Origen’s Mistake and One of Dr. Clark’s Mistakes Friday, Apr 29 2011 

After reading through Joseph P Farrell’s Free Choice in St. Maximus the Confessor, the doctrine of Divine Simplicity and the destructive inferences drawn from it by Origen became all too clear for me. Though my readings of Robert Shaw’s commentary on the Confession have protected me from hyper Calvinist views of determinism I must admit I know some Scripturalists who have Origen’s hook embedded deep in their minds. So what was Origen’s mistake? First, the radical view of Divine Simplicity where God ad intra has no distinctions within himself. This is, therefore, God’s freedom from any plurality of choice, being only one absolute monad. There is therefore no distinction between nature and will. God creates necessarily because if he willed it, he must have willed it by nature since there is no distinction between will and nature. To create is what God is on his view. Farrell says of God’s Essence, Will, and Activity,  “Hence these categories become merely categories, that is, they become conventions of human language, and do not correspond to distinct metaphysical realities They are each names, and only names, for the same ‘Something.’ ” Free Choice, pg. 86 Yet Clark’s construction as I have shown here and here explicitly deny simplicity ad intra and posit distinct realities in the mind of God as his attributes.  Back to Origen. In his construction Origen as in Plotinian Neoplatonism could not avoid the inference that a necessary creation posited creation of beings that emanate  from the simple one and these creations/ emanations were not of its free choice but happen necessarily. In Origen, with regard to human free choice, free will was not possible in the eschaton due to his view of Simplicity, therefore to preserve free will the eternal possibility of subsequent falls and redemptions was necessary. This is why Origen posited the pre-existence of the soul. Due to the absolute monadness (simplicity) of God, what is natural is by definition compelled for nothing else but the monad can be an object of choice. This being the case the redemption of Christ compels all to salvation due to the ontological view of the atonement at the time which over emphasized the apokatastasis/recapitulational aspects of the atonement. Thus, Origen’s universalism and the birth of Monothelitism.

What does this have to do with Scripturalism and Dr. Clark? In his book on The Atonement, pg 133 (The Trinity Foundation, Jefferson Maryland, 1987), Clark says,

“God had to create-not because there was some power external to him, but because he is God. A God who might not create, or would not have created, is simply not the Biblical God.”

This is not Reformed and exemplifies a hyper-Calvinism that has so frequently dominated his followers and led them into hyper-Calvinist Baptist groups. The determinism that he was trying to achieve is not Reformed and not Christian.  See John Owen’s statements here. To support this accusation Dr. Clark says in The Trinity, (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation, 1985), pg. 112,

“Thus the begetting of the Son occurs, and the Son as a Person exists, by a necessity of the divine nature-the nature of the divine will.”

It sounds to me like he is saying the nature is the will. That is the exact problem of Divine Simplicity. What is so peculiar is that Dr. Clark knew the Orthodox position earlier in life when he said,

“The Christian view of things also seems to resemble a dualism: At least the world and God may be called two ‘substances’ ; neither one is the substance of the other. But actually Christianity is more successfully monistic than Neoplatonism was. God alone is the eternal substance, the independent principle’ apart from creation of the world nothing exists besides him. This underlines the essential and controversial elements of the Hebrew-Christian doctrine. First, as Creator, God is viewed, not as an undifferentiated One that produces a world by necessity, but as a living mind who with foreknowledge created voluntarily. Plotinus explicitly denied will to his One; but will is one of the most prominent aspects of the Biblical Deity.” Thales to Dewey, pg. 189

‘Free Choice in Maximus the Confessor’ by Joseph P Farrell Reviewed by Drake Shelton Thursday, Apr 28 2011 

This work is too large to make into one blog and if I divided them into seperate blogs it would be too confusing to remember what was said on each so I am just going to link this from my other site and folks can comment on it here:


What Works Does Paul Forbid in Justification? by Drake Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

This section is geared against the idea the Paul was forbidding ceremonial works not works in general or moral.

