Archive for May 2019

Is Ignorance and Unbelief of the True Gospel EVIDENCE OF CONDEMNATION ?

May 23, 2019

Don Fortner—“People like to ask this silly useless question: does a person have to BELIEVE IN the sovereignty of God to be saved. If God isn’t sovereign, nobody is going to be saved. So what difference does the question make? People ask this question: can a person with Arminian faith already be in a state of justification? Faith doesn’t save. Neither Arminian or Calvinist faith saves. So what difference does the question make?”

Do not be fooled by these two “tolerant to the inconsistent” soundbites. Notice that clergyman Fortner has not answered either question. Though we agree that only the sovereign God can save, do we believe that God is “so sovereign” that God can and does justify a person without at the same time causing that person to believe in God’s righteousness and sovereignty?

Preachers who don’t take questions cover-up the implications of their bad logic. We agree that faith is not the righteouseness that Christ obtained by His death. But if the Bible teaches that God’s imputation of that righteousness results in spiritual life and faith in the promise of the gospel , then it seems proper to see ignorance and unbelief of the gospsle as evidence of still being in a condemened legal state before God . When God justifies an ungodly sinner, does God make what that sinner believes to be different than it was before?

1 Corinthians 2:12 -“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we understand the things freely given us by God.

Romans 6:17–“But thanks be to God, that you were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were haadded over.

2 Peter 1: 1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Romans 8:10–”the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

How can preachers say that assurance comes directly from the Holy Spirit by the power of the gospel (including the promise/proposition that only–as many as- believers in Christ will be justified), but then turn around and say that unbelief and ignorance of the gospel is not evidence of condemnation? First, they deny that the elect are ever condemned before God. They teach that all those who ever will be justified before God have always been justiiied before God. Second, they have reducted the “you need to be saved” to regeneration and the Holy Spirir giving life.

In response to this issue, for many years, I have consistently refused to say that the nature of justification is not a gospel issue.

Exoneration is not justification. Exoneration means either that they couldn’t prove anything on you or it mreans that you never had any guilt of condemnation in the first place.

Colossians 2:15 God erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. 15 God disarmed the powers and disgraced the powers publicly; God triumphed over the powers by Christ

There are preachers who can find a “four-fold meaning” to words like “justification” and “redemption” and “reconciliation”. These prechers impose their “four realms system” onto Scriptures despite context and without asking any questions about what anybody else ever thought or wrote about a Bible text. But Colossians 2:15 is not about “only in our conscience” or us against God. The problem was guilt imputed by God and condemnation against us by God. Christ became legally alive to sin and then by His death on the cross Christ became dead to sin. Christ became the righteousness, and this righteousess is imputed by God to the elect in order for them to pass from condemnation to justification.

Romans 6:9–“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all time . Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ.

Bill Parker taught condemnation before justifiction in 2001 ,in the August Reign of Grace Newsletter,-“The guilt of sin is that which keep sinners under condemnation and wrath. Believers are not dead to the presence, power and influence of sin their character and conduct, but the moment God brought them out of condemnation and into the blessed state of justification, based on the righteousness of Christ, they BECAME totally and legally dead to the guilt of sin….”

This was the consistent teaching from Reign of Grace taped sermons during that time. This was the time and means by which God taught me to understand and believe the gospel. I was not justified before God before I believed that gospel. As far as I can tell, these tape series are no longer available from Reign of Grace.

In a book published in 2019,the Righteousness of God, p 145, Bill Parker teaches his different doctrine (the one taught by John Gill and some others, but denied by Abraham Booth and John Owen)—” The only way the elect have ever been under God’s wrath is as they stood legally in Christ…This means that God’s elect have never personally been under God’s wrath.”

Henry Mahan—“When did this righteousness Christ brought in come to you? You don’t have this righteousness imputed to you before you believe the God of the gospel.”

Romans 4: 4 Righteousness WILL BE IMPUTED TO US WHO BELIEVE IN HIM who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 The Lord was handed over up because of our sins and raised because of our justification.

There is a difference between the righteousness of Christ’s death and God’s imputation of Christ’s death and the justification which follows God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect.

