Posted tagged ‘for you and your children’

Equivocation Explains that There is no Explanation— the “For You” the Corporate Everybody or Individuals?

March 12, 2018

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Scott Clark, if he were being straight, would need to use the word “corporate” every time he says “and your children”. But Scott Clark writes out of both sides of his mouth. Scott Clark teaches that there are “different ways to be in the covenant”. Scott Clark speaks differently to “federal visionists” than Scott Clark speaks to credobaptists. Goldilocks understands and explains how the two other beds are different from his “just right” bed. One bed is different because it’s too hard. The other bed is different because it’s too soft. Therefore the two different beds are in substance the same bed. Therefore, according to Scott Clrk, the “covenantal Arminian” problem is not a paeodobaptist problem but really a credobaptist (or Lutheran) problem.

Scott Clark– We do not believe that in baptism the Spirit necessarily brings infants to new life. That is the doctrine of the papists, the confessional Lutherans, and others but it is not the teaching of the Reformed churches

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.

Scott Clark—The Federal Visionist conflates the eternal decree with the external administration of the covenant of grace. Paedocommunion and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration are errors but they are also really only symptoms of this underlying problem. The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render MERELY THEORETICAL and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology.

Scott Clark–My Baptist friends have a very difficult time UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

For Scott Clark, perhaps,the distinction between decree and “really in the covenant” is “mere theory”.

Scott Clark accuses credobaptists of “individualism” when it suits his argument. But when he’s watering a baby, the “promise for you” stays individual and personal, without mention of conditional corporate negative sanctions . “And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for a lasting possession, and I will be their God”

When Scott Clark is arguing from the land promises to Abraham’s children to the idea that the new covenant includes both elect and non-elect, Scott Clark neither refers only to Jesus the one and only child of Abraham or to the individuals who believe the gospel that Abraham believed. Instead Scott Clark starts talking “corporate”.

Scott Clark—“Spilsbury-cast the Abrahamic covenant individualistic terms. On its own terms, the Abrahamic covenant was a promise that entailed a corporate outward administration….”

Scott Clark writes: “Fundamentally, baptism is to strengthen our faith, not replace it. It is a seal to THE INDIVIDUALS WHO BELIEVE, that what baptism promises is actually true of them.” (p 8, “Baptism and the Benefits of Christ”, Confessional Presbyterian 2, 2006)

Greg Bahnsen agreed—“The signs of the covenant, whether circumcision or baptism, declare the objective truth that justification comes only by faith in God’s promise. Circumcision and baptism are NOT an INDIVDIUAL’S personal, subjective testimony to having saving faith for himself. So, those who are in the visible church but not elect are nevertheless within the covenant of grace but under its curse.”

But Leithart explains differently from both Bahnsen and Clark: “The big difference between the word and baptism is that the word offers God’s grace to everyone-in-general while baptism declares God’s favor TO ME . Baptism wraps the gift of forgiveness and justification and puts MY NAME on the package. Like the gospel, BAPTISM REQUIRES a response of ENDURING faith. Faith involves believing what baptism says ABOUT YOU . The baptismal declaration is that we are “justified from sin” by union with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I can’t, of course, live a life of unbelief and disobedience, and expect baptism to rescue me at the end. Such a life would betray my baptism


Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”? Let’s bring some Lutherans into the discussion.

“Luther is applying predicates to individuals (members of the Church) which Scripture explicitly applies to the whole (the Church). Is this analogy per synecdoche necessarily wrong?”

The “for you” does not comfort the Lutheran if it’s not for everybody, therefore for the Lutheran the “for you” IS for everybody (in church who hears the preacher)

But this “for everybody” would mean a “proposal of marriage kind of promise”, therefore “for everybody” means Christ died for all sinners but now it’s up to you and the Holy Spirit.

Against both Scott Clark and the Lutherans, I am so “rationalistic” that I want to deconstruct the Lutheran Forde’s stupid explanation about the DIFFERENCE between “theology about the cross” and “theology of the cross”

Forde is not the only sacramentalist who has a theory about how “sacraments” work “for you” without God teaching you a “theory” or an “explanation” about how Christ’s death worked.