James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, 2.13. Proposition 23

“Take, first, the Apostle’s discourse in the earlier part of the Epistle to the Romans, where he treats expressly of the two opposite methods of Justification, by works, and by grace, and which may be regarded as the locus classicus on the subject.’ The question being—what is the law of which he speaks, and what works are excluded from Justification?—we are supplied with ample materials for a decisive deliverance upon it. It is manifest that he does not speak exclusively, or even specially, of the ceremonial law of the Jews; but that he speaks of law in general, including what was peculiar to the Jews, but also what was common to them with the Gentiles; or of that moral law which possesses universal and unchangeable authority. This appears, first, from the scope of his whole argument, which is founded on the principle that ‘where there is no law, there is no transgression,’ or that sin is not imputed where there is no law,’ and directed to prove that both Jews and Gentiles were under law,—the Jews under the law of Moses in addition to the light of nature,—and the Gentiles, who had not that law, under the original, connatural, and indestructible law, by which ‘they were a law to themselves;’—secondly, from the sweeping universality of his conclusion: ‘Now we know what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God;’ ‘for there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ ‘We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin: for there is none righteous, no, not one.’ ‘Therefore, by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin;’—thirdly, from his enumeration of the sins which were violations of the law to which he refers,’13—every one of which is a transgression of the moral law,—such as ungodliness, violence, deceit, falsehood and evil-speaking, cursing and bitterness,—while no mention whatever is made of any breach of ceremonial precepts; fourthly, from his answer to the question, ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea, we establish the law;’ for this cannot be the ceremonial law, which was fulfilled, and abrogated, but the moral law, which was fulfilled, and confirmed, by Christ;—and, lastly, from his reference to the cases of Abraham and David; for Abraham was justified when ‘God imputed to him righteousness without works,’ before the ceremonial law was introduced, and before even the rite of circumcision, for ‘he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised;’ and David cannot be supposed to have referred only to ceremonial defilements, if lie thought of them at all, when lie described ‘the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”


The Righteousness of God in James Buchanan Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

The Righteousness of God

James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, Part 2 LECT. VIII. Justification; The Scriptural Meaning of the Term, Proposition 3

“But at this point he advances a step further, and, having excluded the righteousness of man altogether from the ground of his justification, he brings into view another righteousness, emphatically called ‘the righteousness of God,’ because God claims a special propriety in it, as being peculiarly His own—devised, provided, wrought out, and revealed by Himself alone; he speaks of this righteousness as being now clearly manifested, and fully revealed; and he describes it as ‘a righteousness without the law,’—as a righteousness, since it has some relation to the law; for if it be true that ‘where there is no law, there is no transgression,’ it is equally true, that where there is no law, there is no ‘righteousness;’—and yet a ‘righteousness without the law,’ as being above and beyond the law, —neither contained in it, nor provided by it;—as a ‘righteousness’ which is, nevertheless, ‘witnessed by the law and the prophets,’ having been indicated, although not fully revealed—predicted, prefigured, and promised, when mention was made of Him who ‘should be called the Lord our Righteousness,’ and ‘the Lord in whom all the seed of Israel shall be justified;’ 19—as a ‘righteousness which is by faith,’ and ‘upon all them that believe,’ so that ‘they are justified freely by His grace;’ and ‘if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace: and if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work;’ ‘for to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt;’ 20—and, finally, as a righteousness which is ‘through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;’ and which was wrought out for us when ‘God set Him forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness;…that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.’ This result, again, of the revealed method of grace and redemption is the ground of the second part of his conclusion;—’Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.’ So that man’s righteousness arising from his works of obedience to the divine Law, is excluded from the ground of his Justification on two distinct grounds,—first, on the ground of God’s Law, which convicts and condemns every sinner;—and secondly, on the ground of God’s method of redeeming mercy, which brings in another righteousness altogether, —the righteousness of Him who ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.’ It is manifest from the whole course of his argument, that Paul’s design was to explain the method and ground, and even, to some extent, the rationale, of the actual justification of a sinner in the sight of God,—to show how, and why, he may be forgiven and accepted as righteous,—and to set forth this as the immediate privilege of every believer, as soon as he renounces all confidence in his own righteousness, and submits ‘to the righteousness of God.”


“But why is it called ‘the righteousness of God?’… Suppose that ‘the righteousness of God’ might mean ‘God’s method of justifying sinners’ when it is said ‘to be manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets,’ can it possibly be understood in that vague sense, when Christ is said to be ‘made of God righteousness to us,’ or when we are said to be ‘made the righteousness of God in Him?’ It means a righteousness by which, and not merely a method in which, we are justified.

