Why Michelle Higgins Appeals to Evangelicals

Samuel James wrote a piece a few weeks back about the overlapping convictions of social justice warriors and evangelicals (of a Reformedish variety). The link is morality:

As a kid growing up in the 1990s, I almost never heard any progressive or non-Christian make a moral case against a film or actor. Critics lauded such movies as American Beauty even as we grumpy fundies were aghast at its deviant themes and explicit sexuality. Fast-forward to 2019: The Me Too movement has chewed up Kevin Spacey, his movie, and his Best Actor Oscar and spit them all out. There’s an air (or pretense?) of spiritual enlightenment in contemporary pop culture. It’s in the sacramental language about inclusivity, in the hounding of sinners and heretics such as Kevin Hart and Henry Cavill, in the somber gender homily of a razor-company commercial.

If 2019 were all you knew of American pop culture, you’d never guess that some of the same institutions now lecturing on the need for more female leadership had financial interests in the porn industry just a few years ago. You’d never guess that “shock comedy” was a hugely lucrative business until very recently, with its bluest punchlines often coming at the expense not of sensitive liberal consciences but of Christians and conservatives. And you’d certainly be surprised to hear the marketing departments that sold their products by associating them with sex now bemoan toxic masculinity.

The idea that we ought to make the culture we consume conform to a moral standard seems a novel one to the social-justice generation. It was a given in my childhood. My fundamentalist upbringing gave me (though of course imperfectly) a grasp of non-neutrality, the inevitable moral character of the things we say, watch, and experience.

The rising generation of students is coming to this same realization but without the help of religion’s spiritual insight. The modern campus culture is a religious culture, but it’s a religion without God, and consequently it is a religion without grace. Many students would probably hear my story about growing up in conservative Evangelicalism and conclude that I have been violently oppressed. What if, though, we have more in common than they think? What if SJWism and religious fundamentalism are both expressions of a dissatisfaction with the decadence of modernity: its mindless consumerism, its divorce of virtue from culture, and its kowtowing to profit and power?

While James is looking at the convergence between secular social justice warriors and #woke evangelicals, he misses something that is much more basic, namely, eschatology. Whether you believe that history has a “right side” or you think that improvement in society has some bearing on the return of Christ, you likely are of the conviction that life here on earth mirrors some form of cosmic justice. And from where I sit, that puts you in the immanentize-the-eschaton school of social reform. How utopians come up with an eschaton to immanentize is a true mystery. But not believing in heaven, hell, judgment day, or God has not prevented many on the left from thinking an end to inequality, suffering, poverty, illness, war is possible — even immanent.

In which case, the fundamental divide in U.S. politics and religion is between the Augustinians (liturgicals) and the millennialists (pietists whether secular or born-again). Robert Swierenga’s description of nineteenth-century “ethnoreligious political behavior” remains astute even for our time:

The liturgical churches (such as Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and various Lutheran synods) were credally based, sacerdotal, hierarchical, nonmillennial, and particularistic. These ecclesiasticals were ever vigilant against state encroachment on their churches, parochial schools, and the moral lives of their members. God’s kingdom was other-worldly, and human programs of conversion or social reform could not usher in the millennium. God would restore this inscrutable, fallen world in His own good time and in His own mighty power.

The pietists (Baptists, Methodists, Disciples, Congregationalists, Quakers) were New Testament-oriented, antiritualist, congregational in governance, active in parachurch organizations, and committed to individual conversion and societal reform in order to usher in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Pietists did not compartmentalize religion and civil government. Right belief and right behavior were two sides of the same spiritual coin. The liturgical excommunicated heretics, the pietists expelled or shunned sinners. (Religion and American Politics, 151-52)

He left out Presbyterians because they were sort of stuck in the middle, with some Old Schoolers entering the ranks of liturgicals and some siding with the clean-up-America New School.

