Posted tagged ‘free offer of the gospel’

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

It’s Not Up To You

September 1, 2015

William Lane Craig, In Pinnock, the Grace of god and the Will of Man, p 157—-“God desires and has given sufficient grace for all people to be saved. If some believe and others do not, it is not because some received prevenient grace and some did not.”

Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

For advocates of universal “grace”, God did accomplish all that he intended. For them God did not intend to effectually to redeem anyone. God simply intended to offer and provide “grace” for everyone. And in this, they claim, God was perfectly successful, even if all sinners were to fail to use this “grace”.

These universal offer folks are “lying about Jesus.” Your salvation is NOT up to you.

Not only because your faith is NOT up to you.

But also because the faith God gives the elect is NOT their atonement and NOT the righteousness which saves them.

John 5: 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”

Most professing Christians (even the “reformed”) read the gospel as an “offer” which depends on the sinner. Some of them say that God enables all sinners to believe (even if they don’t) and others say that God enables only the elect to believe. But both groups together agree that faith saves and that faith is the difference between saved and lost. Neither group teaches in their gospel that Jesus died only for elect sinners.

Far too many “reformed” folks teach a fake view of God’s imputation. They teach that God counts faith as the righteousness. This leaves us with an “as though” version of imputation. But in reality even in the legal sharing between elect sinners and a third party ( Christ!), the relationship is not “as if” but is very real. Between Christ and the Trinity, in the imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ, the imputation does not cause an internal change in Christ (God forbid), but Christ legally (not fictionally) became guilty (under the law) until Christ REALLY died once and then REALLY was no more under the law (Romans 6). And if you think this is ‘contract talk” ” and a bad metaphor over-used, I simply don’t care.

Everybody needs to STOP thinking of imputation as God accepting faith as righteousness. But we won’t get to the bottom of the problem until we start talking about election and the death of Christ being a particular propitiation only for the elect. Whose sins were imputed to Christ? and when were those sins imputed to Christ and by whom? (by God, not by sinners, by God before the propitiation, not after faith)

Acts 3 Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. 2 And a man who was lame from birth WAS CARRIED THERE AND PLACED EVERY DAY at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help.4 Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” 5 So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. 8 So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had
happened to him.

Ephesians 4: 7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the MEASURE OF the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says: When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.

Luke 4–there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was any of them—but to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet NOT ONE OF THEM WAS HEALED—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. 29 They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff.

I Peter 1: 1 Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours[b] through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed

Acts 18: 27 he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.
John 1: 12 But to all who did receive Him,
He gave them the right to be children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born, not of blood,
or of the will of the flesh,
or of the will of man, but of God.

John 6: 36 But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.

II timothy 2:25 Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth

Calvin’s comment on Ephesians 2: 8. For by grace are ye saved. This is an inference from the former statements. Having treated of election and of effectual calling, he arrives at this general conclusion, that they had obtained salvation by faith alone. First, he asserts, that the salvation of the Ephesians was entirely the work, the gracious work of God. But then they had obtained this grace by faith. On one side, we must look at God; and, on the other, at man. God declares, that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or recompense, but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us.

Ought we not then to be silent about free-will, and good intentions, and fancied preparations, and merits, and satisfactions? There is none of these which does not claim a share of praise in the salvation of men; so that the praise of grace would not, as Paul shews, remain undiminished. When, on the part of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith alone, all other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded. Faith, then, brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ. And so he adds, not of yourselves; that, claiming nothing for themselves, they may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation.1

Charles Hodge: The only point in the interpretation of these verses of any doubt, relates to the second clause. What is said to be the gift of God? Is it salvation, or faith? The words καὶ τοῦτο only serve to render more prominent the matter referred to. Compare Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 6:6; Phil. 1:28; Heb. 11:12. They may relate to faith (τὸ πιστεύειν), or to the salvation spoken of (σεσωσμένους εἶναι). Beza, following the fathers, prefers the former reference; Calvin, with most of the modern commentators, the latter. The reasons in favour of the former interpretation are, 1. It best suits the design of the passage. The object of the apostle is to show the gratuitous nature of salvation. This is most effectually done by saying, ‘Ye are not only saved by faith in opposition to works, but your very faith is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.’ 2. The other interpretation makes the passage tautological. To say: ‘Ye are saved by faith; not of yourselves; your salvation is the gift of God; it is not of works,’ is saying the same thing over and over without any progress. Whereas to say: ‘Ye are saved through faith (and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God), not of works,’ is not repetitious; the parenthetical clause instead of being redundant does good service and greatly increases the force of the passage. 3. According to this interpretation the antithesis between faith and works, so common in Paul’s writings, is preserved. ‘Ye are saved by faith, not by works, lest any man should boast.’ The middle clause of the verse is therefore parenthetical, and refers not to the main idea ye are saved, but to the subordinate one through faith, and is designed to show how entirely salvation is of grace, since even faith by which we apprehend the offered mercy, is the gift of God. 4 The analogy of Scripture is in favor of this view of the passage, in so far that elsewhere faith is represented as the gift of God. 1 Cor. 1:26–31