If we would understand the reason why it is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ we must bear in mind that there was a twofold manifestation of righteousness in the Cross of Christ: there was first a manifestation of the righteousness of God the Father, in requiring a satisfaction to His justice,—and inflicting the punishment that was due to sin; and to this the Apostle refers when he says, that ‘God set forth Christ to be a propitiation’—’to declare His righteousness, that He might be just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;’ there was, secondly, a work of righteousness by God the Son,—His vicarious righteousness as the Redeemer of His people, when He ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross,’ and thus became ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ But these two-God’s righteousness which was declared, and Christ’s righteousness which was wrought out, on the Cross—although they may be distinguished, cannot be separated, from one another; for they were indissolubly united in one and the same propitiation; and while the righteousness which is revealed for our Justification may be called ‘the righteousness of God’ with some reference to both, it properly consists in the merit of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and perfect obedience, for these were offered by Him as our substitute and representative.

The same righteousness which is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ is also called ‘the righteousness of Christ.’ We obtain ‘precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,’ or, as it might be rendered, ‘through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ;’ 6 ‘This is the name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.’ 7 He is so called on account of the righteousness which He wrought out by His obedience unto death; for this righteousness is expressly connected with His Mediatorial work. ‘The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law and make it honourable.’ 8 By His vicarious sufferings and obedience, He fulfilled the Law both in its precept and its penalty; and is now said to be ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,’ 9 while His righteousness is identified with ‘the righteousness of God,’ to which the unbelieving Jews refused to ‘submit themselves,’ and contrasted with ‘their own righteousness’ which they ‘went about to establish,’ ‘as it were by the works of the law.’

In like manner, this righteousness is called ‘the righteousness of One,’ and ‘the obedience of One;’ 10—expressions which serve at once to connect it with the work of Christ, and to exclude from it the personal obedience of the many who are justified. It is called ‘the free gift unto justification of life,’ and ‘the gift of righteousness,’ 11 to show that it is bestowed gratuitously by divine grace, and not acquired by our own obedience. It is called ‘the righteousness which is of faith,’ or ‘the righteousness which is by faith,’ both to distinguish it from faith itself, and also to contrast it with another righteousness which is not received by faith, but ‘sought for as it were by the works of the law.’ 12 It is called ‘the righteousness of God without the law,‘ 13 to intimate that, while it was ‘witnessed by the law and the prophets,’ 14 and while, as ‘a righteousness,’ it must have some relation to the unchangeable rule of rectitude, it was above and beyond what the law could provide, since it depends, not on personal, but on vicarious obedience. And it is called the righteousness ‘which God imputes without works,’ to show that it is ‘reckoned of grace,’ and not ‘of debt,’—that ‘God justifies the ungodly’ 15 by placing this righteousness to their account,—and that He makes it theirs, because it was wrought out for them by Him, ‘who was delivered for their offences, and rose again for their Justification.’ All these expressions relate to one and the same righteousness—the only righteousness which God has revealed for the Justification of sinners,—they are all applicable to the vicarious righteousness of Christ,—and they serve, by their very diversity, to exhibit it in all its various aspects and relations, and to exclude every other righteousness from the ground of our pardon and acceptance, since there is no other to which all these terms can possibly be applied.”

The statements that stick out to me are:

1, “if we would understand the reason why it is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ we must bear in mind that there was a twofold manifestation of righteousness in the Cross of Christ: there was first a manifestation of the righteousness of God the Father, in requiring a satisfaction to His justice,—and inflicting the punishment that was due to sin” [UNCREATED]

2. “secondly, a work of righteousness by God the Son,[CREATED]—His vicarious righteousness as the Redeemer of His people, when He ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross,’ and thus became ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ But these two-God’s righteousness which was declared,[UNCREATED] and Christ’s righteousness which was wrought out, on the Cross[CREATED]—********although they may be distinguished, cannot be separated, from one another; for they were indissolubly united in one and the same propitiation;********* and while the righteousness which is revealed for our Justification may be called ‘the righteousness of God’ ********with some reference to both, it properly consists in the merit of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and perfect obedience,******** for these were offered by Him as our substitute and representative”


The Forensic and Judicial Nature of the Bible in James Buchanan Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, Part 2 LECT. VIII. Justification; The Scriptural Meaning of the Term, Proposition 1

