Posted tagged ‘Don Fortner’

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

May 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we supposed to say, Randy Wages is teaching the nature of justification different now, so now let’s all teach it the way he’s teaching it? I asked Randy once, were you regenerate and had spiritaal life before you began teaching that the elect were always justified before God. Randy Wages assured me that he was already effectually called before he had ever heard the doctrine of “never personally condemned before God.” But then Randy warned me that this was the best way to show that faith in the gospel is not the righteousness. Randy also told me that he had found out that some people he thought were regenerate exposed themselves as not yet knowing the gospel when he brought up to them the idea of “eternal justification before God”.

The implication to me was that, if I had not heard or known about “eternal justification”, then posssibly I was already regenerate, but if I questioned the “never under the wrath even in unbelief” doctrine when informed about it, this would raise questions in Randy’s mind about if I knew that faith was not the righteousness. Not saying it the same way Randy was now sayung it would cause Randy to doubt if I knew the gospel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

p 194, What is the righteousness, Bill Parker–” it has been saaid that 2 Cor 5:14 is about new creation and that new creation is about reconciliation not about regeneration. This is true”. But in the next sentence Bill introduces the word “mainly”. (Which of the “four realms” is reconciliation?) –“It is not MAINLY about regeneration and conversion”. Then one more sentence–“HOWEVER, Paul was led of the Spirit to INCLUDE the reality of regeneration and conversion.”

Then one more sentence. Bil writes about the fruit of regeneration—“all for whom Christ died shall live for His glory.” Though Bill began on page 194 by saying that new creation was “about reconciliation not regeneration”, the next eight pages are all about regeneration and not about reconciliation ( not atonement, not justification).

IF YOU PUT RECONCILIATION BEFORE HISTORY HAPPENS, then when you begin to talk about the gospel and being “saved”, you are NOT MAINLLY GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT CHIRST DID TO OBTAIN RECONCILIATION. Instead you are gong to talk about “salvation” in history and conversion as “regeneration”.

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

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

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

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

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law.

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

The elect in Christ are under condemnation untilGod justifies them.

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law.

Once Christ’s elect are justified , they are under grace. They were always loved, but then by God’s imputation they are justified before God, no longer under the condemnaton of law.

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

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

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

If you want to stay consistent, give the implication-“But there is justification before there is “salvation” Bill Parker needs to say—Unlike I did in the past, I am now using the word “salvation” in a different way. This makes it look like I am saying the same thing I always preached. But I changed my view about the nature of justification. I also changed my view about “new creation”.

If God justifies or regenerates sinners without those sinners knowing the gospel, then what is their assurance they are actually regenerate?

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

Romans 3:19 The law speaks…in order that every mouth be shut and the whole world becomes subject to God’s judgment…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 gospel doctrine. It is not the same doctrine as “never condemned in God’s sight”. It’s not the same doctrine as “justified before and without faith in God’s righteousness.”

All the Elect in Christ Elected At the Same Time and Will be Glorified at the Same Time but they are NOT Called and Justifed at the Same Time

July 13, 2016

Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us

II Timothy 1: 9 God has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before the ages began.
10 his has now been made evident
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who has abolished death
and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel.

II Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for SALVATION THROUGH FAITH IN Christ Jesus.

II Timothy 4: 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom

Christ’s sheep have always been sheep but they have not always been “saved”.
There are those who teach that God’s elect were saved and objectively given every blessing before the ages. But in order to explain (away) many Bible texts, they say that elect sinners are always justified before God but simply have not “experienced” it yet. Thus they claim that none of the elect were ever under the wrath of God, but until they become regenerate, these elect in their conscience (but not before God) think by mistake that they are under the wrath of God.

But think about this attempt at a distinction between what’s a fact before God and the psychology of what’s going on in the heads of the sheep. The distinction depends on saying that regeneration is NOT an objective fact before God before the ages began, but that justification IS an objective fact before God before the ages. These folks are saying that some blessings (like the life of new birth) are not in fact given by God before the ages began. They agree that some of the elect don’t merely think they are not born again yet, because they agree that God does not give the new birth to all the elect at the same time. And yet these folks insist that justification before God is something which is a fact for all the elect at the same time, which they say is the time before time.

