Archive for August 2009

More Reformed that I Used to Be, or the Gospel?

August 10, 2009

The Reformed mainline often has an either/or mindset. Either what we left, or what we are now. It does not seem to occur to these relativists that a third alternative is possible. The truth is that there are many false gospels, many ways to be lost, and just because you have rejected one wrong way does not mean that you now believe the true gospel.

When one has abandoned the scoldings of “first legalism” (no wine or TV) for the moral pep talks of “the discipleship in a confessional community” preachers, one has only exchanged one form of moralism for another.

The Reformed person who used to be a fundamentalist now thinks that grace means that theological doctrine doesn’t matter when it comes to saved and lost. In a covenant where grace is conditional but not merited, it’s not helpful to judge individuals saved or lost based on the evidence of their gospel doctrines.

Unless we tell all people without exception, without respect of persons, that God demands a perfect righteousness and that God provided this righteousness only for the elect, then we still have a man-centered legalistic cult. It may be a happier kind of cult. But it still is not submissive to God’s gospel.

But I don’t see that the covenant people are given grace to meet the conditions? And in the PCA lite (as opposed to Reformed Baptist) set of conditions, it all begins with the Chuck Swindoll idea that God does not demand righteousness but only the faith to “not-perform”. As the old blues song goes, “start stopping”…!

Where the old legalism said that it was saved because it out-performed others, the new legalism claims to have done it the right way now, and to have performed not-performing where others were still trying to perform. But in neither case is the finished for the elect performance of Jesus Christ even in the picture.

Blog as Monologue and Conversation-Stopper

August 10, 2009

Pluralists would rather talk about HOW I am communicating instead of about what I AM communicating. Pluralists don’t like my tone.  Don’t I know that the only way to influence people is for me to let them influence me first? And then we can agree to call this “mutuality”.

To which Christians say: the main debt we have to you is the debt we have to God to love you enough to tell you the gospel. When we tell pluralists the gospel, we listen to them to find out if they are understanding it. When we tell them the gospel, they may have valid points to make. Our duty is to agree with them when their point is right and to let them know when their point is wrong, especially when that point is evidence of their rebellion against the gospel.

It is not reasonable to disagree with the gospel. If one disagrees with the gospel, then one is not being rational. The God who made all of us is the God who has revealed the gospel. The God who demands PERFECT righteousness is the God who had sent God the Son to obtain that righteousness for the elect.

The desire to leave out some of the gospel is evidence of a mind and will still at enmity with God. If all we ever want is peace at any price, then we should never claim to have any news from the Sovereign Creator of this world. When people say that talk like my talk is “hateful”, that only means that they have now understood that I am an enemy of their false gospel.

When the enemies of the cross say that talk like this is a “conversation-stopper”, their assumption is that the only way to have a conversation is to agree first that we are all saved but that we interpret things differently. Believers have been born again in order to believe the gospel. Non-elect unbelievers were created in order to never believe the gospel and thus be destroyed. (II Peter 2:1-12).

Satan hates Permanent Security

August 10, 2009

Satan does not agree with God about lost and saved. God says to those who do not have the righteousness required: ye shall surely die. Satan says: let’s discuss that, let’s find a way to verify that empirically. Satan says: nobody knows for sure.

Satan says: do you think you are God that you know for sure? Then Satan says: and who are you to think you know for sure what God has said? Satan says: and who is God to say for sure you will die. Satan says: that was a generalization about people dying, but on this historical occasion, we can’t know for sure what will happen, since future grace is conditional and nothing is finished yet.

I am not saying that the liberals have denied my freedom of speech. I have no desire to sit down at the liberal’s table and “cast my vote” and “say what I have to say” and then agree to whatever happens.

God’s gospel is clear and is not a matter for negotiation. I have no desire to talk to anybody if the cost of talking is to agree with them first that they are saved even if they don’t agree with me about the gospel. I have no desire for an apologetic which lets the enemies of the cross decide what counts as the evidence of assurance or as .the condition of perseverence.

You can call us fanatics if you like, but we know that nobody can know the truth we know until they believe the gospel we do. And the truth we know is not a partial truth which is only true for us. Even though we are sinners, even though we do not know anything exhaustively, nevertheless we know the truth.

When evolutionists talk of a “fallibilism” by which they are self-corrected by the “facts”, they are not confessing sins but only confessing again that there is no God who will tell them what the facts are and what the facts mean.

So when I talk about the gospel to liberals, I refuse to agree first that they might be right. If they agree with me about the gospel, then they will learn to repent of being wrong.

Self-righteous Lack of Repentence about being Arminian

August 10, 2009

Many pluralists think that they grew up legalists but now have outgrown legalism. Iin reality have only exchanged one form of legalism for another. Their new legalism is a “legalism against legalism”.

Living in reaction to their own past, they feel very SELF-RIGHTEOUS in regard to the ignorant folk who still think like they used to think. Thus they fail to see their own present ignorance. They have not even repented of their first version of legalism. They blame that legalism on those who taught them.

They claim to have been Christians even when they were Arminians. Thus they cannot see their present Arminianism.They are not yet submitted to the righteousness revealed in the gospel. In reaction to being legalists, they have now become pluralists who deny that any belief system of doctrines is necessary.

