Archive for the ‘election’ category

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’s 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 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 same thing as 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.” Here Paul is not distinguishing betweenthe justified elect and the non-elect).
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 ”saved” (justified before God and given lasting life). And ethnic Jews not in the genealogy of Jesus are not necessarily “not saved”. Not only is there a difference between being in the genealogy and not being in the genealogy, but also a DIFFERENT 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.

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From the year 2000, my letter to John Reisinger

April 18, 2019

Dear John,

I agree with Mormons that all are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with them about what is the gospel. I agree with you, John, that all snners are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with you about what the gospel is. You have an idea of the gospel, a doctrine of the gospel, which misrepresents God, which is idolatry. Your idea is that God loves the non-elect because God commands all to believe the gospel.

Jesus said, “come to Me, all you.” You say that there is “nothing before this come”. But before this invitation, Jesus identified Himself as the one who reveals the Father and identified the Father as the one who hides things from the non-elect. The difference between us is about which gospel we command sinners to believe.

Your gospel presents a God whose love is not stingy but a love which wants to save those God doesn’t save. Since God would rather save the elect than damn them, you conclude that God would rather save the non-elect than damn them. But this is not the truth, and this misrepresentation of God leads to more falsehoods. Instead of preaching that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner, you hold back talking about the glory of God in election and non-election. The gospel is about the righteousness of Christ dying for the elect. To each and every sinner, we can say, for the non-elect there was never any room. Matthews 11:25 ”I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent…”

We are to imitate Jesus in His preaching because we are to be convinced that the only difference between saved and lost is the Father giving a people to His Son and His Son dying for those people. Why should we hold back that gospel? Do we think we are prudent enough to know how to abridge the gospel Jesus preached?

I just finished listening to your sermon “The Real Prodigal” from the Bunyan Conference. I like the part about new converts seeing the best in the new and the worst in the old. I can relate to that. As a new convert, I certainly have a keen sense of the sin of believing in a salvation conditioned on the sinner. I certainly have a great shame for having “misrepresented God” for so many years. I was an idolater, and not until God delivered me to the doctrine of the true gospel did I ever feel ashamed of the things I now hate.

I also liked the “sound bite” about truth not being in the middle but in the extremes. If the extremes are in the Bible, they do not contradict each other, no matter what Spurgeon wrote. So we need to be sure that they are in the Bible, and then teach them. I agree with that.

I also was interested in your profession of love for open discussion. I have asked to meet with you, to talk with you, but that has never happened and now you have used the slanders of Phil Johnson as an excuse for exercising your authority to end the discussion. So you end up with one person giving “both sides”, not only his side but a caricature of the other side.

Two things about this. 1. I know that I cannot assume that everything or even anything in your sermon was about me. You kept saying “these people” and “hypers’. And then you can say to us: if the shoe fits, wear it as I call it: you are “hyper”. And if we say that this is a caricature, a stereotype fitting no individual person, then you say, OK, I wasn’t talking about you.

Thus you keep your types and categories, but without having to defend it, and without answering for the accusations you have made. But this is what happens when you take both sides, and try to represent the other side without letting the other side represent itself. You are not yet as much unlike Al Martin as you think you are.

Now I am not complaining that you only give one side of things. We all do that. What irritates is that you talk about “open discussion”.. What I want to say, John, is that you do not know me. You do not know if I am happy or angry or if I have love in my life. I do know that I am still a real sinner. My confession is not simply that “I repent of the false gospel” I used to believe. My confession is that I do not yet see my sin as I should see it, and that the law of God would still condemn me despite my confessing the true gospel and my repenting of the false gospel, were it not for the righteousness of God obtained for the elect by Christ’s death Assurance of Salvation cannot be conditioned on what God works inside any sinner.

Now I know that you also profess not to condition salvation on the sinner. You say that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, they are saved and their salvation is not conditioned on their ignorance or knowledge of the gospel After all, you say, you are not “stingy with the love of God”. Does this mean that God loved the elder brother in spite of his legalism? Since I know that you profess a not-saving but universal love, I am sure that you would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.

But that is not the basic difference here. Is that elder brother saved? Must the one who came home from the hog pen confess that the elder brother is his brother? Back in the days when I became an universalist, I said yes: all are brothers.

What do you say? I do not ask if you think the elder brother was non-elect in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask, is a legalist converted while still left in his self-righteousness and legalism? Are the “good people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel? What do you say? Is the love of God such that God’s love “saves snners” but still leaves them in legalism and Arminianism?

My answer is that the love of God is so sovereign and just that it CONVERTS the sinner. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his turning from sin; but God turns the sinne from his false gospel. The sinner is not justified BECAUSE OF his faith in the true gospel, but God does not justify the sinner before or without giving that sinener faith in the true gospel The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness established in Christ’s death for the elect, but the converted sinner will understand and submit to that righteousness.

I Thessalonians 2:10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion in order that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

Romans 10:3 Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they did not obey God’s righteousness

The converted sinner will believe the gospel BECAUSE OF THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS obtained by God and imputed by God. Christ’s death is not merely “potential”. Christ’s death is not merely “purchasing faith for sinners to appropriate the atonement’. Christ’s death obtained righteousness for the elect and has or will be imputed to the elected. The power of the gospel “crucifies” elect sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that those who do not know this are our brothers or sisters.

John, you can and do make this distinction: not because of, but necessary. It will happen, and until it does, then we cannot say that the gospel has converted a man. But you won’t say it when it comes to submitting to Christ’s righteous and effective atonement. Which means you won’t say it when it comes to being a legalist.

Anybody who says that Christ died for everybody but some of them are never justified MUST logically be looking to the sinner as the difference between saved and lost. Even if the legalist gives his god or election the “credit” for the difference, the legalist MUST AND WILL locate that difference in themseles and not in Christ’s death for the elect alone.

I understand that you believe that Jesus Christ died only for some. But you think knowing about this death is not necessary. It is the cause, sure; but you don’t think lost people need to know it’s the cause. It’a a graduate course, you think, for those you think were justified before they knew the gospel. Either that, or you think that “Jesus died for everybody” is gospel.

I cannot help thinking of some of the “primitive baptists” I know. I do not call them “hypers” (I like to be more specific) but they say that people can be justified without hearing the gospel. They say John the Baptist was regenerated and justified as an infant, and that people can be converted “directly” without the gospel and without knowing about the righteousness revealed in the gospel So they think it doesn’t matter if the elect hear the true gospel or “the Arminian gospel” or any gospel.

I reject this. I know that the non-elect will refuse the gospel. I know that the elect must be made alive in regeneration (on account of imputed righteousness) before they will submit to the gospel and be justified. But I also know that people need to hear the gospel before they can believe the gospel (I Peter 1:22-23). To obey the truth, they must hear the truth. Those who have never heard anything but the Arminian gospel have not yet heard the gospel, and are still condemend in their sins.

I know you are not an universalist like I was. You will not say that all humans are your brothers and sisters. You are very right to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on like he is, never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God? Your assumption, suited to your purpose of attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both are brothers. But that is a false assumption.