Yes, justification is before God, justification is God’s legal declaration and not a change inside the elect sinner. Justification is not the regenerating effectual call, because the effectual call changes a totally depraved elect sinner into a sinner who now believes the gospel. But this difference between justification and regeneration does not prove that justification is given to all before time, while effectual calling is given to individual elect sinners one by one, from time to time. Justification and the effectual call are both salvation blessings, but they are not the same blessings. None of those who have placed into Christ’s death are glorified or immortal yet, but all of those who have been justified by Christ’s death are also at the same time effectually called by the gospel. Righteousness demands life (Romans 8:10)

While these confusing preachers may begin by claiming that, if you have one blessing, then you already have all blessings of salvation, these same preachers also argue for a great time lag between God’s imputation of righteousness ( Christ’s death) and the effectual call which results. Yes, the effectual call is something that the sheep experience, and God’s imputation and legal declaration are outside the sinner, but this does not make effectual call an objective fact before God for all time. The sheep are not really effectually called before or without hearing and believing the gospel.

And the sheep are NOT justified before God until God places them into Christ’s death by legal imputation. Even though their specific sins (past and future) were all already imputed to Christ, Christ’s death is imputed to the elect in time, and this legal identity is not an objective fact until God declares it to be so. Abraham was not justified before God before the ages began. Abraham was born ungodly, and under the wrath of God. Abraham was justified before God only when God declared Abraham to be just based only on Christ’s death. Romans 4: 10 “In what way then was righteousness credited to Abraham? —while Abraham was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while Abraham was circumcised, because Abraham was justified while he was uncircumcised.”

So first the preachers add a “then” into II Timothy 1 to make it read “saved, then called, so calling is not the salvation”. But then second the same preachers add the word “experience” into Romans 10:13 to make it read “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved in EXPERIENCE”. And thus they teach that salvation is not an experience, when they want to talk about justification, but then agree that salvation is an experience when they want to talk about calling. But before that they said that calling was not “salvation”. And they don’t use the word “justification” because they want to (sometimes, when it suits them) equate the word “salvation” with “justification”. Thus they don’t much use the word “justification”. So first they say calling is not salvation, but then they also say that all blessings are salvation and that the sheep already have all the blessings before they are born.

We need to define the word “saved”. There are confusing preachers who prefer paradox to explanation and definition. Instead of saying that “salvation” includes election and effectual calling and glorification, they like to say that election is salvation but then also say that we need to be saved by the power of the gospel. In this way, they not only equate election and justification, but they stop talking about justification and begin to talking as if “salvation” was nothing but the effectual calling.

They are willing to say that some of the elect have not yet been effectually called but they are not willing to say that any of the elect are not yet justified. For all practical purposes, this means they stop talking about justification. They say that if God has purposed that an elect person receive all the blessings of salvation, then that means the person now already has all those blessings. Thus they say that all the elect are not only already justified but already glorified. They confuse the legal right to the life of the age to come with already having immortality. But then they contradict themselves by saying that not all the elect have been effectually called yet. Though they claim that all the elect have all blessings, they agree that some of the elect have not been yet received the blessing of effectual calling. .

Thus they say the elect in Christ were “saved” before the ages began, but then they say that the elect are not “saved” until they hear preaching. What they need to do is make a distinction between God’s purpose to obtain and give blessings, and then make a distinction between Christ obtaining the blessings (by His death and resurrection in time) and then God imputing (legally giving) these blessings to the elect, both to Abel and to all the elect who have not been justified. But instead they teach that all the elect have already been justified, and that all the elect were justified before the ages began.

Christ died once for all time does not mean that Christ was actually slain before the ages began. It means that it was God’s purpose before the ages began that Christ would die one time in time once for all time, and in this way obtain the objective righteousness by which God justifies the elect. We need to make a distinction between election in Christ as a blessing of salvation and justification in Christ as a blessing of salvation. None of the elect have yet been glorified, but that blessing of salvation will be given because of God’s purpose for it to be given and because Christ by His death and resurrection has obtained that blessing for all the elect.

II Timothy 1: 9 does not say that God has already saved all the elect. II Timothy 1:9 teaches that God has saved US and called US. Since not all the elect have been called, not all the elect have been saved. All the elect will be called, and all the elect will be saved. Election is not the only salvation. Calling is not the only salvation. II Timothy 1:9 does not say that God has saved some, and THEN called some. Calling is part of salvation, not something different from salvation. Calling is not all of salvation. But neither is election all of salvation. God’s purpose to save is not all of salvation, because it’s Christ’s death and resurrection which obtains salvation. Christ’s death and resurrection is not all of salvation, because God’s legal placing of the elect into Christ’s death is also salvation. God’s imputing the elect with Christ’s obtained righteousness is part of salvation.