Let me note by way of parenthesis that Bill Parker and I seem to be in agreement that Christ’s death is Christ’s rightousness. We seem to agree in not making Christ’s law-keeping (necessary and vicarous though it is) to be Christ’s righteousnes. Even though Bill does not address the idea of law-keeping being imputed in his new book, he avoids repeating the tradition that Christ’s death “would only take us back to neutral”. But even in talking about Christ’s death, Bill Parker also seems to deny that “accomplished” means that Christ was legally under guilt and wrath before God. 226 “Some argue that righteouenss did not exist until Chrsit actually came in time and died on the cross. But it did exist in the mind of God, who see things as they exist in eternity.

Does Go not know the difference between what God has purposed and what God has brought in (obtained) by Christ’s death as fulifllment of that purpose?

Robert Haldane, p 194–“there are some who, strongly impressed with the great evil of making faith a work, have plunged into a contrary extreme, as if justification were independent of faith, or as if faith were merely an accidental or unimportant thing in justification. This also is a great error. Faith is as necessary in justification as the sacrifice of Christ itself, but necessary for a different purpose.”

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

Ephesians 2:13 –Now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

God’s elect were once far away, not only in our own conscience and mind, but also before God’s justice.

It is a very bad over-reaction against those (like Don Fortner) who say that Christ was made corrupt to deny redemptive history and to falsely claim that Christ was never MADE anything.

It would be wrong to deny that God the Son BECAME incarnate, both God and Human. It would also be wrong to deny that God the Son was first imputed with the guilt of the elect, and then that LATER IN HISTORY God the Son was raised from His death (His death because of that imputed guilt). Because all the elect will be justified, Christ was raised from the dead. Because Christ’s death paid for all those sins, those sins are no longer imputed to Christ, and so it was that Christ was raised from the dead. This is history. This is news.

2 Corinthians 21 He MADE the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, in order that we BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be MADE alive. I Corinthians 15 is not describing all sinners. I am not denying that all humans were imputed with Adam’s guilt. But I Corinthinas 15 is about “all” who were elect in Christ—they will all be justified before God.

I have consistently refused to say that the timing of justification has no logical implications for the definition and nature of justification. I refuse to decide beforehand that “this is not a gospel issue”. I also have a long time policy of not saying up front that people who don’t believe something are Christians. Instead of retreating to the non-biblical phrase “gospel issue”, I want to keep talking about what the gospel is. I don’t want to shut down the conversaton, to say no more questions unless you first agree that those on both sides of this issue are Christians.

We can’t say, well we really are sayug the same thing. No, we are not. If we are saying the same thing, is what you are saying now the same as what you were always saying? And if what you are saying differently now is not important, then why not keep saying it the same way you used to say it?

Bill Parker used to teach the same thing I have been teaching (18 years) about the elect being condemned before justification. What I am teaching I learned from Bill Prker (and David Adkins, and then reading Abraham Booth, who read John Owen). I love Bill Parker. Nobody, not Bill, not anybody has any obligation do discuss anything with me, But I don’t think it does anybody any good to say that “we are all” teaching the same thing. We are not.

I have always been wary about who are the “we” and “you”. It’s easy to say, “well THEY left us so THEY never belonged to US.” But that tends to be what people say about each other. For example, “were YOU there when THEY crucified MY Lord” Is the “you” us? Who are ‘them”? Is “my” Lord the Lord of everybody or is “my” Lord only the Lord who stays with us when we change doctrines?

Enough already with these anonymous “conversations”. “They said that and then I said that”. Guess who always wins the “conversation”! We do.

I know about this. Why even begin a “discussion” with me? I am just waiting for you to finish commenting so that I can say what I was already thinking before you started.

None of us feels properly “listened to” (or read). if you are going to say—that was good, you need to let me know you know what I said. Otherwise, it’s “good sermon” but either “gospel” so no questions or “not a gospel issue” so no questions…

Is it a situation of where “we can’t afford to lose any more friends” so we can’t talk about it? Or is it a case of “since we can’t talk about it, what we have is not real fellowship but merely eating toether while ssying words that can be taken different ways by different people?