Steve Baugh, Ephesians Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series– καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, “and this does not originate from you.” There is much popular discussion about the word “τοῦτο” (“this”) and its antecedent in v.8b. It is tempting to take the antecedent as “faith” (i.e., “this faith is not from you “; as Hodge…), even though πίστις (“faith”) is feminine and the demonstrative pronoun is neuter. Grammatically, one could suppose that an abstract idea like “faith” or “believing” could be referenced as neuter, but that would make this rather common construction unnecessarily complicated (cd BDF §131). In Greek, events as a whole are treated as neuter singular things with neuter articles (e.g., το πιστευειν, “believing”), neuter relative pronouns (e.g., Eph. 5:5), or neuter demonstrative pronouns as in v. 8b (also, for example: 6:1; 1 Cor 6:6, 8; Phil 1:22, 28; Col 3:20; 1 Thess 5:18 and 1 Tim 2:1–3). Hence the antecedent of τοῦτο [“this’] is the whole event; “being saved by grace through faith.”

“Offer Atonement” is not Biblical Atonement, by Tianqi Wu

July 9, 2015

Many people who confess “limited atonement” also assert the “free offer of salvation”. When they try to describe the compatibility of the two ideas, their explanation ends up changing the meaning of atonement.

Whereas “universal atonement” advocates think of the atonement as a meal delivered to your table and is now up to your choosing to eat it or not, the “offer” advocates add the twist that

– God already knows who will say yes so God made the meals for them in advance, and
– God knows who will say yes because God predestined them to make that choice

This “offer” makes the faith-response of elect the reason of Christ dying for them. Whereas “universal atonement” says whether Christ’s death for you will save you depends on your willing, the “offer”says whether Christ will die for you depends on your willing. The two views are finally quite similar.

In “universal atonement”, salvation conditioned on the sinner is injected between atonement and justification, whereas in “offer atonement”, salvation conditioned on the sinner is injected between election and atonement.

The two views tend to become blended into some concept of “faith-union with Christ” (“appropriation”) as the reason for God’s imputation of sin / righteousness.

“Offer atonement” puts us back to the idea of “governmental atonement” where God’s law is not basic .If Christ’s legal work of death is not the decisive factor, then some sort of “personal relationship” is more basic, and more real.

In such a false gospel the legal death of Christ for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ becomes instead merely a prop, a tribute to the basic self-righteousness of the sinner’s “faith”.

God’s Love is Difficult to Understand if God Desires to Save those who Refuse God’s Offer

July 1, 2014

D A Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, Crossway, 76—-“If one holds that the Atonement is sufficient for all and effective for the elect, both sets of texts and concerns are accommodated.”

https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/carsonatonement.html

John Calvin— “This passage of the apostle (1 Tim. ii. 4) was long ago brought forth by the Pelagians, and handled against us with all their might. . . . I have nevertheless extorted from Pighius this much: that no one but a man deprived of his common judgment can believe that salvation was ordained by the secret counsel of God equally and indiscriminately for all men. The true meaning of Paul, however, in this passage now under consideration is clear. The apostle is exhorting that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all that are in authority. Who does not see that the apostle here is speaking of orders of men rather than of individuals? ”

Calvin: “But Paul teaches us (continues Georgius) that God would have all men to be saved. It follows, therefore, according to his understanding of that passage, either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception must be saved. If he should reply that God wills all men to be saved on His part, or as far as He is concerned, seeing that salvation is, nevertheless, left to the free will of each individual,

Calvin: “I, in return, ask him why, if such be the case, God did not command the Gospel to be preached indiscriminately from the beginning of the world? why he suffered so many generations of men to wander for so many ages in all the darkness of death? ”

