The Filioque Refuted; Why I have Separated From American Reformed Churches by Drake Sunday, May 29 2011

Francis Turretin’s Neo-Platonism in Divine Simplicity, by Drake Sunday, May 29 2011 

Volume 1. 3rd Topic. Q 7

“Proof that God is perfectly simple.

IV. This proved to be a property of God: (1) from his independence, because composition is of the formal reason of a being originated and dependent  (since nothing can be composed by itself ,  but whatever is composed  must necessarily be composed by another; now God is the first and independent being, recognizing no other prior to himself) ; (2) from his unity, because he who is absolutely one, is also absolutely simple and therefore can neither be dived nor composed; (3) from his perfection, because composition implies imperfection inasmuch as it supposes passive power, dependency and mutability. ”

Institutes of Elenctic Theology Volume 1 (P & R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1992), pg. 191

So does he give us scripture for this assertion? Where then does he get it from? Neo-Platonism and the Parmenidean One. See my video here.

Cyril Lucaris’ Rejection of the Filioque, by Drake Sunday, May 29 2011 

In Lucaris’ own Confession of Faith, he says,

“Chapter 1.

We believe in one God, true, Almighty, and in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Father unbegotten, the Son begotten of the Father before the world, consubstantial with the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father by the Son, having the same essence with the Father and the son. We call these three persons in one essence the Holy Trinity, ever to be blessed, glorified, and worshipped by every creature.”

Is this a confession of the Filioque? No; by no means.

Gerald Bray says,

“Half a century later the Calvinists tried once again to make contact with the East, and they had much greater success. Not the least of their triumphs was the conversion of Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Alexandria from 1601 to 1621 and then Patriarch of Constantinople, with interruptions, until his death in 1638. While still at Alexandria he corresponded with leading Calvinists in Holland and accepted their interpretation of the faith to a surprising extent. On the question of the Filioque, however, he remained a firm supporter of Palamas and even argued against the Western position in a long letter to Uytenbogaert dated 10th October 1613.” THE FILIOQUE CLAUSE IN HISTORY AND THEOLOGY

George Hadjiantoniou says of Lucaris,

“Another question with which he dealt in his correspondence with his friends at this time was the famous Filioque, and in the handling of this subject he showed himself a deep thinker and an able debater. He rejects the addition to the article of the Creed dealing with the Holy Spirit which the Churches in the West had made and affirms in a very able way that when we speak of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father we mean that the Father is the Source in which the third Person of the Godhead has its ‘hypostatic essence’ and that if we were to accept that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as well, it would be as if we accepted that the Holy Spirit has His ‘source of essence’ in two different principles. He is unwilling to accept this ‘absurdity,’ as he calls it; he accepts, however, that the Holy Spirit, who has His source of being in the Father, is being given to mankind through the Son.” Hadjiantoniou, George, Protestant Patriarch The Life of Cyril Lucaris, (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1961), pg. 44

It can be concluded then that his sermon on the Procession of the Spirit before he was openly Calvinistic would still hold valid for what he believed. Cyril says,

“From his  Homily for Pentecost.

The Father is not the Son, nor the Spirit, but begetteth the Son, and causeth the Spirit to proceed. And the Son is sent by f the Father and the Spirit. For the Lord [saith]: ‘And His Spirit hath sent Me The Spirit is sent from the Father and the Son for sanctification of the creation; but proceedeth from only the Father. And why doth He proceed from the Father alone, but is sent from both? Now, I will declare that the sending is for sanctification, but the proceeding is substantial. But as the Spirit sendeth the Son, yet none may say that He begetteth [Him], so also the Son sendeth the Spirit, but doth not cause [Him] to proceed. But the Father indeed sendeth the Son, and alone causeth [the Spirit] to proceed substantially.” The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem [1672] (London: Thomas Baker, 1899), pg. 20-21

Therefore, when Lucaris mentions the procession “by the Son” this is clearly economical. It can therefore be concluded that Lucaris rejected the Western structure of God as a whole and refused to be a product of Rome in his approaching Calvinist Soteriology.

Another Problem for the Scholastics: Eternal Generation or Simplicity, Take Your Pick; You Cannot Have It Both Ways, by Drake Saturday, May 28 2011 

Muller says,

“the Socinians argued that

This generation out of the Father’s essence involves a contradiction. For if Christ had been generated out of the essence of his Father, he must have taken either a part of it, or the whole. He could not have taken a part of it, because the divine essence is indivisible. Neither could he have taken the whole; for in this case the Father would have ceased to be the Father, and would have become the Son: and again, since the divine essence is numerically one, and therefore incommunicable, this could by no means have happened.

