The Free Offer of the Gospel; A Non-Paradoxical and Rational Construction by Drake Thursday, Jun 30 2011 

The link for the entire article will be at the end of this post. For brevity sake I will only quote my definition and my arguments against the Hyper-Calvinist rejection of the Free Offer:

“The Free Offer emphasizes preaching that does not center on the work of the Spirit in those who are called by grace but on the “fullness and freeness and suitableness of the Son of God as a Saviour for those that are lost.” (ST, pg. 142) The Free Offer emphasizes winning sinners to the “obedience of faith.” (ST, 142) The Free Offer does not emphasize preaching that turns the attention of the hearer inward but turns the hearer toward Christ. John Macleod defines the Free Offer, “in the Gospel Christ is held forth to the hearer, and that the hearer is thus bound, as he is called upon, to accept Him as his own.” (ST, 166)…

So as a summary the definition is as follows:

“God desires that such and such should be done by man, not that God desires that such and such shall be done” (Winzer) , yet by the first desire here mentioned I assert a real volition, Winzer rejects it. God hates evil and always punishes evil. God does not will to punish evil as an ad extra decree but punishes as something he essentially hates.  This asserts a clear perceptive will to God. “God wills good things because he is good” (Muller), “God’s will is regulated, not indeed extrinsically but intrinsically…BY HIS MOST HOLY NATURE” (Turretin).  God is free from external compulsions and from internal necessities in some things like creation. In all things the divine nature directs and regulates the divine will. In some things, not all things, it necessitates the will to will this or that, as in the generation of the Son and the Spiration of the Spirit.  In some other things it merely regulates and directs as in Creation and Redemption.  God has only one will, the will of the decree. However, this will has parts and aspects to it: one major part being the perceptive aspect. This is just one more reason to reject divine simplicity. “God does not intend the salvation of the reprobate by calling them, still he acts most seriously and sincerely…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…bestows it according to his promise…the offer of salvation is not made to them absolutely, but under a condition [For the definition of condition see The Conditionality of the Covenant of Grace in Samuel Rutherford, by Drake] and thus it posits nothing unless the condition is fulfilled… [By “posits nothing”  Turretin is not denying God’s volition at the level of precept for he asserts this will many times and calls it “the will of precept…as to approbation and command” and distinguishes it from the decree.]  [This] calling shows what God wills man should do, but not what he himself had decreed to do…to will reprobates to come (i.e., to command them to come and to desire it); …according to the approving will of God” (Turretin).  This Free Offer to the Reprobate “comes to them, 1. Not from Christ as their Surety, since he prays not for any Mediation of his own towards them: But 2. For the Elect’s sake..intended in the Preached gospel to none but to the elect” (Rutherford). This Free Offer affirms a love for all men that gives them, “being, to conserve them in being as long as he [God] pleaseth… He created them out of the womb of love and out of goodness, and keeps them in being. He can hate nothing that he made” (Rutherford). This is a provisional love and a desire for their eternal being.  This love comes from God’s nature and is natural to him to hate evil and love good. This love to the reprobate and all men even considered as sinners is not the love of election as the Arminians assert for this love is reserved only for the elect…

IV. Concluding Arguments Against Those Who Deny the Free Offer I.E. Hyper-Calvinists (HC)

1. When Winzer says “The will of precept has no volitional content, for it simply states what God has commanded ought to be done by man”, this is a direct denial of the hatred that God has for evil, which is the basis for penal substitutionary atonement. Hab 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor; Psalm 5:4-6 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. God has no emotions (See God’s Emotivity by Drake). Therefore, words predicated of God, that refer to human faculties are anthropopathic. These anthropopathisms are said to refer to volitions in God not emotions. But Winzer just denied volition at the level of precept. He has no basis for God’s hatred of evil.

2. The HC view asserts that all of God’s desires must come to fruition in only efficacious decrees. But doesn’t that imply that what God does not desire to be does not have reference to the will of decree? So he has a choice: Either admit that God desires sin and the mutilation of his Son which is why he decreed it; or admit that all of God’s desires are not coextensive with his efficacious decrees and do something that Hyper-Calvinists hate: acknowledge a permissive decree.

3. Winzer asserts that what God is in nature is separate from the creation, which is correct. Yet, the West uses God’s interaction with the creature to promote the Filioque clause. This is hypocrisy. If he admits that the Ontological Trinity is what God is irrespective of creation then he cannot use Economical actions of the Holy Spirit to prove the Filioque which is a doctrine respecting the Ontological Trinity. Yet that is all the West has to prove this doctrine.

4. Rutherford says “He desires the eternal being of damned angels and men”. This is exactly the opposite of what Winzer said. Winzer said that God’s provisional action to all men was to men as creatures, not men as reprobated sinners.

5. Methinks Winzer is great at distinguishing between divine nature and will but drives too strong a division between them. Moreover, his wedge is even more devastatingly problematic in light of the Scholastic Doctrine of Divine Simplicity which allows no real distinction between nature and will in God. Thomas Aquinas said in Summa Contra Gentiles,

Moreover, since every agent acts so far as it is in act, God, Who is pure act, must act through His essence. Willing, however, is a certain operation of God. Therefore God must be endowed with will through his essence. Therefore His will is His essence…From this it appears that God’s will is not other than His essence.” I:73:4 and I, pp. 243, 242- From Free Choice in Maximus the Confessor by Joseph P Farrell.

6. The HC view denies the Free Offer because the offer implies a condition that depraved man  cannot fulfill and must be entirely passive in the economy of salvation. They cannot vindicate their  use of the word “passive.” Here is Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary on passive:
“(1) : acted upon by an external agency (2) : receptive to outside impressions or influencesb (1) : asserting that the grammatical subject of a verb is subjected to or affected by the action represented by that verb (2) : containing or yielding a passive verb formc (1) : lacking in energy or will : LETHARGIC (2) : tending not to take an active or dominant part: induced by an outside agency …“Hits” in “She hits the ball” is active, while “hit” in “The ball was hit” is passive….In “He was hit by the ball,” “hit” is a passive verb.”