They fail to see that this reactionary idea is itself a system of doctrine. We don’t have rigid doctrine, they claim, but only searching together and community. But just wait to find out how their loving community will search with you if you say that there is only one gospel and that those who do not believe it are lost!

Before one talked about lost and saved, now one talks about individualism vs. living in community. Before one said that doctrine defined the person you believed in, now you have a doctrine about “community” which demands that all other doctrines be adjusted or sacrificed to fit that paradigm. Those who will not submit to be included or translated into this pluralist framework are consigned to the margins as people with whom nobody can search.


Grace but not Justice?, not from God!

August 10, 2009

“Legalism is the belief that God does not act of grace but acts out of justice in giving his favor.” The false gospel of Chuck Swindoll does not teach the justice of God in saving elect sinners. The false gospel only talks about “unmerited favor”.

Missing from the false gospel is the righteousness the God-man obtained for those God favors. Yes, the Bible teaches God’s love and favor for the elect. But the Bible has no either/or between grace and justice, because God is both just and justifier of some of the ungodly

When God justifies the ungodly elect, God is not justifying the better performers or the better non-performers. When God justifies the ungodly elect, God is acting out of justice to Jesus Christ and to Himself by crediting these elect with the righteousness the incarnate God-man established for the elect in history.

This righteousness is the value of Christ’s death. That righteousness is not “unmerited favor” or some inscrutable “sovereign act of grace”. Christ’s death for the elect was God’s perfect satisfaction of God’s law ( and there is legal solidarity between the elect who need this righteousness and Christ who by His death JUSTLY earned this righteousness.

Romans 3: 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith IN HIS BLOOD, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented Jesus to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.

The Crazy Idea of Justification Not by Works

August 4, 2009

from  Sam Leith, London Teegraph 2005:

“Roughly put, antinomianism is the idea that justification by faith liberates you from the need to do good works…It can be seen, in some way, as the squaring of a tricky theological circle: the Calvinist idea that the Elect have been singled out for salvation as part of the divine scheme long before any of them were twinkles in the twinkles in their ancestors’ eyes. if justification by faith, rather than by works, is the high road to heaven, the logical extreme of the position is that works don’t matter at all.

“Divine grace, over which we have no control, brings about faith. Faith brings about salvation. Ergo, if you’re not touched by grace, there’s nothing much you can do… If, on the other hand, you are one of the Elect, whoop de doo: no amount of bad behavior is going to prevent Jesus seeing you right. This is a pretty crazy view to take, most of us would agree, and historically it has tended to be discouraged by both civic and religious authorities for rather obvious reasons.”

Piper says he’s also an Arminian

August 4, 2009

In Taste and See (Multnomah,1999, p325), John Piper endorses the conditional false gospel. “Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins. Now, as far as it goes, this is biblical teaching.”

Piper then goes on to disagree with Arminians for not teaching that Christ died to purchase faith for the elect. But he does not disagree with the Arminians about propitiation and substitution and punishment.

Piper’s false gospel does not teach that Christ was specifically punished for the elect alone . It still only has a punishment in general, to be assigned later to those who believe. But  he does insist that Christ also died for the elect to give them something extra that He will not be giving the non-elect?  Piper’s false gospel misses being true gospel in two important and related ways.

First, the false gospel fails to report that Christ was punished specifically for the elect, and when it does that, it will be heard every time as saying that there was enough punishment done to Christ to save even people who will nevertheless end up being punished. Thus, even though it has punishment, this false gospel is not about punishment that replaces punishment for all whom Christ intended to save. It has punishment without any intention of Christ to save anybody in particular at all.

Piper’s punishment- in- general gospel (with faith purchased extra for the elect) is no gospel in a second and important way.  It makes the important atonement to be something other than the punishment of Christ. It makes the real reconciliation to be the Spirit Christ purchased giving people faith to believe, even if they happen to believe a message that says Christ died for every sinner.

The alternative here is to either claim that people who have never heard the gospel are saved, or to claim that general punishment for nobody in particular is the gospel. In any case, it is not the good news about the real meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection.

If we jump ahead to the things Christ has bought for believers, even including their believing, without telling it straight about the punishment of Christ specifically for the elect, then we will continue to love a gospel which has no election in it and no punishment to release the elect from guilt. If we jump ahead in that way, we jump over why God’s love for the elect is never described apart from the death of Christ.

If the death of Christ is not that which saves any specific sinner, then the death of Christ does not save sinners. If the atonement is Christ purchasing faith to give elect sinners a portion in a general punishment, then the punishment of Christ was not for salvation. The false gospel which nullifies election also nullifies justification by the punishment of Christ.

The false gospel which nullifies justification by the punishment of Christ nullifies justification by the righteousness of Christ. It talks about justification by the imputed righteousness, but without ever talking about God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ. It won’t say whose sins were imputed to Christ.

It refuses to say anybody’s sins were imputed to Christ, because it refuses to say it was the sins of the elect alone which were imputed to Christ. Such a false gospel nullifies the love of God for the elect. But God’s grace by which God gives Christ to be punished for the elect will not be nullified.