Are we supposed to say, Randy Wages is teaching the nature of justification different now, so now let’s all teach it the way he’s teaching it? I asked Randy once, were you regenerate and had spiritaal life before you began teaching that the elect were always justified before God. Randy Wages assured me that he was already effectually called before he had ever heard the doctrine of “never personally condemned before God.” But then Randy warned me that this was the best way to show that faith in the gospel is not the righteousness. Randy also told me that he had found out that some people he thought were regenerate exposed thmmselves as not yet knowing the gospel when he brought up to them the idea of “eternal justification before God”. The implication to me was that, if I had not heard or known about “eternal justification”, then posssibly I was already regenerate, but if I questioned the “never under the wrath even in unbelief” doctrine when informed about it, this would raise questions in Randy’s mind about if I knew that faith was not the righteousness. Not saying it the same way Randy was now sayung it would cause Randy to doubt if I knew the gospel.

As far as I know. Bill Parker has never said that we all need to talk about the nature of justiication the same way he now does. I know for a fact that bill Parker has had to distance himself from some other preachers who insist on no fellowship with those like me who teach that God’s imputation of sins to Christ is different from God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness (in time) to the elect.

“Only believers in Christ are justified” is part and parcel of the gospel. If you exclude this promise from the gospel, then you have a bad soundbite which opens the door to those who believe that faith is evidence of justification before God but who do not believe that ignorance and unbelief of the gospel is evidence of condemnation before God.

Taking the promise to faith out of the gospel also opens the door to the equation of election and justification. This equation eliminates the importance of redemptive history. A redemption which God imputes to sinners before history begins opens to the door to a redemption which already existed before being accomplished by the Christ revealed in the Bible.

There is a distinction to be made between Christ’s death as satisfaction for sins imputed and God’s imputation of that “reconciliation” to the elect (receiving the righteousness by God’s imputation, Romans 5:11 and 17) in order to their justification. In order for there to be justification of the ungodly, there had to be condemnation (before God guilty and ungodly)

“Never condemned and never under the wrath” is a MYTH. This is NOT what the Bible teaches, but something invented by preachers who attempt to imply that everybody who disagrees with them are Arminian. You can’t be incorrect about the extent of the atonement and be correct about the nature of the atonement. You can’t be incorrect about guilt and condemnation and be correct about the nature of justification.

Does “never personally under the wrath of God” mean “never under the wrath of God? In what sense was an elect person ever guilty and condemned before God? Does the word “personally” suggest that in some way or other the elect were ignorant and unbelieving of the gospel because they did not yet have Christ’s righteousness imputation to them?

Does “made” (or “become”) always mean something more or different than imputation? If Christ in history was “never under the wrath of God” and if the elect in history were “never under the wrath of God” , who was ever saved in history from being under the wrath of God?

If there is no before and after to God’s justification of the ungodly , then there is no before and after to good works

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 7:4 you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD.

2 Peter 1: 1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

There is a distinction to be made between God’s imputation of sins to Christ and Christ’s death as satisfaction for those sins imputed. . And there is a distinction to be made between Christ’s death as satisfaction for sins imputed and the imputation of that “reconciliation” to elect in order to their justification. In order for there to be justification, there had to be condemnation.

The answer to those who falsely teach that our faith in Christ is the righteouensss is NOT TO DENY THAT ALL WHO ARE JUSTIFIED HAVE FAITH IN THE TRUE CHIRST. The answer to those who falsely teach that our faith in Christ is the righteouensss is NOT TO DENY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPUTED by GOD IN TIME AND RESULTS IN FAITH IN THE PROMISE OF THE GOSPEL.

The answer to Andrew Fuller reducing the atonement to the work of the Holy Spirit is not to remove Christ’s atonement from history. The answer to Andrew Fuller reducing the atonement to the work of the Holy Spirit is not to deny that justification happens in history. Those who are reaching “always justified” are teaching that “salvation” is regeneration not justification—their “you need to be saved” is only about the new birth. Their “new creation” is no longer about justification but about regeneration.

p 194, What is the righteousness, Bill Parker–” it has been saaid tht 2 cor 5:14 is about new creation and that new creation is about reconciliation not about regeneration. This is true”.
But in the next sentence Bill introduces the word “mainly”. Mainly about reonciliation (which of the four realms?)