Their view must make Acts 16 say that Lydia “was believed by the Lord” or something like that. Belief is a volition in which man is active. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines volition: “an act of making a choice or decision; also : a choice or decision made 2: the power of choosing or determining : WILL”

Shedd says in Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition by W.G.T. Shedd, ed. Alan Gomes (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2003),

“Evangelical faith is an act of man. The active nature of faith in Christ is indicated in the scriptural phraseology, which describes it as ‘coming to Christ’ (Matt. 11:28), ‘looking to Christ’ (John 1:29), ‘receiving Christ’ (3:11), and ‘following Christ’ (8:12). The object of the Epistle of James is to teach that faith is an active principle (pg. 788)…That faith is an affectionate and voluntary act is proved by the following: ‘Faith works by love’ (Gal 5:6); peace be to the brethren, and love, with faith from God the Father’ (Eph. 6.23; 3:17; 4:16; 5:2 Col 2:2; 1 Thess. 3:12; 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:14); ‘hold fast the form of sound words, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 1:13).” (pg. 789)

The point is faith is not passive it is active. Moreover, the word “passive” implies a lack of energy or will. This is the exact thing I have been saying for some time now. If man has no will neither Christ’s human nature for they are consubstantial. Ergo, HC is Monothelete.

7. HC has made the Spirit’s work the condition which removes the objective commands of God from any conditional obligation on them, making the Spirit (now divorced from the Letter) the standard of obedience. That is Antinomianism par excellence.

8. The HC position on faith is “that faith is not a condition for justification, but an evidence of it; again, which God unilaterally, sovereignly gives the elect sinner”. The problem is faith is the point at which the elect are untied to Christ. Union to Christ is the basis of justification. God does not justify us as we are in our sins. He justifies us as he sees us in Christ. If you make faith an effect of justification then there is no basis for it and the whole is a fiat form or morality and redemption.

9. John Macleod says,

“The Hyper-Calvinistic…maintained that Christ is held forth or offered as Savior to those only whom God effectually calls. To such positions they came because they reasoned that man, as a bankrupt in spiritual resources, cannot be called upon to do what is out of the compass of his power. He can neither repent nor believe. So it was out of place to call upon him to do what he cannot do. In this, when we look into it, we find the common Arminian position that man’s responsibility is limited by his ability. The Arminian holds to the presence of a certain ability in those that are called; otherwise sinners could not be called; otherwise sinners could not be called upon to repent and believe the Gospel. Each side takes up the principle from its own end. They fail together to recognize that the sinner is responsible for his spiritual impotence.ST, pg. 140-141. See also Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will, DISCUSSION. FIRST PART. Sec. 65

http://www.truecovenanter.com/truelutheran/luther_bow.html#pt1

10. The HC does not understand that there is a difference between a promise and the objects that are promised. In Rutherford’s COG one may have unconditional promises given to them while receiving the objects of what is promised is conditional. ”

http://olivianus.thekingsparlor.com/soteriology/the-free-offer-of-the-gospel-a-non-paradoxical-and-rational-construction-by-drake


The Conditionality of the Covenant of Grace in Samuel Rutherford, by Drake Saturday, Jun 25 2011 

Westminster Larger Catechism

Question 32: How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?

Answer: The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provides and offers to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promises and gives his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he has appointed them to salvation.

I have been accused of numerous things and asked numerous questions concerning the conditionality of the Covenant of Grace (COG). Let this suffice as an answer.

First as a preface: By condition I do not mean that faith is a condition of regeneration. I do  not mean that faith is a condition as a meritorious cause. I do not mean that faith is a condition wherein God  desires the salvation of someone on the condition that men perform a certain command. I do not mean that there is a universal atonement made for all men and God has decreed the salvation of all men upon condition that they believe. (Covenant of Life Opened, pg. 350) Macleod points out that the Baxterian Theology posited condition as “the proximate ground of the justification of the sinner and not merely the one of them the condition of application which ties the knot between the sinner and the Saviour”. (Scottish Theology, (Reformed Academic Press: Greenville, South Carolina, 1995) by John Macleod, pg. 148) This Baxterian view I reject.

Samuel Rutherford, Covenant of Life Opened (COL), ed. Matthew McMahon (Puritan Publications: New Lenox Illinois, 2005; original printing 1654)

Samuel Rutherford, Covenant of Life Opened, pg. 148-149,

“A Conditional Covenant is Still a Covenant , Though Not Fulfilled

8. It were nonsense to say to men under the externally proposed Covenant, repent, hear the gospel, use the means, receive the seals, and yet you have no right to hear, nor have we any warrant to baptize you, until ye believe; for there is no promise made to you, nor to your seed and children, until first ye believe. And it must say there was no threatening to Adam, Genesis 2:17, before he sinned, and no promise to Adam nor to any now, do this and live, until Adam first sinned, and first obeyed the Covenant; and so, if John Covenant to labor in Peter’s Vineyard, and Peter promise to him four pence, so he work twelve hours otherwise he shall not pay him four pence, though John accept of the Covenant, and work but one hour, whereas his Covenant is to work for twelve hours, then no man can say to John (work, for there is a promise made of four pence to you)  the other might deny; no such promise was made to me, except I work twelve hours. It were ,sure, unfaithful dealing to John to say so. For the four pence ought not, by this Covenant, to be  given to him except he work twelve hours: but he cannot, without palpable falsehood, say, I have broken no Covenant, in not working twelve hours: [The Baptists say that unbelievers in the visible Church are breaking no Covenant. DS]  For though I consented to the Covenant, and began to work an hour, yet the promise was not to me simply, but to me as working twelve hours; but there is neither face no faith in this Answer: for the fulfilling of the Covenant is only to give four pence to John, if he work twelve hours; but the promise and Covenant was made to him, and he hath foully broken. Yea a conditional Covenant agreed unto and accepted, is a Covenant, if we shall (as in reason we ought) distinguish between a Covenant, in its essence and nature, and a Covenant broken or fulfilled, a Covenant or threatening, is a Covenant and threatening obliging Adam, if it shall be agreed unto, by silence, as Adam accepting the threatening, Genesis 2:17, by silence, and Professors within the visible Church…But though the Anabaptists ignorantly confound the promise, and the things promised; the Covenant, and benefits Covenanted. The promise is to you, and so are the commands, and threatenings [Legal. DS] , whether you believe or not, the command is to you, and lays an obligation on you, whether you obey or obey not, and the threatenings are to you, whether you transgress or transgress not. It is true, indeed, the promise, that is, the blessing promised, righteousness and eternal life is not given to you, until ye believe.” (pg. 148-149)

I believe the Reformed Baptist and Hoeksemites confuse Election and Actual Salvation with respect to their conditionality and it is the same mistake that the Arminians make.

Jack Cottrell (An Arminian Apologist) says of Romans 9 on pg. 124 of Perspectives on Election

“the problem was simply this: ‘Why are so many Jews lost, when God has promised to save them all?’

According to most Calvinists Paul’s answer to this question goes something like this: ‘It’s true that God made a covenant with Abraham and with Israel that includes salvation promises. So why are not all Jews saved? Because God never intended to give this salvation to all Jews in the first place. All along he had planned to make a division within Israel, unconditionally bestowing salvation on some and unconditionally withholding it from the rest.’

