Is Daniel Fuller’s Conditionality the Answer to Dispensationalism?
I quote Daniel Fuller (Unity of the Bible, 143): “NOT ONLY must we trust that His death on the cross enables God to forgive our sins, but to believe properly we must also continually believe in God’s promises as an indispensable component of genuine faith…”
While “unconditional” election supposedly is not part of the gospel but only that which secretly makes the gospel work, the gospel according to Daniel Fuller is not only the work of Christ outside of us but also the work of Christ in us.
But what happens if I do not “continually believe as much as I should”? We are told not to be “overscrupulous”. “Justifying faith need not be perfect or flawless, or superhuman faith.”
The Fuller/ Piper perspective focuses on commands of God “to those already in the family”, to those “already in the covenant” and explains that we don’t need to be exactly perfect.
But the gospel says that all saving faith is the fruit of the righteousness obtained for the elect AND that justification is not a future thing dependent on our future works or future faith or future works of faith. This is what we learned when we are taught the gospel: it is the very thing Fuller and Piper leave behind when they start saying the faith doesn’t need to be perfect.
Fuller explains that “Calvin’s exegesis of key passages in Romans and Galatians can be seen as positioning the law of Moses as a ‘law of works’ not based on faith at all.
I think Calvin got this one right! Gal 2:16-3:13 are not about a “misunderstanding” of works. Galatians puts works in antithesis to faith in a way that Daniel Fuller will not allow.
All I seem to read from some Reformed folks is that dispensationalists are wrong about law and grace. These Reformed guys have never once in their lives been accused of being “antinomian”.
What bothers them most is any talk of “eternal security” or “unconditionality”.
Of course election is unconditional, they formally consent in their confessions. BUT in the end everything DEPENDS on THE COVENANT which of course to many (but not all!) Reformed scholars is conditional, depending on God causing us us doing our part.
Instead of being dispensationalists, they have decided that the law is gospel after all. They started by talking about the “grace of law”.
Perhaps there is no blank page in their Bibles between the Old and New Testaments. But there seems to be a blank where Romans 6:14 reads “not under law but under grace”. The apostle Paul seems to be operating there with an old perspective in which one thing depends for its definition on not being another thing.