, recall that the original Israelites did not consider it a bargain either, and they resisted Moses’s efforts to engage them in it. All things considered, many of the first-generation Israelites, who received this covenant while trembling at the foot of a quaking mountain and then wandered in the wilderness, preferred to return to Egypt rather than to enter covenant with a frightening deity who threatened curse sanctions upon them if they disobeyed. I don’t blame them; their assessment of the matter was
    judicious and well-considered, albeit rebellious. The Sinai covenant-administration was no bargain for sinners, and I pity the poor Israelites who suffered under its administration, just as I understand perfectly well why 73 (nearly half) of their psalms were laments. I would have resisted this covenant also, had I been there, because such a legal covenant, whose conditions require strict obedience (and threaten severe curse-sanctions), is bound to fail if one of the parties to it is a sinful people.”

    To briefly answer, circumcised Moses is also a son of circumcised Abraham. . Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman.

    Genesis 15: 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions

    Genesis 17: 9 God also said to Abraham, “As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep My covenant. 10 This is My covenant, which you are to keep, between Me and you and your offspring after you: Every one of your males must be circumcised. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskin to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 Throughout your generations, every male among you at eight days old is to be circumcised. This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is not your offspring, 13 a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as a lasting covenant. 14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

    Genesis 22: 15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son,17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed My command.”

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/i-will-be-god-to-you/

    Like

  29. Romans 11—And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, 18 do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. 22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?

    Is Abraham the root, or is Christ the root?

    Brandon Adams— If we start with assumptions, we may miss the point of the text. To be more accurate, John Murray notes that “The figure of the olive tree to describe Israel is in accord with the Old Testament usage (Jeremiah 11:16, 17; Hosea 14:6).” Therefore the olive tree is Israel. To say that the root isChrist (as is common when arguing against baptists). But again, that betrays an underlying assumption not drawn from the text itself.

    Moo—Most scholars are led by the parallelism to identify the “first fruits” with the patriarchs (Chrysostom; Godet; S-H; Murray; Michel; Kasemann; Wilckens; Schlier; Bourke, Olive Tree, pp. 75-76). But some think that the “first fruits” is Adam or Christ (cf 1 Cor 15:20, 23), while a significant (and growing) number think it is Jewish Christians, the remnant.

    John Murray “The root is surely the patriarchs.” Calvin —They were then sanctified by the holy covenant, and adorned with peculiar honor, with which God had not at that time favored the Gentiles; but as the efficacy of the covenant appeared then but small, he bids us to look back to Abraham and the patriarchs, in whom the blessing of God was not indeed either empty or void. He hence concludes, that from them an heredity holiness had passed to all their posterity.

    Brandon Adams– If the olive tree is the covenant of grace, and Christ is the head of the covenant of grace, then he must be the root of the olive tree. And, a distinction must made between branches vitally united to the root (Christ) and branches formally united to the root (Christ). Hence the inward/outward covenant construct. The olive tree then becomes a description of how the visible church has functioned since Genesis 3:15, with individuals being broken off for unbelief throughout. However, this presents us with some problems.

    John Murray —“The act of judgment upon Israel spoken of in verse 15 as the “casting away” is now represented as breaking off of branches. This is the appropriate representation in terms of the figure now being used. The expression “some of the branches” does not seem to agree, however, with the fact that the mass of Israel had been cast away. It is a sufficient answer to this difference to bear in mind that the main interest of the apostle now is focused on the grafting in of the Gentiles and the cutting away of Israel and it is not necessary to reflect on the extent to which the latter takes place.”

    Brandon Adams–Paul is referring to national rejection, but also of individual breaking and grafting. Murray’s solution is to dismiss the question as irrelevant. Calvin, on the other hand, insists the passage is referring only to nations, not to individuals. “Let us remember that in this comparison man is not compared with man, but nation with nation. If then a comparison be made between them, they shall be found equal in this respect, that they are both equally the children of Adam; the only difference is that the Jews had been separated from the Gentiles, that they might be a peculiar people to the Lord…..He hence concludes, that from them an heredity holiness had passed to all their posterity. But this conclusion would not have been right had he spoken of persons, or rather had he not regarded the promise; for when the father is just, he cannot yet transmit his own uprightness to his son: but as the Lord had sanctified Abraham for himself for this end, that his seed might also be holy, and as he thus conferred holiness not only on his person but also on his whole race, the Apostle does not unsuitably draw this conclusion, that all the Jews were sanctified in their father Abraham.

    Brandon Adams—Calvin’s concern is soteriological: Paul speaks of a hereditary holiness that would be inappropriate if applied to individuals. His solution is to limit the holiness of the Jews (their inclusion as branches) to a national setting apart: John Murray rejects Calvin’s argument, noting “It would press the language and the analogy too far to think of the wild olive as grafted in its entirety into the good olive. As indicated in verse 24 the branches of the wild olive are viewed as grafted in.”

