Looking Back at Repentance of a False Gospel, by Tianqi Wu

Tianqi Wu —While I was unconverted, I began to realize that penal substitution logically implies limited-by-God and effectual-in-itself atonement. But rather than submitting to the truth glorifying the righteous God and Savior, I refused to believe it, and considered it a “theology of glory” because it attributed “cold and calculated” success to God .

Instead, I started looking for alternative views of atonement in which God “takes the risk” so that all sinners get the opportunity to “embrace God’s loving arms”, with any legal requirement hidden in the background as a formal necessity, so that “what really matters” is what is happening now in the God-man relationship.

I was not in neutral. I loved an idol, a false god whose glory was in trying his best to save everybody in spite of foreknowing failure.

There were two main assumptions behind my faith in this false gospel.

1 I understood “grace” as God in his sovereignty choosing to see the best in us, so that even though we are sinful and profane, god still sees some broken reflection of his image in us, and therefore is moved to save us – unless we harden ourselves to even destroy that broken likeness. In other words, I made God’s grace crowd out his justice and holiness, turning grace into a tribute to what’s in the sinner.

2 My boast was that (unlike others who spurned the love of god) I was one of those prodigal sons who had come to their senses and found their way home and made father happy. I wanted my salvation to be about my faith journey, to have my seeking in it, to have my commitment in it, to have my perseverance in it. I was usurping the glory of Christ by conditioning salvation on my faith.

I wanted to be the one who was finally decisive in my relationship with god, and I wanted to make sure that god’s grace on me was not wasted and I did not let god down in his risk-taking, I wanted to make a name for myself as a “grace receiver” rather than a “grace rejecter”. I had no fear of God and his Law, but proudly rejected any god who would condemn sinners for their sins “without giving them a opportunity to be saved”. I had no clue of the righteousness of God that answered his demand in the Law, but covertly tried to establish my own righteousness under the mask of “receiving grace”.

I was hostile to (unconditional) grace for the elect alone but found beauty in a conditional “grace” for everybody. The true God has now caused me to submit to and love the only true and good news…unconditional election deciding for whom Christ would die, this atoning death securing its own application, justification by imputation, sovereign regeneration & revelation of gospel, and God’s permanent security & preservation

Romans 6: 20 For when you WERE slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the THINGS OF WHICH YOU ARE NOW ASHAMED? For the end of those things is death.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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7 Comments on “Looking Back at Repentance of a False Gospel, by Tianqi Wu”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu —God’s truth doesn’t depend on the motive of the sinner who believes it.
    Let God be true, and every human a liar.
    It makes no difference what you “want” – whether you only care about deliverance from God’s wrath, or you also want deliverance from sinning
    As long as God’s wrath is real, your “wanting” in no way makes you “fitting” for God to relent towards you and give you “chance”.
    God’s wrath is propitiated towards all for whom he died and who have been placed into that death . A deficiency in your “wanting” cannot change the gospel indicative.
    do you look down your nose at OTHER sinners who don’t want salvation the way you do as lacking your good motives – these OTHERS still “love their sins” (while you do not)?
    The sovereign mercy of God, not the apology of the sinner, is what makes the difference between saved and lost.
    Jeremiah 9: 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu. Many of those who condition salvation on the sinner reason from the incarnation to a potential universal reconciliation between God and all of humanity..
    The Magisterial Reformed traditions reason from the incarnation to an ontological union of heaven and earth in sacramental “means of grace”
    Sanctification is separation, not growth. Growth is an effect of sanctification and justification.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    John MacArthur: “When God forgives, He cannot merely overlook sin. Full payment (atonement) must be made for our sin. Christ’s death made full atonement for those who trust Him. If we believe Him, His dying counts in our stead, paying for our sins in full.”

    This sounds like saying that Christ died for some sinners because he foreknew they would believe . If- if you believe now , then that made Christ die for you 2000 years ago. In this case, you may have “definite atonement” in that the extent of the atonement is only for the elect and it is also taught that election is what causes some sinners to believe. But you do not have the gospel of the elect’s sins imputed by God to Christ, and you do not have God’s electing love having decided for whom Christ would make propiation.

    Instead you have your faith making God decide to forgive you, It’s like teaching that faith is the reason for the atonement, even if at other times (when you are not doing evangelism?) you explain that election is the reason for your faith.

    in any case MacArthur is not teaching that faith is given because of the atonement, even when on some occasions he agrees that faith is given because of election.

    In that case, faith becomes way more important than atonement. Your faith becomes a request for Christ to please die for you. . Adding in the idea that God now sovereignly determines who makes this request does not change the false gospel which knows nothing of God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    esus , “woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish but inside are full of extortion and self-indulgence.” Hypocrisy is a real sin, something to be ashamed of, something to repent for. It is shameful ….
    But there is something to be said for it. “Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.” The hypocrite, while she may be caught up in whatever sin she is caught up in, is able to recognize virtue and desires to be perceived as virtuous even while lacking virtue. We as hypocrites we cover our sins because we also recognize them as sins.
    We postmoderns hate hypocrisy, not because we have such an abiding commitment to the virtue of honesty, but for the same reason we judge so harshly those who judge. There are those who hide their vice by arguing that their vice is a virtue (greed, selfishness)
    For many, avoiding hypocrisy is the only means of atonement for sin. But do these people avoid hypocrisy?
    “Well, I may be selfish , but at least I’m honest about it.” This proud confession of sin is a diabolical perversion of true repentance. We “acknowledge our sin” in that we admit to doing what we did, but we dismiss sin because in admitting it we make it no longer a sin.
    Admitting is our way to make atonement for it