Since James works for Crossway, I wonder if he should have written more about the links between #woke African-American evangelicals and The Gospel Coalition. And if he had read Swierenga, maybe all the recommendations of Advent and Lent at The Gospel Coalition could turn those evangelicals into liturgicals — those Protestants that compartmentalize faith and politics. If the liturgical calendar would get evangelicals to back away from social reform, then make the church calendar go.

25 thoughts on “Why Michelle Higgins Appeals to Evangelicals

  1. Perhaps the debate between the ‘spirituality of the true church” and “evangelicals” shows the astuteness of Leithart in our time in his critique of the Protestants.

    Peter Leithart (p 75. Against Christianity) — The Reformers had a spiritualizing reading of redemptive history. We still see this today. Listen to Terry Johnson: ‘When Jesus removed the special status of Jerusalem as the place where God was to be worshipped, he abolished all the material forms that constituted the typological OT system.’( p 157, in With Reverence and Awe, ed Hart and Muether).”

    Leithart— Israel’s prophets inveighed against empty formalism, and some Protestants today conclude from this that the prophets condemned ritual as such.. They say that religion is a matter of private ideology, ideas and belief and that those who tie religion to public rituals tempt us to be hypocrites.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=F54VD0XoqJIC&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq

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  2. For a better combination of ideology and historian, I suggest Carlos Eirie

    “As Luther saw it, his interpretation of the Word of God could never be wrong, and no step taken in the proclamation of that Word could ever be false. Luther saw himself as a prophet, and an agent of God’s wrath. Knowing how much he was shaped by St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, it is easy to imagine him identifying personally with this passage: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

    “Luther dismissed all ‘radicals’ in his midst by saying that they had “swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all,” and that they were “so stupid that it makes one feel like vomiting.” To the pope he could say, “You are the head of all the worst scoundrels on earth, a vicar of the devil, an enemy of God, an adversary of Christ, a destroyer of Christ’s churches; a teacher of lies, blasphemies, and idolatries; an arch-thief and robber.” Belittling the high and mighty became one of his great skills. To the great humanist Erasmus he once said, “Perhaps you want me to die of unrelieved boredom while you keep on talking.”

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/10/martin-luther-the-wrath-of-god

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  3. “Perhaps the debate between the ‘spirituality of the true church” and “evangelicals” shows the astuteness of Leithart in our time in his critique of the Protestants…. Leithart [writes] “Israel’s prophets inveighed against empty formalism, and some Protestants today conclude from this that the prophets condemned ritual as such. They say that religion is a matter of private ideology, ideas and belief and that those who tie religion to public rituals tempt us to be hypocrites”.”

    I don’t see the connection between Leithart’s words here and the purported debate between 2K and evangelicalism. First, the debate isn’t between 2K and evangelicalism per se. One can be 2K and evangelical as far as I can tell. Evangelicalism has its own problems, and that is a separate critique from the debate between 2K and 1K. Second, the advocates of the spirituality of the church would not say that religion is a matter fo private ideology. The most prominent advocates of this position are our Lutheran friends who are decidedly not contemptuous of ritual. The Presbyterian advocates of the spirituality of the church tend to emphasize the rituals of the Lord’s supper and baptism to a much greater degree than their 1K counterparts. However, this is mostly incidental (or at least a sociological connection rather than a theological one). Now Leithart adds those weasel words, “some Protestants”, so he can always respond that he has someone else in mind. Indeed, the evangelical friends my parents worship with who find baptism and the Lord’s supper divisive and thus optional might fit Leithart’s critique. However, this group is a tiny sliver of protestantism. More to the point, Leithart’s weak critique has no bearing on the 2K/1K debate that I can see. Did you have something else in mind?

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  4. Either you are sanctified by Christ’s death or you are not. Trying to understand does not move the needle in a progressive direction. But perhaps it would help to read what dgh posted.

    dgh—“the overlapping convictions of social justice warriors and evangelicals”

    but this says nothing about – the overlapping convictions of some OPC versions of 2k and evangelicals?