It’s not the truth to say that “God saved us before the ages”. It’s not the truth to say that “Christ saved us 2000 years ago”. All those who have been set apart by God’s election will be saved in time all at the same time when they are glorified when Christ comes back again. Glorification is also part of salvation, and therefore it’s true to say that all those who have been saved by election have not yet been saved by glorification. Instead of looking at one isolated text like II Timothy 1:9-10 and then adding words to it (like “then” called) that are not in the text, it would be better to consider other verses in Timothy and see that “salvation” means different blessings in different texts.

I Timothy 4: 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will SAVE both yourself and your hearers.

If all the elect are already saved before the ages, what sense does it make for Timothy to be told to “save” himself and others? Is it true that Timothy needs to believe the gospel? If the elect are justified apart from faith in the gospel, then there is no need for Timothy to believe the gospel and no need for Timothy to continue to believe the gospel. If the elect are justified apart from faith in the gospel, then there is no need for other sinners to hear Timothy teach the gospel. But “salvation” means more than one blessing in the Bible. When these preachers claim that saying that “faith in Christ is a work” (so believe in Christ’s faith instead) they are rejecting the Bible’s own distinction between salvation through faith and salvation through works. Faith is not works. Faith in Christ’s death is not a work. Faith in Christ’s death is not the same thing as faith in Christ’s faith.

The same preachers who teach eternal justification because they claim that “justification is just as eternal as election is eternal” also say that there is no salvation apart from a sinner hearing the gospel from a preacher. But even though justification is permanent once a person is justified, this does not mean that a person has always justified. Yes, those who have been elected in Christ have always been elect, but permanent election is not the same blessing as permanent justification. Instead of confusing contradictions which say that “the saved have not been saved”, we need to learn the different blessings of salvation.

These preachers need to explain what they mean by the “laying on of hands”. Does this having to do with the OT priests laying hands on the animals as a “means of grace” to those depending on these priests for access to God? Does the “laying on of hands” have to do with an apostolic succession in which certain charimastic powers are transferred from preacher to preacher? If you have to hear the gospel from a preacher and not from God giving you an understanding from reading the Bible, then does the preacher you hear the gospel from have to have heard the gospel from a preacher? If you are going for a Roman Catholic/ Landmarker succession thing, what if you go back seven preachers and find out that the seventh preacher only heard a teacher but not a preacher—somebody without hands put on, somebody not adept in soundbites?

We need to consider the context of Timothy and see that “salvation” cannot be reduced to election before the ages, and also to see that justification is not given to the elect before the ages.

I Timothy 6: 14 I charge you to keep the command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 God will bring this about in His own Time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
16 the only One who has immortality,
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see Him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.

Hebrews 9: But now the Messiah has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once 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.

Instead of claiming that God has no time or that God is timeless, preachers need to submit to what I Timothy 4 teaches about obeying God’s commands until Christ’s second coming. Instead of claiming that we are already immortal (or that all humans are already immortal, bound to live somewhere, in hell or in heaven) , preachers need to submit to what I Timothy 6 teaches about only God being immortal. We sinners did not always exist, and none of us are immortal yet, because not even the elect will be given immortality until Christ “brings salvation” with Him at His second coming and our Resurrection.

Matthew 5: 10 Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Notice that Matthew 5 does not teach that the elect are already in heaven. Nor does it teach that the elect will be in heaven someday. Nor does it teach that some Christians will be rewarded and other Christians will not. Christ is now in heaven, our reward is in Heaven, and Christ is our Reward. Christ is not going to stay in heaven but is coming to dwell with us and to “bring salvation” to us. Matthew 5 does not say we shall be blessed but that we are blessed but this does not eman that Christ has already glorified us or that Christ has already brought us all the blessings of salvation.

II Timothy 2: 12 if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, He will also deny us

I find it interesting that these very same preachers who are teaching “eternal election is eternal justification” so that “election is salvation” are the very same people who also like to say that “non-election is not condemnation”. But when they say this, they have to change their soundbites so that “election is not salvation but only unto salvation”. They they quote CD Cole—“Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto salvation (2 Thessalonians 2: 13). Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation of sinners. Sin is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men are sinners by nature and practice. Sinners are sinners altogether apart from election or non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto salvation that non-election is unto damnation. Sin is the damning element in human life. Election harms nobody.”