From Owen’s perspective, the Socinian claim is a product of rationalistic reductionism: ‘this is the fruit of measuring spiritual things by carnal, infinite by finite, God by ourselves, the object of faith by corrupted rules of corrupted reason.’ ”

Richard Muller’s  Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume Four, The Triunity of God (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI, 2003), pg. 283

I have said it before and I have said it again, Scholasticism and VanTilism posit a loss of the Rational Faculty in the Fall, if Man ever had it to begin with. Corrupted rules of corrupted reason!? When will they admit that logic and language is something created and join the mysticism of the Eastern Church?

Muller and the Scholastics need to admit that they got owned by the Socinians here, drop the Neo-Platonism and take Clark’s view of God where there are distictions in God.

Eastern Orthodoxy and Neo-Platonism: Indistinguishable, by Drake Saturday, May 28 2011 

Continuing from the Called to Communion blog:

[Drake] I don’t see the Eastern View of God as being something that can sustain a Christian Theology. Dionysius the Areopagite’s plagiarism of Proclus has become all to obvious to the world and maybe Perry should consider that a bit more.

[Perry]I don’t take Dionysius’ use of Proclus any more plagiarism than the Plotinus’ use of Plato. Besides, ancient standards for using sources were significantly different than our own. And having been, as Damascius, the head of the Platonic Academy, I think he was in a good enough position to do so. That by itself says nothing as to his Christian faith. That said, there is nothing I need to “consider” it a bit more. It would be helpful to exercise your mind to imagine a more plausible reading of the person’s position you wish to criticize so as to anticipate any rejoinders prior to your fingers hitting the keys.

[Drake]You are avoiding the argument. Was Dionysius the Areopagite the first century disciple of Paul? Was Dionysius teaching straight from Neo Platonism [Proclus]? Current scholarship answers no to the first and yes to the second. I thought that was standard fare. Your Church answered yes to the first and has yet to admit the second.  Lossky doesn’t touch the issue in Chapter 2 of Mystical Theology. He simply exposits him like its gospel. The fact is, the Neoplatonists refused predication of the One because predication requires distinction between subject and predicate and the one had no distinctions [Simplicity]. Therefore positive theology and predication of the One was rejected. That is the same theology as Lossky and the East. It is the same Neoplatonism and simplicity that you criticize in Scholasticism.

[Perry]I am not avoiding the argument. I don’t think Dionysius was a disciple of Paul. I think he was Damascius, as I said before. I think certain Monophysites took him to be so and others just assumed as much. Current scholarship is all over the place on his identity and there is more than one way to read him, in the current scholarship.  Lossky for example speaks directly to this in his, The Vision of God. He’s hardly alone in his assessment, even among non-Orthodox specialists in Late Antiquity.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t make Dionysius a plagiarist.

Well, duh, the late Platonists didn’t predicate concerning the one, or at least not concerning its inward activity, only its outward activity. On this Plotinus is sufficiently clear. But the reasons why the late Platonists can’t predicate and the Orthodox do not concerning God ad intra are not the same. First because we don’t hold their view of simplicity and we have a trinity of persons in God. So no, it isn’t the same, it is quite anti-platonic and Lossky says so in his Vision of God.  Here I’d recommend you read Gallwitz’ work on the Cappadocians and the transformation of divine simplicity, from Oxford.

End quotes from Perry

So what is the Eastern View of God with respect to language?

Lossky says,

“Proceeding by negations one ascends from the inferior degrees of being to the highest, by progressively setting aside all that can be known, in order to draw near to the Unknown in the darkness of absolute ignorance.” (pg. 25) The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladamir Lossky (Saint Vladamir’s Seminary Press: Crestwood, New York, 1976)

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. 

Dr. Clark in describing Plotinus says,

“The Supreme One, transcending even the duality of propositional truth, transcending Mind, beyond all knowledge, shines by its own nature, and its expanding rays are the ranks of being in the world, each less brilliant than the prior one, until the light is lost in darkness and nothingness.” Clark, Gordon. The Trinity, (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation, 1985) pg. 115

The Neo-Platonic view and the Eastern view are indistinguishable.

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.