    “the sacramental language about inclusivity”

    but the opc is also catholic—we don’t narrow the covenant, because the Jews are replaced by including the infants of those now converted to the Reformed faith

    Robert Swierenga—“antiritualist and committed to individual conversion and societal reform in order to usher in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Pietists did not compartmentalize religion and civil government….

    dgh—“evangelicals likely are of the conviction that life here on earth mirrors some form of cosmic justice.”

    To solve this problem, dgh consiers the possibility of a “liturgical calendar” as a “lesser evil” if that would drive out and replaces attempts at “social reform”.

    I can only wonder if DGH has any (non-evangelical) Anglican friends who also give left-wing lectures in church.

    but—if it happens now on earth in this age, even preestined evil is not evil?

    Meghan O’Gieblyn—-“This was an eschatology that maintained a very cynical view of history. As a child, our pastor used to preach that the End Times were near, that human culture was becoming worse and worse, and that
    nothing would improve until Christ returned. Growing up in the Midwest outside places like Detroit—a city largely in
    ruins—it was easy to believe that this was true, that the apocalypse was indeed nigh.

    https://www.mbird.com/2019/02/the-art-of-subtlety-in-faith-and-doubt-our-interview-with-meghan-ogieblyn/

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  5. “Either you are sanctified by Christ’s death or you are not.”
    That’s a tautology isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be just as true to say that you are either sanctified by unicorns or you are not? What’s your point?

    “Trying to understand does not move the needle in a progressive direction.”
    Understand what? Progression to where?

    “But perhaps it would help to read what dgh posted.

    dgh—“the overlapping convictions of social justice warriors and evangelicals”

    but this says nothing about – the overlapping convictions of some OPC versions of 2k and evangelicals?”
    You’ll need to draw the connection for me. I don’t see it.

    ““the sacramental language about inclusivity”

    but the opc is also catholic—we don’t narrow the covenant, because the Jews are replaced by including the infants of those now converted to the Reformed faith”
    That isn’t the argument for catholicity of reformed churches I have ever heard. At least in the lowly PCA catholicity is defined by opening the table to all baptized believers and the belief that the gospel is for all nations.

    “I can only wonder if DGH has any (non-evangelical) Anglican friends who also give left-wing lectures in church.”
    Yes- liturgical churches haven’t done such a good job staying on point either.

    “but—if it happens now on earth in this age, even preestined evil is not evil?

    Meghan O’Gieblyn—-“This was an eschatology that maintained a very cynical view of history. As a child, our pastor used to preach that the End Times were near, that human culture was becoming worse and worse, and that
    nothing would improve until Christ returned. Growing up in the Midwest outside places like Detroit—a city largely in
    ruins—it was easy to believe that this was true, that the apocalypse was indeed nigh.”

    What?

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  6. Does confessing that you are becoming and more sanctified put you in the immanentize-the-eschaton school ?

    Is Hart really serious that he would accept a liturgical calendar if he thought that would displace the legalism of “social reform” ?

    Trying to understand my posts does not make you “more and more” aa saint. Either Christ died for you, or Christ did not die for you. Either God’s imputation has now placed you into Christ’s death or not. In the new covenant, all Christians are addressed as saints.

    Hebrews 10 :10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once ….. this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins for all time , sat down at the right hand of God. 13 He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has permanently perfected those who are sanctified.

    Heidelberg Catechsim Q.76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?
    A. It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred body

    Westminster Catechism: “Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby, they whom God hath before the foundation of the world chosen to be holy, are in time through the powerful operation of His Spirit, applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they MORE AND MORE die unto sin and rise unto newness of life.”