Those who refuse to give explanations like to have their cake and also eat it. On the hand, they like to reduce salvation to God’s sovereignty and equate election with justification ( and don’t talk about justification or Christ obtaining righteousness by being imputed with guilt). But on the other hand, when it comes to explaining the non-salvation of the non-elect, these same preachers don’t want to talk about God’s sovereignty but only about God’s justice.

But guilt is not enough for destruction, because you also have to be non-elect. The elect are also born guilty in sin, under the wrath of God, but all the elect will pass from guilt to justification. But these preachers deny that the elect are ever guilty, and they minimize any idea that Christ was imputed with the guilt of the elect, and in that way obtained justification for the elect. And these same preachers deny that non-election is any factor in some sinners not being saved.

Romans 9: 11 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good OR BAD, so that God’s purpose according to election would stand— 12 not from works but from the One who calls

The confusing preachers who teach that non-election is no factor in the destruction of sinners also tend to teach that Adam’s sin imputed is no factor in the condemnation of sinners. They say that the non-elect are condemned only for their own sins, and not for the sin of Adam Thus they teach 1. that the elect are never ever condemned, and never pass from guilt to justification
(the two seed in the spirit idea from primitive baptists, the children of the woman)
And they teach 2. that the non-elect are not born condemned, are not condemned until they themselves sin

If we are saved by Christ’s faith, and not by means of faith in Christ, when did the “faith of Christ” happen—-did Christ have vicarious faith for the elect before time began? In the purpose of God, Christ was slain and crucified before the ages, but it was not until once for all time that Christ obtained permanent redemption for all the elect, both for those who had already been justified and also for those who would be justified.

If those who do not yet believe the gospel are already justified, there is no way to judged saved and lost by the gospel

Romans 4: 23 Now “righteousness was imputed to him” was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. Righteousness WILL BE IMPUTED TO US WHO BELIEVE in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 The Lord was delivered up because of our trespasses and raised because of our justification.

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

There is a difference between the righteousness of Christ’s death, its imputation, and the justification which follows imputation. The righteousness of the death is the value God puts on the death. When that righteousness is legally shared with an elect person, that elect person passes from death to life and is justified. There are no justified persons who do not yet believe the gospel. This does NOT make faith in the gospel to be an “instrumental cause” of God’s imputation.

There is a difference between sin and the guilt of sin and the corruption of sin. The guilt of sin counted against a person causes a person to come under condemnation and the result of that is death.

John 5: 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and BELIEVES Him who sent Me HAS the lasting life of the age to come and will NOT COME UNDER THE JUDGMENT but HAS passed from death to life.

Mark Daniel Calls Guilt-Sharing “Judicial Role-Play”

April 5, 2011

Mark Daniel’s sermon entitled “Absolute Substitution”: “What is sinful flesh? It is flesh where sin is present. Sinful flesh is flesh where it has sin in it. Sinful flesh is flesh contaminated by sin. Well, now, you ask, I don’t understand how Christ could be the Son of God, pure and holy, and yet be contaminated by sin.”

Mark Daniel goes on to affirm the mystery of it all: if we could understand it as information, then we would be God and none of us is God, but when Daniel speaks, he does speak as God has spoken, etc.

I doubt that Daniel has read Edward Irving, Karl Barth, or Cranfield about ” the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3) but the denial that Christ made sin by legal imputation is a not a new heresy.

I could ask questions, but the “made sin is real” guys don’t want to risk any “information” answers about how Christ could go from being without sin to having sin in his flesh, and this before any legal imputation of sins.

Was “sinful in the flesh in Christ’s nature or in His person? Was it only the humanity? Is Christ’s supposedly “being made sinful” something separate from his person? But these guys think that doctrines about the person of Christ will only decrease worship of Christ. If you knew more about Christ, then you wouldn’t worship Him?

Mark Daniel: “All I’m trying to say is that God did not cut a deal with Christ, where they did role play. It wasn’t judicial role-play. “
Please notice that I am not questioning the sincerity of his motives. Mark Daniel is much like the Roman Catholics who called imputation a “mere legal fiction”. Though they do not completely dismiss God’s declarations, they assume that legal guilt sharing is impossible and that justification is analytic. When the leper is no longer a leper, then and only then will God declare a person not to be a leper. Only after Christ is “really made a sinner”, will Mark Daniel and Don Fortner accept that then -after the made really–Christ legally bore the sins of the elect.