“We place the antithetic expressions first, because the true meaning of any term is often best ascertained from that of those which are placed in opposition to it. The Hebrew and Greek verbs which are employed by the sacred writers to denote ‘justification,’ are invariably set over against such as denote ‘condemnation.’ They are applied to the judgments of men, and also to the judgments of God; and the analogy between these two is the ground of its common application to both. With reference to the judgments of men, justification is always opposed to condemnation. ‘If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judge may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.’ ‘He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.’ ‘Woe unto them…which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him.’ 1 In these passages, and many more, two judicial sentences are mentioned which are directly the reverse of each other; and they are so stated, with reference both to the righteous and to the wicked, as to imply that the justification of the one no more signifies the infusion of righteousness, than the condemnation of the other signifies the infusion of wickedness. With reference, again, to the judgments of God, the same terms—’Justification’ and ‘condemnation’—are frequently employed to denote judicial sentences which are directly opposite to each other. ‘It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth?’ ‘By thy words thou, shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ ‘The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.’ If Justification is thus proved to be the opposite of condemnation, it can only be, like the latter, a forensic and judicial term; and the one can no more signify to sanctify or to make righteous inherently, than the other to deprave or deteriorate the moral character of one who is convicted of crime.

A second proof of the forensic or judicial sense of the terns may be derived from the fact, that all the correlative terms, with which it is associated, bear that character, and designate one or other of the various circumstances which are implied in a process of judgment. In strict connection with it, we read of a judgment: ‘Enter not into judgment with Thy servant: for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified;’—of a Judge: ‘Shall riot the Judge of all the earth do right?’ ‘We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth;’—of a tribunal ‘We shall all stand before the judgment—seat of Christ;’ —of an accuser: ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth;’—of an indictment: ‘Forgiving you all trespasses, and blotting out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us;’—of a witness: ‘Their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or else excusing one another;’—of an Advocate: ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;’—and of a sentence of absolution: ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.’ 3 All these expressions imply a judicial process, and they are correlative to the term Justification.

A third proof of the forensic or judicial sense of the term ‘Justification’ is supplied by those equivalent expressions, which are sometimes substituted for it, and which serve to explain it. If these expressions cannot imply infusion of righteousness, but denote merely either the forgiveness of sin, or the acceptance of the sinner, they show that Justification denotes a change in his judicial relation to God, and not a change in his moral or spiritual character. It is expressly described as the ‘imputation of righteousness:’ ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness…David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works;’—it is inclusive of the non—imputation,—the covering,—the forgiveness of sin: ‘ Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin;’—it is equivalent to reconciliation: ‘For God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;’—and it amounts to making us ‘the righteousness of God:’ ‘For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’ 4 If these phrases are the scriptural equivalents of Justification, they serve to explain the import of that term, and to show that it can mean nothing else than the acceptance of a sinner as righteous in the sight of God.”


Saving Faith by Drake Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 

Saving Faith by Drake

What is Saving Faith? by Gordon Clark (The Trinity Foundation: www.trinityfoundation.org, 1972, 1989)

The Johannine Logos, Gordon H. Clark (The Trinity Foundation: Jefferson, MD, 1989)

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says in its article regarding “Faith” defines it,

“As signifying man’s attitude towards God it means trustfulness or fiducia…But that the word does itself contain the notion of belief is clear from the use of the radical, which in the causative conjugation, or Hiph’il, means “to believe”, e.g. Genesis 15:6, and Deuteronomy 1:32, in which latter passage the two meanings — viz. of believing and of trusting — are combined….The witness of the Septuagint is decisive; they render the verb by pisteuo, and the noun by pistis; and here again the two factors, faith and trust, are connoted by the same term…(a) We have defined the act of faith as the assent of the intellect to a truth which is beyond its comprehension, but which it accepts under the influence of the will moved by grace and from the analysis we are now in a position to define the virtue of faith as a supernatural habit by which we firmly believe those things to be true which God has revealed. Now every virtue is the perfection of some faculty, but faith results from the combined action of two faculties, viz., the intellect which elicits the act, and the will which moves the intellect to do so” [Same dialectic between intellect and will ]http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05752c.htm