Then one more sentence on p 194 –“it is not MAINLY about regeneration and conversion”. Then one more sentence–“HOWEVER, Paul was led of the Spirit to INCLUDE the reality of regeneration and conversion.”

Then one more sentence. Bil writes about the fruit of regeneration—:”all for whom Christ died shall live for His glory.”

I am not going to discuss everything on p 194 and the eight pages that follow, except to say one thing—though Bill began on page 194 by saying that new creation was “about reconciliation not regeneration”, the next eight pages are all about regenertion and not about reconciliation ( not atonement, not justification).

I am not here doing an analysis of what “new creation” means. I have done that in other essays, and my point is not now about if “new creation includes regeneration”. MY POINT IS THAT IF YOU PUT RECONCILIATION BEFORE HISTORY HAPPENS, then when you begin to talk about the gospel good news and being “saved”, you are NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT CHIRST BECAME AND DID.

Christ never became regenerate. Because Christ never became corrupt. Bill Parker very much agrees with that. And that is important. But when Parker talks about “new creation”, it’s not mainly about reconciliation–what Bill talks about instead is the regeneration, not the justification of the elect as ungoldy sinners. HE HAS MOVED THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BEFORE HISTORY. All for whom Christ died are already justified? How do we know for whom Christ died? is it those who say they were never condemned? Is that what it means “to live for God’s glory”?

Romans 6:7 “For one who has died has been justified from sin. 8 Now since we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer rules over Christ. 10 For the death Christ died Christ died to sin once for all time

It is a mistake to not carry the two headships of Romans 5 into Romans 6. If we carry the thought of the representative character of the two Adams from the one chapter into the other, then the difficulty of Romans 6 vanishes. “We died to sin (verse 2). This phrase frequently occurs in the writings of Paul in different forms, and it always alludes, not to an inward deliverance from sin, but to the Christian’s objective relation. It means that we are legally dead to sin in Jesus Christ. This passage applies the same language to the Lord Himself; for He is said to have died to sin once (verse 10). Now the ONLY sense in which the Sinless One can be regarded as dying to sin, is that of dying to its guilt, or to the condemning power which goes along with sin, and which must run its course wherever sin has been committed. Christ died to guilt. . Christ certainly did not die to sins indwelling power.

It might be asked, “can’t we understand that these statements designate two separate actions, one done by Christ, and a similar or parallel one done by the Holy Soirit in us teaching us thegospel? No. The acts are not two, but one. There is not one crucifixion on the part of Christ, and a second, parallel and similar but different, crucifixion on the part of His people. There is but one corporate act—the act of the “one man”.
Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law

Adam’s guilt is imputed to the elect until Christ’s death is imputed to the elect.

The elect in Christ are under condemnation until God justifies them.

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law.
Once Christ’s elect are justified , they are under grace. they were always loved, but then by God’s imputation they are justified before God, no longer under the condemnaton of law.

I do love Bill Parker. Me writing about p 194 is not me “settling old scores”. This is not me judging motives (something Bill seems to do in his last chapter when he talks about his former congregation). This is me wanting to know the truth, wanting to be clear and precise. This is me wanting not to equivocate between “salvation” and “justification”. Sure, there’s a change in spiritual life, but Romans 6 is talking about justification. There was a time when the elect were “free from righteousness”. There was a time when the elect had no righteousness imputed to them.

Bill teachs two different justifications, even though the Bible itself does not. 119 “We can say that they are justified in the court of their conscience” Bill can say it, but it’s begging the question and if it’s true, there should be some arguments that changed Bill’s mind and might change our minds.