The denial of “made sin” by legal imputation leads to a false gospel in which God gives people a new nature, and replaces sin in the flesh. This false gospel claims that being made sin by legal imputation is fake.

I am reminded of Luther’s illustration of the dung covered by the snow. The Romanists wanted something more real—they wanted God by grace to turn the dung into gold. Luther, not believing that what God did in Him would be any part of justification, asked about what happens when the gold turned back into dung!

Back when I was lost, I very much believed in the sovereignty of God, so much so that I told myself that God did not bother about justice and righteousness. I told myself that the matter of salvation was only an internal matter to God, in which God did anything God wanted. If God wanted to forgive people, God could do that. (Back when I was lost, I said that) God did not need to be just in forgiving, that God had no need to be BOTH just and justifier. I was open to the Socinian claim that, if God demands punishment for guilt, even if from Himself, then that is not forgiveness.

I am not accusing Mark Daniel of denying that God has a nature, or of equating justice with sovereignty. I don’t want to assume that you the reader, or that Mark Daniel, has gone down the same wrong paths I went down.That being said, I do have a serious objection to what Daniel teaches in this sermon (and in other sermons). Mark Daniel is denying that God can or will justify the wicked. Because Mark Daniel is denying that God can or will legally impute sin to anybody without that person being first “really made sin” before and apart from legal imputation.

Like the papists who cried “legal fiction”, Mark Daniel is saying that Christ must be “made sin in the flesh actually” before there can be any imputation of guilt. In paralell to this, his false gospel says that the righteousness we become must be “real” (which to him means not legal), and only then can there be legal imputation.

Two more quotations from the sermon by Mark Daniel. You can get a tape or a transcript of it from Eager Avenue Baptist Church. “You see, a judicial substitution is INSUFFICIENT…now understand me, I’m not putting down the judicial aspect. He gained a judicial standing but that standing, that part of His substitution, was insufficient to give me life and to give me liberty, to give me freedom from my sins.”

Mark Daniel IS putting down the judicial aspect. What’s the necessity of the judicial aspect to Mark Daniel? If Christ is made sin before the imputation, and without the imputation, what’s the point of then adding the “judicial aspect”?

If he’s saying “more than legal”, he could answer some questions by explaining what he does mean by “legal.” He claims not to be denying or putting down the legal.

So why would legal imputation of the guilt of the elect after Christ is already made sin by “more than imputation”, why would that even be still important to Mark Daniel?

The last quotation from Mark Daniel: “On the cross, Christ actually became as sinful as I. Something He had never been, could not have become, and did not want to happen, and prayed for that it might let it pass, and yet became a reality in his very being.”

“Something”. And if you ask questions about what that something was, then you show yourself to be a “rationalist”. These guys don’t explain or give reasons. They only proclaim, and we are supposed to swallow it.

Beware of implicit faith. Don’t put any of these preachers up on a pedestal where you believe what they believe but you don’t know what they believe and they can’t be bothered to explain what they believe. If they won’t answer questions, don’t listen to them.

No Information, No Gospel

April 4, 2011

I do not know a single person who claims that it is enough to only know about Christ. Every person I know who professes to be a Christian says that we must “believe in” the person identified by the doctrines We all agree that doctrine is not sufficient.

Preachers who presume to give us information about a difference between doctrine and person which they cannot explain. That “difference” can be deconstructed simply by pointing out that their difference is itself “information”.

So they have is a cheap rhetorical trick: they think if they say FIRST they have the person not the doctrine, then you don’t get to say that what they have is just as much doctrine as anybody else (or that their doctrine is wrong).

I do not hope to cure preachers of indulging in cheap rhetorical tricks. It is not sufficient to know about (and agree with) the deity of Christ to know Christ. But that does not change the fact that it is necessary to know something about the deity of Christ to know the person Christ.

The good news is not simply who Christ is but also what Christ’s finished activity did which obtained a righteousness for His elect. This righteousness is not simply Himself, as Christ always was. Christ came to do something, and He got it done. Christ died because of the sins of the elect.