David Engelsma—The love of God of John 3:16 and the will of God for the salvation of sinners of John 3:16 are expressed in the giving of the only begotten Son to the death of the cross: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” If the love of God of the text and the desire of God for the salvation of sinners in the text are universal, so also is the atonement of the cross universal. The editors of the book themselves teach this idea of God’s desire to save all sinners in their introductory essay. They deny that the love of God in John 3:16 “refers to his love for the elect.” Explaining the love of God in John 3:16 in the light of their own notion of “the universal offer of Christ to all,” they open the way to viewing the giving of the Son in John 3:16 as a giving for the salvation of all, that is, as universal atonement (40). Typical of the weakness in the matter of the “well-meant offer” that runs through the entire book (From Heaven He Came) is Schreiner’s explanation of I Timothy 4:1. “God desires all to be saved” (386)

Engelsma—Schreiner does not hesitate to draw out the implication of the supposed desire of God for the salvation of all, which is Schreiner’s theology. He speaks of “a desire of God that is frustrated.” Thinking to mitigate his heresy of a frustrated God, Schreiner adds, “in part” (393). In fact, the words, “in part,” only make the heresy palpable. Schreiner’s God is at odds with Himself. Like us mortals, He cannot make up His mind. Does He, or does He not, desire to save Esau? With His sovereign will of reprobation, no. With His fervent will of love and love’s desire, yes.

Davenant’s last words on the the atonement appeared in his posthumous “A Dissertation on the Death of Christ, as to its Extent and special Benefits.” The core thesis of the “Dissertation” posits two divine wills: “There was in Christ himself a will according to which he willed that his death should regard all men individually; and there was also a will according to which he willed that it should pertain to the elect alone” (424, 425).

D. Broughton Knox— Were it not true that Christ had died for all men, it would not be possible to extend a universal offer; for the offer, if it is to be a true offer, must rest on true and adequate grounds, which cannot be less than the death of Christ for those to whom the offer is being made (468).

Engelsma—To every human without exception, in his own words, “every person on the planet,” John Piper preaches, “God loves you, and he offers you in Christ the fullest possible redemption in everlasting, all-satisfying fellowship with himself” (665). Boldly avowing the contradiction which is Piper’s gospel, Piper declares that “Jesus sincerely desires all to be saved, yet he does not always act to bring all to salvation.” Similarly, “God desires the salvation of the lost, but he does not save all of them.” Piper teaches an incoherent, heretical doctrine of a will of God for the salvation of sinners that fails to save (which implies, as none of the contributors seemingly recognizes, that the explanation of the salvation of some is not the will of God, but their own will)

According to John Murray, “many benefits accrue to the non-elect from the redemptive work of Christ,” and chief among the benefits is “the free offer of the gospel.” That is, Christ died for all in certain respects, including God’s making to all humans an offer of salvation that is grounded in His saving love for all; that expresses a sincere desire of God for the salvation of all; that may announce to all that Christ died for them all; and that unmistakably leaves the impression with all that the efficacy of the cross with regard to their salvation depends upon their decision to accept the offer (657).

Engelsma–Piper’s tortured account of God’s love makes a mockery of that love. In His love for all, God offers salvation to all, desiring to save all. But at the same time, God decrees not to save all, so that His universal love actually increases the punishment of many. His love, and the giving of the Son to the death of the cross in this love, fail to save.

Engelsma—This is outrageous theology. Sailing under the flag of the Reformed faith, it pretends that the Canons of Dordt do not exist). The day I am deceived into believing this outrageous theology is the same day I become one of the most fervent advocates of universal salvation the world of theology has ever seen. The cross of Christ cannot fail of achieving the loving purpose of God and of His Christ. By virtue of the saving love of God, the almighty will of God, and the very nature of the cross, this is absolute certainty. The cross of Christ cannot fail. Every one for whom Christ died will certainly be saved. For even one to perish in whose stead Christ died, in the loving will of God, would be the “ungodding” of God, the exposure of Jesus Christ as both unjust and a failure.

more from the outrageous theology of D A Carson—

Surely it is best not to introduce disjunctions where God himself has not introduced them. Of one holds that the Atonement is sufficient for all and effective for the elect, then both sets of texts and concerns are accommodated. As far as I can see, a text such as 1 John 2:2 states something about the potential breadth of the Atonement When Jesus Christ died, John rejoins, it was not for the sake of, say, the Jews only or, now, of some group, gnostic or otherwise, that sets itself up as intrinsically superior. Far from it. It was not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world. The context, then, understands this to mean something like “potentially for all without distinction” rather than “effectively for all without exception” – for in the latter case all without exception must surely be saved, and John does not suppose that that will take place.