143 “There is no salvation apart from the new birth which includes faith in Christ”. if you want to be clear and precise, you can’t switch back and forth between justification and “salvation” without definitions and distinctions. If you want to be clear, you need to give some implications , “But there is justification before faith in Christ”

If you want to stay consistent, give this implication-“But there is justification before there is ‘salvation’ Unlike I used to,I Bill Prker am now using “salvation” in a specific way. This makes it look like I am saying the same thing I always preached. But I changed my view about the nature of
justification. I also changed my view about “new creation”.

If God justifies or regenerates sinners without those sinners knowing the gospel, then what is their assurance they are actually regenerate? In Bill’s new system of theought, the assurance can’t be Christ death imputed.

Andrew Fuller’s “sufficient for all” is tantamount to identifying the doctrine of effectual calling with atonement. What Andrew Fuller really means by definite atonement is that the Spirit’s work of regeneration is only for the elect. Blame Andrew Fuller to making the atonement about what the Spirit does instead of what Christ did. But it’s a bad over-reaction to Andrew Fuller to deny that God imputes Christ’s death to sinners in time and to reduce “salvation” in history to the giving of “spiritual life”

Romans 3:19 The law speaks…in order that every mouth be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. 20 For no one will become justified in God’s sight by their works of law, because knowledge of sin comes through law…..God’s righteousness has been revealed….that is, God’s righteousness through FAITH IN Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE

The doctrine of justification in God’s sight after our condemnation in God’s sight is the gospel doctrine. It is not the same doctrine as “never condemned in God’s sight”. It’s not the same doctrine as “justified before and without faith in God’s righteousness.”

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I am NEITHER MENNONITE NOR REFORMED

May 12, 2019

Romans 3:19 law speaks…in order that every mouth be shut and the
whole worl subject to God’s judgment. 20 For no one will become justified in God’s sight by their works of law, because knowledge of sin comes through law…..God’s righteousness has been revealed….that is, God’s righteousness through FAITH IN Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE

The doctrine of justification in God’s sight after our condemnation in God’s sight is the doctrine of the true gospel news. It is not the same doctrine as “never condemned in God’s sight”. It’s not the same doctrine as “justified before faith in God’s righteousness”

Even though I think it’s sin (in this new covenant age of Christ as
lawgiver) for anybody to kill anybody, I am not Mennonite. I believe that the God revealed in the Bible imputes Adam’s guilt to us all, so that we are all born guilty in sin before God. This means that we are all born condemned before God and unable to do anything good before God. I believe that the only hope for any sinner is God’s election of some sinners. God’s election is God’s love for a
sinner,and that election is not a result of any decision made by that sinner. God’s love to a sinner is not a consequence of that sinner’s worth.

The hope of election is that all sinners Christ hss elected have been
died for by Jesus Christ. Election determines non-election, and therefore also designates those for whom Christ did not die. Christ died as a legal substitute only for the elect. This elction is not a mere matter ot God being sovereign add effective in whar God attempts to do. Christ’s death for the elect alone is a matter of God’s justice. God’s nature is not to leave sin unpunished. God’s justice teaches is that every sin imputed to Christ will in time NOT BE IMPUTED to elect sinners for whom Christ died

As a matter of justice, Jesus Christ was not merely a sacrifical offering. Being imputed with the guilt of the elect, by Christ’s nature asjust God, Christ by just necessity had to die for all the sins of all the sinners Christ loves. Divine Justice now demands that all those sinners one day be justified before God. Romans 4:25 teaches that Christ died BECAUSE OF sins. Romans 4:25 also teaches that Christ’s resurrection from death was BECAUSE OF justification. .

Justice says that all the elect for whom Christ died either have now
or will be justified. Christ Himself wss justified by His death, and
is no longer under sin. God’s law has no more to demand from Christ.
God’s law does demand the eventual justification of all for whom Chrsit died.