    A W Pink– “The description of sanctification of the Westminster divines is altogether inadequate, for it entirely omits the most important aspect and fundamental element in the believer’s sanctification: it says nothing about our sanctification by Christ (Heb. 10:10; 13:12), but confines itself to the work of the Spirit, which is founded upon that of the Son. This is truly a serious loss, and affords another illustration that God has not granted light on all His Word to any one body of men. A fuller and better answer to the question of, “What is sanctification?” would be, “Sanctification is, first, that act of God whereby He set the elect apart in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy. Second, it is that perfect holiness which the Church has in Christ and that excellent purity which she has before God by virtue of Christ’s cleansing blood. Third, it is that work of God’s Spirit which, by His quickening operation, sets them apart from those who are dead in sins, conveying to them a holy life or nature, etc.”

    A W Pink–“Thus we cannot but regard this particular definition of the Larger Catechism as being defective, for it commences at the middle, instead of starting at the beginning. Instead of placing before the believer that complete and perfect sanctification which God has made Christ to be unto him, it occupies him with the incomplete and progressive work of the Spirit. Instead of moving the Christian to look away from himself with all his sinful failures, unto Christ in whom he is “complete” (Col. 2:10), it encourages him to look within, where he will often search in vain for the fine gold of the new creation amid all the dross and mire of the old creation. This is to leave him without the joyous assurance of knowing that he has been “perfected forever” by the one offering of Christ (Heb. 10:14).

    A W Pink: Let the young believer be credibly assured that he will “more and more die unto sin and rise unto newness of life,” and what will be the inevitable outcome? As he proceeds on his way, the Devil assaulting him more and more fiercely, the inward conflict between the flesh and the Spirit becoming more and more distressing, increasing light from God’s Word more and more exposing his sinful failures, until the cry is forced from him, “I am vile; 0 wretched man that I am,” what conclusion must he draw? Why this: if the Catechism-definition be correct then I was sadly mistaken, I have never been sanctified at all. So far from the “more and more die unto sin” agreeing with his experience, he discovers that sin is more active within and that he is more alive to sin now, than he was ten years ago!

    Many (not all) Reformed folks seem to think that if you don’t use certain words like “merit” or “earning” or “justification”, you can teach that there is MORE (or less?) “sanctification” and MORE “union” and MORE assurance by means other than Christ’s death.

    Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, p 516—”Justification excludes ‘legalistic works’ done to earn justification but includes an evaluation of imperfect works done by us through the Spirit…”

    Gaffin—The exercise of the Spirit’s energies in regeneration are marked anpologically by a new and lasting disposition inherent in them, That is, at the core of my being, I am no longer against God and disposed to rebel against his will but, now and forever, for him and disposed in the deepest recesses of whom I am to delight in doing his will.

    2 Thessalonians 2:1 3 But we must always thank God for you, loved by the Lord, because from the beginning] God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

    Being set apart in order to believe the gospel does not mean assurance by means of some “definitive” change in our disposition so that we are “more and more” less sinful.

    Nathan J. Langerak— “Cnsequent conditions” are new conditions of salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved.”

    https://rfpa.org/blogs/news/the-charge-of-antinomianism-3-against-an-unconditional-covenant

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  7. Nathan J. Langerak— “Consequent conditions” are new conditions of salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved.”

    Actually, this statement reveals a confusion (or an unwillingness) to note the difference between ontology and ethics, between a resulting “condition of being,” which is likely to be observable; and some sort of “duty to act” cast as a conditional basis of forensic evaluation.

    Beale and Gaffin appear guilty of affirming the fusion of those two categories; Langerak is guilty of the same, only to the contrary conclusion. The former appears to be leveraging ontology to negate single-stage justification; the latter appears unwilling to admit ontology categories, because to do so will necessitate (in his view) new and adjustable covenant-regard, based on the prior ontological change.

    The reality is otherwise: ontology and ethics are not fused and they are distinguishable. And the successful use of language requires contextual awareness. “Condition” means different things under those two branches of description. Furthermore, human philosophy teaches that ontology always precedes ethics. Whereas revealed religion teaches that divine ethics (prescription and judgment) precedes human ontology.

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  8. MMC: Does confessing that you are becoming and more sanctified put you in the immanentize-the-eschaton school ?

    No.

