Doug Wilson Lets God Unfold His Decrees
I don’t agree with the way that Doug Wilson can’t make a distinction between Bible covenants. Wilson assumes that two kinds of election in the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants means two kinds of election in the new covenant.
Of course Doug Wilson is not the only paedobaptist to say “the covenant” as if that’s saying the same thing as “the gospel”. Nor is he the only paedobaptist to make a distinction between the new covenant and election. But since mono-covenantalism is his central doctrine, Wilson is more consistent than most paedobaptists in how this works out in his doctrine of assurance.
In this case, being consistent is not a good thing, because Wilson has confused his ecclesiology with the gospel itself, which means that his false gospel is about grace helping people keep the conditions of “staying in the covenant”.
Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election. But we do not drag the decrees down into our understanding of history — we let God unfold His unchangeable decrees throughout the process of all history. The content of the ultimate decrees is none of our current business, although we cheerfully acknowledge that the decrees are really there and that they have an unchanging content.”
Wilson certainly begs the question ecclesiologically. I suppose it’s big of him to let God reveal in the Bible that there is a decretal election. When Wilson “understands” that we can’t understand decretal election, he fails to make a distinction between knowing that there is such an election, and knowing who is elect. While the Bible does not tell who is elect, God does reveal that all the elect and only the elect will believe the gospel.
But Wilson “understands” the gospel as that which does not talk about decretal election. So his gospel does not tell the good news about Christ having only died for the decretally elect, nor does his gospel tell the good news about the decretally elect hearing and believing the true gospel.
Doug Wilson: “Because of the promises of the covenant, we may deal with election on our end, which is covenant election. The decrees are on God’s end. It is important for us to know that God does what He does on His end, but we only know that He is doing it, not what He is doing.”
Doug Wilson can know if “members in the covenant” on “this end” are meeting the conditions of “the covenant” well enough to have their infants baptized in the covenant. But since Doug Wilson teaches future justification, he is saying that nobody— parents or children—can know they will always have lasting life and the forgiveness of sins.
Doug Wilson thinks that having assurance is nothing but subjective pietism, and that threats and warnings are way more useful, at least for those in the covenant.
According to Romans 9:11, we cannot say grace alone without talking decretal election”.. Of course we don’t have to use those words, but we have to explain that Christ did not die for a group to be named later. Nor did Jesus Christ die for a subset which manages (by cooperating grace) to “stay in the covenant”. Romans 9 is not only talking about the “covenantally elect”.
“Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call.”
Both were in that covenant. God’s purpose of election is about God’s decree. We need to see the connection between “not because of works” and decretal election. When evangelicals attempt to leave out the “for the elect alone” and discuss the gospel without talking about decretal election, they end up saying “not because of works but because of faith alone”.
Most “Reformed” folks grew up believing in a “faith alone” gospel, and now they still believe in a faith alone gospel but know in addition that the faith came to the elect from God. If the object of the “faith alone” is a false gospel which says that Christ loves everybody and died for everybody (in some “covenantal” sense?) and that “faith alone” is some kind of condition of this salvation, then this “faith alone” is not in the true Christ but is instead in “faith alone”.
Romans 1:16, “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Evangelicals understand this as teaching that salvation is conditioned on “faith alone”. Evangelicals don’t understand the gospel. Decretal election is God’s idea. This idea goes along with the idea of “not works”. Romans 9:11: “In order that God’s election might continue, not because of works.”
Romans 11:5, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would be no more grace.”
Does the apostle Paul not understand that you can say “not by works “ without talking about decretal election? Why doesn’t he just say: “by faith and not by works”? Why does he bring in this idea of a remnant? And this “remnant” is not the “covenantally elect”. Paul is writing about decretal election in order to explain what he means by faith. Paul does not regard faith as a substitute for works. But neither does Paul regard faith as a substitute for Christ’s righteousness.
Romans 4:4 “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted unto righteousness.”
God does not count faith as the righteousness. God counts the object of faith as the righteousness. Because the object of faith is Christ’s righteousness, not His presence in us, but His accomplished obedience even unto death.
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