Forde’s explanation depends on a difference between fact and value/ meaning. Forde’s theory rejects anything in the Bible that sounds like the “marketplace”. So long “redemption”.

“Something has happened” apart from your “freewill”. To Forde and many other Lutherans this means that we still don’t know how God thinks and why Christ died because of sins.

“Christ has your sins and Christ is not going to take your sins back and yet somehow, without the preacher and the splash of the water, you still might not have life?”

“You are being saved”, but yet somehow in the end, maybe you won’t be saved

Because Forde and many other Lutherans are offended at what the Bible says about propitiation, they explain that the offense of the cross is that we don’t have an explanation. They explain that the offense of the cross is that God doesn’t have an explanation.

(sarcasm alert)

If you reject their explanation (which exempts itself from being an explanation), then these “for you” preachers have an explanation for that as well. You must be “rationalistic” and have a moral problem with God’s raw sovereignty . Their ad hom accusation, the law of the explanation that there is no explanation, explains— you want to protect yourself from God and so that’s why you talk about propitiation. Unlike these folks who have agreed with God that they are the most foolish and therefore the least foolish, if you are still talking about propitiation, then everybody likes hearing about how the cross satisfies justice, people really like to eat up that stuff about God’s wrath, because anybody who talks about God’s wrath is still into “free will” and they think they control God’s wrath with their explanations. But the “for you” preachers are maybe not so popular because they bravely keeping telling people that God loves them? And since they have the courage not to have an explanation, they bravely talk out of both sides of their mouth—for you corporately, but also for you individually. For you, but not necessarily in decretal election, perhaps only in covenantal election, but these preachers are so brave that they don’t get into detailed explanations. And these preachers are so bold and so foolish that they transcend other people’s foolish doctrinal stuff, and stick with what’s “pastoral”. It wouldn’t be prudent for them to teach universalism. But it does not harm anybody if they keep saying “for you”, because surely nobody interprets that language in terms of free will. God does the sacrament. We humans don’t do the sacraments by our free will. Therefore if we stop showing up for the splash of water and the sermon of absolution, that’s on us, but it’s not “freewill”

(end of sarcasm, I think)

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Forde’s law says that Christ’s death cannot be explained or justified by law. Forde disagrees with Romans 4:25 that Christ was raised from the dead because of the justification of sinners. Forde’s reason for Christ’s resurrection is that there is no reason, and Christ being risen is lawlessness.

Forde has his own explanation for Christ’s death–we killed him.
God didn’t plan the death for the sake of God’s justice (forget Romans 3:25)
Forde turns Christ’s death into law–you all killed him.
Then Forde confuses law with gospel—therefore since you all killed him, Christ died “for you”, for everybody

And if you don’t agree with Forde’s explanation, he has some more accusations against you
1. you must prefer Christ dead to Christ, since you think the death was so necessary.
2. if you think the Son removed the wrath between you and the Father, then you must think the Father did not send the Son, you must think that the Father only loves you because of the Son, you must think there must now be a separation between the Father and the Son, because you used to (foolishly) think there was a separation between the Father and you, because of your sins
3. Forde accuses all who disagree with his theory about Christ’s death of being people who think their “assent by their freewill to propositions” is the “currency that buys off God”

Forde puts the “others” into Arminian mode, but he denies being universalist. So what keeps the “for everybody” of Christ’s death from working foreverybody? Not our freewill, but our not hearing the preacher and getting the splash of water and swallowing Jesus in the sacrament?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Anti-individualism is the reigning ideology in the academy in our day (but not in the rhetoric of politicians) . Even many “self-help” books end with the exhortation to find fulfillment by finding community. We meet together to be “challenged” again for being too concerned about ourselves alone.

We are reminded that “He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20) does not eliminate the greater truth that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). Since me does not rule out us, then us does not rule out them. And since nobody talks about elect and non-elect, the truth that Christ died for His sheep cannot be understood as denying that Christ died also for goats. So Arminian evangelicals tell us.

Election yes, but not when we are talking about Christ’s death, and certainly not when we meet as a church!