    MMC: Either Christ died for you, or Christ did not die for you. Either God’s imputation has now placed you into Christ’s death or not. In the new covenant, all Christians are addressed as saints.

    Yes.

    MMC: Many (not all) Reformed folks seem to think that if you don’t use certain words like “merit” or “earning” or “justification”, you can teach that there is MORE (or less?) “sanctification” and MORE “union” and MORE assurance by means other than Christ’s death.

    No.

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  9. Jeff, do you want what the Bible says lexically or the confessional “substance” of what the Bible says? (ie, pacifism is killing some people to protect other people)

    You first. Where in Scripture are all the covenants (post-fall) called “the covenant of grace” ? “One gospel therefore one covenant of grace with different administrations” (successive or depending on which office in which kingdom?)

    Nehemiah–After we get a wall, then we can look up “condition” in the concordance.

    David Gordon–I am less happy with is the language of the covenant of grace, because this is a genuinely unbiblical use of biblical language. Biblically, covenant is always a historic arrangement, inaugurated in space and time. Once covenant refers to an over-arching divine decree or purpose to redeem the elect in Christ, confusion Is sure to follow.
    “Mono-Covenantalism”, in By Faith Alone, edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters (Crossway,2006, p121)

    Douglas Bond, Grace Works P and R, 2014 p 92—“There are those today who encourage their congregations to tear out the page between the Old and New Testaments in their Bibles. Zealous to avoid the error of dispensationalism, these men make the continuity of the covenants the foundation of their preaching. But if we care about the distinction between law and gospel…then we will train our ears for those who don’t seem to want to keep the distinction between old and new covenants.Their insistence on “the continuity of the covenants” may prove to be gospel fatally diminished by the law.”

    Romans 9: 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The fathers are theirs, and from the fathers came the Messiah,

    Ephesians 2:12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

    Hebrews 13: 20 “The God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the lasting covenant”.

    The lasting covenant of Hebrews is the new covenant, the covenant mediated by the blood (the death) of Jesus. Abraham was justified before God by God’s imputation to Abraham of Christ’s death before Christ died.

    Hebrews 9: 14 how much more will the blood of the Christ who through the lasting Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? 15 Therefore, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that those who are called receive the promise of the lasting inheritance, because a death has taken place

    Ephesians 1: 7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He PLANNED in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah

    https://theconversation.com/theodore-mccarrick-will-continue-to-be-a-catholic-priest-111964

    But at least the sacerdotalists don’t reject the status of children as Christian, and not being perfectionists (more but not the eschaton) , we agree that the sacerotalists have the marks of the church. Denial of the fundamental unity of the covenant of grace as symbolized in the administration of the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to covenant children is serious enough to warrant saying that any congregation that will not practice infant initiation (not communion) into the administration of the covenant of grace is not a church … It is error is to divorce salvation from the signs, so that the the administration of sacraments loses efficacy (in time, for curse or blessing). When the sacrament become marginal, biblicism fill the voids with revivalism and Pietism.

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  10. Sorry, I should have translated the question your terminology.

    Where in the Scripture does it say that the New Covenant is unconditional?

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  11. “Does confessing that you are becoming and more sanctified put you in the immanentize-the-eschaton school ?”
    Becoming what? Are you seriously arguing that believers do not grow in holiness?

    1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
    2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
    3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

    “Is Hart really serious that he would accept a liturgical calendar if he thought that would displace the legalism of “social reform” ?”
    Ask him.

    “Trying to understand my posts does not make you “more and more” aa saint.”
    Who would suggest otherwise?

    “Either Christ died for you, or Christ did not die for you. Either God’s imputation has now placed you into Christ’s death or not.”
    Either Mohammed is God’s prophet or he is not. Either you are Jamaican or your not. Either unicorns exist or they don’t. A sentence with the structure “either X or ~X” is not meaningful no matter how profound the phrase you insert for X.

    “In the new covenant, all Christians are addressed as saints.”
    Who would suggest otherwise?