But how does this answer the charge that God is unrighteous or unfair in his dealings with the Jews? In my judgment this is no answer at all.”

He says again on pg. 125 positing his view

“Contrary to what the Jews commonly thought ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for salvation.”

Cottrell is confusing election and actual salvation. Election is unconditional and before time. Actual salvation is conditional upon the condition of faith and in time. So when he says that the Calvinist posits “unconditionally bestowing salvation on some and unconditionally withholding it from the rest” he is simply wrong. We do assert a condition to actual salvation, not to election.

On the Rutherfordian Scottish view the condition to enter the Covenant of Grace (COG) is profession of faith or to be a child or household servant of someone who does profess faith. Faith is the condition to receive that which is promised by the COG, i.e. actual salvation.

Rutherford says in Covenant of Life Opened (COLO) pg. 43

“For God by no necessity of justice, but of his own free pleasure, requireth faith as a condition of our actual reconciliation.”

Again on page pg. 44

“if God out of his grace which is absolutely free, work in us the condition of believing. Can God give his Son as a ransom for us, upon the condition that we believe if he himself absolutely work the condition in us? They will not admit this.”

Here he clearly posits faith as the condition of actual salvation not election and asserts that God gives the elect the condition and withholds it from the reprobate. Rutherford says,

“As to the promises, they contain not only the just equity, and goodness  of the thing promised, but also that the Lord shall actually perform, yea and intends to perform, what he hath promised upon condition that we perform  the required condition.  And in this the promises differ not a little from these threatenings, that are only threatenings of what God may do in Law ”. pg. 36

Shedd says in Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition by W.G.T. Shedd, ed. Alan Gomes (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2003),

“Evangelical faith is an act of man. The active nature of faith in Christ is indicated in the scriptural phraseology, which describes it as ‘coming to Christ’ (Matt. 11:28), ‘looking to Christ’ (John 1:29), ‘receiving Christ’ (3:11), and ‘following Christ’ (8:12). The object of the Epistle of James is to teach that faith is an active principle.”(pg. 788)

Shedd then uses the Roman definition of faith to distinguish saving faith from dead faith so I will not quote him in that respect.  Shedd says,

“That faith is an affectionate and voluntary act is proved by the following: ‘Faith works by love’ (Gal 5:6); peace be to the brethren, and love, with faith from God the Father’ (Eph. 6.23; 3:17; 4:16; 5:2 Col 2:2; 1 Thess. 3:12; 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:14); ‘hold fast the form of sound words, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 1:13).” (pg. 789)

The point is faith is not passive it is active. The Hyper-Calvinst view is that man is completely passive  and fulfills no conditions in the Covenant of Grace. So behold the nonsense: Man is passive as he is active. He is actively passive. This deserves a good laugh.

Rutherford says,

“Objection: If faith be imputed, as it lays hold on Christ’s Righteousness, it must be the meritorious cause of Justification and by its inherent dignity, for there is nothing more essential to faith, than to lay hold on Christ’s Righteousness. Answer: If faith were imputed as righteousness according to the act of laying hold on Christ, it were true, but the act of faith is not imputed, but that which faith lays hold on, it being an instrument, to wit, the Righteousness of Christ”. pg. 300

I have been asked numerous times” How can faith be a condition of the COG (Assuming condition means meritorious cause) if it is a promised blessing of the COG?

Answer 1. Rutherford says,

“Faith is Not the Cause of Our Right [To Christ’s Satisfaction]

2. Conclusion: Now have we (to speak accurately ) right to Christ’s satisfaction nor to his righteousness by faith. 1. Because the Lord’s free-grace in laying our sins on Christ, Isaiah 53:6, and his making him sin for us, 2 Corinthians 5:21, does rather give the right to his satisfaction…1Cor 1:30…It is ordinary to our Divines to say, by faith we do apply Christ and his righteousness: but if we speak properly, application is possession and a putting on of Christ and his righteousness. Now  title or Law-right to an inheritance, and possession of it, are different natures, and have different causes: but faith gives not law-right to Christ and his righteousness not so much as instrumentally…He that possess some inheritance has some righto the inheritance by birth, buying, purchase or gift…but there is a ransom of blood given for faith, and purchased by Christ’s merit: But Christ is never called the head of all men, Elect and Reprobate, but the head of the Body the Church, Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18…And since faith is no meritorious cause of right to remission and life eternal, nor a cause in part, or in whole, of our complete and actual reconciliation, it may well be said, that they are all completely reconciled, pardoned, justified, washed in Christ’s blood, when nothing is wanting that completes the nature of remission and justification, for faith is only a condition applying, not a cause buying, nor satisfying for us, and no cause giving in part, or in whole, any new right. ” pg. 338-340

You see in Rutherford’s construction the right to Christ’s satisfaction is based to the elect in the Covenant of Redemption (COR). The COR is therefore the cause of the application of this work in the Elect’s believing in the Covenant of Grace (COG).

Answer 2. Rutherford says in a Section titled “Antinomians Refuted”,

“The Antinomians do also own no Covenant of Grace but this wherein the new heart is given, and the condition is both promised and given. And Dr. Crispe saith, All other covenants of God besides this, run upon a stipulation, and the promises run upon conditions altogether upon both sides. The new Covenant is without any conditions, whatsoever upon man’s part: Man is tied to no condition that he must perform, that if he do not perform, the Covenant is made void by Him.

Answer 1. Man is under a condition of believing, and tied to believe, so as the wrath of God abides upon him, he shall not see life or be justified, if he believes not….2. Man is tied to no condition which he must, say which, he can perform without the grace of God  (pg. 481) …If it be said the the new Covenant is without any conditions whatever upon man’s part: It says too much for the believers being under no debt, no obligation of conscience to believe, or to any duty, but as the Spirit their only law leads them: and if the Spirit breath not upon them to forbear adultery…they sin not, for sin is a transgression of the Law. And when the Spirit breathes not, acts not, there is no Law. And this is most vile where observe that Antinomians and Familists confound the efficient cause of our obedience, which is the Spirit of Grace, and the objective cause, which is the holy rule of the command, promise, or threatening…The Spirit, by grace, does help us to obey the command and the Law, but the Spirit is not the Law, nor rule of our obedience…they have…the letter of the command to lay no obligation…Mt. Crispe brings this Argument, The Covenant is everlasting: if the Covenant stand upon any conditions to be performed by ma, it cannot be an everlasting Covenant, except man were so confirmed in righteousness that he should never fail in that which is his part, but he daily fails, etc. so daily breaks the Covenant?