The pseudo-Calvinists who will not talk about election when they are talking about Christ’s death and love. They will only say, “if you put your trust in Him,” and will not spell out the antithesis between sheep for whom Christ died and goats for whom Christ did not die. They doubletalk about God’s love. On the one hand, everyone listening to them is regarded as one of the “us” who Christ loves. On the other hand, listeners are being warned that Christ’s love depends on them “putting their trust in”. At issue here is not only the extent of Christ’s love but the nature of Christ’s love. If Christ’s love is often unrequited, then even His love for those who love Him back is of a very different nature than the biblical love which never lets go of any God gave His Son.

It does no good to say that God “took the initiative”, or even that God “loved the unlovely”. In our own relationships, one of us takes the first steps. But if the other person does not respond to the first love, it amounts to nothing. If Christ’s love is an initiative which depends on our response, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing. Galatians 2:20 does not say that the Son of God loved you and gave Himself FOR YOU. Nor does the text give clergy the authority to extrapolate that God loves you and gave Himself for you. Rather, the next verse says “if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” If Christ’s love depends on you the law of putting your trust in Him, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing and His death was for no purpose.

McGregor Wright, late author of No Place for Sovereignty—-When Francis Schaeffer”s writings were introduced to the well meaning, well doing, young, evangelical it went down the throat like mother’s milk. “Calvinist” was questionable and, at best, risky business. Nobody wanted to connect Schaeffer with “Calvinist”, and “Presbyterian” was a dangerous label as well. Just ask Bill Bright what is important to Chrstianity and that will be Schaeffer’s Evangelical Credential. All the things Schaeffer said were said out of the “evangelical” megaphone. Everybody looked at Schaeffer and then looked at each other and said “A OK!

McGregor Wright asked Schaeffer why, as a confessing Calvinist, he would teach “a version of ‘free will’ that looked much like Arminianism. Schaeffer said he wanted students to clearly see that Christianity is different from “the ‘determinism’ emphasized in the psychology and sociology courses of the secular campus.” Writing in The Bible Today, (A Review of a Review, Oct 1948) Schaeffer said, “It is not apart from the Holy Spirit, nor could it be possible without the predestination of the Sovereign God” and referred to the woman at the well as “one of the elect.” But Bryan A. Follis in Truth with Love; The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer notes in reference to Schaeffer’s 1948 article: “It is fascinating to note that by 1963 the reference to “predestination” and “the elect” had been dropped and that by 1968 the sentence referring to God’s mercy in saving men had been cut out. Was Schaeffer becoming more rationalist? Was Schaeffer becoming more Arminian? Follis, writing favorably on Schaeffer, answers that Schaeffer was just tailoring his speech to his audience.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The false gospel (not universalism but Arminianism) depends on individuals among the corporately loved agreeing with Jesus that Jesus died for them. They think that God’s “for you” is an appeal to the part of us which refuses explanations we don’t like but that God finds us lovely when we hate God’s explanations

Pseudo-Calvinists think of election and definite redemption as two different things, because they think of love “for you” and propitiation for the elect as two different things. Not so the Scripture! John 10 does not say that the good Shepherd loves the goats so that they can become sheep . John 10:12 says that “he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

The preacher who claims to be too brave for explanations flees from God’s expiation and God’s election because they are hired hands and care nothing for the sheep.” The good shepherd does not act like the hired man. The hired man’s love amounts to nothing. How do we know the Shepherd loves the sheep? “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Does this mean that the Shepherd dies “for you” as a representative of the goats along with the sheep? No. The Shepherd is not only the leader, not only the first to die. The Shepherd dies as a substitute for the sheep. Because the Shepherd dies, the sheep do not die. John 10 does not separate Christ’s love and Christ’s death. Christ loves those for whom He dies. Christ dies for those He loves.