Though Cain and Abel were brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both were not justified before God. The one who came home is justified, and the elder brother is not yet justified. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel or the same God.

This means that we can’t take your pose which acts as if God loves everybody who names the name of Jesus, in spite of their rejection of the gospel. We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already and still need justification. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There is no pleasing God without faith in God’s gospel. We “do the truth” only when we confess that salvation is NOT caused by our deeds and decisions. “Good works” are not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is based on God’s election. Those elected in Christ are those for whom Christ died to make propitiation. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.

Workers must exclude works as the condition of salvation, or they are not “good works” and the people who do them are elder brothers, not yet in the family of God, but still lost in their sins. Elder brothers do not “do the truth”. They can talk much of their works, but they will not bring these works to the light of the true gospel, for the true gospel would say that their works were not acceptable.

You don’t know me, John. You say that there are some you are proud to have as your enemies, and then some who you still love but who don’t know what you are saying, who would be right to be upset if you were saying and etc. I read your essays. I listen to your tapes. I think I know what you are saying. But we don’t know each other. I know that you profess to have been saved while an Arminian. You know I profess to be a new convert. Besides that, about all we have to go on is what we write.. I suppose we could accuse each other of writing what we say “ungraciously”. But that is a very subjective thing, and very difficult to say when we don’t talk.

Remember they said that Paul was a hard man in print but a wimp face to face? Or something like that. I could say that you sound very critical and know-it-all in the pulpit but “as a person”, you are very “nice”, even timid. So the best I can do is to once again try to show how you misrepresent me. If the stuff doesn’t stick, you say, I wasn’t throwing it at you. But your thinking you know what I say when you really don’t., that’s some stuff…

You say that “these people” think that “the only thing that matters is if you believe the five points. It doesn’t matter if you pray or witness, if you believe the five points.” Let me say, John, not only is this NOT what I think but also that neither you nor I know anybody who thinks that. I pray for you, because I think it matters. I do not pray for you because I think that my salvation (or yours) is conditioned on my praying. I do not pray to get assurance. I pray because I have assurance.

Similarly, John, I witness to you, because I think it matters. But not because I think my salvation is conditioned on my witnessing. Of course you are angry that anybody thinks you need witnessing to. I know the feeling. I was also.

I would be urgent with you. The gospel is different than you think it is. It is a great and wonderful thing that salvation is conditioned only on the death of Christ for the elect. What you call an unnecessary and unhelpful “qualifying” of the gospel is all about the glory of God in the gospel. It is a great comfort for me to define sin as God defines it, and een now to confess my sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. It is false comfort to tell the sinner that he can define his sin anyway he wants, and so define the gospel any way he wants.

I am urgent because I am happy in this good news. If there was a righteousness for you but that righteousness did not save you, then that righteousness will not save me either. The difference between any justifed sinner and any condemned sinner is that righteousness obtained by Christ’s deatth and imputed by God to the elect sinner. .

I do not know need to know who is and is not non-elect to tell the truth that Christ did not die for those who reject the the promise and command of the gospel. I do not need to know who is elect to shout the glad tidings that all the elect will hear the voice of the Shepherd instead of the voices of Arminians.

I know what it’s like to look to myself and to be too proud to come. What will people say after all these years of me being a Calvinist if I confess that I was lost? I am such a sinner, and have so many regrets, and have been on so many “sidetrails and diversions” , what will it look like if I say that I was still in condemnation all those years?

John, I am urgent, because I know the temptation of all that. And also I know the great great joy of one day saying: I don’t care. I will flush all the dung.I will rejoice in what God says about justification and about Christ’s death. I will go by what God says. I repented of all other gospels. I plead with you to do the same.

You say that “these people” think that all who don’t believe the five points are lost. But what I really say is that “I was a five pointer and I was lost.”

You say, “these people” say that all who didn’t hear the gospel from a preacher who believe the five points are lost. I am NOT saying the five points are the gospel. You can believe every one of the five points and still die the second death. Many say that Christ only died for some who still say that the reason the some are saved is not Christ’s death but ultimately what God does in them.

So the next time you want to have an open discussion, by saying what the other side would have said if you had invited them to say it, make the discussion about the “righteousness” revealed in the gospel.

It’s not only about tolerating Arminians; it’s about the sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. There are many folks who sincerely believe every one of the five points who still do not know the gospel, and that is why they do not feel the least bit of ashamed of having conditioned salvation on the sinner. They CONTINUE to condition salvation on what God does in the sinner.

John: are you ashamed of ever conditioning salvation on the sinner. Or are you, like the elder brother, one who still claims never to have sinned in that way?

To your second point: “they say” that the preacher you heard when you got saved had to be a five pointer. No, the preacher had to preach that the atonement was not only sucessful for the elect but also righteous for God who is just and the justifier of the ungodly (since God imputed the sins of the elect to Christ). You can deny every one of the five Arminian points and still be trying
to establish your own righteousness, still ignorant of the righteousness of God.

I am glad that you are at least talking about the preacher and about what you heard when you profess to have been “effectually called”. Unlike the “strict baptists” I mentioned earlier, we agree that both regeneration and the gospel are needed when a sinner is justified. Understanding the gospel is necessary. We agree about that. But we do not agree about the gospel, and about who God is, if you say that God saves a sinner whichever gospel he believes.

Now you could count numbers (they are on your side) and say: if they believe your gospel, then they are lost, because your gospel adds to grace the condition of understanding the gospel. But understanding is necessary, not a condition. Thisis the same thing you would say about perseverance or faith or repentance from sin.

If a man told you he was a carnal Christian who had no intention of turning from his sins, would you say to him– welcome to the party, brother? I don’t think so. Why then are you so critical toward those of us who refuse to call brothers those with another gospel?

We have different gospels. My gospel is not conditioned on the sinner understanding, for I say that this understanding is a necessary result not a condition for God’s imputation of Christ’s death and God’s regenerating and giving faith in the gospel.

Are you saying that what you believe and what the Arminian believes is really still the same gospel anyway?. That may be more true than you think! If you really do think that God saves people while still leaving them thinking that salvation is conditioned on them, then your God is very much like the God of the Arminian.

And now you can say that you weren’t talking about me. “Legalists who like to mutter about you to somebody else, and not to you directly.” This is what you said about some of us, while you were talking to other people.

This is me writing you. I have wondered about Paul’s relation to the false teachers in Galatia BEFORE he wrote that letter. Did Paul talk to them face to face before he wrote? Maybe, but maybe not. Their different gospel was being “secretly brought in” (2:4). They came with “stealth.” Perhaps they preached about the ungracious manner in which Paul was conducting himself, but without using Paul’s name and without sitting down to talk to Paul directly. I do know what Paul said. My gospel or their gospel. Not: this is a difference of opinion about the word “sanctification”. Not: the elder brother is in the family too, but he needs to “lighten up”. No. One gospel only. Christ will not profit those who believe any false gospel.

John, you go too quickly to consequences, without considering that Christians are ambassadors of the Lord who do not “regard anybody according to the flesh” (II Cor 5:16). According to numbers, and according to our own flesh that wants to say we were saved while still ignorant of the gospel, you accept as brothers those whom the Lord will say, “I never knew you.” According to the flesh, you say to both Cain and Abel: you are both sincerely worshipping God.