Answer: To the first act of believing, which is a performing of the Condition of the Covenant, there is no other condition required then that, Ezekiel 36:26-27, I will put in you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit in you, and cause you walk in my statutes. Zechariah 11:10, I will pour upon the house of David, the Spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, that is, they shall believe in me: That is a strong confirmation, to wit, a promise that he will work the condition in us….Now it is a shame to lay the blame of our not believing on Christ, be it a condition of the Covenant, or be it none: Christ works all our works in us, and by this reason it must be his fault that, we sin at all, because he works not in us contrary acts of obedience. But to whom is the Sovereign Lord debtor? And therefore this Antinomian [Hyper-Calvinist Baptist] way must be refused.” pg. 481-486

The Free Offer of the Gospel in the Westminster Standards and the Hypocrisy of Sean Gerety’s God’s Hammer Friday, Jun 24 2011 

I hold to numerous exceptions to the Westminster Confession (1646). Do not let the reader be deceived. I am not promoting some kind of blind confessionalism. I have been open about my exceptions. However, I do hold to the free offer and I find it frustrating to the point of exhaustion reading God’s Hammer blogs (That deny the free offer) on faithfulness to the Confession and Westminster Standards. So here are some quotations from the Standards on the Free Offer:

1. WLC, Question 63: What are the special privileges of the visible church?

Answer: The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, not withstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him. [WCF 25. 2 “The visible Church…consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children”. This is not the elect only that are being offered grace]

2. WLC, Question 68: Are the elect only effectually called?

Answer: All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their wilful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.

3. WCF 7.3 III. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. [Notice the difference between an offer and a promise]

4. The Directory for the Public Worship of God. Of Publick Prayer before the Sermon. 2nd Paragraph

 “To acknowledge our great sinfulness, First, by reason of original sin, which (beside the guilt that makes us liable to everlasting damnation) is the seed of all other sins, hath depraved and poisoned all the faculties and powers of soul and body, doth defile our best actions, and (were it not restrained, or our hearts renewed by grace) would break forth into innumerable transgressions, and greatest rebellions against the Lord that ever were committed by the vilest of the sons of men; and next, by reason of actual sins, our own sins, the sins of magistrates, of ministers, and of the whole nation, unto which we are many ways accessory: which sins of ours receive many fearful aggravations, we having broken all the commandments of the holy, just, and good law of God, doing that which is forbidden, and leaving undone what is enjoined; and that not only out of ignorance and infirmity, but also more pre sumptuously, against the light of our minds, checks of our consciences, and motions of his own Holy Spirit to the contrary, so that we have no cloak for our sins; yea, not only despising the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, but standing out against many invitations and offers of grace in the gospel; not endeavouring, as we ought, to receive Christ into our hearts by faith, or to walk worthy of him in our lives.”

5. Sum of Saving Knowledge. Warrants to Believe

Here (after setting down the precious ransom of our redemption by the sufferings of Christ, and the rich blessings purchased to us by it, in the two former chapters) the Lord, in this chapter,

1. Makes open offer of Christ and his grace, by proclamation of a free and gracious market of righteousness and salvation, to be had through Christ to every soul, without exception, that truly desires to be saved from sin and wrath: “Ho, every one that thirsteth”.

2. He invites all sinners, that for any reason stand at a distance from God, to come and take from him riches of grace, running in Christ as a river, to wash away sin, and to slacken wrath: “Come ye to the waters”.

Until Sean and Co. write up a new confession of faith their complaints are comical.  Sean also diverts from the Directory for Worship but he doesn’t like posting much on that issue either.

Dionysius the Areopagite and his Influence in Christian History, by Drake Friday, Jun 24 2011 

Dionysius the Areopagite; The Church’s Big Mistake; First Century Disciple of Paul?; Neoplatonism

 

Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite’s Neoplatonic Influence on Church Authority

Was Cyril Lucaris a Calvinist? Really? by Drake Wednesday, Jun 22 2011 

The Vision of God by Vladimir Lossky Reviewed by Drake Shelton Tuesday, Jun 21 2011 

Here are my summary arguments:

1. If God is beyond being and man is in being then by definition man cannot be “the image and glory of God;” (1 Cor 11:7)

2. This being the case the East must take an atheist view of Man’s ascent and assert that human language is a convention that developed through millions of years of development; a convention developed from observing created natures, which then by definition cannot predicate anything about God. See my videos on this here and here. For crying out loud, the man even admitted that God did not exist. Way with this devilish trash!

3. Lossky admits to the same agnostic analogical theory of predication as he criticized in Ruiz. Moreover, why is Basil’s Analogical Agnosticism any better than Ruiz’s Analogical Agnosticism? He will say, that the object of participation is different. I have shown otherwise. Lossky’s Monad is the same as Plotinus’ and Western Scholasticism.

4. No coherent definition of the distinction between essence an energy. Palamas’ insistence on this distinction does not tell us what it is. If it is a modal distinction, this does not import enough to take the essence outside of the realm of being and non-being. There needs to be a real distinction to do that.

5. With such a distinction between the Essence and Energies and as Lossky describes his Hierarchies as being different levels of participation in the Energies in created beings it seems impossible to avoid that another reality existed before and during creation that God used to create out of called the Energies. This denies creation Ex Nihilio.

6. Lossky admits to the same pagan apostasy in the early Church as the Protestants have complained of for many centuries. (pg. 67) But Vladimir I thought the Church was infallible? I thought the Church could not go into error like this or it would cease to exist?

7. Lossky was unable to distinguish his view from Plotinus.

8. Lossky admitted that he believed and Maximus believed that Dionysius was the first century disciple of Paul. This clearly contradicts a statement made to me by Perry Robinson who does not believe that and neither did Photius.

9. I was accused of having no collector or principle of unity who collects the distinct propositions in God’s mind. I ask, if the East posits real distinctions between nature will and the divine persons does this not on their own logic demand another person who collects all these together?

Read the whole article here:

https://sites.google.com/a/thekingsparlor.com/the-kings-parlor/concerning-orthodoxy/the-vision-of-god-by-vladimir-lossky-reviewed-by-drake-shelton

 

Dialogue with a Hyper Calvinist on the Free Offer of the Gospel Monday, Jun 20 2011 

This is an exchange I had with a Hyper-Calvinist (HC) on a facebook page. This answers many questions that I get from Hypers frequently so I thought I would post it.

HC: God does NOT sincerely offer the Gospel to reprobates…that’s just illogical and unbiblical and retarded

This is what you have God saying “hey reprobate! yeah you who I have NOT chosen to be saved, I really want you to be saved but naaah” LMBO!!! come on guys…..Clarkinian to the fullest

Riley Fraas: The free offer doesn’t say that God wants the reprobate to be saved. It just sets before the sinner his duty to believe in Christ, and the reward promised to those who do, I. E. the universal terms of salvation.