Christ died “for everybody”. No, He did not. John 10 makes this clear and simple. It does not say, “If you put your trust in and believe.” John 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.” It’s not, if you put your trust in me and hear my voice , then you will become my sheep. Ok, Ok, the Pseuo–Calvinists reason, we also believe in election. We too know that John 10:29 tells how “My Father has given them to me”. We just don’t happen to talk about that when we are talking about Christ’s loving and dying. When we talk about Christ’s love, we stay with “for you” and don’t get into the business of them not being able to trust if they are not elect. Christ knew who was not elect, but we don’t

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

I agree that we don’t know who is not elect. Just because a person does not now believe the true gospel does not mean that person never will believe. Any person who will one day believe the true gospel is already a sheep. Christ already loves them, and Christ already died for them. But we can say all that without leaving the door open for those who teach that Christ died for everybody. If we do not say that Christ died for the elect and not for the non-elect, those who climb in other ways will be telling people that it all depends on “if you trust In Him”. If we don’t talk about Christ’s death and election at the same time, we ourselves will be heard preaching a love that depends on the sinner to respond.

My main point is not the motives of Lutherans and Pseudo-Calvinists Surely some of them are hired men who know they won’t be hired if they talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. Most of them “sincerely” have the same false gospel that teaches Christ’s death as having an universal “intent” conditioned on a sinner’s faith. My main point is that Christ’s love amounts to everything! Christ’s love meant death for those God loved, and that love is decisive. That love is not one factor among many. Christ’s love is about a death which propitiates the wrath of God against elect sinners for their sins. Christ’s love is not over against God’s wrath. God’s love gives Christ some elect individuals, and this is not ever ever ever for one moment something separate from God’s love which gives Christ to die for these elect individuals.

John 3:16 says “He gave His only Son, that as many as believe in Him would not perish but have lasting life.” God did not give His Son, so that everybody “could” believe in Him. God gave His Son, so that THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DO BELIEVE in Him will NOT PERISH. . God did not give His Son for them because they would believe in Him. Nor is the only thing going on in the giving of the Son the purchasing of faith for the elect, even though this is true. I Peter 1:21, “who through Him are believers” and II Peter 1:1, “to those who have been given a faith as precious as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The death of Christ does not make appeasement of God’s wrath possible if other factors fall into place. The death of Christ is the punishment required by God’s law for the sins of those God has given Christ. Do you reject God’s explanation? God requires the death. Never ever has God loved one individual sinner without God also requiring the death of Christ for that sinner. Never has Christ loved one sinner without Christ also needing to die for that sinner.

Does the “for you” include “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.“? Revelation 13:8.

The ideology current in the academy warns us that we won’t be ethical if we focus on individual names in a book. Even though there are some Arminians left around who are pleading with individuals to write their names in that book, most religious people today are put off about rejoice about names in a book. The current idea is not to argue about the significance of names when God loves everybody, but to move on to the matter of ethical community. Surely the kingdom of God does not consist of God’s will in terms of an election of individuals!

Talking about guilt being appeased only makes people feel more guilty, and this time not with the Father but guilty toward Jesus for having killed Jesus. The Arminian evangelicals say, keep the faith and don’t become universalists. And the Pseudo-Calvinist hirelings say, let’s keep the right balance and just preach the texts without talking about election so that we can make EVERYBODY feel guilty for killing Jesus and then after the law has been read, we say “for you and your children”.

The false gospel, in all its forms, has enough guilt for everybody. This is the irony of what is supposed to be good news. Even if there are no sentimental songs about killing Jesus, whenever you tell a person that Jesus had to die for them and did die for them, but then deny that this is enough to take away their guilt if they don’t put their trust in it, you have just pushed that person further into self-righteousness. Either, they think, even though I am guilty of all those sins and Jesus had to die for them, at least I am not guilty anymore of not putting trust in. Or perhaps, they think, God depends on us all . People who don’t explain can explain can argue that this kind of epistemological self-awareness is not real, but I think this attitude is in the very air we breathe. It is not individualism gone bad but an idolatry of the self.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Jason Stellman, before he switched from being a pseudo-Calvinist to being a Roman Catholic, explained that “God never deals with us as individuals” (Dual CitiZens, p 9) I do not agree. I disagree that, when we hear Christ preached, we then hear Christ preaching. (p 13) I disagree that we hear an official “minister” absolving our sins, that we hear Christ forgiving our sins. Who is hearing the “for you” ? Are the non-elect not hearing, because they don’t care about their sins? If so, then does the “for you” comes\ back again to the faith of the hearers? When you hear the “you are forgiven” by the “minister”, for long after that are YOUR sins forgiven?