For some reason Reformed Theologians think that knowledge and assent is the Romanist view of faith and that fiducia is the Reformed. I simply don’t get it. In response to Cunningham’s quote in The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation, “the Romanists held that it had its seat in the intellect…the Reformers…maintained that it had its seat in the will” Dr. Clark says, “The distinction between assensus and fiducia is here connected with a psychology that separates the intellect from the will…as far back as Stoic epistemology, assent was an act of will. Not an act of intellect.  Hence Cunningham has incorrectly reported Romanism and also makes a mistake in the psychological analysis.” (pg. 104-105, The Johannine Logos)

Dr. Clark continues to show quotes that Cunningham even mentions from Le Blanc (TRTR pg. 130) showing many different senses the Reformers had of fiducia (pg. 105, The Johannine Logos). On page 131 of TRTR Cunningham quotes Turretin’s definitions of fiducia in Latin. Dr. Clark translates,

“A loose and incomplete translation is: Fiducia is the assent or loose persuasion that arises from the practical judgment of the intellect concerning the truth and goodness of the Gospel promises and concerning  the power, will, and fidelity of the promising God. Second, fiducia is the act of receiving Christ, by which the faithful Christian, when he has come to know the truth and goodness of the promises, flees to Christ, and embracing him, depends on his merit alone. Third, fiducia is the confidence or acquiescence and tranquility when arises from the soul’s taking refuge in Christ. Then Turretin adds, the first and second meanings are of the essence and definition of faith; but the third is only an effect and not part of the definition” (pg. 105, The Johannine Logos)

Dr. Clark mentions that faith has two meanings: 1. “the mental activity of believing…Mark 11:22, John 6:29, and Acts 20:21” 2. “the propositions believed…Revelation 2:13, 19 and 14:12.” (pg. 35, What is Saving Faith?)

What is Dead Faith?

Dr. Clark says,

“Now, James 2:20 is a puzzling passage. He speaks there of a dead faith and describes it as a faith unproductive of good works. Precisely what a man of dead faith actually believes is not too clear. One thing, however is clear: The word faith here cannot mean ‘personal trust’ in the sense that some popular preachers impose on it in distinction to belief. ‘Dead trust’ would be an unintelligible phrase. Clearly, James means a belief of some sort; and the only belief James mentions is the belief on monotheism. Islam therefore would be a dead faith.” (pg. 35, What is Saving Faith?)


What is Saving and Justifying Faith?

The Westminster Larger Catechism in question 72 What is justifying faith? says,

Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

Traditionally, Reformed people have distinguished between the object of faith and the nature or psychological characteristics of faith. We Scripturalists want to know what this different psychology is. Owen asserts that justifying faith “must include certain causes and adjuncts beyond assent.” (pg. 48, What is Saving Faith?)

The Romanist view is that we are saved by faith (a part from ceremonial works and faithless works) but in accord with our demonstration of that faith through our works. What they are saying is that saving faith is me in and by and for and through Christ in a synergy. So on this view God is working in us what we are working out with fear and trembling. So then the faith is qualified by its psychological and experiential nature not its object. So how the Reformers took assensus to be Romanist and fiducia Reformed remains a mystery to me.

In reference to the freedom from ceremonial and faithless works of the Roman view of faith  Robert Shaw says in commenting on Chap 11 of the confession,

“The Apostle Paul fully discusses the subject of justification in his Epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians; and in both of these Epistles he explicitly declares, that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God.”—Rom. iii. 20; Gal. ii. 16. In answer to this argument, it has been often urged, that the works which the apostle excludes from the ground of the sinner’s justification before God, are only works of the ceremonial, not of the moral, law. This “witty shift,” Calvin says, the “wrangling disputants” of his time borrowed from Origen and some of the old writers; and he declares it is “very foolish and absurd,” and calls upon his readers to “maintain this for a certain truth, that the whole law is spoken of, when the power of justifying is taken away from the law.” “The reference,” says Mr Haldane, “is to every law that God has given to man, whether expressed in words or imprinted in the heart. It is that law which the Gentiles have transgressed, which they have naturally inscribed in their hearts. It is that law which the Jews have violated, when they committed theft, adulteries, and sacrileges, which convicted them of impiety, of evil speaking, of calumny, of murder, of injustice. In one word, it is that law which shuts the mouth of the whole world, as had been said in the preceding verse, and brings in all men guilty before God.”