John, you are too quick to say, if that gospel is true, all these people would be lost, therefore it must not be true. That is what the Pharisees said: the wrong people are being lost! “The covenant is not only being widened to the Gentiles, but some of us Jews are being cut out!”

I John 3 says that Abel “did righteousness”. In John 3:21, Abel “did the truth”. Cain did not. Why was Cain not saved? Because he murdered? No. he murdered because he was not saved. His works were evil. The evil works are the “sincere worship” Cain offered.

Cain could not have good works because Cain had the wrong gospel. And so Cain and Abel were not brothers. But you would make it out as though Abel is the elder brother if Abel is not able to call Cain his brother, if Abel is not able to enter into worship and religious fellowship with Cain.

Some say that God “stoops” to save even those who confess that God conditions salvation on the sinner. In other words, God not only saves idolaters (praise God for that, since I was one when I was a lost five point Calvinist!), but God saves these sinners using the idolatry as the message by which God saves them and THEN LEAVES THEM IN THEIR IDOLATRY.

God justifies the ungodly. God is also just. God will be glorified in the salvation of sinners, and in the damnation of those who persist in saying that a “gracious” God accepts the faith of the sinner as making the difference between saved and lost.

God is not stingy on love to God the Son: if one person for whom God the Son died is lost, then God is misrepresented. All those who believe in universal atonement are lost idolaters. God does not love His people more than God loves the Son of God , for His love of the Son’s righteousness (His death for the elect at the cross) makes the difference between saved and lost.

Sure, you may say, but you don’t have to know that to get the benefit of it. What then do you need to know?

In Galatians, Paul did not accept all who professed to be Christians as his brothers. He said: they are cursed. Those who bear fruit of the Spirit have had their flesh “crucified” for them in their conversion, when they understood that the cross was all the difference and they none of it. (Gal 5:24). Arminianism appeals to the desire of the flesh to condition salvation on the sinner. Even when they “but my faith is not a work”, their faith is in a false gospel. Romans 9:11–that the purpose of election might stand, not of works”. No “election of grace” (Romans 11:5), no grace.

In Philippians 3, Paul explained that as long as he had the righteousness to be found in the law (conditioning salvation on the sinner), that he was lost. He didn’t say: I have always been a justified brother, and was a brother even then. He says his worship then was dung. His previous worship he was ashamed of … But no man is ashamed of Arminianism by nature. Romans 6:21 What fruit did you then have? NONE. …”in the things of which you are now ashamed of”.

John, when you became an Arminian, you were already ashamed of some things before then, and after that, maybe more. But until you are ashamed of saying and thinking that Christ’s death was for those who perish, then you are still free of the righteousness obtained for the elect by the death of Christ.

Your sermon is a confession that you can receive the immoral but not those with a different gospel. And that is as it should be. If I have a false gospel, then you should NOT receive me or call me your brother. (2 john 9). You can tell people with a false gospel what the gospel is without having to say that they are brothers already without the gospel.

So don’t feel bad about the lack of fellowship. There could be open discussion without that, if you wanted it. I have learned that I need to continually take sides with the Scripture against myself. It is not coldness and hardness that makes me say this but a love for the gospel and a concern for you when you sound so much like the universalist I used to be (so very recently) . No, you don’t say that all are brothers. But neither do you say that we judge who is a brother by the gospel.

What if a person says: Christ died for all sinners, I am a sinner, and thus Christ died for me? Then what do you say: OK, you are saved, but there are some things I need to teach you about how you said that?

I say not all are saved. Not all are brothers. The good news is that the death of Jesus Christ actually saves all the sinners Jesus for whom died. Believe this gospel and you will be justified. It’s the only gospel there is. The Christ who died this death is the only Christ there is.

John, I wonder how you felt when you walked off that platform the night you preach that sermon on the “real prodigal”. You got your share of laughs, of vindication from the group for which you speak. But I can’t help wondering what the sermon did for you. Did it make you sad? or happy? Did it make you less angry, less critical, more fruitful? Did you that night pray “thank you that I am not the real prodigal”?

Mark McCulley, 2000

Cursed by Abraham’s Covenant of Grace? Scott Clark Keeps on Begging the Question – The Covenant Not only the Elect but Some of the Non-Elect?

April 9, 2019

Reformed folks need to flatten all post-fall covenants down to one covenant. Even though they are reluctant to water teenagers and adults who they suspect do not believe the gospel, they want to keep holding onto their own baby baptisms by continuing to water infants and little children related to some adult joining their “church”, which “church” they flatten into one group (excluding those groups who won’t water babies) they call “the church”

Scott Clark — Four times the Lord expressed his covenant promise or the covenant of grace (they are synonyms)

mm—since “the covenant of grace” is something made up by Reformed sacramentalists, “one covenant of grace” turns out to be the same thing as the idea that God only made one promise to Abraham.
Scott Clark will concede some distintion between the Mosaic covenant and the Abraham covenant, but this is only in order to equate “the one covenant of grace” with “the covenant of Abraham”. And even when it comes to the Mosaic covenant, Scott Clark wants to keep his Confessional langauge about the Levitical sacrifices being one “administration” of “the covenant of grace”. It’s not clear if Scott Clark thinks this means Christ’s sacramental presence was available (on conditions) to those who used the animal sacrifices preacticed by Moses and Abraham.

Scott Clark — The NT appeals to Genesis chapters 12, 15, 17, and 22 as examples to explain to NT Christians the nature of the covenant of grace. Such use of Abraham only makes sense on the ASSUMPTION that Abraham and we are members of the same covenant

mm—-Assumption is the correct word. Scott Clark begins to beg the question by saying that no other view (than his, which is not the same even as other Reformed folks who talk about the Mosaic covenant in equal terms as administrations of “the covenant of grace”)

Scott Clark — Abraham was united by grace alone through faith alone, to Christ by the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

mm–Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts us or anybody in Christ. Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts Christ in us. But the Reformed Confession teach this. But the Bible teachss that election in Christ puts the elect in Christ. God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect puts them into Christ’s righteousness and thus into justification. Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect means that Christ is indwelling the elec . But 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 theefore we never have to talk about non-election. We can simply assume that everybody present is a child of Abraham and a child of the covenant. “You are here. You are us”

God promised Abraham lots of land
God did not promise you or us lots of land

God promised Abraham that one of his children would be Jesus

God did not promise you or us that one of your children will be Jesus

There is not going to be another Jesus

The God of Abraham is living
but like David, Abraham himself is not now living, not anywhere, not even in hades or paradise

Abraham is dead
Abrahm needs to be resurrected
Abraham needs Jesus to come back to earth so that the “firstfruits” will be raised also from the dead
Abraham believed in resurrection

Scott Clark continues to carciature those who disagree with him. Scott Clark continues to beg the question, by equating one gospel with one “the covenant” and one “the church”. Instead of seeing the animal sacrifices and types in the Abrahamic covenant as only pointing to Christ, Scott Clark keeps assuming those types are pointing to the nature of “church” and of “the covenant”. Since there is only one gospel, he argues, we can’t have a new covenant, therefore we can only have one “the covenant of grace”

I am not so sure that we should say that Adam or Melchizedek are Abraham’s children. Galatians does not only point to the covenant with Abraham. Galatians speaks of “before faith came” and “after faith came”.