I am not saying that it is sufficient to know about this. We know that a person who knows that Christ died only for the elect may not be elect. But it is necessary for the elect to know information about Christ’s death for the elect alone. This is not a condition of election. s God elected the elect before they knew the information or believed the information. But the gospel is news, the gospel is information.

Christ obtained a righteousness for the elect, not conditioned on the elect’s knowledge of that obtaining of righteousness. But the elect will learn that they need the righteousness which Christ obtained.

Before Christ obtained that righteousness, Abraham knew about that righteousness, and believed unto that righteousness. Romans 4 does not say that Abraham’s faith was a condition for the obtaining of righteousness, but it does teach that Abraham gave evidence of being justified by having faith unto that righteousness.

A person is not justified before God by placing her faith in Jesus, but by the righteousness obtained by Jesus. True faith has as its object the person who obtained a righteousness which is not faith but which is Christ’s death and resurrection.

God’s love for His foreknown sheep is election, and Christ’s righteousness is the reason those so loved are given faith in the gospel.

True faith comes by hearing the word of Christ but the word of Christ gives information about what He has ACCOMPLISHED by His sacrifice and His resurrection from the dead.

Arminian information sees faith as a contribution man must make, a condition man must fulfill, as something which makes the work of Christ (whatever that is or isn’t!) “real” and “effective” and “sufficient” for the one who meets that condition.

“Faith in the person without faith in the righteousness” is a religion that flatters humans in their ignorance of the gospel. It does not demand that the sinner know and submit to the gospel. It does not demand that the sinner repent of all false gospels. It lets every man say for himself if he “knows the person”.

To be seeking justification by the works of the law while claiming to “know the person” is to be under God’s curse. Escape from the curse comes only by the righteousness Christ obtained. There is really no good news apart from the proclamation of of what Christ Jesus DID as the God-man mediator.

Instead of pointing our consciences to the righteousness obtained by Christ which satisfies God’s law, the “person only” doctrine POINTS US AWAY FROM THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS. We are even told by certain preachers to stop emphasizing the past activity of Christ so that we can “know the person”.

When the doctrine vs person doctrine says that a man does not need to know about righteousness obtained in order to know that he is saved, the doctrine being taught is that Christ did not obtain for the elect a knowledge of righteousness obtained.

Immediate Imputation

January 12, 2010

The late E.W. Johnson preached a series of messages at Calvary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, AR in the late 50’s, which were published by Baptist Reformation Review in 1972

Johnson’s article was an attack on “federalism”. It opposed the primacy of the legal transfer and makes imputation depend on corruption or regeneration. It took sides with Andrew Fuller against Abraham Booth. It sided with Augustine and Calvin against  John Murray .

Of course we baptists are not bound to what any of those guys said, not even John Gill. But I bring up the name John Murray, since he did not believe in a covenant of works, and yet he still taught the immediate imputation of guilt from Adam to all humans (Jesus Himself excepted.)

So teaching an immediate imputation of the death of Christ (ie, logically before regeneration, and not because of regeneration) is not a result of having a covenant of works. Nor is it a result of denying that all God’s elect understand and believe the gospel.

But EW Johnson lumped all who taught immediate imputation into his “Primitive Baptist category”. And Johnson always pontificated more against what he called hypers than against the Arminians. There is very little theology on the Searching Together site, but this terrible imputation essay is one still there.

Interesting that those who are so indifferent to the true and false  are nevertheless so certain about a less important place for imputation. And thus they proclaim, and do not explain.
Wheaton’s Henri Blocher’s view of original sin is that Adam’s sin opened the door so that the rest of us other sinners COULD BE imputed with our own sins, and thus condemened. Thus a mediate imputation.

Andrew Fuller taught that this “door” has been opened for all sinners, including the non-elect. But even some who affirm substitutionary atonement seem think that a door has been opened for the elect that allows God then to do some other (more real) stuff for the elect.They seem to believe that any “imputation” by God is based on what God knows He will do (or has done) in the elect. They call imputation “judicial role-play”.

I do not.

Hebrews 10:10 We have been set apart through the offering of the body of Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:14 By a single offering He has perfected for all TIME those who are being sanctified.

The justified elect are sanctified by the imputation of Christ’s bloody death. This is parallel to the direct imputation of Adam’s sin. Romans 5:18 “as one trespass led to condemnation” does not mean “opened the door for the possibility of condemnation” . John 3:18″ the one who does not believe is condemned already.”