The Fatal Flaw of Ancient Christology: How Much Humanity Did Christ Assume? Part 3 by Drake Saturday, May 28 2011 

As was stated before, Dr. Clark said in his The Biblical Doctrine of Man (The Trinity Foundation: Jefferson, Maryland, 1984),

“Realism of course asserts the real existence of the human genus. This is an idea in God’s mind and it is a real object of knowledge. But it is hard to imagine any Realist identifying the perfect eternal idea with a temporal and imperfect individual. The relationship of Adam to the Idea is precisely the same as the relationship of any other individual man to the Idea. The individuals ‘participate’ in or are all ‘patterned after’ the Idea; but the notion that one individual is ‘physically and numerically one’ with the Idea, or that any other individual is ‘physically and numerically one’ with Adam is enough to send poor Plato to his grave in despair. This misunderstanding of Realism vitiates much of Hodge’s argumentation.” (pg. 49)

This shows that Adam was not physically and numerically one with the Idea of the human genus. After criticizing Shedd a bit Clark says,

“But these indubitable truths do not justify an assertion of the numerical and physical unity of each human being with Adam.” (pg. 50)

Keeping with the parallels in Romans Chapter 5 if Adam is not physically and numerically one with the human genus, then Christ need not be physically and numerically one with the human genus. So then Christ’s humanity was patterned after the Idea of the human genus in God’s mind just like every other human person. So what is it mean when I deny Farrell’s assertion that Christ was the fullness of humanity? What I mean is that Christ was not physically and numerically one with the human genus.

But Eastern Orthodoxy must have this in order for their theology to work. They must have a numerical and physical unity of Christ with the Idea of the human genus. Is that not what Farrell meant? He could not be talking about individual substances with Aristotle for Aristotle denied Genus is in the category of substance and truly real. I must therefore ask: Do you believe in Platonic Ideas? How, in the light of your Aristotelianism do you get these? If God is in divine darkness mutually exclusive from language, an idea is impossible because an idea asserts that God is not beyond predication.

Eastern Orthodox Apologists, Jedi Masters or Professional Bureaucrats by Drake Friday, May 27 2011 

Eastern Apologetics and Penal Substitution

 Eastern Orthodox Apologists talk and dress like they are Jedi Knights fighting the  Sith Lords of the Reformation while Traveling in the strange Tatooine- like land of America. They will stop at nothing to bring us Reformed people of the dark side back to the Energetic Knowledge of the Force. They will stop at nothing to put on full display their mastery and knowledge of the Force. Even if it means doing absolutley NO book reviews of any Reformed literture and making highly extended paraphrastic inferences of what they think Puritan Theology is. On the Called to Communion blog a couple weeks ago I had an exchange with Perry Robinson on the penal aspects of the Bible and the Atonement. I said,

“I simply do not see the Eastern Orthodox ontological soteriology as being something that can explain the New Testament due to all the forensic language about a paraclete, an advocate, a certifcate of debts being nailed to Christ’s cross, etc. Uh, I think it was Meyendorf that I was reading a number of months ago that stated that seeing only one aspect to God’s works is the primary error of a theologian. I have to agree with him which is why the Ontological-aspect-only Theology of the East does not satisfy me.”

Perry Replied, [and try to hear it in the weird half mouth, half nasal-like speech of Perry after he’s been up all night at a local Star Wars Collector’s Club meeting and written Drake an email using every foul word imaginable while teaching Christian doctrine]

“I grant that the NT has plenty of legal language in it, but it is also has language of being made free, being made clean, and being made immortal, glorified with divine glory and escaping corruption. And none of those things can be done by a legal flick of the cosmic wrist. More to the point, you seem to assume that the presence of legal language entails a specific theory of law, one that finds its home in the 16th century and not that of the first century world of Jesus and the Apostles. So I simply reject the implied claim that the NT has “forensic” language all over it, whereby is meant language of being classed as such apart from any internal state. The publican had the right disposition, which is why he went down to his home vindicated by God.”

Then to reiterate a complaint that he has used a number of times now he says in an email to me:

“Lots of different theories of law can have a system of penalty and reward, even non-vindictive theories do. It all depends on what penalty and reward mean.”

Whenever you bring up juridical aspects of the Bible this is his go to argument: that the world has a number of theories of punishment and reward. Here’s my problem, the world also has a number of theories of ontology. Does he seriously want us to believe that there is only one theory of “being made free, being made clean, and being made immortal, glorified with divine glory and escaping corruption”? Nope. His complaint is comical.   I was into the esoteric when I was in college and there are a ton of ways that Hermetic orders have used this language.