Galatians 3:14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that WE receive the promised
Spirit through faith.

Not only the one child is Abraham’s child. Galatians 3: 22 the promise by faith in Jesus Christ is given to THOSE WHO BELIEVE. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we would be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 but children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then YOU ALSO are Abraham’s children

Saying that there is only “the one church” is like saying that there is only the one Israel—-what does it mean to say that?

Is the one Israel Christ himself, and has nothing to do with any distinction between those who know and believe the gospel and those who do not know and believe the gospel?

Is the one Israel a collective (not one person but one group)—all who believe the gospel are one?

Is the one Israel all the physical children of the specific genealogical line between Jacob and Christ, and therefore “one group” that includes both some of those who believe the gospel and some who don’t believe the gospel?

Ephesians 4: 4 There is one body and one Holy Spirit—just as you were
called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all
and in all. 7 Now grace was given to EACH one of US according to the
measure of Christ’s gift . 8 Because Psalm 68 says:
When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.[

Scott Clark— Why Abraham and not Noah? after all, the covenant of grace was first announced to and through Noah (Genesis 6:18).

So was Noah a child of Abraham?

Scott Clark—The New Testament focuses on Abraham, however. in the history of redemption after Abraham, the Holy Spirit uses the promises given through and to him as the pattern (the paradigm) to explain God’s grace during the period of the temporary national covenant with Israel. Also, Paul appeals to Abraham because of the particular challenge he faced, namely helping Jewish and Gentile Christians to understand that they were both heirs of and participants in the same covenant of grace. Were Abraham merely a father of NT Christians or were the Abrahamic merely a covenant of grace and not the covenant of grace, then Paul’s entire case is changed considerably.

mm–In begging the question, Scott Clark uses the word “merely” quite a bit (at least he doesn’t use the trendy word “robust”) Scott Clark gives us false alternatives–“the covenant of grace” or “merely the father of believers”? Answer one, the only covenant of grace which is mediated by Christ’s death and which gives justification is the new covenant—Christ’s death was for those of all time elected to justification. Answer two, no Abraham was not merely the father of believerss, and nobody says that about Abraham. Not either or, but also. Abraham was also the father of Christ. Abraham was also the father of all physical Jews. Abraham was the father of the specific Jews who were in the bloodline leading to Christ (Isaac, not Ishmael). This does not mean that only the Jews in that genealogy were justified before God. This does not meaan that all the Jews in the genealogy were justified. Ishmael may have been justified. Isacc may not have been jusified.

Paul applies the typology of Isaac’s birth in Romans 9 to teach that justification before God is rooted in God’s sovereign election apart from works –“not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” Romans 9 does this by showing that Isaac’s physical birth was according to God’s sovereign election and that Jacob’s selection as the one through whom the Abrahamic Covenant would continue.

https://www.the-highway.com/articleFeb98.html

Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Here Paul is not distinguishing between two groups within Israel, the justified and the conemned. od’s covenant promises to these two groups are not the same. Some of ethnic Israel gets to serve in the genealogy of Jesus Chrsit. This those whos sered this way are not necessarily ” saved”. And ethnic Jews not in the gegnealoy of not necessarily “not saved” There are different promises to differnt groups within the group. Not only is there a diffrence between being in the genealogy and not being in, but also ultimtely a DIFFERENT DIFFERENCE between being elect to justification or not being.

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.

Contrary to what many Jews commonly thought, ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for justification before God but for service. Not only the Mosaaic covenant but also the Abrahaamic covenant has promises to physical Israel These promises had to do only with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan of redemption. 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 pormise lasting life. Those who get to escape Egypt are not all promised lasting life. The children of those who have lasting life are not promised lasting life. Many Jews themselves thought that any kind of election involved the promise of justification for individuals, but they were mistaken. Scott Clark is wrong to confuse the covenants, and wrong to confuse the promises. Scott Clark’s confusion is elierate because Scott Clark denies that those who won’t water babies are part of “the true church”.

Scott Clark– Rejection of the status of Christian children continues to perpetuatea principle of radical discontinuity between Abraham and the Christian, i.e. a radical principle of discontinuity in the history of redemption . This denial of the fundamental unity of THE COVENANT OF GRAACE as symbolized in the administration of the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to covenant childre, is serious enough to warrant saying that any congregation that will not practice infant initiation (baptism) into the administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE is not a church. Sacerdotalism is where the thing signified (salvation) is completely identified with the sign (e.g., baptism or the Supper). The minister becomes a priest dispensing salvation. This approach almost always turns THE COVENANT OF GRACE into a covenant of works. The recipient is said to receive salvation provisionally from the use of the sacrament but that salvation must be retained by cooperation with grace (conditions).

https://rscottclark.org/category/reforming-evangelicals/

Scott Clark is Goldilocks, perfectly balanced and patronizing to all on both sides, both theonomists and credobpaptists.

https://theopolisinstitute.com/article/baptism-impasse-baptists-vs-presbyterians-part-ii/

Scott Clark–The opposite error is to divorce salvation from the signs, so that the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments lose theirimport. When the Word and sacraments become marginal, what matters is the quality of one’s religious experience more than what the Reformed call “the due use of ordinary means.”

Scott Clark explains how God the Holy Spirit makes Christians by means of Arminianism but that it takes time to become “Reformed—“You said to yourself, “Okay. I am Reformed.” You are not alone. You have joined a tradition with roots as old as Scripture and as deep as the great Christian tradition This does not mean that we do not appreciate other traditions or learn from them. Because we have, as it were, a place to stand, we have the freedom to engage openly and honestly with other traditions.

mark–In anything I have ever read in print, Scott Clark has NEVER engaged honestly or even good-naturedly with Lutherans or anabaptists (who Scott Clark defines the people who killed magistrates in Munster)

Scott clark: When people leave modern evangelical Christianity for Reformed theology, piety, and practice they sometimes imagine that can simply add their new understanding of salvation to their earlier theology, piety, and practice

mark–Having never repented of baby baptism or of the false gospel of Arminianism, Scott Clark assumes that he and others were already Christians when they were Arminians. Scott Clark just wants you to move on gradually , notw from the Arminian false gospel https://www.agradio.org/it-takes-time-to-become-reformed.html

There are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the other end of the bus. Scott Clark welcomes to the true church those who come from churches that were never true churches. Neither water nor repentance required.

Scott Clark– I cannot see how those congregations that deny baptism to the children of believers can be regarded as true churches, since they lack one of the marks. I am happy, however, to come out out of church into the common or out of the rooms and into the hallway to talk with folk from other traditions, e.g., Baptists, Pentecostals, and Dispensationaists There is one standard for the Western church prior to the Reformation and another standard after. Once the Word had been recovered, the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, there is no excuse to corrupt the administration of baptism by denying
it to the children of believers.

Scott Clark not only assumes that baptists are stupid, but assumes that if they ever get less stupid, then they will all agree with him.