Romans 6:9–-“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all time

2 Corinthians 5:20–“we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is
appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to
God.” 21 God made the One WHO KNEW NO SIN TO BECOME SIN, in order that
we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 1:30– “No one can boast in God”s presence. 30 It is from
God that you are in Christ Jesus who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

If Jesus never obtained or BECAME the righteousness for the elect, then
there is no news. If Jesus never BECAME the redemption of the elect, there is no news. THE GOSPEL OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD NEWS

Hebrews 9:12–“Christ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus SECURING a permanent redemption

Hebrews 9:28–“Christ having been offered ONCE IN TIME to bear the sins of many, will appear a SECOND TIME, NOT TO BEAR SIN, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

Christ was not justified by becoming born again. Christ was justified by satisfying the righteous requirement of divine law for the sins imputed to Christ. Christ was justified by His death. Christ needed to be justified because Christ legally bore the guilt of His elect. This guilt demanded Christ’s death. Christ was not justified because of His resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was God’s delcaration of Christ’s justification, and that because of Christ’s death for sins imputed.

No elect sinner has yet been glorified or given immortality, and so sin still has power in justified sinners. Justified sinners still sin. Sin never had any power over Christ Jesus, except for the power of guilt imputed to Christ. Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that imputed guilt no longer has
any power over Christ,

I Peter 1:21 For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an EXAMPLE
so that you should follow in His steps.
22 He did not commit sin,
and no deceit was found in His mouth;
23 when He was reviled,
He did not revile in return;
when He was suffering,
He did not threaten
but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.

I am a pacifist. God gives life. God takes life, We are not God. The killing done by humans in their death penalty and wars has nothing to do with any God specifically revealed in the Bible. It’s not worship of Jesus which motivates any attempt to overcome evil with evil.

But I am not Mennonite, and not only because of what I think the Bible teaches about the sovereignty of God’s election and the justice of Christ’s atonement. I am not Mennonite because I teach the securiity of those who have now been justified before God. Divine justice demands that those now justified before God stay justified before God.

Even though the sheep (the elect) were born “already condemned” before
God, just like other humans, in each case, with every INDIVIDUAL who is elect, God by means of the Holy Spirit AND THE TRUTH teaches these unconverted and guilty sinners. In time the condemned before God elect become the justified before God elect.

God effectually calls by the power of the true gospel these elect sinners so that they willingly believe this same gospel. This gospel teaches not only election but also regeneraton to believe when God imputes Christ’s righteousness.

Those who have not yet repented of worshipping the false unjust God who fails to save any sinner for whom Christ died give no evidence of being justified yet. In fact, their ignorance and/or unbelief of the gospel is evidence that they are not yet justified before God.

John 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has lasting life,but the one who does not believe in the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on them.

2 Peter 1:1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Romans 8:10–”Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of
sin,the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I believe that each and every sinner God justifies (immediately as God imputes Christ’s death to them) CONTINUES TO BELIEVE the true gospel, and that all who truly believe as God’s gift purchased by Christ will remain repentant about false gospels, so much so that they will not regard as Christians those who continue in false gospels which teach that Jesus Christ supposedly died for everybody but where there is no justice.

John 10: the sheep hear his voice. The Shepherd calls his own sheep by individual names and leads them out. 4 When the Shepherd has brought all HIS OWN outside, the shepherd goes ahead of them. The sheep follow the shepherd because they recognize his voice.5 They will never follow a stranger. Instead they will run away from strangers, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

I am not Mennonite because Mennonites teach that Christ died for everybody, including the goats. They teach that not all for whom Christ died will be saved. They teach that future justification is determined not by Christ’s just death and resurrection but by our own decisions and morals. About this doctrine, the Reformed are not much different. Though many of them will teach that election will cause people to make correct decisions, it turns out that if a person believes in some version of “no election and died for everybody”, the Reformed still think of this as a “close enough” salvation decision.

For their assurance, anyway, the Reformed look to their own improved moral performance, even though they have a different standard for what murder means than the Mennonites do. To the extent that they talk about election, the Reformed use that doctrine either to claim that their own children are born Christians or use the doctrine of election to explain why they are inevitably
morally superior (not by themselves but with God’s assistance)

I am not Mennonite. I disagree with their Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632)—-“The Son of God tasted death and shed His precious blood for all men and obtained forgiveness of sins for all mankind; thus becoming the cause of
salvation for all those who, from Adam unto the end of the world, each in his time, believe in and obey God.”