Others have contended that the works which the apostle excludes from any share in our justification are merely works not performed in faith. This allegation is equally groundless; for the apostle excludes works in general—works of every sort, without distinction or exception (Eph. ii. 9, 10); and the most eminent saints disclaim all dependence upon their own works, and deprecate being dealt with according to their best performances.—Ps. cxliii. 2; Phil. iii. 8, 9.” (The Reformed Faith)

Shaw directly addresses why the ceremonial and faithful works interpretation of the Roman Church is wrong. He said, “In one word, it is that law which shuts the mouth of the whole world, as had been said in the preceding verse, and brings in all men guilty before God.” If it is for the whole world it is not ceremonial. Then he challenges the other view about faithless works.  This is the classic confusion between justification and sanctification.  Clark says,

“The Romanists included in their term justification what the Reformers and the Bible call sanctification. This latter, of course, requires infused holiness and love.(pg. 38, What is Saving Faith?)… The crux of the difficulty with the popular analysis of faith in to notitia (understanding), assensus (assent), and fiducia (trust), is that fiducia comes from the same root as fides (faith). The Latin fide is not a good synonym for the Greek pisteuoo. Hence this popular analysis reduces to the obviously absurd definition that faith consists of understanding, assent, and faith. Something better than this tautology must be found.” (pg. 47, What is Saving Faith?)

So then what is Dr. Clark’s solution? Dr. Clark says,

“Justifying faith is a species of faith and if one does not know what faith in general is, one cannot know what the faith is that justifies… (pg. 47, What is Saving Faith?) Justifying faith must be an assent to some [revealed] truths, not all. (pg. 48, Ibid.)…There seems to be no other conclusion but that God justifies sinners by means of many combinations of propositions believed. For which reason a minister should not confine himself to topics popularly thought to be ‘evangelistic,’ but should preach the whole counsel of God, trusting that God will give someone the gift of faith through sermons on the Trinity, eschatology, or the doctrine of immediate imputation.” (pg. 82, Ibid.)… Faith by definition, is assent to understood propositions. Not all cases of assent, even assent to Biblical propositions, are saving faith; but all saving faith is assent to one or more Biblical propositions.” (pg. 88, Ibid.)

Some object that the Protestant view of justification seems to encourage immorality. But isn’t that the same with Paul in Romans 6, 7 and 8? If Paul’s doctrine was criticized for this it is the opposite view that needs to be brought into question. That is, if your view of justification does not at a superficial level lead to this objection, you need to rethink whether it has Pauline roots.  Others object, “what about the devils referring to Jesus being the Son of God? (Mat 8:29) That is more than a belief in monotheism, is it not?”  Well, which Son of God? That is, many religions believe in Jesus and call him the Son of God.  The Mormons even believe this. Do we have evidence that the demons understood and believed Chalcedonian Orthodoxy? I do not think so.

The Logos; What is Truth? by Drake Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 

An Article Asserting that the Reality that Justifies and Deifies are the Words and their Meanings as Revealed in Scripture

The following is based on two books:

What is Saving Faith? by Gordon Clark (The Trinity Foundation: www.trinityfoundation.org, 1972, 1989)

The Johannine Logos, Gordon H. Clark (The Trinity Foundation: Jefferson, MD, 1989)

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Dr. Clark says,

“The life that was in the Logos, the creator, was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness. [John 1] Verse 5 surely cannot refer to physical darkness. The remainder of the Gospel squarely opposes any such literal view. The light is spiritual and the darkness also is spiritual, rational, or intellectual.”

It is a common misconception from the East that God’s light is physical (At least that is the inevitable consequence from their view of the Transfiguration), yet uncreated. Their view of God’s light comes from the Essence and Energies distinction. Yet, they have little to no scripture to define it. God’s light is a metaphor for his knowledge (Psalm 36:9,43:3,119:130).