Scott Clark–Baptists have a very difficult time even UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE

Despite being identified as “new covenant”, John Piper followss the “one covenant of grace” view of his mentor Daniel Fuller when it comes to exegeis in his book on Romans 9, The justification of God. Piper attempts to read justification before God content into all the different blessings described in Romans 9:4–5. Piper concludes that “each of the benefits listed in 9:4, 5 has saving, eschatological implications for Israel,” and then proceeds to try to explain why such benefits were not enjoyed by all Jews. In a smilar way, Piper has informed us that he believes all that Arminians believe, plus some more extra, without any thought of antithesis or contradiction. Piper teaches a general atonement for “you and us” but also wants to add that Christ’s death otains other blessings for the elect. No wonder Piper welcomes those with only baby water into his “membership”

His friend at Southern Baptist Seminary, Tom Schreiner agrees with Piper saying that “the word of God has not failed”—refers to God’s promises to justify his people Israel.

What act of election is intended in Rom9:11—13—an election which determines the destiny of individuals to obtain the lasting life of the age to come , or an election which MERELY assigns to individuals and nations the roles they are to play in history

Those who equate the covenant with Abraaham as THE COVENANT OF GRACE view all of the post-fall covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New) as various “administrations” of the same covenant. Then they argue that all these covenants which they make one covenant) are all made with NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

But even the Westminster Longer Catehcism 31 Answers: The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

The elect to be ethnic Jews? The elect to be in the genealogy of Christ? The elect to be justified before God?

Scott Clark would argue that he is nothing like the “mono-covenantalists” like Doug Wilson and other theonomists. In some situations, Scott Clark boasts in making a distinction between the Abrahamic and the Mosaic covenant, even though Scott Clark agrees whtat national and land promises were made to Abrahaa, Scott Clark also boasts in not only having THE COVENANT OF GRACCE, but also ‘the covenant of works” (once in force, or stll in force, it means he’s not “mono-covenantal) But Scott Clark is not as much diferent from Doug Wilson as he claims. Scott Clark confuses his ecclesiology (they are not a true church) with the gospel itself, which means that his false gospel is about grace helping people keep the conditions of assurance “staying in the covenant”, because Scott Clark has already agreed that THE COVENANT OF GRACE INCLUDES NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

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.”

This is what I mean by “begging the question” . These guys think it’s “catholic” and large of them to “let God “reveal in the Bible that there is a decretal election. When Doug 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 Doug Wilson “understands” the gospel as that which does not talk about decretal election. The “some of the non-elect are in the covenant” false gospel does not tell the good news about Christ having only died for the decretally elect, nor does that anti-gospel tell the good news about the decretally elect hearing and believing the true gospel.

The ultimate way we can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you” is to tell them that the gospel they MUST believe excludes even this believing as the condition of salvation. The only basis for justification for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. No debated language about the objectivity of “covenant” or “sacraments” should be allowed to obscure this gospel truth. Unless you preach that Christ died only for the elect, no matter how
“confessional” you are, you will end up encouraging people to make faith into that little something that makes the difference between life and death!

When the Bible talks about God’s love, it talks about propitiation. I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” If all we only stipulate that the appeasement of wrath will not work without our faith, then it’s not enough to add on that God sent His son to purchase our faith. The nature of the cross as a propitiation will not be proclaimed. Instead a James Boice (sermons on Psalm 22) will turn the gospel into law, and tell sinners that the atonement was for them but they “ruined” it for themselves.

Norman Shepherd — “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians OF A LATER DAY have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election”(p 60, call of Grace). The result of this, it is argued, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then “The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16, Christ died for you.”

mark: Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the “one true church”, but not to those outside the one covenant and one church? Was Norman Shepherd making “the true church” the object of evangelism?

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 COVENAANT CURSE without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/kingdom-covenant-michael-horton/

MM—Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified. 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. And no peacher should be giving aassurance that you are justified. Not should any preacher be giving you assurance that you are now part of the “true church” or a member of THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

If this were a simple case of knowing (or not knowing) the antithesis between imperative and indicative, I think we could talk clearly about the difference between the gospel and the command for all sinners to believe the gospel. But when a proclaim-not explain “anti-rationalist agenda” is added to the law gospel distinction by means of the archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth, the ambiguity introduced includes the idea that God’s command to believe the gospel is also God’s desire that the non-elect (already in “the covenant”) believe the gospel. And then comes the “not yet the eschaton” and “our imperfect works” which
will supposedly figure into “more assuraance” and the “final aspect” of justification.

some final sarcasm—When the clergy rhetoric says “nothing to do with your beleiving” and that “the snow is for you”. they can always make qualifications. This is both true and not true. There are two senses of justification but only one justification. And then also—there are two kinds of righteousness, not only the death but also the law-keeping, butin a snese only one righteousness.

Some clever “ministers” will not say “it snowed for you” but they will say that “the snow is for you”. These “anti-Rationalists” oppose those who reduce the God of the Bible to “mental propositions” To really be rational about the need to “appropriate in the endd” the snow, we need to understand that our sovereign God is also free to reveal that God had nothing to do with non-election and even now wants the non-elect to become elect. At least some of the non-elect are already born into “the covenant”

This is why Horton and Shepherd explain that “the snow is promised to everyone in the covenant of grace” but also say that those who do not believe in the snow will receive the curses of the covenant of the covenant of grace. “Given the necessary chasm between God and the creature, all revelation is necessarily an accommodation.” Thus the anti-rationalists claim for themselves a “theology of the cross” and accuse others as those who glory in their own rationalism. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-theology-vs-hyper-calvinism/

All I am saying is that the snow gets gray. If we were to say that “it snowed for you”, that would be too abstract and impersonal. But if we say that “the snow is for you”, that opens up space for “winsom wooing” and lets sinners know that they are responsible for their own history. Get to “the true church” and the means of grace on time.

Scott Clark brings different terms to the debate—archetypal and ectypal theology—but is simply resorting to the old distinction between God’s hidden and revealed will to dispel the charge that the well-meant offer posits two contradictory wills in God. But this distinction between God’s hidden and revealed wills does not help to explain or mitigate the sheer contradiction involved in teaching that God desires to save the non-elect.

This effort to relieve the tension of the contradiction in which the offer involves gets us nowhere. The will of God to save only some, not all, is not hidden but revealed. It is found in every page of the Scriptures. It is Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:14. God has chosen only some (“few”) to be justified in distinction from the others (“many”). The distinction leaves us right where we were before the distinction was invented: they are teaching that God has two, diametrically opposite, conflicting wills.

Those who believe the gospel know God as a God who only ever loves the elect and hates the non-elect not because they have peered behind revelation and seen God’s archetypal or ectypal knowledge directly, but because God has revealed this truth to us through the gospel found in the Bible It was not about “having a preacher” who told us —you are justified, now believe you are justified.

http://www.prca.org/prtj/April2012.pdf

Redemptive History–God’s Oath/Covenant Given After the Mosaic Law

March 1, 2019

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 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 God the Son was raised from His death (His death because of that imputed guilt)

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 are imputed with Adam’s guilt. But I Corinthinas 15 (and Romans 5-6) are about “us all” who were elect in Christ.