Carson—In recent years I have tried to read both primary and secondary sources on the doctrine of the Atonement from Calvin on. [Footnote 3: One of the latest treatments is G. Michael Thomas, The extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus (1536-1675), Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1997).] One of my most forceful impressions is that the categories of the debate gradually shift with time so as to force disjunction where a slightly different bit of question-framing would allow synthesis. Correcting this, I suggest, is one of the useful things we may accomplish from an adequate study of the love of God in holy Scripture. For God is a person. Surely it is unsurprising if the love that characterizes him as a person is manifest in a variety of ways toward other persons. But it is always love, for all that.

Carson—I argue, then, that both Arminians and Calvinists should rightly affirm that Christ died for all, in the sense that Christ’s death was sufficient for all and that Scripture portrays God as inviting, commanding, and desiring the salvation of all, out of love . Further, all Christians ought also to confess that, in a slightly different sense, Christ Jesus, in the intent of God, died effectively for the elect alone, in line with the way the Bible speaks of God’s special selecting love for the elect

Carson– This approach, I content, must surely come as a relief to young preachers in the Reformed tradition who hunger to preach the Gospel effectively but who do not know how far they can go in saying things such as “God loves you” to unbelievers. When I have preached or lectured in Reformed circles, I have often been asked the question, “Do you feel free to tell unbelievers that God loves them?” No doubt the question is put to me because I still do a fair bit of evangelism, and people want models. I have no hesitation in answering this question from young Reformed preachers affirmatively: Of course I tell the unconverted that God loves them.

Carson: Certainly it is possible to preach evangelistically when dealing with a passage that explicitly teaches election. Spurgeon did this sort of thing regularly. But I am saying that, provided there is an honest commitment to preaching the whole counsel of God, preachers in the Reformed tradition should not hesitate for an instant to declare the love of God for a lost world, for lost individuals. The Bible’s ways of speaking about the love of God are comprehensive enough not only to permit this but to mandate it. [Footnote: see somewhat similar reflections by Hywel R. Jones, “Is God Love?” in Banner of Truth Magazine 412 (January 1998), 10-16.]

Carson—The Arminian believes that the cross is the ground of the Christian’s acceptance before God; the choice to believe is not in any sense the ground. Still, this view of grace surely requires the conclusion that the ultimate distinction between the believer and the unbeliever lies, finally, in the human beings themselves. That entails an understanding of grace quite different than the view that traces the ultimate distinction back to the purposes of God, including his purposes in the cross.
http://theologymatters.blogspot.com/2006/02/d-carson-on-extent-of-atonement.html

Assuming that whatever the taught was “the bible but not system” view of things, Spurgeon took the Arminian view of I Timothy 2:4 I quote: “You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. “All men,” they say,–”that is some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; that is, some of all sorts of men”; as if the Lord could not have said “All sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. . . .

Spurgeon: “As it is my wish that it should be so, as it is your wish that it might be so, so it is God’s wish that all men should be saved; for, assuredly, he is not less benevolent than we are. . . . It is God’s wish that the sick should not suffer. Do you doubt it? Is it not your own wish? And yet the Lord does not work a miracle to heal every sick person. It is God’s wish that his creatures should be happy. Do you deny that? He does not interpose by any miraculous agency to make us all happy, and yet it would be wicked to suppose that he does not wish the happiness of all the creatures that he has made.”

Hugh L. Williams, in his excellent article on this sermon, gives a good reaction to Spurgeon’s assertions: “This is wrong. The Holy Ghost did not by the apostle write ‘all men.’ He wrote pantas anthropous. Now the question is what does the phrase mean.” Williams goes on to show that this means “all without distinction” rather than “all without exception.”

But hear more of what Spurgeon thinks he knows from the Bible: “God has an infinite benevolence which, nevertheless, is not in all points worked out by his infinite omnipotence; and if anybody asked me why it is not, I cannot tell…”

Spurgeon can tell you dogmatically what the Bible texts means. When contradicted (by an invented rhetorical dissent), instead of examining again his own reading, Spurgeon affirms the contradiction. and labels all dissent as rationalism: “Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation..Those who receive by faith anything which they find in the Bible will receive two things, twenty things, or twenty thousand things, though they cannot construct a theory which harmonizes them.”

mark: yes, I know that a confession is more than a system of theology, but it’s not less.