Dr. Clark says,

“the great idea that differentiates the Christian Logos doctrine from every pagan philosophy and as well  from the semi-Jewish Philonic doctrine, is the incarnation of the Word, the Reason, or the Wisdom of God. The Logos became flesh. So utterly contradictory and even repulsive to all pagan Greek speculation is this that one is astounded to read reputed scholars  who characterize John as Hellenistic and dependent on Gnostic, Stoic, or Platonic sources. ” (The Johannine Logos, pg. 32)

Yet the East, confused Evangelicals and the Liberals assert that truth is not propositional but experiential, relational and practical. In so doing they quote John 3:21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Dr. Clark says,

“This use of the word truth, however, gives no support to the dialectical notion of truth as encounter; nor is it far removed from mind, knowledge, and intellect as the opponents of knowledge and intellect could wish. (pg. 61) Admittedly a moral command is not a proposition and cannot be either true or false…One cannot separate moral principles from the logical principles on the ground that the latter are intellectual or rational and the former are not. Moral principles, to be followed, must be known. While then a command as such cannot be true, it is a proposition and a truth that God commands men (for example) not to steal. [The proposition is inferred from the command] Therefore, there are no anti-intellectual overtones in speaking about doing the truth. (pg. 62)…There is no personal truth that is not propositional. Statements such as, Judas was a thief, and, Jesus was the messiah, are as personal as anyone can rightly demand; but beyond these statements of intellectual or cognitive content, there is no meaning to the word truth.” (pg. 64) The Johannine Logos


John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word [logos], then you are truly disciples of Mine;

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. Compare with John 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me out of the world:

John 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word[logos]. The Logos here refers to a logical and propositional argument in verse 42 not an experience or encounter. Dr. Clark says,

“Brunner is perhaps half right when he says, ‘All words have only an instrumental value.’ But he is all wrong when he adds, ‘Neither the spoken words nor their conceptual content are the Word itself, but only its frame.’ [fn: Divine Human Encounter, p.110] According to the Apostle John and according to Jesus, the Word of God, the Logos, and the words, the propositions, the cognitive content, are identical; and this conceptual content is ‘the real thing.  (pg. 69)…John 17:17 says, ‘Sanctify them by the truth; thy word, doctrine, argument, theory is truth.; Just a page or two back the logos-word and the rheema-word were seen to be identical. Thus the truth here that sanctifies is the message of the Scripture. Sanctification is basically an intellectual process. No doubt it eventuates in external conduct; but before one can act rightly, one must think rightly; and so we are sanctified by truth. The idea is repeated in verse 19: ‘I sanctify myself for them, in order that they may sanctify themselves by truth.” (The Johannine Logos pg. 71)

Speaking of John 7:17 in the footnote on page 76 Clark says, “The text does not say, ‘he who does God’s will, will know.’ Rather, the text speaks of one who is willing to do God’s will, after he learns what it is.”

Yet the Liberals and confused Evangelicals object that this is Judaical and Pharisaical because the Pharisees knew much theology, but were not saved. Jesus said in John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” You see the Jews knew some theology but they did not believe it. Dr. Clark says,

“One of the Pharisees’ sins was hypocrisy: they did not believe what they said they believed (pg. 76)…The fault of the Jews was not their honoring of the truth as such; if they believed that the truth saves they were right. Their sin was that what they honored and believed was not the truth. They did not believe Moses and the prophets. It was for this that Jesus condemned them.  He did not condemn their alleged rationalism, intellectualism, or respect for the truth. The difference between the Jews and Jesus lay in the propositions believed.( The Johannine Logos , pg. 77)

Clark says, “illumination is what enables you to ‘get through’ to the text.”( The Johannine Logos, pg. 84) Truth is therefore intellectual consisting of words and propositions not experiences.

There is no separation between believing in someone and believing what that person says. Thus the following verses:

John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 

John 5: 46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The term logos refers to a proposition or a series of propositions in the scripture. The Logos in John 1 is the Second Person of the Trinity. The Logos is the Holy Wisdom of God. There is some similarity in the way Heraclitus used it, and Augustine asserted that it was the Logos himself directing the ancient Greek Philosophers to reason and away from their immoral and irrational pantheon of vice stricken gods and goddesses. Dr. Clark says,

“Accordingly, there is no great gap between the propositions alluded to and Christ himself. The Platonic Ideas, as interpreted by Philo, and  by him called Logos are the mind of God. Some of these Ideas are given to us in the words of John, or in the words of Christ recorded by John. This is how Christ communicates himself to us. Is it completely ridiculous to suggest that this is why John uses the term logos for these two superficially different purposes?” (pg. 119 What is Saving Faith?)

John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word [logos], then you are truly disciples of Mine;

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. Compare with “John 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me out of the world”. Truth can therefore be spoken and spoken by God.

John 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word[logos]. The Logos here refers to a logical and propositional argument in verse 42 not an experience or encounter.