    • markmcculley Says:

      I hear this preacher soundbite—“it’s a precious and rare thing to find a sinner” It’s like preachers are saying that’s the end of the story, and thee is no more need to know about Christ and how Christ atoned or how Christ justifies

      though only ungodly sinners are justified
      or need to be justified
      this does not mean that God justifies all ungodly sinners

      you can be a sinner without being justified
      you can know you are a sinner without being justified
      God never will justify all sinners

      Jesus rejects many sinners as His guilty clients, because Jesus was never the mediator for many guilty sinners

      God’s election comes first before Christ’s atonement
      Atonement to satisfy justice is a result of God’s love for the elect
      God’s love for the elect is not a result of Atonement for the elect

      This means that election is not the same thing as the atonement
      This means that election is not the same thing as justification.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi wu–at the root of all forms of “Lordship salvation” is a confusion of Law and faith. This issue is not addressed by the antinomianism of Arminian “free grace”, Calvinist “free offer”, or Lutheran “sacrament”. In fact, after getting rid of law, they all end up making faith a new law. If you get rid of law, you will put in a new law in some form.
    Law is not of faith.
    This sentence is not about our way of doing it. For sure, Law condemns man’s not understanding God, not seeking God, using deceit, not knowing a way of peace. Law condemns the false gospel of salvation by doing law.
    Yet, it still says, Law is not of faith.
    This difference, then, lies not in man’s response, but in God’s purpose.
    God’s purpose of Law is a revelation of His righteous judgment. The Law is a standard to which all are compared, and found falling short. It shuts up all under sin.
    Faith is set against this background, not nullifying it, nor blended into it. When there is no righteousness on earth, faith is the divine revelation of a righteousness from heaven coming all the way down that brings salvation out of the heart of the earth, causing righteousness to spring up on earth.
    This righteousness from heaven is not incarnation of the Word alone, or the life of the incarnate son alone, but him having become obedient unto death, died on a cross, God having condemned sin in his body, concerning the sin of the elect. The firstfruit of salvation by this righteousness is his own resurrection from the grave. The righteousness that springs up on earth because of this is the justification of the elect in time.
    There are many forms of “Lordship salvation” some are broader, some are narrower even some of the Arminian “free grace” movement is some sense a kind of “Lordship salvation” – a reduced version, cutting down the condition to one thing they think everybody can do if they so will
    You can search some of these people (e.g. “ex preacher man”) and feel their wrath towards those they call Calvinists – they think those who reject their “free grace” are committing a sin beyond all other sins, implying that they are saved because they loved the “truth”
    This, to me, is the commonality of the various kinds of Arminianism – a man is saved because of his accepting “the truth”
    This can be subtle – as I oppose the view that truth is optional – what I’m exposing here is the view that one’s accepting “the truth” is their righteousness
    How? Don’t they say God gives the “gift of righteousness” – if you accept? Indeed, what they say is, your accepting ENTITLES you to the receiving of this righteousness. The game being played here is by introducing a condition but insisting on not calling it “righteousness”, disguising the nature of the scheme – the “imputed righteousness” becomes something obtained on the basis of man’s doing this one RIGHT THING – accepting it, not rejecting it
    Some are perhaps less wrathful towards Calvinists, and care less about any notion of “truth”, but equally insisting on man’s accepting as instrumental condition to receiving righteousness – to borrow a phrase from another category, less moralist, more sacramental; they will more consistently emphasize “faith” is not a good work, but then say this not-a-good-work “faith” is specially divinely appointed as the condition on man’s side to receive righteousness.
    In this “Lordship” (perfectionism, Neonomian, “experimental” assurance by works, “covenantal” perseverance, …) vs “Free grace” (Lutheran sacrament, Marrow offer, Arminian decisionist, …) controversy, the ”Free Grace’ side emphasizes on one condition (accepting what Christ did for you) to the exclusion of other conditions, while the “Lordship” side emphasizes a more comprehensive view of conditions
    There are different degrees of monergism on the condition(s) in both sides – some Lutherans/free offer Calvinists say, you cannot believe/accept unless God regenerates you; some “lordship” Calvinists say, you cannot commit/obey unless God regenerates you; some Arminian “free grace” say, you can believe if you are willing; some perfectionists say, you can obey if you are willing
    So the degree of monergism on the condition(s) is not a central issue here.
    Common to the “Free grace” side is a view of universal atonement (in some sense, so that the benefit is available to all). Common to the “Lordship” side is a view of regeneration giving (some kind of) ability to keep law (so that you will sin less, sin “differently”). Some fall in both camps – “free grace” when it comes to offer to outsiders, “lordship” once you are in.
    To me, the “Lordship” view (in its many forms) is more deceiving, since it seems to attribute “more” to the power of God in salvation
    NT has no explicit word against the teaching of universal atonement, the basis of “free offer”, since such notions were not conceived until later, but has a full epistle (Galatians) against a form of teaching similar to “Lordship salvation”, suggesting its level of deception
    “Lordship salvation” is compatible with the abstract summary of the five points. A person can be a straight double-predestination limited-atonement monergist (I’m excluding all the “free offer” people) while also a straight “Lordship salvationist”.
    “Lordship salvation” becomes more deceptive when the proponent not only subscribes to the five points but also professes “justification by faith”, only to introduce works in that justification by faith. The even more deceptive version is when they deny works in justification by faith but reintroduce works in “sanctification”. But they may not be practically distinguishable.


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