    Brandon Adams—“How do we address Murray’s concern that the nation as a whole is cast away, but this happens in terms of individual branches, while at the same time safeguarding Calvin’s soteriological concerns that require a corporate, rather than individual consideration? The solution lies in adhering closely to the text. Christ and the patriarchs cannot both be the root. It is one or the other. Abraham is the root. Likewise, we will avoid unnecessary problems if we do not import concepts of the visible church into the text and simply acknowledge that the tree is Israel, Abraham’s seed.” https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/the-olive-tree/

    Like

  30. Brandon Adams on Hebrews 10— The repetitive sacrifices of the old covenant have been done away with by the establishment of Christ’s once for all sacrifice

    v11-17 This one sacrifice has perfected for all time those who received the blessings of the new covenant.

    v18 There remains no more sacrifices in the new covenant.

    v19-25 Therefore draw near to God with full assurance, holding fast our confession of faith.

    v26 For if we neglect this confession of faith and go on sinning willingly, there are no more repetitive sacrifices to repeatedly forgive your sin, like in the old covenant.

    v27 Only judgement remains for ADVERSARIES.

    v28 Reminding these Jews who felt secure in the Old Covenant of the punishments under the Old Covenant. Despite old covenant sacrifices, there were still some deliberate, high-handed sins that were punished without mercy (thus don’t test God’s mercy).

    v29 How much worse will your punishment be if you hear but do not believe the gospel.

    “The Lord will judge his people” should be interpreted to mean the new covenant contains curses like the old covenant. It simply established the fact, from the Old Covenant the Jews were clinging to, that God is a fierce judge.

    John Owen: “In Deuteronomy it is applied unto such a judgment of them as tends unto their deliverance. But the general truth of the words is, that God is the supreme judge… This the apostle makes use of, concluding that the righteousness of God, as the supreme judge of all obligates God unto this severe destruction of apostates: for “shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” This is precisely how Paul applies the same verse (to those outside of covenant) in Romans 12:19.

    v31 Fear the living God (who is judge over all).

    Brandon Adams—Nothing in this passage requires us to believe that apostates were once members of the New Covenant but have been cut off or that this judgment and punishment is a New Covenant curse. Quite the contrary, it is clearly referring to the final judgment. The apostates discussed here are specifically referred to as “adversaries” (v27) not as God’s covenant people.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/hebrews-10-john-15/

    Brandon Adams– Reformed paedobaptists have been challenged in their interpretation by the Federal Vision (a false gospel), which claims to be reformed, yet denies perseverance of the saints and says that one may lose their covenantal union with Christ (arguing from Hebrews 10:29 and other texts). R. Fowler White participated in the Knox Colloquium on Auburn Avenue Theology. White wrote that Leithart “does ascribe to apostates blessings that literally belong uniquely to the elect, and he does so on the basis of their confessed faith.” White stated his commitment to the paedobaptist two-sided (inner/outer), dual-sanction New Covenant, but White also argued that this not the best way to explain Hebrews 10:29. “My contention is that we should take our cue from the rhetoric of rebuke and reproach elsewhere in the Bible and interpret the biblical writer’s attribution of sanctification in Heb 10:29 as an example of reproachful irony (sarcasm).”

    Like

  31. It does not matter if you happen to believe in your head about the creation and incarnation, because if you deny that church is defined by family and instead make a distinction between kingdoms, you are a gnostic liberal. “Imagine situation one: Grandma has died before the infant grandson was born. If grandson is to have any “relationship” with Grandma, it will at best be an internal phenomenon, an act of the mind, will, and emotions. It will be memories based on stories….. Now imagine situation two: Grandma lives and holds her infant grandson in her arms. Of these two situations, which one is a more real and intimate connection between Grandma and grandson? Obviously situation two. The same is true in the church. If Christ is present in the church—and he is—and Christ is in the flesh—which he is—then the church is truly the Body of Christ….If so, then how can baptism, which is where we are incorporated into Christ, not be offered to infants,..If a baby were brought onto Noah’s ark, would it have been saved? Of course it would have. Christ and his church are like the ark. It’s a corporate structure whose parameters are governed by the word of God. Those brought in through the doorway of the sacraments are in the ark.” http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/31/denying-infant-baptism-leads-leftist-politics/

    Like

  32. @ Mark:

    Hi again,

    Sorry to have left your comments hanging. I did not see them. Well, no, I remember seeing one of them and thinking “I need to get back to this” — but then didn’t. But then there are three, all dated June 18. So go figure.

    Burfiend’s article is interesting. I suspect his thesis is ultimately unprovable. However, he raises a question worth considering: To what extent does paedobaptism or credobaptism reflect the election / free-will debate? In discussions past, I’ve suggested that credobaptism places a particular emphasis on the act of the will, such that it slides naturally into an Arminian view.