Second, if he admits that the Bible has “has plenty of legal language in it”, I ask, where is it then in his soteriology? Eastern Orthodox apologists that I listen to on Ancient Faith Radio have made a hobby out of convincing Western Christians that the West has made just this mistake in seeing  juridical aspects to the Atonement.  You can’t have it both ways guys.

Third, I acknowledge that the New Testament teaches the infusion of righteousness and the victory of Christ over Satan in our lives individually and nationally. The problem is, that is called sanctification not justification. The Bible also talks about the Imputation of righteousness (Rom 4:6, 4:11)  and this righteousness Rom 3:21-22 justifies freely by his grace vs 24. Perry and the East simply do not know what to do with these passages. They will set up camp on the issue that the New Testament teaches an infused righteousness. Great! We Calvinists understand that to be sanctification. But what will they do with imputation? It remains a mystery.

Fourth, our justification did not come by a flick of the cosmic wrist. It came by the God-man’s perfect life and his laying down of it, as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy divine justice. Having imputed Christ’s righteousness to us God declares us righteous as we represented by Christ in the Covenant of Redemption. Not even close to a flick of the cosmic wrist.

Fifthly, I attended the Spring Theology class at the Eastern Church here in Louisville, Ky last spring. This issue was developed in detail and one huge point surfaces when Eastern Orthodox people apply this to morality: there is no distinction in sins. All sins become equally heinous in themselves in the sight of God. Why is that? Because the legal ledger language is removed from Eastern Soteriology. In the West when someone asks if all sins are the same we say that in the legal sense, yes, in that if you break one of God’s laws you have broken them all and broken the Covenant of Works, meriting God’s juridical wrath and eternal punishment. However, in the sight of God some sins are worse than others. The Westminster Larger Catechism Answer to question 150 says,  All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. When I was attending the Eastern Theology class there was an older Anglo-Catholic gentleman present who took the Priest to task on this issue. At that moment I was reminded of John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. I quoted it to the Priest and he couldn’t say anything in response. The Anglo-Catholic gentleman gave me an Amen but the other teacher said that the Eastern Church teaches that sins have different consequences in civil society but that they are all equally heinous in the sight of God. Overall the issue was overwhelmingly embarrassing for the Priest.

Lastly, it is a common straw man used by the East that Penal Substitution is a juridical doctrine only, i.e. Christ dies only to suffer the penalty for the sins of the world. This is also comical. When I was in college attending a Calvinistic Baptist Church I started reading Puritan Literature on Eschatology. I read Brian Schwertley’s [He is a popular Puritanical Apologist] paper, The Premillennial Deception. In that paper he gives a standard exposition of Christ’s Victorious Defeat of Satan as the basis for a Post-Millennial view of Eschatology. Schwertley says,

“When Jesus instructed His disciples regarding His coming crucifixion, He said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (Jn. 12:31-32). In Revelation 20 Satan is bound so that he will no longer deceive the nations. In John’s gospel Jesus says the same thing in different language: Satan is cast out and Jesus will draw all people to Himself. Jesus’ binding of Satan enables Him to plunder Satan’s house. Christ’s victorious death and resurrection enabled Him to conquer (spiritually) all nations. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). When the twelve apostles returned from a preaching mission in which they had authority to cast out demons, Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Lk. 10:18-19, cf. 9:1).

The author of Hebrews taught that through Christ’s death “He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). The verb translated destroy (katargein) means literally to render inoperative, to nullify, or to render ineffective. “As incarnate, then, Christ was able to die; and it was his incarnation that set the stage for the performance of that great cosmic drama which is at the center of human history and the means of man’s deliverance from his fearsome enemy. At the cross, the place of death, the decisive encounter between God and Satan occurred. The Son came into the world precisely for this purpose, that through death, his death, he might render ineffective our enemy the devil who wields the power of death.” Christ definitely defeated Satan and limited his power at the cross. “In Rev. 20, one particular aspect of that binding is before us, namely, the limiting of Satan’s power to deceive the nations as he did before the coming of Christ. From that time forward during the whole of the interadvental dispensation Satan is defeated in fact. He can still go about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but in this particular respect he is a caged lion.” The Apostle Paul concurs: “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15). Paul describes Christ’s work of redemption as leading “captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8). The Bible teaches that Satan received his death blow at Christ’s first coming (Gen 3:15).

The binding of Satan so that he would not deceive the nations occurs as a result of Christ’s death at Calvary and coincides with the spread of the gospel to all nations. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28:18-19). Christ defeated Satan and bound him; this restraining of Satan’s power to deceive the nations is what makes the Great Commission possible. Before Christ came, God’s Word and salvation were, with rare exception, limited to the tiny nation of Israel; Satan had religious control over the vast reaches of the earth. After Christ came, Satan was definitively defeated, and continues to be restrained as the gospel spreads throughout the whole earth. Satan can no longer deceive the nations by keeping them from hearing the gospel.”