I disagree with this deceptive false gospel. Christ did not die for all sinners. Christ did not die to make it possible for the Holy Spirit to cause sinners to obey enough in order to be sure of their decision to be saved. All the sinners for whom the true Chrsit died wiil be saved, not because of their obedience but because of Christ’s death.

John 10:26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them lasting life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

Most Reformed people agree with the Mennonites that Christ died for all sinners. The Dordrecht Confession teaches that–“God has declared all men without distinction, who through faith, as obedient children, heed, follow,and practice what the same contains, to be His children and lawful heirs; thus excluding no one from the precious inheritance of lasting salvation, except the disobedient, the stiff-necked and obdurate, who through their own sins make themselves unworthy of lasting life.

Logically, consistently, this means that those who do have lasting life still had Jesus died for them but that their sins made them unworthy. But the Reformed folks argue that logically God saves those with an “inconsistent gospel”. Thus they rationalize that others are being too rational. This comes back to the Reformed saying that God’s sovereignty means that you don’t need to agree on what the gospel is. Believe your own gospel, because in the end they think folks are already justified bofore they know any gospel.

In the assumption that Jews by sin have removed their children from “the covenant”, the Reformed assume that “election” and “covenant” mean that Christ has died for their own children. But like the Mennonites, the Reformed do not believe that it’s the justice of Christ’s death that saves anybody. They assume that their “the covenant” is the new covenant, but they also teach that some who are brought as infants into that “new covenant” will leave that covenant and then face “even worse sanctions” than those who were never born “in the covenant”.

Though the Reformed children may (or may not) have been taught in some catechism class that Christ died for everybody but also “died for the elect in a special way”. They have NOT been taught that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ, nor have they been taught that justice demands that all for whom Christ died will be imputed with Christ’s death (because justice demands that Christ’s death be imputed by God to those sinners for whose sins Christ died)

If there is one practical difference between Mennonites and Reformed that I still notice, it might be that some of the Reformed still superstitiously believe in “eating the body and blood of their Savour”. Since Mennonites do not talk about God at all that much, but instead talk about what they thmselves could and should be doing, they lean much less on sacramental mumbo jumbo. Some of the Reformed act as if they needd no hope in any second coming of Christ to earth. Not only do they plan to go straight to heaven when they die, but they also believe in the “real presence” of Jesus by which they (if they have a clergyman certified by other clergymen to do the hocus pocus) gives them the ability to climb up to heaven in their “sacrament” and “eat and drink Jesus up in heaven”.

Becoming Reformed these days has NOTHING to do with teaching that Christ died only for the elect. The Reformed clergyman may on occasion teach that election helped you to believe in some Christ who died for everyone. Then they will teach you that this faith (in whichever Christ you believed in) was given to you and caused you to be united to the true Christ.

The Reformed not only don’t teach election in Sunday morning worship. They don’t teach at any time that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ. Instead the Reformed teach that Christ’s death has “infinite and sufficient” potential for all sinners. Instead of teaching election, the Reformed teach that even the water adminstered by the “Roman Catholic Church” can have saving efficacy, not necessarly at the time of the watering, but at some later point.

It is not a problem for Reformed people to accept the infant baptism of the “Roman Catholics” because they teach that they and their children became Christians without hearing and believing the gospel. They take the “sovereignty of God” to mean that God does not need the gospel as a means to effectually call sinners.

Though they accept “faith before regenertion” as one “good enough gospel”, it’s not that big a deal to them, because many of the Reformed think that Christians are Christians already without conversion or gospel. Along with the rest of ritual Christendom, the Reformed teach that water baptism is not something they do but rather something that God does. They believe that God does not save apart from water baptism (apart from “the true church”).

Becoming Reformed these days has nothing to do with the good news of election and atonement. You can agree with all the five points of the Arminians, and still be considered “Reformed” if you agree that “the church” includes those who do not yet believe the gospel. To do this, you have to (implicitly) agree that God’s covenant with Abraham is the very same covenant as the new covenant, and then you have to agree that this “the covenant” is not for the elect alone. This takes thinking about election out of the equation, and puts the accent on finding assurance in children doing the “ordinary” things they are supposed to do, like “regularly be handed the sacrament as a means of grace”.