John 2:22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. [Object of faith is a proposition.]

John 10:35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word [logos] of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)

John 12:48 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings [rhēma], has one who judges him; the word [logos] I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

John 5:21 “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Here the the logos is identified with the rheemata or words as such. The Word is therefore not a silent experience or an energy or As St. Ignatius of Antioch says in his Letter to the Magnesians 8, “For this reason also they were persecuted. But they were inspired by his gracious gift, so that the disobedient became fully convinced that there is one God, who manifested himself through Jesus Christ his Son, who is his Word that came forth from silence, who was pleasing in every way to the one who sent him.” The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 1, ed. Ehrman (Loeb Classical Library), pg. 249. Ignatius was also known for his assertion that, “Silence is the language of heaven.”  Language is therefore created on this view. In this case, language will ALWAYS be incapable of expressing the fullness of God. That is the anchoretic view of the Eastern Church.  Yet Christ says to the Father , John 17:8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. Again, John 8:40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God.” The language that Jesus gives us is the language that was given to him by the Father. The idea that God’s realm is silent in the sense that there is no language is wrong  There is also no modulation of the language necessary for language is eternal, uncreated and part of the thinking of God himself. Moreover, in John 6:63 Jesus refers to the fact that his words ARE SPIRIT! There is nothing terrestrial, carnal and mere about words.

Dr. Clark says,

“Rheemata in a very literal sense are the sounds that comes out of one’s mouth when one speaks. These are not thought; they are sounds in the air; they are the symbols of thoughts. When people belittle ‘mere words’ they confuse the thought with the symbol. A proposition is the thought symbolized; the sentence is the symbol. Es regnet, il pleut, and it is raining are three sentences; but they are one proposition.” (pg. 121 What is Saving Faith?)

Some will object that this is too intellectual and leans Gnostic. They will complain that Christianity emphasizes faith, love and obedience not knowledge. Thus, 2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Here there is no dialectic between faith and knowledge. Clark says, “the knowledge of which the Gnostics boasted was a theory of cosmology, including highly imaginative accounts of what happened before Genesis 1:1…The Gnostics knew, or believed in, thirty eons, a docetic incarnation, and a pseudo-atonement. The Christians believed a different set of propositions.” (pg. 36, What is Saving Faith?)  H.H. Price whom Dr. Clark deals with on pages 20-25, distinguishes between knowledge in and knowledge that which he calls a “propositional attitude.” (What is Saving Faith?) This distinction emphasizes the object of belief to be a person and not what the person says.   Yet we have already demonstrated that this dialectic is not scriptural and the opposite is the case.

The same point is made in Calvin’s Institutes 1.9 where he refutes the idea that the word and the Spirit are separate.

Is the Mind Separate from the Heart? Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 

When I am discussing theological issues with American ministers they often criticize me that I have a lot of head knowledge but no heart knowledge; whatever that means. I have supplied these verses to demonstrate that the Bible teaches no real distinction between the head/mind and heart as if they were two separate faculties in man.

Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Gen 8:21 The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

Gen 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

Gen 20:6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.

1 Sam 2:35 ‘But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.

Psa 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

Psa 12:2 They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.

Psa 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God ” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

Psa 15:2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.

Isa 6:10  “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

Isa 10:7 Yet it does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations.

Isa 44: 18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.19No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals I roast meat and eat it Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!”

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus commands us to love God with our minds. The vast majority of the so called Christian Church in my country could care less about this verse and flatly denies it and replaces it with that ever so ambigious phrase, a relationship with God.

Do You Know What You Believe? Part 2; What is Knowledge? Plato Monday, Apr 25 2011 

For Anyone Following the Wes White Thing Saturday, Apr 23 2011 

As I expected Wes has kicked me off his blog and deleted some of my posts. So I am continuing the conversation with Hugh and Pat T Williams at Pat’s Sovereign Logos blog: http://sovereignlogos.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/westminster-standards-vs-federal-vision-merit-via-wes-white/#comment-509

A point I want to emphasize:

So then on the western scholastic view God decides to subject humanity to unspeakable suffering and pain, and most of humanity to this pain for all of eternity so that he could accomplish nothing more in Christ [created righteousness] than in the COW with Adam [created righteousness]. That is plain stupid and if that is your God I feel sorry for you. I will now accept your resignation from Scholasticism.

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