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  12. Batzig— Beale supports a doctrine of eschatological justification on the basis of works–taught in Romans 2:13
    These verses [i.e. Romans 2:3-10] focus not only on the time of final judgment but also on the time of reward for those who “do good” (vv. 7, 10). Verse 6 (“who will render to each person according to his deeds”) seems best interpreted in this context to mean that there will be a judicial evaluation of the works of all people. S ome will be found wanting and be judged. Others will be found to have works and not be judged but will receive life. Accordingly, with this preceding context in mind, it seems best to understand Paul’s statement in verse 13 , “the doers of the Law will be justified,” to refer to the final judgment when those who have faith in Christ and possess good works, though not perfect, will be “justified” or “vindicated” on the basis of those works.

    James K Smith–There is a particular idea from Flavel that keeps recurring in Robinson’s project. As she recounts again and again in different chapters, Flavel entertained the idea of a two-stage judgment: he “considers the thought that we might all be judged twice, once when we die and again when the full consequences of our lives have played themselves out.” The notion depends on a unique intersection of eternity and history.The judgment in eternity takes account of time’s arrow in history. It’s like your soul gets a callback when the repercussions of your life have played themselves out across subsequent generations. The end of your life is not the end of your responsibility.

    http://feedingonchrist.com/paul-the-law-and-eschatological-justification-three-views-on-romans-213/

    Bruce– Beale and Gaffin appear guilty of affirming the fusion of two different categories– between a resulting “condition of being,” which is likely to be observable; and some sort of “duty to act” cast as a conditional basis of forensic evaluation.

    Heidegger—“If by Ontology is meant fundamental thinking, then Ontology is also Ethics”

    mark mcculley—Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified. If you are not justified now, then you need to be justified. How can you say that Beale has confused categories if you say “no either or”

    If this were a simple case of knowing (or not knowing) the antithesis between imperative and indicative, I think we could talk clearly about the difference between the gospel and the command for all sinners to believe the gospel. We could even do that without words about conditionality or uncondtionality. But when a rationalist “anti-rationalist agenda” is added to the law gospel distinction by means of the archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth, the ambiguity introduced includes the idea that God’s command to believe the gospel is also God’s desire that the non-elect will believe the gospel. And then comes the “not yet the eschaton” and “not perfect” works which will supposedly figure in the final “aspect” of justification.

    And now some sarcasm—When the clergy rhetoric says that “the snow is for you”. we can always make qualifications. This is both true and not true. We will not say “it snowed for you” but we will say “the snow is for you”. Only rationalists reject jesuit doubletalk. Rationalists (who question when the Bible plainly says that not by works also means not without works) reduce the God of the Bible to an idol. To really be rational about the need to “appropriate” the snow, we need to understand that our sovereign God is also free to reveal God as desiring certain things God has not willed in the decree.

    This is why we say that “the snow is promised to everyone in the covenant of grace” but also say that those who do not believe in the snow will receive the curses of the covenant of the covenant of grace. Given the necessary chasm between God and the creature, God must accommodate God to God’s creatures. Therefore the imperfect ethical results necessary for final justification of course do depend on God’s self-understanding, but are never identical with any perfect specific ontology. All revelation is necessarily an accommodation.. Those who disagree with my own (not yet) “theology of the cross” are those who glory in their own rationalism.

    All I am saying is that the snow gets gray. If we were to say that “it snowed for you”, that would be too abstract
    and impersonal. But if we say that “the snow is for you”, that lets sinners know that they are responsible for their own history. Get to the means of grace on time.

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  13. @MMC: Your citation of Batzig is an example of the confusing nature of contextless quotes.

    Batzig quotes Beale in order to dispute with him:

    “The eschatological justification on the basis of works view” is the most far removed from the totality of biblical teaching. It is essentially the Roman Catholic cooperationist view of justification packaged in a highly academic, biblical-theological structure. In fact, if we suggest that there is a future justification on the basis of works then we destroy any and all hope of the subjective assurance of believers.