HC: Then that’s a command not a sincere free offer…apples and oranges

Riley Fraas: It is sincere. All those who believe will sincerely be saved, no exceptions. It is an offer, I. E. setting before =”offering” them the terms of salvation.

Drake: 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.

By the way, I have pointed out to Sean numerous times that Scripturalism requires numerous exceptions to the confession. He just sears his conscience. He is a bureaucrat. The Westminster confession mentions common sense, it uses Aristotle’s matter and form to explain theology, it teaches an infallible assurance of salvation which Clark clearly rejected in his book on sanctification, it mentions second causes which Clark clearly rejected in his book Lord God of Truth .

Drake: Edgar, you don’t have to convince me that the Scripturalist movement here and now has serious issues. It does. I simply don’t see how you can have a Christian doctrine of revelation God, and the Trinity without Dr. Clark’s rejection of the influences of Dionysius the Areopagite in its application to Revelation, Theology Proper and Triadology. Dr. Clark’s view of knowledge and God is IMO irrefutable.

HC: yes Riley, a sincere command.

 

HC:  All those who sincerely respond to the gospel call are the elect, period. To affirm a view that teaches that God sincerely wants all men to be saved and sincerely OFFERS reprobates salvation is semi-pelagian aka Arminianism not to mention unbiblical and irrational.

Drake: The issue is, the offer is a conditional offer. On the Hoeksemite and Gill’s view which is in essence the same thing, everything is unconditional. Turretin’s point is that the offer can be real to the reprobate because IT IS CONDITIONAL. On Sean G’s view of the Covenant of Grace everything is UNCONDITIONAL. Trace this back to John Gill. His view of Eternal Justification is the fountain of all this nonsense.

Drake: Our Salvation on the heretical 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 and HC’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, and no condition in justification per John Gill. Why? Because they, though they may not want to believe it, at least imply 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-educate X-Hyper Calvinists in Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Drake: Where is your synergy in your plan of salvation HC? WCF 10.2

“This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, UNTIL, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to ANSWER this call, and to EMBRACE the grace offered and conveyed in it.”

Robert Robert Shaw Commenting on this says,

“7. That in this calling the sinner is altogether passive, until he is quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Here it is proper to distinguish between regeneration and conversion; in the former the sinner is passive – in the latter he is ACTIVE, or CO-OPERATES [SYNERGY]with the grace of God. In regeneration a principle of grace is implanted in the soul, and previous to this the sinner is incapable of moral activity; for, in the language of inspiration, he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” In conversion the soul turns to God, which imports activity; but still the sinner only acts as he is acted upon by God, who “worketh in him both to will and to do.”

Drake: The human will of Christ acted in a synergy with the divine will in Gethsemane to will to die. This is an essential principle of Christianity: two wills and two natures in Christ. You have to have a synergy in your theology in order for it to be Christian. The Monothelete view was that the human nature of Christ was completely passive in his choice to save men, no activity, no embracing, no answering the call.

Drake: Riley we may have some differences on the conditionality of the COG. I take Rutherford’s view of the Covenant of Grace (COG) and the Covenant of Redemption (COR). To be represented by Christ in the COR is unconditional to receive that which is promised by the COG and to be a member of the COG is conditional. The perspective of God that you are talking about is a completely different covenant called the COR on my view. That is the position of the Free Church of Scotland (cont) that I am technically still a member of but I live in a different state now: Methinks, they nailed that.

Riley Fraas: The COR and COG are not different covenants, but one covenant viewed from the perspective of the Redeemer on the one hand, and the beneficiaries on the other hand.

Drake: Here are my reasons why I think the Covenant of Redemption is a Covenant Distinct from the Covenant of Grace

1. Since there is already a temporal and eternal aspect to this covenant, this eliminates the Bostonian argument that redemption and grace are merely two different aspects of the same covenant, one eternal one temporal.
2. The actions in the covenants differ. In the Covenant of Redemption the action required is perfect obedience to God’s law. The action in the Covenant of Grace is faith in the messiah.
3. The Covenant of Redemption is monophrastic, unconditional, and cannot be broken. The Covenant of Grace is conditional and can be broken.
4. Bostonians will say that the condition or action of the Covenant of Grace is upon Christ and not man. If this is so, then there cannot be a conditional covenant between God and men because men have no condition to fulfill. There is therefore no Covenant of Grace between God and men.
5. Christ is not obligated to fulfill the condition of the Covenant of Grace, namely faith in the Messiah.
6. Christ is in need of no promises in the Covenant of Grace, namely, adoption, forgiveness of sins, etc.
7. Christ is the mediator between the two parties in the Covenant of Grace. It is impossible therefore, ipso facto, for Christ to be both the mediator and a mediated party in the same covenant. Therefore, redemption and grace are different covenants.
8. The promises of the Covenant of Redemption (sitting at the right hand of God, divine Kingship over all nations Psalm 2, etc.) are not given to the elect but to Christ.

Summary: The Covenant of Redemption has different parties, a difference of mediation, different actions required, different promises, and is made in eternity while the Covenant of Grace is made in time. Therefore, these are different covenants though the Covenant of Redemption is the basis and fountain of the promises of the Covenant of Grace.

Obj. The Covenant of Grace is called an everlasting covenant in Heb 13:20
Ans. This refers to everlasting directed to the future not the past.

Riley Fraas: Drake, this goes back to my statement that the Covenant of Grace is either conditional or unconditional, depending on how you view it. At its roots it is essentially unconditional. God decides to save man by a Redeemer. Reference the Shorter Catechism, question 19. However, it is administered or proclaimed as conditioned upon faith in the Redeemer. But really the covenant of grace is unconditional: God saves his elect by a redeemer.

HC: Nope no synergy in my theology or in reformed theology period……sounds like neo-calvinism to me.

Riley Fraas: HC, without synergy, you don’t have Christianity, you have Greek fatalism. Without synergy, it makes no difference what you or I do, think, or believe, so we should just stop debating and the churches should stop preaching.

Drake: HC, I am in no way rejecting monergism in regeneration. I understand that man’s will is bound with no ability to do sanctified works or to believe in Christ before regeneration. However, in conversion man is active in a synergy with God. I am glad that you admit you have no synergy anywhere in your theology. I am trying to get a couple other friends that believe like you to admit this.

Drake: Gill’s theology posits faith as an effect of justification not a condition of it. Here is the issue: The WSC Q30: How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A30: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling. Faith unites to Christ. So what is the basis of justification? WCF 11:4 IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify the elect; and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins and rise again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified ********until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.*****

WLC Question 69: What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?

