Evangelicals All Kind of Like Conditions

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 alternatives here  are 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 believe and teach 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.

This false gospel 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.

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7 Comments on “Evangelicals All Kind of Like Conditions”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Jonathan Edwards “Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others; and there shall be no such thing as envy in
    heaven.”

    Mark Jones quotes Flavel —An Antecedent Condition signifying no more than an Act of ours, which though it be neither perfect in every degree, nor in the least meritorious of the benefit conferred; nor performed in our own natural strength; yet according to the constitution of the Covenant, is required of us in order to the blessings consequent

    Mark Jones—“Flavel makes a further distinction between faith ‘essentially’ considered and faith considered ‘organically and instrumentally.’ Faith essentially considered refers to obedience, ‘and in that respect we exclude it from JUSTIFYING our persons, or entitling us to the saving-mercies of the New Covenant.’ HOWEVER, faith “organically” considered refers to its instrumentality,..Rutherford speaks well for Reformed theologians when he says: ‘conditions wrought in us by grace, such as we assert, take not one jot or title of the freedom of grace away.Before critiquing Piper, I think Irons needs to read more carefully on the different senses of ‘condition’ in the Reformed tradition.”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/07/rewarding-our-children-for-obe.php

  2. markmcculley Says:

    http://www.challies.com/articles/is-forgiveness-conditional-or-unconditional

    I have two short responses

    1. God’s love is not conditional, because God gives faith and repentance to all whom God loves.

    2. We are not God, and there is no “parity” between our attitude to other sinners and the Holy Sinless God’s forgiveness of sinners.

    how should we forgive? On conditions or without conditions? If we don’t forgive, will that prove we never believed ? but 3. did you ever notice that the people who make our forgiveness of other sinners conditional on those sinners (which God does not), think that they are meeting the conditions of salvation WITHOUT ACTUALLY FORGIVING. The OFFER to forgive (now the potato is in your hands) means these people can get assurance without forgiving but only OFFERING to forgive.

    Did Jesus die for all the future sins of the justified elect? Did Jesus even die for their sin of not loving their enemies? Did Jesus die for their sin of not forgiving their brothers and sisters?

    Tianqi Wu Then we see the parable of unforgiving servant is not threatening the believer God will revoke forgiveness if you don’t forgive your brother likewise (if this is true, then time to join the Arminians!) but describing by a human analogy how sinful it would be to not forgive your brother when you have been forgiven by God.

    1, in the parable, the master forgives monetary debts, but not sinful conduct (the servant being unmerciful)

    2, in the parable, the master’s forgiveness of debt is by master’s absorption of the loss which he can change mind about later, not by an complete, settled payment by a mediator.

    Some of those who divide sin into sin against law and sin against grace, says sin against law is forgiven, IF you do not sin against grace

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Bradley Green, Covenant and Commandment, IVP, 2014, p 63—-“According to Meredith Kline, we are saved by a works principle (Christ’s work for the elect), but Kline thinks that Christ’s work must be kept totally and utterly sequestered from Abraham’s work and from our work. …Kline imports unnecessary categories when he says that there are no conditions (hence not a necessity of obedience) related to the heavenly realm where grace reigns. Does it not make more sense to simply say that within a gracious covenantal relationship God moves his covenant people to obey him.?

    mark mcculley–I am reporting, not agreeing with Green or John Frame or Gaffin. Have you ever noticed that the folks who want to say that there was “grace” in the garden before the fall are the same persons who want to say that grace after the fall includes law and conditions?

    John Frame (law and gospel) —“It is impossible to say that the law is excluded from the message of the gospel.”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    ohn Murray, The Covenant of Grace— “How then are we to construe the conditions of which we have spoken? The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. For apart from the fulfillment of these conditions the grace bestowed and the relation established are meaningless. Grace bestowed implies a subject and reception on the part of that subject. The relation established implies mutuality.”

    Murray—“But the conditions in view are not conditions of bestowal. They are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant relation is inconceivable….Viewed in this light that the breaking of the covenant takes on an entirely different complexion. It is not the failure to meet the terms of a pact nor failure to respond to the offer of favorable terms of contractual agreement. It is unfaithfulness to a relation constituted and to grace dispensed. By breaking the covenant what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of consummated fruition.”

    Murray–“It should be noted also that the necessity of keeping the covenant is bound up with the particularism of this covenant. The covenant does not yield its blessing to all indiscriminately. The discrimination which this covenant exemplifies accentuates the sovereignty of God in the bestowal of its grace and the fulfillment of its promises. This particularization is correlative with the spirituality of the grace bestowed and the relation constituted and it is also consonant with the exactitude of its demands.”