I remember having my hair blown back at being introduced to the Christus Victor aspects of the Atonement.  It was the Puritan groups that introduced this to me first in my Christian life. When I started reading Eastern Apologetics I would have a good laugh when they would criticize Reformed Theology for denying Christus Victor. 99% of the Polemics that I have read from Eastern Apologists are presumed paraphrastic clap-trap. When do Eastern Polemicists actually do a book review of a Puritan book? The stuff on Origen and Monothelitism are correctly aimed at Hyper-Calvinists but most everything else is a prima facie waste of time. I spend my time reading and writing articles where I am dealing sentence for sentence with books written by Eastern Apologists. They spend their time with clichés and paraphrases.  Any well read Puritan that is considering Eastern Apologists needs to demand more of them than what he has read himself. When you read an Eastern Polemicists on the Sacraments, ask yourself, has he done a book review and refutation on Robert Bruce’s Sermons on the Lord’s Supper? If Ecclesiology, has he read James Bannerman’s 2 Volumes and refuted them? If Justification, has he refuted James Buchanan? If Worship, has he refuted George Gellespie’s English Popish Ceremonies? Has he refuted Rutherford’s Lex Rex, William Whitaker’s Disputations, Isaac Taylor’s Ancient Christianity, and Calvin’s The Necessity of Reforming the Church ?   These are distinctive Protestant books that changed the world and rescued nations from poverty and tyranny. I have yet to meet a single Eastern Apologist that has a rudimentary understanding of what a Puritan is.  If you are an Eastern Orthodox Apologist, this is not a movie guys, these are people’s lives and souls at stake. Please take that a bit more seriously.

I don’t take these pre-adolescent wanna-be, half Christian – half Jedi posers seriously at all, and I have read and understood most all of their nonsensical insanities. I don’t know anyone who is still Reformed that has read these guys much but if you are out there I welcome your comments and any insight you may have.


The Economical and Ontological Trinity; What is it?, by Drake Tuesday, May 24 2011 

1. Vladamir Lossky says, “Even though the created order did not exist, God would still be Trinity— Father, Son and Holy Ghost— for creation is an act of will: the procession of the persons is an act ‘according to nature’ (kata physin).” (pg. 45) This distinction does rest upon pain of Origenism as I have pointed out here and here.

Lossky, Vladamir, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church Chapter 3 (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: Crestwood, NY, 1976) [I accessed this here:

2. John of Damascus describing the economical activities of the Spirit through the Son says,

proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son, and participated in by all creation, through Himself creating, and investing with essence and sanctifying, and maintaining the universe…And again we speak of the three subsistences as being in each other , that we may not introduce a crowd and multitude of Gods. Owing to the three subsistences, there is no compoundness or confusion: while, owing to their having the same essence and dwelling in one another, and being the same in will, and energy, and power, and authority, and movement, so to speak, we recognise the indivisibility and the unity of God. For verily there is one God, and His word and Spirit…I am in the father, and the father in Me John 14:11…And we speak likewise of the Holy Spirit as from the Father, and call Him the Spirit of the Father. And we do not speak of the Spirit as from the Son : but yet we call Him the Spirit of the Son. For if any one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His Romans 8:9, says the divine apostle. And we confess that He is manifested and imparted to us through the Son. For He breathed upon His Disciples, says he, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:29

John of Damascus, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Book I), “Chapter 8. Concerning the Holy Trinity”,

3. Robert Letham says,

“In the locus classicus, John 15:26, Jesus says he will send the Paraclete (a reference to Pentecost, the historical sendind), who in turn proceeds from…the Father, denoting a continuous procession. Much modern New Testament scholarship argues that the procession here refers to economic activity only – the relations between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in human history – and not all to eternal antecedent realities in God himself. Robert Reymond thinks referring this to immanent realities in God is to go beyond the bounds of Scripture. De Margerie rightly calls this restriction to the temporal mission ‘a simplictic exegesis that lacks a theological background’. It effectively undermines the reality and truthfulness of God’s revelation by positing the idea that what God does economically does not necessarily reveal who he is.” (pg. 226)

Letham, Robert Through Western Eyes (Mentor: Geanies House, Fearn Ross-Shire, IV20 1TW, Great Britain, 2007)

I referenced his citation of Reymond and quite frankly I did not see Reymond saying anything about this. He merely agrees that Photius has a point when he says that John 15:26 is the only passage that mentions the prcoseccion and it mentions nothing of the Son and only the Father.