Answer: The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanctification, and: Whatever else, in this life, **************manifests their union with him. ***************** So the basis of the justification is union with Christ. When does union with Christ happen? At the moment of faith. So then faith must come before justification. Yet Gill says it comes after justification as an effect. This should settle the issue that Gill was wrong and his whole hyper-determinist theology should get the flush.

HC:  Well, I’m not here to debate monergism vs synergism my only contention is with Reformed folk being inconsistent in their theology by attempting to claim that God actually sincerely offers salvation to those he hasn’t chosen to save….that’s Vantilianism for you, the acceptance of paradox.

HC: no Drake I affirm the historical reformed position that faith is the instrumental cause of Justification but that faith is monergistically given to the elect as a gift therefore in essence all aspects of soteriology is monergistic.

Riley Fraas: The Reformed position is a monergistic salvation administered synergistically. And regarding the free offer, the sincere offer of the gospel made to the sinner does not obligate God any further or imply that he must also be willing to supply the condition wanting, which is faith in Christ.

Drake: HC,”attempting to claim that God actually sincerely offers salvation to those he hasn’t chosen to save….that’s Vantilianism for you, the acceptance of paradox.” The offer though is conditional. That is why it is not a paradox. I can’t stand Van Til and I will have nothing to do with his theology and I will have nothing to do with paradoxes.

Drake: HC,  ‎”no Drake I affirm the historical reformed position that faith is the instrumental cause of Justification” This implies a condition and a synergy.

Drake: ‎” faith is monergistically given to the elect as a gift therefore in essence all aspects of sotoriology is monergistic.” This comes from my article W.G.T. Shedd and Robert Shaw on Conversion and the Order of Salvation: Shedd says,

Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition by W.G.T. Shedd, ed. Alan Gomes (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2003)

“Faith unites with Christ, and union with Christ results in justification.” (pg. 793)… “faith is the instrumental, not the procuring or meritorious cause of his justification: ‘God justifies, not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ [WCF 11.1]. The reasons are…1. Because faith is an internal act or work of man. If the sinner’s act of faith merited the pardon of his sin and earned for him a title to life, he would be pronounced righteous because of his own righteousness. Faith is denominated a work: ‘This is the work of God, that you believe’ (John 6:29). It is the activity of the man, like hope and charity, and can no more be meritorious of reward or atoning for disobedience than these acts can be” Now these things are extremely important to those Calvinists who are under the influence of hyper-Calvinism, and a form of determinism that is not compatible with Christianity. These folks are usually in Reformed Baptist Churches or under the influence or Herman Hoeksema and co. In order to be Christian you must posit a synergy somewhere between God and man. My Reformed Baptist friend said,

“Isn’t a circumcision of the heart necessary for faith to exist? If so, then how can the promise of a circumcised heart be conditioned upon an individual’s faith (supplied by God or not)?…Isn’t faith a gift? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit cause our belief?”

I would simply see the circumcision of the heart to be a synonym for the effectual call. The effectual call has two parts as Shaw stated regeneration and conversion. In regeneration we are passive but in conversion we are active and exercise faith (synergy). As WCF 11.1 earlier stated the ability to believe is a gift but God does not impute the action of faith to us. We have to do that in our conversion. God causes it, sure but that doesn’t exclude our agency. This is the exact nominalism I was just criticizing Hugh about the other day. This is the version of Monergism that I get criticized by my Eastern friends all the time. Now I see their point clear as day. The Reformed Baptist or Hoeksemite view basically asserts that God is the only willing and active agent in the universe. If that is the case then Christ’s human nature had no free agency. Therefore, he did not have a will but the only will in Christ is then the divine will that compels the human. That is the Monothelete heresy that the 6th ecumenical council was convened to refute. The point that I am making is that if Christ’s human nature has no free agency then it is not truly human. It is a logical consequence from scripture that Christ has two wills from the definition of human nature that the Bible gives us and from the passage in Gethsemane when Christ says “not my will but thine be done.” There are two wills in Christ. The human will of Christ freely chose to lay its life down for the elect. That was not forced on him by the divine will. The human will was not passive while the divine will forced it to die for us.[That was the Monothelete position] The human will made an active volition to do this in a synergy with the divine will. You have to have synergy somewhere in your theology for it to be Christian. I am a Calvinist and I believe that man’s will is bound to sin pre-effectual call. But after regeneration man now has the ability to chose salvation and sanctified works as God has given grace to do so [That is Biblical Monergism]. This activity on elect man’s part that follows immediately from regeneration is called conversion. Conversion is synergistic. Regeneration is Monergistic.

So the order of redemption goes like this:

1.Effectual Calling

a. Regeneration

b.Conversion

i. Faith – United to Christ
ii. Repentance
2. Justification-Basis is union with Christ

3. Sanctification

4. Glorification

To supplement the Shedd quote, “Conversion is that action of man which results from regeneration. As the etymology implies, it is turning toward (converto) a certain point. Conversion consists of two acts: faith and repentance…Faith and repentance are converting acts; the first having principal reference to justification, the second to sanctification; the first to the guilt of sin, the second to its corruption.”(pg. 787)

Drake: Shedd says,

“Faith is the effect of which regeneration is the cause. This is taught in the following: ‘Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ (1 John 5:1); ‘unto you it is given, in behalf of Christ, to believe on him’ (Phil. 1:29); we pray that God would fulfill [in you] all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power’ (2 Thess. 1:11); ‘that you faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God’ (1 Cor 2:5); ‘no man can come to me except the Father which has sent me draw him; no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father’ (John 6:44,65); ‘by him do you believe in God, that raised him up from the dead and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God’ (1 Pet. 1:21)…Saving faith in the person and work of the Redeemer follows regeneration and always presupposes it…Evangelical faith is an act of man. The active nature of faith in Christ is indicated in the scriptural phraseology, which describes it as ‘coming to Christ’ (Matt. 11:28), ‘looking to Christ’ (John 1:29), ‘receiving Christ’ (3:11), and ‘following Christ’ (8:12). The object of the Epistle of James is to teach that faith is an active principle.”(pg. 788) The point is faith is not a totally monergistic event.

HC:  drake….semantics my brotha….ultimately our cooperation is monergistic….

Drake: Don’t let me mislead you. Clark did not hold to the free offer. Methinks mostly because of misrepresentations of it as most people who reject the free offer think that we are saying that God desires the salvation of the reprobate. I have met people who hold to the free offer who say this and think there is some great merit in being paradoxical and irrational. If those were the only people I knew that held to free offer I wouldn’t believe it either. Methinks the free church (cont) has done a great service in their website. The quotes from the puritans there are simply overwhelming.