    — “Paul, the Law and Eschatological Justification: Three Views of Romans 2:13”

    Your omission of context gives the impression — or at least leaves open the possibility — that Batzig is agreeing with Beale. And it also gives the impression that Beale is within the mainstream historical Reformed view when, on this point, he is not. You insinuate, perhaps inadvertently, falsehoods.

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  14. MMC: But when a rationalist “anti-rationalist agenda” is added to the law gospel distinction by means of the archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth, the ambiguity introduced includes the idea that God’s command to believe the gospel is also God’s desire that the non-elect will believe the gospel.

    sarcasm alert:

    Too bad for Jesus, I guess. That “adder to the law gospel distinction by means of an archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth” had this to say:

    “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” — John 12.

    Not to worry. In the eschaton, you’ll be there to tell Him the errors in His gospel. I’m bringing popcorn.

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  15. John 12: 38 But this was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said:
    Lord, who has believed our message?
    And who has the arm of the Lord
    been revealed to?
    39 This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said:
    40 He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts,
    so that they would not see with their eyes
    or understand with their hearts,
    and be converted,
    and I would heal them.
    41 Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him.
    42 Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. 43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God

    But if “mainline” sort of people read the essay, then they figure out the context.

    [According to Knox’s Anabaptist adversary] Christ, as he witnesseth himself, would have gathered the Jerusalemites together, as the hen her chickens, yet would they not. God would that the Israelites should enter into the land of Canaan, and they would not … [According to John Knox] Because the Scriptures, which you heap together, be either plainly repugnant to your error, or else make nothing for probation of the same, I will so shortly as I can go through them, only noting wherein you abuse the words and mind of the Holy Ghost. The words of our Master, spoken in the 23rd chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, serve nothing for your purposes … If you dare say, that Christ in that place meaneth, in that he would have gathered those murderers, and sons of murderers, as he doth witness he doth gather his chosen flock, himself will convict you of a lie. For he affirmeth the same to the Scribes and Pharisees, to whom principally he spake in that place, that they were not of his sheep [John 10:26], and that therefore they could not be gathered to his fold; that they were not of God, and therefore that they could not hear his voice [John 8:47]; that he did not pray for the world [John 17:9], and therefore they could never be united to God. You must declare how that God would that those Israelites, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, should enter into the land promised. If you say, by any other will than by his general principle given, that they should go and possess it, you shall lack the testimony of the Holy Ghost. I have declared causes most just and most sufficient, why God shall command that which is just, right, and laudable, albeit that man neither can perform his commandments, neither yet that it was God’s eternal will and counsel that all men should so do. And further, I have declared just causes why God doth call many to repentance and felicity, and yet that he chooseth a certain to attain thereto, and enter the same. And so, I say, you must prove that God did otherwise will them to enter into the land than by his general commandment, before you be able to prove that any thing is done against the eternal and immutable will of God” (On Predestination, in Answer to the Cavillations by an Anabaptist )[1560] http://commongracedebate.blogspot.com/2016/03/matthew-2337-and-well-meant-offer.html

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  16. correction: Matt 23, not John 12.

    To what great lengths you go to argue against no-one! For no-one here says “Jesus failed to gather those whom God willed.” No-one says “the Pharisees thwarted God’s will.”

    But in the text, Jesus uses the phrase “your children.” He is *ambiguous.* That phrase could encompass every one of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or some lesser number of them.

    He does the very thing you rail against in others.

    So if we now play the McCulley Tautology Game: “Either Jesus desired to gather Jerusalem’s children, or He didn’t”, we end up in Arminian nonsense.

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  17. sdb–Either unicorns exist or they don’t. A sentence with the structure “either X or ~X” is not meaningful no matter how profound the phrase you insert for X.

    Either I make sense or I don’t make sense.

    Either I am now already justified before God or I need to be justified before God in future.

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  18. Why would “Michelle Higgins” be referred to in the title when nothing in the article points to anything that she has done or said?

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