I am making two points.
Point one– These texts are not describing the non-elect. The non-elect are born in Adam and will stay in Adam. The non-elect will be condemned and perish when Christ returns to earth. (the second death)

Point two, and the emphasis here and now—all the elect are born guilty and condemned in Adam. All the elect need to be before God “legally buried with Christ”. Not only do all the elect NEED to become dead with Christ, but God’s plan (Ephesians 1 is that all the elect WILL BE made alive by means of Christ’s death.

Romans 6:7 is not describing a new birth but a “being justified from sins”, when each elect sinner receives by God’s imputation the legal value of Christ’s death. (They receive legally the righteousness.Romans 5:11,17) )

Ephesians 2:12 AT THAT TIME you WERE without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But NOW in Christ Jesus, you who WERE far away HAVE BEEN brought near BY THE BLOOD of Christ.

A W Pink–“Receiving the reconciliation is not our laying down our own rebellion against God. Rather, we receive by imputation that which Christ’s sacrificial death has procured for us. “All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). The “enmity” of Ephesians 2:16 cannot refer to that which existed between Jews and Gentiles, for that has been disposed of in verses 14, 15. “Enmity” is here personified (“slain”), as “sin” is in Romans 8:3. Thus, the verse means that all the sins of God’s people met upon Christ, and Divine justice took satisfaction from Christ’s death.”

Romans 6:9 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him.

Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you USED TO BE slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching YOU WERE TRANSFERRED TO

The redemptive history happens in Christ. But the legal application of that redemption to the elect is not by the Holy Spirit giving the new birth, but by God’s imputation. If you personally are elect in Christ (God’s purpose), then in time, God will cause you personally to believe the gospel, and that believing will only happen when you have received the objective righteousness (something real, something that is something)of Christ’s death by God’s imputation.

I Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death

I Corinthians 15: 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”. The last Adam BECAME a life-giving spirit.

Romans 9:”For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the PURPOSE of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls.

Galatians 3:24 The law, then, was our guardian UNTIL Christ (that we be justified by faith). 25 But SINCE that faith HAS COME we are NO LONGER under the guardian, 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:17 For in the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed …The righteous will live by faith 18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of those who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Psalm 110: this is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand UNTIL I MAKE Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The Lord will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion. Rule over Your enemies.
3 Your people will willing on Your day
4 The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back:
“Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”

I Samuel 7:11 ‘The Lord declares to you: The Lord Himself will make a house for you. 12 When YOUR TIME COMES and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish His kingdom.

Hebrews 7 For this Melchizedek remains a priest forever.
Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.
First, his name means king of righteousness,
Then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace;
3 without father, mother, or genealogy,
having neither beginning of days nor end of life,
but resembling the Son of God—

Hebrews 7:26 For this is the kind of high priest we need— holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. Jesus ACTED ONCE FOR ALL TIME when He offered Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of THE OATH THAT COMES AFTER THE LAW appoints a Son, who has been permanently perfected.

The oath to David came after God gave law to Moses. This oath from God was not made before creation. God’s oath was “cut into history” quite a long time after God had ‘ccut into history” the Mosaic covnant

I Samuel 7:18 Then King David went in, sat in the Lord’s presence, and said, Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? 19 What YOU HAVE DONE was a little thing to You, Lord God, for You have also spoken about Your servant’s house in THE DISTANT FUTURE …. 25 Now, Lord God, fulfill the promise forever that You have made to Your servant and his house. DO AS YOU HAVE PROMISED as You have promised, 26 in order that Your name will be exalted

There is no need to deny the difference between promising and doing, in order to proclaim that God will do all that God has promised.

Psalm 2: 7 I will declare the Lord’s decree:
He said to Me, “You are My Son;
today I have BECOME Your Father.
8 Ask of Me,
and I will make the nations Your inheritance
and the ends of the earth Your possession.

Worship the Son or the Son will be angry
and you will PERISH in your rebellion,
because the wrath of the Son is revealed in time
All (and only) those who take refuge in Him are blessed

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=428132342120

Who Gets to Decide if the Bible Says This is a Gospel Issue?

February 5, 2019

Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to pay attention, turned a stubborn shoulder and closed their EARS so they could not hear.

Luke 2: 22 And when the days of purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought the baby Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons)

Was the death of Jesus only the part that takes away sins, but this presentation in the temple part of the righteousness that is the “active obedience” which obtains the positive blessngs of salvation?

Luke 2 25 There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was righteous, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on Simeon 26 It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that Simeon would not see death before he saw the Messiah.

But isn’t it always better to die, and not delay death, so we can go straight to heaven to see God?

Luke 2:27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the baby Jesus to perform for the baby what was traditional under the law, 28 Simeon took the baby Jesus up in his arms, praised God, and said: 29 Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation. 34 Then Simeon told Mary the mother of Jesus “Indeed, this baby is destined to cause the fall and rise of many and be opposed. The thoughts of many will be revealed.”

Romans 11: I have left 7,000 for Myself who have not bowed down to Baal. 5 In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a
remnant CHOSEN by grace. 6 Now if by grace, then it is not by works. OTHERWISE grace ceases to be grace.
7 What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the ELECT did find it. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of insensitivity, eyes that cannot see and EARS that CANNOT hear,

Communication is difficult. Sometimes people listen to us and even understand what we are saying, but then “translate” what we say into something they believe. They erase the difference between what they think and what we think, in the interests of what they call peace and unity. When we notice the difference, we see that what we said has been erased—-their “translating” is them turning what everybody says into something they say. We are the dummies—they are speaking through us.

But,at many times, it’s mutual. We translate the other incorrectly because we misunderstand each other. Paul Newman–in the movie Cool Hand Luke—-“failure to communicate”. Yes, they don’t “get it” but the reason they don’t receive it is because God has not yet revealed it to them.

Or to say “it” differently, we don’t understand and don’t receive it because God has not yet revealed it to us. God is going to have to teach it to us if we get taught. God is going to use somebody to teach them what they don’t know and understand yet, but perhaps it will not be us who God is going to use to teach it to them.

When “they” cut off discussion, and start making accusations, we become defensive. It’s not a good indictment of us or of the truth for us to be told “well, you are being defensive”. Nor does it really prove anything one way or the other that they are the ones who shut down the conversation and started “hurling invective” at us. It’s possible that a person who says “there is nothing to discuss here” is correct about the thing they think needs no discussion. It’s possible that even the truth needs discussion.