Drake: It’s not semantics HC. Our cooperation is real. God in regeneration does not force our faith. I personally do not like the language of irresistible grace but I like effectual call. In regeneration God’s operation is in convincing the conscience not forcing it. Robert Shaw commenting on chap 10 of the confession states: “4. That in this calling no violence is offered to the will. While the Spirit effectually draws sinners to Christ, he deals with them in a way agreeable to their rational nature, “so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.” The liberty of the will is not invaded, for that would destroy its very nature; but its obstinacy is overcome, its perverseness taken away, and the whole soul powerfully, yet sweetly, attracted to the Saviour. The compliance of the soul is voluntary, while the energy of the Spirit is efficient and almighty: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.”—Ps. cx. 3.” See that. Thy people shall be willing. Not, “thou shalt will them.”

Methinks that to avoid any accusation of a paradox one must 1. Assert that the COR and the COG are distinct covenants. 2. Understand the fact that the COG is Conditional. 3. Understand the two distinct parts of effectual calling: the first part being regeneration where man is passive and God’s activity is infallible; the second part conversion where man is active.

HC:  no reformed teaches forcing but being made willing and effectually come….i think you are misunderstanding irresistible grace.

Drake: Asserting that I misunderstand doesn’t help and is simply asserting your opinion. Is man active in his salvation at any point?

HC: of course man is active but only because God activates mans activity through regeneration so again in the final analysis it is monergistic….i agree with you that man cooperates with the effectual call but why is it effectual if not because God monergistically and sovereignly gives man the ability and want to cooperate so i reiterate monergism is the only logical conclusion….therefore i agree in synergy it THAT sense but again in the final analysis it is totally monergistic at its core… as Scripture clearly teaches “For it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Monergism

Drake: God activates man’s faculty of activity. Saying that God activates man’s activity is indistinguishable from the monothelete view. Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; [fn]and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. God activated her faculty of operation so SHE could respond.

Drake:  ‎” if not because God monergistically and sovereignly gives man the ability and want to cooperate so i reiterate monergism is the only logical conclusion” In regeneration sure. But Shedd’s point above is that effectual call includes conversion.

Drake: “For it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” This does not refer to God acting for us. God activates our faculties so we can act. Not so he acts for us.

HC: Drake…I am aware of all that but you are not getting my point apparently. the ONLY reason the Elect act is because of Grace by God through the Holy Spirit giving us the WANT to please Him therefore AGAIN, in the final analysis all Glory goes to God alone even for the good works that I do because it is only because He has given me the the free gift of regeneration changing my heart and will to WANT to please Him. When I get to heaven I don’t tell God “hey thanks for the push through the Holy Spirit that I was able to do good works to please you so now you God must let me in because I earned it”. I am fully aware that we are not Robots and have a will of our own but this will that I have to love God was given to me by God and He continues to preserve me until the end so that He alone gets the honor and Glory…….Monergism

Drake:  Above I quoted robert shaw’s commentary on WCF 10,

‎”Robert Robert Shaw Commenting on this says,

“7. That in this calling the sinner is altogether passive, until he is quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Here it is proper to distinguish between regeneration and conversion; in the former the sinner is passive – in the latter he is ACTIVE, or CO-OPERATES [SYNERGY]with the grace of God. In regeneration a principle of grace is implanted in the soul, and previous to this the sinner is incapable of moral activity; for, in the language of inspiration, he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” In conversion the soul turns to God, which imports activity; but still the sinner only acts as he is acted upon by God, who “worketh in him both to will and to do.”

Drake: He clearly asserts , “the sinner only acts as he is acted upon by God, who “worketh in him both to will and to do.” Your last few posts have simply asserted what I have already admitted. Getting your point (?), friend I asserted this point a while ago. It is you who are not getting the point. The monergism is in Regeneration NOT CONVERSION. Conversion is the 2nd part of the effectual call where man acts in a synergy with God. You cannot say you believe that the effectual call includes co-operation with God but the whole thing is monergistic. The whole idea behind co-operation is two operations, two energies, i.e. synergy.

Drake: “When I get to heaven I don’t tell God “hey thanks for the push through the Holy Spirit that I was able to do good works to please you so now you God must let me in because I earned it”. ” Are you even reading my posts? I( will quote Shedd again: Shedd says,
Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition by W.G.T. Shedd, ed. Alan Gomes (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2003)

“Faith unites with Christ, and union with Christ results in justification.” (pg. 793)… “faith is the instrumental, not the procuring or meritorious cause of his justification: ‘God justifies, not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ [WCF 11.1]. The reasons are…1. Because faith is an internal act or work of man. If the sinner’s act of faith merited the pardon of his sin and earned for him a title to life, he would be pronounced righteous because of his own righteousness. Faith is denominated a work: ‘This is the work of God, that you believe’ (John 6:29). It is the activity of the man, like hope and charity, and can no more be meritorious of reward or atoning for disobedience than these acts can be” I ma not saying that man’s activity is meriting anything that he earns as Shedd makes very clear. However, it is the necessary instrument, THAT IS A CONDITION. The COG has a condition. Your theology does not say that. It says that everything is unconditional.

Drake: “I am fully aware that we are not Robots and have a will of own” You are asserting this but I don’t think you understand what you are saying. Monergism means one operation, one energy. Co-operation means two operations, two energies. You said, “i agree with you that man cooperates with the effectual call”. This is where I think your misunderstanding is. You are still not seeing that the effectual call has two parts. You want regeneration to be the only part of the effectual call. If that is what you mean by effectual call then our disagreement is over the issue of how effectual call is defined.

HC:  Dude, I totally get what you are saying……thats why I said in the final analysis sanctification is Monergistic, God alone, but that the mere fact that man responds at all makes them responsible choosing to obey or not therefore synergistic but God willing what He has ordained preserves His own ensuring progress in sanctification of His elect, therefore Monergistic……feel me………on the flip side, the mere fact that we still sin implicates choice…Monergistic in the final analysis…synergystic in reference to Mans Responsibility.

God is the primary cause being that He ordained it to be, but that which He has ordained comes to pass by the use of human choices or actions AKA secondary causes. In Reformed Theology salvation in all its process is monergistic…..maybe I’m not making my point clear. Also it seems that you are not understanding what is meant by secondary causes…..man cooperates only because God enables us to and though God has ordained my steps I choose what God has ordained for me to choose because I WANT to OR my will desired it….We freely choose what God has purposed for us to choose, that’s my point and that is the Reformed position.