So Do You Have To Prepare the Lost by First Telling them About Arminians?

April 20, 2011

I am not asking that evangelists explain to the lost what
Arminianism is. Rather, I am asking us to not proclaim an Arminian gospel.

The Bible talks about “us” and “our” sins, but it never sounds Arminan or resorts to an Arminian logic. Let us try to do the same thing.

When we tell people that God saves “as many as” (whosoever) has faith in Jesus, let us make sure that we tell them for whom Jesus died. Let’s NOT merely say: “there is no other qualification, no other work, no other standard to be met.” (p126). Faith is not what makes Christ’s death effective for us: the Holy Spirit is not the One who makes the atonement work.

Faith is not a qualification, but a result of Christ’s death, a benefit of Christ’s righteousness. (II Peter 1:1) It is true to say that “without trust we will know no benefit through his death” (p152), but it not the whole truth, and it becomes a lie when we do not rule out he idea that trust is what makes the death work.

And we cannot exclude trust as what makes the death work, unless we teach that trust is a result given to the elect as a result of Christ’s death for the elect.

God has a non-elect. My worry is not that some of the non-elect will be saved. But neither should these pastors worry that the elect will not be saved if they told the truth that God has a non-elect and that God does not love all sinners.

Certainly God commands in God’s law what God has not ordained to happen. But God’s gospel does not include any idea that God “wants” things to happen that will not happen.

At this point you can bring out Spurgeon and the word “offer” and accuse me of letting predestination rule over the gospel. But in the gospel in which God is both just and justifier, the Lord Jesus Christ has already brought in a righteousness by which all those God loves will be justified.

God does not count faith as righteousness. It is the object of faith, Christ in his glorious person and effective death, who is alone the divine righteousness of the elect.

Do You impute Your Sins to Christ, Or Did God Already Impute the Sins of the Elect?

February 19, 2011

Many “Reformed” folks talk about the objectivity and justice of the cross.. But then they continue to make ultimate salvation depend on “appropriation” done by the sinner.

Even if you say that grace has to overcome the bondage of your will to “take it” (the word appropriate sounds like “steal” to me, but Sproul uses it so it must be ok: it means go get it with your empty hands), there are two problems with leaving out the idea that God already did or didn’t impute a person’s sins to Christ.

One, there is no notion here that Christ’s death purchased the work of the Spirit and faith for the elect. Even if God by grace gives the faith, if you leave out of your gospel God’s imputation, if you disconnect the death from election, that faith you talk about God giving is not a result of Christ’s work, even though the Bible teaches that it is (I Peter 1:21;II Peter 1:1; Eph 4:7-8; Phil 1:29).

Two, there can be no notion of a penalty for specific sins imputed, and therefore those Calvinists who teach a governmental view of the atonement (Andrew Fuller, Richard Baxter) end up with a propitiation that does not propitiate, a ransom that does not redeem, and a reconciliation that does not reconcile.

The Calvinists who “offer” an universal objective atonement cannot talk about God’s imputation of the guilt of the elect to Christ. They cannot even talk about God’s imputation of the elect’s penalty to Christ. They can only think of the cross as one “means of grace” people can use to get God’s wrath averted.

Sinners become the deciders, whenever you leave out the good news that God is the imputer and that God has already imputed the sins of the sheep to the Shepherd (and not the sins of the goats ).

Don’t think About Election Now, He Died for Sinners Like You

February 11, 2011

To tell the whole truth, and to not mislead, you need to say that Jesus died for some ungodly sinners like us, and not for all of us.

1. This already happened, and your decision will not change what happened, will not make what happened work.

2. Just because you are just as guilty of sin as those for whom Christ died, don’t assume that you are one of those for whom Christ died.

3. The only way you will know if you are elect, and if God loves you in Christ, is when you believe the true Christ revealed in the true gospel. Most people who believe in “Jesus” are not trusting the same Jesus revealed in the Bible.

4. The only way for you to know that you are now believing in the true Jesus who died only for the elect sinners, is to repent of the false gospel which claims that Jesus died for all sinners. You need to confess that you were lost when you believed this false gospel.

Most preachers like to say things that are true, but then leave out other stuff which is also true, because they don’t want antithesis. Some of these preachers really don’t want sinners to even think about election when they are “getting saved”.

I wonder if these preachers worry that some of God’s elect might not believe the gospel if they were to hear about election. I also wonder if these preachers themselves believe that what the Bible says about election is good news.