Is it “pietist” or “sectarian” to warn people that the New Testament is written only to “as many as” are individually Christian? Why go on pretending that everybody listening to the sermon and observing the sacrament is an exile from the world and a Christian? Many pseudo-Calvinists are so brave ( and don’t forget– more foolish than all other foolish) that they refuse “to speak to the church as if were the world” , but they don’t mind using water to baptises the infant world into the church. But these so very brave preachers have cover—they are not really doing it, God is doing it. The church is not doing it. The Church is not deciding who the church is (like those baptists do, because the church is God doing it. )

But why not use the “for you” to explain and justify splashing water on the heads of infants without professing Christian parents? Why not use the “for you” to open up the possibility of water as the means of salvation to pagans who are not children, and about the supper being converting for those halfway or out of the “for you”?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe. For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The Lutheran “us” claims to be everybody, but for Lutherans, it’s not the death for “us” which saves anyone, because what saves anyone is present faith. Present faith, present salvation, and losing faith is losing salvation, and Christ’s satisfaction of the law has nothing to do with any of it. But the situation is not different among the Reformed, despite the claim of Scott Clark and Ferguson to be different from the federal visionists, they also use the “for you” to have a conditional covenant which is not governed by the truth of election.

Ferguson—Shepherd writes that “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). 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.”

Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the church, but not to those outside the church? If so, was Shepherd making the church the object of evangelism?

Ferguson: Shepherd appears to adopt the view of the prevailing academic critique of the covenant theology of the seventeenth century (forcefully presented decades ago by Perry Miller), which suggests that the doctrine of covenant somehow makes God’s secret counsels less harsh. We ought therefore to look at covenant, and not at election. This analysis, both historically and biblically we reject… To use Shepherd’s own citation – the fact is that some passages, e.g. Ephesians 1:1-14, do employ the mode of looking at covenant from the viewpoint of election. Indeed, in that passage it is necessary for the reader to look for covenant in the context of election..” For Shepherd, we ought to speak to people “not in terms of decretal election or reprobation” but rather “in terms of their covenant faithfulness.”

Not of Works: Norman Shepherd and His Critics, by Ralph Boersema, p 151 quoting Cornelius Venema—“Norman Shepherd’s strength is his insistence on the conditionality of the covenant. The covenant of grace is conditional in its administration. To view salvation in terms of God’s electing grace would make it impossible to do justice to human responsibility and to ward off antinomianism.”

It is not proper, therefore, to set up a dichotomy whereby according to God’s secret will, election or justification cannot be lost, but according to our covenant perspective they may be lost. The statements cited show a tendency to use typically Calvinistic language with respect to the level of God’s secret will, but in the level of “covenant perspective” to use typically Arminian language (Christ died for you; the elect may become reprobate). There is even the notion that Ephesians 1:1–14 does not “function as canon” in relation to God’s unchangeable decree of predestination, but functions as canon only within that “context of the covenant” where “election” maybe lost. This is a misreading of the doctrine of God’s incomprehensibility. That doctrine does not mean that the perspicuously revealed grace of God in election and justification can be regarded as changeable on the covenant level. Meredith G. Kline, Robert D. Knudson, Arthur W. Kuschke, David C. Lachman, George W. Marson, W. Stanford Reid, Paul G. Settle, William Young to the Trustees of Westminster Theological Seminary (December 4, 1980), 5.

Turretin—“The Election of Christ as Mediator should not be extended more widely than the Election of men who are to be saved, so that he was not destined and sent for more than the elect” (Paragraph 19).