    And in return, you suggest that paedo-baptism is the gateway into law-gospel confusion.

    So an open question here is how to evaluate such claims?

    In regard to TD Gordon, what do you make of “resisting was rebellious … I would have resisted, too”?

    Like

  33. Most of the credobaptists I know don’t believe that their salvation comes down to God’s election alone. But neither do most Reformed and Lutheran folks. But praise God some of my paedo water friends DO believe that God’s election is decisive for the nature of Christ’s death. Those God has loved will believe the gospel. And some of my credo water friends believe this also.
    But most professing Christians subconsciously play the con game , and so they say, God loves your grand-baby
    but here’s the catch—-unless your grand-baby does this and this then that love won’t save them. Since they think the elect can’t know that they are elect, and they can’t trust in their (perhaps) “temporary faith”, they also like to talk about “the promise”. And when I ask, which promise, both the credos and water tend to say something about water.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

    Mark Jones–“All baptisms are paedobaptisms”. But also i am told— we paedos also baptize adults, by the way, which means we baptize way more than credos do. And these paedos do not think “presumptive justification” is a very big problem in a world where the real problem is credos.

    Yes, Jeff, more than once I have suggested that the construct which say that “the new covenant is different from election”” leads to “flattening” and a denial of the distinction between law and grace,.

    But paedos want to eat cake and still have it. First, the water is not about us and the promise is not about us because it”s about objectivity and God’s sovereignty in the abstract but not about any one person. But second, paedos do conversion also. After they preclude water baptism to as many as they can after they profess, by watering as many as they can before they profess, pados also condescend to water those who slipped through the cracks of Christendom . So It’s not about us, it’s about the professing of that one parent, which is a little different than it used to be back in the Abrahamic covenant. It’s not about us but about God, God who can kill us those who do sacraments.

    Paedos demonstrate the sovereignty of God to seek out those who are utterly helpless–but then good news, paedos do conversion which though maybe it’s second best, because we are not only Reformed but also as Arminian as those who say that Jesus Christ died for “all of us”, at least enough to offer us grace.

    So there is not one baptism which saves but two kinds of water , one of which is really better than the other, but a second boat for those who missed the first boat by waiting for the effectual call, for those who had to live with the idea for a while that they were not born Christians? And Jeff, it’s here in this dialectic that I begin to worry. Is the basis for negative sanctions (covenant curse) also “covenant grace?

    “We do what credos do, plus also the paedo thing. . But when paedos do it, it’s not about us. When credos do it, then it’s about them? Jeff, what would you think if I were to say that all who do paedo-water believe that it removes original sin and corruption? As you know, there are some Lutherans who argue for that. And also, there are some “federal” visionists, but not in your church? But I also know some credos who believe that water is instrumental as a means of regenerating grace (not only Campbellites anymore!).

    I need to bring this to a close—-some paedos say that all law depends on prevenient grace, and I think that at least leads to the confusion of law and grace.

    1. When my grandchildren sin and ask for forgiveness from God, can I assure them that their sins are forgiven? Do I have to talk about election? Can’t I just talk about covenant communion?

    2. On what grounds do I ask my grandson to forgive his twin brother? Because it’s what the law says to do? Or because those to whom God has given grace should forgive in the same way Christ has forgiven us?

    3. Can my grandchildren sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” and enjoy all of the benefits spoken of in that song? When my grandchildren pray during family worship to their heavenly Father, what are the grounds for them praying such a prayer? Do they have any right to call God their “heavenly Father”?

    Mark Jones—Far from leading to a lazy form of “presumptive regeneration” (where children are not daily exhorted to repent), I believe that we must in fact hold our covenant children to higher standards by urging them to live a life of faith and repentance in Jesus Christ, their Savour and Lord. Their baptism, whereby God speaks favour to his children (“You are my child. With you I am well pleased”), demands such a life.

    Mike Horton—”Covenant theology doesn’t teach that the covenant of grace itself is “breakable” (67). God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. … The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ with all of his benefits. …..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?

    Like

  34. @ Mark:

    In wrestling with these questions, I’ve taken a different starting point: that there is a fundamental difference between what we see and what God sees.

    We see the church in terms of its leadership, its sacraments and preaching, in terms of those who identify as its members. What God sees is those who are elect, those who are effectually called.

    I believe that most of the seeming contradictions that trouble you have their root in this difference in what is seen by man and by God.

    By way of example, consider an area in which we (probably) agree: that those who obstinately sin and refuse to repent should be excommunicated.

    Does that fact mean that God Himself cuts off those who sin (as an uncareful reading of Rom 11 might suggest)? Or that the church in excommunicating is an become a community of law instead of grace?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s