4. The Calvin Handbook by H. J. Selderhuis, Henry J. Baron, Judith J. Guder (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 2009) says speaking of Calvin’s Institutes 3.7.2,

“Calvin seldom discusses explicitly the relationship between the immanent and economic Trinity…It is obvious, nevertheless, that Calvin maintains the distinction between the immanent and economic Trinity. He believes that the Being of God is greater and more majestic than he has revealed to us.” Pg. 255

5. Why Heaven Kissed Earth: The Christology of the Puritan Reformed Orthodox by Mark Jones (V&R: Oakville, CT, 2010)

“Owen’s comments on John 15:26 are almost identical to those made by Goodwin, except that Goodwin sees both ontology and economy in verse 26.  For Owen, the Father is referred to as the ‘fountain’. There is, however, a twofold procession of the Spirit; first, in respect of substance and personality and second, dispensatory or economic. [FN: Works II, Of Communion with the Holy Ghost, 226] The first has reference to the Spirit ‘in which he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, proceeding from both eternally […]. But, the words in John 15:26, according to Owen, have reference to the Spirit’s economical or dispensatory proceeding […]. Similarly, van Asselt has argued that Cocceius also understood John 15:26 to refer to the economical procession of the Spirit and does not refer to ontology.” (pg. 119-120)

Here is Owen’s quote from John Owen, Works II, ed. William Gould (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), pg. 226-227,

“Now there is a twofold “procession” of the Spirit:—

(1st)… in respect of substance and personality.

(2dly.) …or dispensatory, in respect of the work of grace.

Of the first—in which respect he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, proceeding from both eternally, so receiving his substance and personality—I speak not: it is a business of another nature than that I have now in hand. Therein, indeed, lies the first and most remote foundation of all our distinct communion with him and our worship of him; but because abiding in the naked consideration hereof, we can make no other progress than the bare acquiescence of faith in the mystery revealed, with the performance of that which is due to the person solely on the account of his participation of the essence, I shall not at present dwell upon it.

His…proceeding, mentioned in the place insisted on, is his economical or dispensatory proceeding, for the carrying on of the work of grace. It is spoken of him in reference to his being sent by Christ after his ascension: ” I will send him which proceedeth,”— namely, ” then when I send him’ As God is said to ” come out of his place/’ Isa. xxvi. 21, not in regard of any mutation in him, but of the new work which he would effect; so it follows, the Lord comes out of his place ” to punish the inhabitants of the earth’ And it is in reference to a peculiar work that he is said to proceed,—namely, to testify of Christ: which cannot be assigned to him in respect of his eternal procession, but of his actual dispensation; as it is said of Christ, “He came forth from God.” The single mention of the Father in this place, and not of the Son, belongs to the gradation before mentioned, whereby our Saviour discovers this mystery to his disciples. He speaks as much concerning himself, John xvi. 7. And this relation ad extra (as they call it) of the Spirit unto the Father and the Son, in respect of operation, proves his relation ad intra, in respect of personal procession; whereof I spake before.”

 6. L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology Fourth Revised and Enlarged Edition (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, Reprinted 1988), pg. 89

“e. There are certain personal attributes by which the three persons are distinguished. These are also called opera ad intra, because they are works within the Divine Being, which do not terminate on the creature. They are personal operations, which are not performed by the three persons jointly and which are incommunicable. Generation is an act of the Father only; filiation belongs to the Son exclusively; and procession can only be ascribed of the Holy Spirit. As opera ad intra, these works are distinguished from the opera ad extra, or those activities and effects by which the Trinity is manifested outwardly. These are never works of one person exclusively, but always works of the divine being, as a whole. At the same time it is true that in the economical order of God’s works some of  the opera ad extra are ascribed more particularly to one person, and some more especially to another. Though they are all works of the three persons jointly, creation is ascribed primarily to the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the Holy Spirit. This order in the divine operations points back to the essential order in God and forms the basis for what is generally known as the economic Trinity.”