Shepherd’s Call of Grace, published by Presbyterian and Reformed and endorsed by Richard Gaffin, p 83—-“To look at covenant from the perspective of election is ultimately to yield to the temptation to be as God.

p 84—“God has wrought a finished and complete redemption, and so salvation (and not merely the possibility of salvation) is offered without equivocation to all…. The Calvinist frequently hedges on the extent of the world, because the saving love of God revealed in the atonement is only for the elect….The Reformed evangelist can and must preach to everyone on the basis of John 3:16 –Christ died to save you.

p 89—“John 15 is often taught by distinguishing two kinds of branches. Some branches are not really in Christ in a saving way. Some are only in Him externally…If this distinction is in the text, it’s difficult to see what the point of the warning is. The outward branches cannot profit from it. because they cannot in any case bear genuine fruit. And the inward branches cannot help but bear good fruit. The words outward and inward are often used in the Reformed community…to account for the fact that the covenant community includes both elect and non-elect. But when Paul uses the terms Romans 2:28-29 , he is not referring to the elect and non-elect. The terms define the difference between covenantally loyal Jews and disobedient transgressors of the law.”

Clair Davis—”Election is not really about evangelism and what we should say then. I think this is the answer that pulls us together, the one that helped Whitefield and Wesley keep on working together, actively evangelizing together.”

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election.

Doug Wilson — Baptists must view their child as ‘the newly arrived Amalekite sitting sullenly off to the side in his high chair’

Sinclair Ferguson —The paedobaptist covenantal principle enables parents to teach their children in home, Sunday School and congregational worship to pray with theological consistency ‘Our Father in heaven…’

Becoming Reformed and taking sides against Jones and Piper does not keep folks from locating the gospel in Christ’s incarnation instead of Christ’s death for the sins of the elect.

Since Sinclair Ferguson and John Murray have enforced “the Marrow” as the standard shibboleth which says that we can’t deny God’s universal love for all sinners without denying the duty of all sinners to believe, it’s very common now to reject a federal atonement for the sake of an universal atonement “for you” which then gets distributed by the Holy Spirit to only some for whom Christ became incarnate. Instead of election in Christ giving us Christ’s death, the Marrow paradigm insists that the incarnation is for every sinner and then the Holy Spirit “mystically unites” us to Christ’s incarnate person (and then the Holy Spirit gives some of us what Christ did for all of us)

Mark Karlberg review of The Holy Spirit. By Sinclair B. Ferguson. Contours of Christian Theology. Gerald Bray, general editor. Downers Grove, IL, 1996 Ferguson’s model relativises the definitive aspect of soteric justification, the once for-all act of God reckoning sinners righteous in his sight by means of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. In precisely what sense does justification (as one of many benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection) await future consummation? The crux of the new theology lies in its repudiation of the classic Protestant law/ gospel distinction. There is no place in Ferguson’s theology of the covenants for this antithetical contrast with reference to the history of God’s covenant dealings with humankind. Ferguson knows of only one covenant of grace in creation and redemption . For Ferguson, in respect to godliness the indicative and imperative operate within the context of the single covenant of grace, before and after the Fall..

But this confusion of law and gospel is consistent with anybody (Karlberg or Scott Clark or Horton) who teaches that all post-fall covenants are administrations of “the covenant”. if your children need to hear the “for you” of the gospel before they can be commanded with the “for you” of the law, then the difference between Westminster California and Ferguson, Gaffin, and Westminster Philadelphia is not an explanation that removes the “two sides of the mouth” equivocation of “for you” or “for you and your children”

The Marrow says “Christ is dead for you”, but the Marrow does not and cannot say that “Christ’s death purchased faith for you.” The Marrow men has moved God’s imputation of sins to Christ into the present and put all the focus on the Holy Spirit, so that the “application” of the death has become the “atonement”, so that it is denied that God has already imputed the sins of a sinner to Christ (or not). So speudo-Calvinists sound just like Lutherans and Arminians on the extent of the atonement, and what’s left of their Calvinism is only about “regeneration before faith” and also (to be Confessional about it) “regeneration before faith means that you faith is not alone but will produce enough change in you to prove to you that you believe”. But they are all teaching in some sense an universal (and thus unjust) atonement–no sins imputed yet, with the sinners being enabled to “to place you trust in Jesus, so that His death become your punishment also.

Without explanation, “his death becomes your punishment”. Explanation would b rationalistic. Explanation would expose the contradictions. Stay with the equivocation of “for you”.