Was Esau born in “the covenant of grace”, but then later lose his justification in Christ? No. God’s wrath is not an expression of God’s love. God’s wrath is not a response to human negative response to God’s grace.

Those who are justified are no longer under God’s wrath. And those still under God’s wrath were born condemned, already under God’s wrath. The promise of the gospel is for as many as who believe the gospel. The promise of the gospel is for as many physical chidren of Abraham as the Lord our God will call, for the elect among the Jews and not for the non-elect among the Jews. The promise is for your children, as many of those children as the Lord our God will call by the gospel, in spite of parents. The promise of the gospel is for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. Therefore nobody knows if they are elect until after they understand and believe the true gospel. Election by God is not the same thing as justification before God.

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but is often assumed as an inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible.”

God does NOT promise saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. God did NOT promise saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. God made not only one promise but many differnt promises. God’s grace is NOT ineffectual. But many of the Reformed are now teaching a “common grace” that does not save some of those to whom God “wants to be” gracious.

Paul Helm—“One thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For the Amyraldians the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes only from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

The Mennonites teach that Christ only died to eliminate Adam’s sin from being imputed to anybody, and in much the same way the Reformed teach that no infant can be condemned only for sin imputed from Adam. These same Reformed teach the possible regeneration of infants (and adults) who have never heard the true gospel of Christ having died for the elect alone.

Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2,(New Studies in Dogmatics)-“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly beleiving the gpspel All persons in the covenant are to be threatened with the consequences of apostasy. Some belong to the covenant community and experience thereby the work of the Spirit through the sacramental means of grace and yet have never believe the gospel. Thus we Reformed have a category for a person who is in the covenant but this has nothing to do their faith in the gospel.

Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

Horton, p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

Horton, p467–”Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more aspect of salvation.”

To justify their false practice, Reformed folks need to flatten out all post fall covenants down into one covenant. Even though they are reluctant to water teenagers and adults who “have not professed” the gospel, they want to keep holding onto their own baby baptisms

Scott Clark — “the Lord gave his covenant promise or the covenant of grace (they are synonyms).”

Since “the covenant of grace” is something invented by the Reformed, “one covenant of grace” turns out to be the false idea that God only made one promise to Abraham. Reformed folks prefer not to talk about election, and would rather talk about “the covenant”. “Election” practically to them means that “my physical children begin life in the covenant” and therefore we never have to talk about non-election.

Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Romans 9 teaches that some of ethnic Israel were predestined to serve in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Those who served this way were not necessarily ”justified before God” and given lasting life. And ethnic Jews not in the genealogy of Jesus are not necessarily “never saved”. Not only is there a difference between being in the genealogy and not being in the genealogy, but also a DIFFERENCE between being elect to justification or not being one of those for whom Christ would die to justify.

God did not make one lump and then leave the rest, God made two lumps.

Romans 11:1 I ask then–has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Philippians 3 If anyone else thinks they has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised as a child of Abraham the eighth day; of the nation of Israel.

Ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for justification before God but some in Israel were chosen to be in Christ’s genealogy. Those in “the Reformed church” are not chosen as a group to be justified. Not only the Mosaic covenant but also the Abrahamic covenant have promises that only have to do with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan. Their election to be children of Abraham was utilitarian, like creation or redemption from Egypt, not like redemption from the guilt of sin before God.

Something in one of the promises to Abraham can be a “type or picture” of some other promise to Abraham. Those who believe the gospel are promised lasting life. Those who escape Egypt are not all promised lasting life. The children of those who have lasting life are not promised lasting life.

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership (693), then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they FAALL UNDER THE COVENANT CURSE without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response.

To repeat, one last time. I am not Mennonite and I am not Reformed. I believe that the justice of God demands that all for whom Christ died (with their sins imputed to Him) will be justified.

Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified in future. If you are not justified now, then you need to be justified. You either are already elect or not, but even if you are elect, if you don’t know the gospel yet, then you are not justified yet.