7. The Trinitarian Theology of St Thomas Aquinas by Gilles Emery (Oxford University Press: New York, 2007), pg. 40-41

“The first distinction is between God in his immanent being (ST I, qq. 2–43), and God in his creative and saving action (qq. 44 V.). This distinction takes us back to the origins of speculative Trinitarian theology. It is founded on the Christian doctrinal requirement, as formulated in the fourth century: the existence of the divine persons and their personal properties is dependent neither on creation nor on the divine action in the world. To avoid considering the Son and the Holy Spirit as creatures (as Arianism did), one’s conception of the divine persons and their mutual relations must work on the level of eternal divinity, clearly distinguishing the created and the uncreated. The distinction between the immanent life of the Trinity and its action in the world comes out in a theme which especially belongs to Trinitarian theology. As Thomas explains them, Arianism and Sabellianism had committed the error of conceiving the processions of the Son and Spirit like an action of God in the world, that is, in the way that an effect proceeds from its cause; this kind of action does not allow one to account for the authentic divinity of the persons and their real distinction. Arianism effectively conceives the Son and the Holy Spirit like creatures, that is, like God’s created effects. On the other hand, Sabellianism conceived the generation of the Son as the mode of a divine action in the world: God took the form of the Son when he became incarnate. Far from being marginal, this observation is the point of departure of the Trinitarian treatise of the Summa Theologiae (q. 27, a. 1). For this reason, the Trinitarian treatise begins precisely by showing that one ought not to conceive the procession of the divine persons like a divine action in the world, but like an immanent action brought about within God.

There are two sorts of operations, as Aristotle teaches in Metaphysics IX:

The first has its place in the operating agent, remaining in it and constituting the perfection of that agent; for example, the act of sensing, knowing, and willing. The second passes over into an external thing, and is a perfection of the thing made as a result of that operation, as for instance, the acts of heating, cutting, and building. Both kinds of operation belong to God: the former, in that He knows, wills, rejoices, and loves; the latter in that He brings things into being, preserves them, and governs them. But, since the former operation is a perfection of the operator, the latter a perfection of the thing made, and since the agent is naturally prior to the thing made and is the cause of it, it must be that the first of these types of operation is the ground (ratio) of the second, and naturally precedes it, as a cause precedes its effect. We can see this very well in human experience: for the architect’s plan and his will are the principle and the reason for the construction.

St Thomas distinguishes ‘immanent’ action, which remains in the acting subject, and ‘transitive’ action, which is transmitted to a reality outside the acting subject. This explanation, which is not the only one, contains the fundamental principles of Thomas’ reflection on what we today call the ‘immanent Trinity’ and the ‘economic Trinity’.”

Let it be settled that whether we are talking about Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant Scholastic theology, this distinction is unquestioned.

Cyril Lucaris and the Synod of Jerusalem Tuesday, May 24 2011 

Cyril Lucaris was Patriarch of Alexandria and Constantinople in the 17th century. He was in the communion of the Eastern Church. Gerald Bray says,

“Half a century later the Calvinists tried once again to make contact with the East, and they had much greater success. Not the least of their triumphs was the conversion of Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Alexandria from 1601 to 1621 and then Patriarch of Constantinople, with interruptions, until his death in 1638. While still at Alexandria he corresponded with leading Calvinists in Holland and accepted their interpretation of the faith to a surprising extent. On the question of the Filioque, however, he remained a firm supporter of Palamas and even argued against the Western position in a long letter to Uytenbogaert dated 10th October 1613.”


Regarding Cyril’s view of the Filioque and Uytenbogaert, Bray references J. Aymon’s, Monuments authentiques de la religion des Grecs et de la fausseté de plusieurs confessions de foi des Chrétiens (La Haye, 1708) 137-142. Unfortunately this book was written in French, is not available in English and I am in the process of getting these pages translated.

Cyril held to Reformed Soteriology, Sola Scriptura, Justification by Faith and other fundamental Calvinist-Protestant tenants. However, as you can see he did not take the Western Scholastic doctrine of God and the Trinity. Being a Scripturalist I would not take Palamas’ whole view of the Essence and Energies but there is much in Palamas that is exactly parallel in its criticism of Scholasticism that you have with Dr. Clark. I have made many videos regarding this.  Anyway, people find me to be a bit of a strange flower and if you are wondering where it is that I am coming from in the History of the Christian Church it is here with this man. I am ardently trying to learn about Cyril and follow in his path. He was martyred by Muslims and hated by and conspired against by the Jesuits.  MOST IMPORTANTLY HE WAS NOT A PRODUCT OF ROME. The Protestant Scholastics are fools if they think they can take the philosophical apparatus of the Roman Church and bake Reformed pies with it.  Cyril’s Calvinism was not accepted into the Eastern Church but his life is still debated today and was debated at the Synod of Jerusalem in the 17th Century. You can read about this synod in the link below.  Cyril was not taken lightly yet he has been ignored by the West in many respects. I am about to read these books and if you are interested in Cyril, I suggest these titles:

The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem

The Eastern Schism (Oxford University Press Academic Monograph by Steven Runciman

A  Protestant Patriarch: The Life of Cyril Lucaris, 1572-1638, Patriarch of Constantinople Chatzēantoniou, Geōrgios

Sean Gerety’s Monothelitism Exposed in the Free Offer from The Free Church by Drake Monday, May 23 2011 

Sean Gerety at God’s Hammer in his article Janus Alive and Well says,

“While at times “well meant offer” defenders appear to be Calvinistic in their belief in God’s sovereign election and particular atonement, they also maintain a belief in the universal desire of God for the salvation of those God predestined to perdition; the reprobate.  It is this combination of particularism and pluralism, or simply Calvinism and Arminianism, that make up the two faces of Janus.”

This is a typical misrepresentation of the Puritan view. The Free Church of Scotland (cont.) has a great reference section on this issue called “The Will of God and the Gospel Offer”. You can reference this here: I would like to draw your attention to the article titled: The Will of God and the Gospel Offer: Samuel Rutherford and Francis Turretin. Though Sean thinks reading  John Murray, Bahnsen, Van Til,  Hoeksema , James Anderson and (Janus man) Professor Clark is sufficient to understand the Puritans  I would rather keep my nose in the 17th century and read their own unfiltered words. A few juicy quotes for you from Turretin:

“(Institutes of Elenctic Theology, topic XV, question II, paragraphs XIV-XVI and XXI, trans. George Musgrave Giger, ed. James T. Dennison, Jr., Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1992-97, vol. 2, pp. 507-09, reproduced with kind permission of the publishers*)”

“XIV. Although God does not intend the salvation of the reprobate by calling them, still he acts most seriously and sincerely; nor can any hypocrisy and deception be charged against him — neither with respect to God himself (because he seriously and most truly shows them the only and most certain way of salvation, seriously exhorts them to follow it and most sincerely promises salvation to all those who do follow it [to wit, believers and penitents]; nor does he only promise, but actually bestows it according to his promise); nor as to men because the offer of salvation is not made to them absolutely, but under a condition and thus it posits nothing unless the condition is fulfilled, which is wanting on the part of man. Hence we cordially embrace what is said on this subject by the fathers of the Synod of Dort: “As many as are called through the gospel are seriously called. For God shows seriously and most truly in his word, what is pleasing to him, to wit, that the called should come to him. He also seriously promises to all who come to him and believe rest to their souls and eternal life” (“Tertium et Quartum: De Hominis Corruptione et Conversione,” 8 Acta Synodi Nationalis . . . Dordrechti[1619-20], 1:[302]).”

So I reject Sean’s gloss that we assert that God desires the salvation of the reprobate. Read the rest of the article. No doubt the issue of the Divine Will will be requested and I have prepared an article here. The solution to these debates is a denial of the Neo-Platonic doctrine of Divine Simplicity so we can even see parts/real distinctions in God’s will. The free offer in Turretin is no paradox, it makes perfect sense.

Sean and Co.’s rejection of this is yet again the Origenism and  Monothelitism that I have been writing on. Remember folks, in Monothelitism, the Divine Will is the only will in Christ which is heresy! Our Salvation on the Monothelite view was UNCONDITIONAL whether the human will, willed to die for our sins or not he was compelled and forced by the Divine Will.  On the Orthodox view the human will of Christ submitted itself freely to the Divine Will  and it did so with great agony. In Gethsemane Christ sweats drops of blood and says, “Not my will, but thine be done”. TWO WILLS! Sean’s Hypercalvinism makes salvation unconditional, the Covenant of Grace unconditional, allows no Permissive Decrees (directly contrary to WCF 6.1), and no Free Offer of the Gospel contingent on Man’s Agency. Why? Because Sean, though he may not want to believe it, at least implies a Monthelitism. Monothelitism means “One Will”, and this is the Divine Will. That sounds pious doesn’t it? At first glimpse there seems to be a wisdom to it, a submission to God’s plan, but underneath that thin veil of piety is a viper. People leave so called “Reformed” Churches for Eastern Orthodoxy  because of this issue quite frequently and I am about sick of having to re-eductate x-Hyper Calvinists in Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Concerning an Orthodox view of the Will and Permissive Decrees from a Calvinist position see Girardeau here and here.

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