To say that something is (or is not) part of the gospel begs the question—WHAT IS THE GOSPEL. I myself already had my current view on immortality as the gift of God BEFORE I learned the gospel. We can be very correct about election and still very wrong on the gospel. Before I learned that Christ’s righteousness is Christ’s death as that which justifies God and sinners, I did not yet know the gospel because I did not yet know the Bible doctrine of justification. But I think I was already correct about God’s permanent punishment for the condemned This is why I don’t worry about others separating themselves from me. It makes sense to avoid me if that allows you to keep thinking and talking about the gospel. Surely none of us should intentionally misrepresent the views of others. And we should attempt to be careful enough not to unintentionally “mistranslate” what others are saying. But at the end of the day, we all need to be taught the gospel by God.

denying the traditional view of sinners sinning forever and
being totrured forever
that just feels wrong to me
therefore it is wrong

i mean there are bad people on both sides of the wall
so don’t be saying bad stuff about real americans unless you are fair and balanced
about mexicans and other people who won’t salute the flag

you see, there are different aspects and senses to justification
in a sense, the wall has been built
but in another sense, the wall needs to be built
if the wall is in the purpose of God, in one sense the wall has been built
but in another sense, the money has not yet been appropriated,
the wall needs to be built

you can go either way with eternal justification
because there are two justifications
one before God, and in that sense you were never justified but already always justified
but justification number two not before God but before your
conscience, and in that sense you can doubletalk like trump

even though the Bible does not talk like that
sure, sanctified already (or not), and the elect were always sanctified
but in another sense, growing and progressing in sanctification
and if you should happen to say
well, that’s not what sanctification means

we could answer with a question, but is it a gospel issue?
and do we have a pope to tell us?
that eternal justification is not a gospel issue
because there are different senses to justification
but progressive sanctification is a gospel issue
shall we take a vote on the other stuff?

is a future for the Jews a gospel issue?
is keeping a day as sabbath a gospel issue?
who’s voting?
and is the vote taking place
on one side of a wall in texas?

Are those who feel that the nature of permanent death is “no big gospel deal” calling God a liar?

Is Sonny H taking sides with “tradition”? Does Sonny H have more scruples than others? Is Sonny H less “benighted” than those who have written in detail about the various Bible texts in question?

Since Sonny H sees no difference between “unitarians” and “univeralists” and those who teach that God can and does destroy the non-elect who perish, does this mean that Sonny H cannot tell the difference between a person who still teaches Armninianism (Christ died for all without saving any) and those who have been regenerated by means of a different gospel?

Sonny–“Many of those who say very Arminian things don’t really believe those things and even though they don’t know yet know the truth, they are saved by the power of the gospel.—“If a professing Arminian is saved, it is despite their Arminianism. There are professing Arminians who are in the rudimentary stages of their faith that may be unlettered or ill advised about what they really know. However, if they are regenerate, they are not Arminian.”

What is the righteousness revealed in the gospel?
Is the righteousness revealed God’s sovereignty in regeneration or is the righteousness revealed in the gospel Christ’s death only for the sins of the elect?

Is the righteousness revealed in the gospel the infinite torture of Christ or is it Christ’s death?

Sonny Hernandez, High Calvinism, p 91—The problem of the new Calvinists lies especially in conduct…You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification….p45 The sure promise of God which God realises IN US makes it impossible that we not bring forth fruits

“Hurling invective” is a phrase associated with Jean Shepherd, the writer of The Christmas Story.

https://www.theawl.com/2013/02/the-man-behind-the-brilliant-media-hoax-of-i-libertine/

if you want to think about IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME the topic of immortality given and the persmenant punishment of the non-elect

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/is-hell-where-god-lets-some-sinners-to-live/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/immortality-for-the-elect-alone/

http://rethinkinghell.com/2016/04/09/the-unsaved-in-hell-would-want-to-be-annihilated-to-end-their-suffering-why-this-statement-completely-misses-the-point/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/do-you-have-two-different-blessed-hopes/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/permanent-redemption/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/there-is-only-one-good-death-and-all-other-deaths-are-our-enemy/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/if-spiritual-death-would-save-no-need-for-the-birth-of-the-baby-jesus/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/resurrection-for-the-elect-alone/

Most Ameriicans Think You Get to Vote On If Christ’s Death Works For You

January 2, 2019

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/sns-201812240019–tms–cthomastq–b-a20181225-20181225-column.html

Cal Thomas, in his column for Christmas 2018, claims that his readers are free to accept or reject the claim of the gospel, but not free to “reinvent” the gospel. “To change the message to fit your beliefs and
choices” The column presumes that Cal Thomas himself has a true definition of the gospel. But the reality is that Cal Thomas has a
false gospel, which is not a version of the true gospel, but bad news which has no hope for anybody.

Here is the Cal Thomas version—“Like a gift under the tree, the transaction is not complete until the one for whom the gift isintended receives it. If anyone refuses a gift, the transaction is incomplete, its purpose thwarted.

This is a version of the gospel quite different from the original “on whom God favors”. It is “another gospel”, which is not the gospel. Instead of being about Christ’s deathfor the sins of those of God’s good pleasure, the faals gospel of Cal Thomas changes the theology into something about human good pleausre, something about “peace tothose who use their free will correctly”

The Thomas perversion of the gospel is not about us depending on God, but about God depending on us to complete God’s purpose and mission. According to Thomas, the death of Jesus can and does fail because what Christ did now all depends on our choices

On the one hand, Thomas seems to disapprove of a “world in which humans choose to live as they please, rather than be transformed.”. On the other hand, Thomas teaches a false gospel in which even the success of Christ’s incarnation and death depends on how “humans choose to live”. Where the Bible teaches that we sinners are unable to live right or choose right, and need God to transform us and change our wills, Thomas agrees with the world that we are aallowed to “choose what weplease”. The false god Thomas worships is not permitted to change our decisions but intead merely leaves us with “the consequences of unbelief”.

Thomas has no idea of us having being born in original sin, in guilt and shame before God and unable to make right decisions.Thomas seems not to want us to be atheists and depend only on ourselves (we need big armines), but Thomas also only wants an idol god who will gives us rules and decisions so that the outcome depends on us . For Thomas, the only sin that matters is “unbelief of the good news”. For Thomas, either other sins never matter or all those other sins have been provided for, but the bad news is that Thomas does not believe that God interferes with “belief or unbelief”

According to Thomas, Christ may have entered the world without our consent, but nevertheless that means nothing unless we ourselves vote Jesus into our own hearts, and for that “transaction”, Jesus does not
have his permission to “enter into our hearts” unless first our hearts (which presumably need to be transformed) “let Jesus in”.

This is not only a hopeless message but also a false message, one in which Thomas has substituted his own worldly American ideas about how God must deal with humans.

Luke 2: 13: “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest
heaven, and peace on earth to people God favors

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

Ephesians 1:5 God predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that God favored us with in the Beloved.

Romans 9: 22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?

Reformed Baptist Jimmy Demoss Wants Less Gospel and More Works to get Rewards

November 2, 2018

On the first page of his “Gospelism Exposed”, Jimmy Demoss refers to some “Primitive Baptists who did not believe that one had to believe the gospel to be saved”. For the rest of his 102 page rant against those who put too much emphasis on the gospel, Demoss attempts to define the gospel in terms which would leave out from the gospel each and every one of the “five points”

Therefore if you deny total depravity and insist that “divine activity” depends on human ability, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the gospel “you have to believe to be saved”. Therefore if you believe that God’s election is based on the human condition of believing, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the question of which gospel you need to believe.

John 10:26 Jesus: But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.