    Murray—“A covenant which yields its blessing indiscriminately is not one that can be kept or broken. We see again, therefore, that the intensification which particularism illustrates serves to accentuate the keeping which is indispensable to the fruition of the covenant grace.”

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Vos–Evidence that in this sense conditions are attached to the covenant of grace: 1.The Scriptures speak in this way: John 3:16, 36; Rom 10:9; Acts 8:37; Mark 16:16; and in many other places.
    2.If there were no conditions, there would be no place for threats, for threatening only makes sense to those who reject the conditions; that is to say here, those who do not walk in the God-ordained way of the covenant.
    3.If there were no conditions, God alone would be bound by this covenant, and no bond would be placed on man. Thereby the character of the covenant would be lost. All covenants contain two parts.”

    Vos—The covenant of grace is not conditional concerning the covenant benefits. Let us say, for example, that justification is a covenant benefit….But now, what about faith itself? Is faith, in its turn, again tied to something else? Evidently not, for otherwise we would get an infinite series, and nowhere would there be an absolute beginning where the grace of God intervenes. Therefore, we say that the covenant of grace is conditional with respect to its completion and final benefits, not as concerns its actual beginning.

    • markmcculley Says:

      Vos—We find that there is real gospel under the theocracy. The people of God of those days did not live and die under an unworkable, unredemptive system of religion, that could not give real access to and spiritual contact with God. Nor was this gospel-element contained exclusively in the revelation that preceded, accompanied, and followed the law; it is found in the law itself. That which we call ‘the legal system’ is shot through with strands of gospel and grace and faith (Vos, 1948, 129)

      Vos–Evidence that in this sense conditions are attached to the covenant of grace: 1.The Scriptures speak in this way: John 3:16, 36; Rom 10:9; Acts 8:37; Mark 16:16; and in many other places.
      2.If there were no conditions, there would be no place for threats, for threatening only makes sense to those who reject the conditions; that is to say here, those who do not walk in the God-ordained way of the covenant.
      3.If there were no conditions, God alone would be bound by this covenant, and no bond would be placed on man. Thereby the character of the covenant would be lost. All covenants contain two parts.”

      Vos—Is faith, in its turn, again tied to something else? Evidently not, for otherwise we would get an infinite series, and nowhere would there be an absolute beginning where the grace of God intervenes. Therefore, we say that the covenant of grace is conditional with respect to its completion and final benefits, not as concerns its actual beginning.

      Vos—”The idea of commitment is employed in order to deny fellowship the name of covenant. But this whole objection immediately collapses as soon as one makes a distinction between the initial assent of faith and the ongoing exercise of faith. Faith is the ongoing activity that unlocks continual access to the good things of the covenant

      Vos—The presumption is always that the children of the covenant, who are under the covenant bond, will also be led into covenant fellowship. Election is FREE, but it is not on that account ARBITRARY. Therefore, we say: of those born under the covenant, not only is it REQUIRED WITH DOUBLE FORCE that they believe and repent, but it is likewise expected with a double confidence that they will be regenerated in order to be able to believe and repent.

      Vos–If for a long time he remains unconverted and unbelieving, the covenant relationship does not immediately end, and the requirement also does not cease, and the comfort likewise is not removed. But for the person himself, by his unbelief and impenitence, that comfort DIMINISHES with every moment

  6. markmcculley Says:

    In theory, there is no curse for those in Christ Jesus, but in practical reality, you have to obey the warnings or you won’t be in Christ Jesus. Which would mean you were never in Christ Jesus, because justification was in Christ’s death alone, but sanctification is not in Christ’s death alone but also in your daily dying, and if you don’t die daily, then you won’t stay sanctified, and you won’t stay in the covenant, which means that you were never justified. Justification itself is by Christ’s death alone, but the assurance of it depends on how you obey the warnings so as to not lose your sanctification.
    Since our context is not legalism but antinomianism, we don’t need all that justification stuff, we need sanctification
    The gospel depends on the situation, the gospel depends on those who hear it, and now in our situation, we need the gospel to be the law, and we need the gospel to be what condemns people–because many are born in the church and many are born in the covenant, so what will condemn them is not the law, because what will condemn them is the gracious but conditional promise of the covenant, what will condemn them is “grace”— a grace common between those who believe and those who don’t believe. Grace for everybody, but believing for some.

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


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