But Demoss believes that, even if you reverse this and believe that “people are not sheep because they don’t believe”, this still has nothing to do with the gospel you need to believe. Demoss teaches that the sheep of Jesus do not necessarily listen to or obey the gospel Jesus preached . Sure, Jesus said, if you are elect you will believe, and if you are not elect you will not believe. Demoss denies that anybody who believes the gospel needs to agree with Jesus about that. First of all, Demoss teaches that you can completely disagree with Jesus and say instead that “you become a sheep because you believe”. Second, and this is what Demoss most
continually stresses, if you are lost, you should only pay attention to what is taught in the book of Acts (not in the gospel of John).

Demoss teaches that, whatever gospel may be taught by Jesus in the gospels, or by the apostles in the epistles, the lost should only pay attention to the gospel found in Acts. Without speculating about all his motives for his dogma about “only in Acts”, we have to ask where the Bible teaches “the gospel for the lost is only in one place” and “the gospel for the non-lost is found in other places”. Is Demoss a dispensationalist, with one gospel for some people, and another gospel for another time and place and people? Does Demoss so hate the doctrine of unconditional election that Demoss deceives himself that the doctrine of unconditional election is not to be found in the book of Acts?

Does Demoss believe that Christians after they are “saved” (justified before God?) move on to some second stage where they don’t need the gospel anymore, and that these “already saved” people only need the law in order for them to engage in “the human activity” which will bring them “greater rewards”? Does Demoss think that once Christians are “saved”, they then have to prove to themselves (and others) that
they got saved by believing “the gospel for the lost in Acts”?

Does Demoss think that the way Christians get assurance (and rewards!) is to obey enough of God’s law? How much of God’s law does one have to obey to prove to yourself that you believed the gospel? Is it enough obeying the law to live as right as most of the other people in your church? Or would be better to focus on your sins and to wonder about yourself (and others) if you are living well enough to be sure that you believed (the gospel for the lost)? Was Demoss himself “saved” by means of a gospel found only in the book of Acts?

Mr Demoss writes as an arrogant and self-righteous man of religion. Not only does he think that he’s living right enough to know that he is saved but he seems to think that everything in the Bible (besides the
book of Acts) is only for mature well grown second stage Christians like himself.

John 9: 34 “You were born entirely in sin,” the Pharisees replied, “and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw the sinner out

Here’s the gospel Jesus taught in John 10:3 The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

Demoss believes that you can completely reject any idea of God’s effectual calling and still believe the gospel (for the lost in Acts). Where Jesus teaches that His sheep will listen to Him, Demoss teaches that we become sheep by believing a different gospel than Jesus taught, one that leaves out election—, whatever Jesus said is law or something not necessarily for today, but not good news for a lost sinner, according to Demoss. While lost sinners may not recognize the voice of Jesus, they have another gospel in the book of Acts which will not be so complicated (ie, offensive) to them.

In John 10, Jesus teaches that He will only die for the sheep and that the sheep will only believe His gospel because they are His sheep for whom He died. But this kind of thing, while it may be accepted in some advanced theology class for people like Demoss who like to study books, this kind of talk about election being about who Jesus died for, is ruled out by Demoss as being a suitable gospel for lost people to ever need to hear.

John 10: 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

Demoss believes that you can (and should) be ignorant about any idea of Christ having died only for the sins of elect, and this will make it more possible for you to believe (the gospel for the lost in Acts). In fact, the gospel Demoss wants sinners to hear does not get into any doctrine about what Christ’s death means or about atonement or propitiation which justly pays for sins, so that it would be unjust for those sinners (the sheep) to pay for their sins. Demoss wants to have a different gospel than Jesus teaches in John 10, a gospel that only tells the fact that Christ died and rose again. This is why Demoss writes 102 pages against “Gospelism”. He writes, “this is the name I gave this group because of its almost complete emphasis on the gospel”. But then Demoss adds—“or what they claimed was the gospel”.

It seems to me that Jimmy Demoss is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he wants to say, if you agree that Jesus died and rose again, then you are saved if after that you live right. But on the other hand, Demoss suggests that “this group” believes what they claim is the gospel but what is not the gospel. Does this mean that, if we believe the gospel taught by Jesus in John 10, we are not believing
the gospel and therefore we are not saved (since we have the wrong gospel?)

Demoss cannot seem to say that straight out—these people are lost because they believe the false gospel. To say that, he might have to talk more about what is the doctrine of the true gospel. Instead, Demoss switches to the idea that those in this “group” are not living right. The people in this group are wanting to sin, which is why they have this different gospel about Jesus dying only for the sheep. Thus Demoss writes “many of these people have a little or no connection to a Christian church and have no accountability.”

Instead of telling us that we have a false gospel and teaching us what the true gospel is, Demoss focuses on living right. And it doesn’t matter if you belong to a Methodist or a Lutheran or a freewill church, it’s still a Christian gospel church and if you don’t belong to a church, then you are not living right.

On page 106 (almost to the end of His many pages on how we are all going to be judged according to our works, on the basis of works), Demoss lists several areas in which “people in this group” are not living right. Have I believed enough, these guys must think. For Demoss, this question is not about “is the nature of my saving faith such that it causes me to live and work enough”. Demoss is not being critical about the nature of our faith (as in, are we too dogmatic or too doubtful). Demoss is thinking that saying that Jesus dying only for the sheep is “too much” and so Demoss turns that objection to the object and content of our faith into the accusation that a gospel which includes election is “too much”.

You can say, Jesus died for everybody and that includes everybody, and that “gospel” won’t make anybody ask themselves if they “believe enough”. You can say, well I don’t know but I just feel in my heart that “Jesus died for me”, and Demoss would not object, because that’s not too much for him (even though the Bible never tells any sinner by name before they believe that Christ died for them personally).

But if you agree with the gospel Jesus in John 10 that Jesus died for the sheep, then that’s way too much for Demoss. In point of fact, it’s not enough. Many sinners do believe that Jesus died only for the
elect, and still are not believing the gospel, because along with that truth of His death only for the sins of His elect, these sinners add to that the condition of God causing them to live right. So instead of asking “do I believe in election” (which Demoss rejects as part of the gospel), these sinners instead “do I live right enough to know that I believe” So Demoss fakes some kind of pity for us, with an hypothesis that we can’t be sure that we believe this “extra gospel” about election. But in reality, Demoss is accusing those “in the group” of not living as well as he and those in his church live. He won’t say directly that we have a false gospel. Instead, he wonders if “we observe all the things Jesus commanded”.

Demoss is not asking if we imitate Jesus by not answering evil with evil. Demoss is wondering about us because we have no “affiliation” to a church (like his or the Methodists or some club where there is accountability and dues). DEmoss explains that the gospel is “not enough…The Shepherd does more-much more” (106). But Demoss is not talking about Jesus the Shepherd of John 10, the one who dies only for
the sheep and the one whose gospel the sheep hear. Instead , when Demoss talks about the Shepherd, he is talking about “the elders of the church”. If you are not a member of a church, or if your church does not have elders, Demoss warns, then Jesus dying on the cross is not enough. How are you going to live right, if you are not a member of some church. And if you don’t live right, how are you going to know if you really believe the gospel (the gospel for the lost in the book of Acts)?