I am fully aware that the regenerate person is ACTIVE in his response to the inward call and effectually come, I am not even disputing that. I guess we are talking past each other or something. The bottom line is that the only reason I respond or co-operate is because I have been given a desire to and this desire is effectual and irresistible, that’s it. So that in the FINAL analysis me entire salvific process from Regeneration to my Sanctification to my final Glorification is all the Work of God and therefore ultimately Monergy. I know you insist on using the word “synergy” but for theological purposes I don’t think that term is wise to use lest we confuse our hearers.

HC: By the way I am not a Shedd fan myself……I can appreciate his insights but I think there are better Reformed cats to turn to IMO…But anywho, I’m still waiting on the Biblical passages that teach or even imply that God SINCERELY OFFERS Salvation to all……let me know when you guys find at least one. And please don’t use the Arminian artillery like the Peter passage and the Timothy passage lol

Drake Shelton I have some problems with shedd too but those passages I quoted are spot on

Drake Shelton Deut. 5:29. O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments.

Ps. 81:13. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel walked in my ways

Ezek. 18:31. Why will ye die, O house of Israel? Verse 32. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies.

Prov. 1:20. Wisdom cries, she uttereth her voice in the streets.

HC:  no doubt Drake Shedd was most def on point in that regard

HC: Brotha Drake, I don’t see the relevance or import of the passages you provided as positive proof for the “sincere offer” position.

Actually I will add a verse for you as well in Matt 23:

Matt 23:37
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

But what do all these passages have in common? I firmly believe being consistently Reformed that Romans reveals to us God Ordained purposes concerning Israel especially Romans 11….

Romans 11

2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

So why are they unwilling? What does that passage in Romans say is the reason why? God purposely blinded them and is the case with all born in sin totally depraved and unwilling to come until grace is given.

Do you guys have at least ONE NT passage that even remotely implies a “sincere offer” view?

Drake:  I have never used Mat 23 as a proof for free offer. Mat 23 is a rebuke to the Jewish leadership that rejected Christ. “So why are they unwilling? What does that passage in Romans say is the reason why? God purposely blinded them and is the case with all born in sin totally depraved and unwilling to come until grace is given.”…Agreed.

1 Cor 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Prov. 1:20. Wisdom cries, she uttereth her voice in the streets

HC:  yes God has elected from both Jews and Gentiles…..still don’t see the sincere offer

HC:  Also I know you didn’t use Matt 23 as a proof text but I had a reformed brotha use that one with me so I thought I would also bring it up just in case

Drake: Rom 10:21 But as for Israel He says, “ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.”

Isa 65:2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts

Is it Ok to Attend a Worship Service that Errs in Doctrines of God, Worship, or Soteriology? by Drake Sunday, Jun 19 2011 

2 Tim:1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

1 Tim 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: 2 John 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

kjv

In Louisville, Ky I have had to face this issue now every week for over two years. There are scores of Churches that call themselves ‘Reformed’ here. In my desire to have fellowship with other Christians, I have been faced with this problem. Can I go to a Church that holds to a modalist view of the Trinity and a complete disregard for the Regulative principle? I won’t join the Church in membership or place myself under their authority. I just want to hear the gospel preached and be among God’s people. Here is the realization I came to: Just because the people in a Church may be going to heaven (maybe), does not mean I am bound to commune with them. Greg Price has made some great sermons and articles on the issues of Separation,  Terms of Communion and Occasional Hearing. Here are the links of sermons and articles I suggest:

Greg Price’s sermons on Terms of Communion

http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?seriesOnly=true&currSection=sermonstopic&SourceID=swrb&keyworddesc=Terms+of+Communion+Series&keyword=Terms+of+Communion+Series

Greg Price’s Sermons on Occasional Hearing and Separation

http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?keyword=%20What%20is%20Occasional%20Hearing?

John Anderson’s Sermon Against Occasional Hearing: http://www.reformed.org/ecclesiology/index.html?mainframe=/ecclesiology/prov1927.html

Gnosticism Compared with Scripturalism by Drake Wednesday, Jun 15 2011 

Gnosticism Compared with Scripturalism

The following is based off of Gnosticism by Edward Moore (St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology) from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Moore says,

“According to the Gnostics, this world, the material cosmos, is the result of a primordial error on the part of a supra-cosmic, supremely divine being, usually called Sophia (Wisdom) or simply the Logos. This being is described as the final emanation of a divine hierarchy, called the Plêrôma or “Fullness,” at the head of which resides the supreme God, the One beyond Being.

This description of the ultimate principle is nothing new. This is the exact “god” that Clark rejects all over his writings. God is not beyond predication. That is why he made us in his image so we could understand his language and communicate with him.

Moore says,

“This is not the natural end of the human being, though; for, according to Jung (and the Gnostics) the temporally constructed self is not the true self. The true self is the supreme consciousness existing and persisting beyond all space and time.”

On the Scripturalist view man is and will always remain in time. Though there is a sense in which our form is taken from an eternal Idea in the Mind of God. 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 and 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)

Moore says,

“This latter form of “worldly” consciousness the Gnostics identified with soul (psukhê), while the pure or true Self they identified with spirit (pneuma)—that is, mind relieved of its temporal contacts and context.”

The Scripturalist view denies a distinction between soul and spirit. Only God is beyond time and “temporal contents and contexts.”

Moore says,

“In other words, nature is, for modern Existentialism, merely indifferent, while for the Gnostics it was actively hostile toward the human endeavor. “[C]osmic law, once worshipped as the expression of a reason with which man’s reason can communicate in the act of cognition, is now seen only in its aspect of compulsion which thwarts man’s freedom” (Jonas, p. 328)…The Gnostics, in their reading of Scripture…believed that the Hebrew Bible was the written revelation of an inferior creator god (dêmiourgos), filled with lies intended to cloud the minds and judgment of the spiritual human beings (pneumatikoi) whom this Demiurge was intent on enslaving in his material cosmos”.

The Scripturalist view asserts that man is not alien to this realm but that sin has corrupted it and introduced elements that are alien to its original creation. The essential attribute of man is his rational faculty while the body and man’s original righteousness is accidental. Clark in his The Biblical Doctrine of Man clearly taught that human nature was man’s rationality but this was combined with a body. In his book on The Incarnation (having no intention on teaching anything close to a Gnostic hostility to creation or human flesh) Clark makes the conclusion that a human person like Paul who was out of his body or in it he could not tell assumes that Paul’s human personhood was not dependent on his body. I agree.

Moore says,

“Indeed, while the receptive hermeneutical method implies that we have something to learn from a text, the method employed by the Gnostics, which we may call the “revelatory” method, was founded upon the idea that they (the Gnostics) had received a supra-cosmic revelation, either in the form of a “call,” or a vision, or even, perhaps, through the exercise of philosophical dialectic. This “revelation” was the knowledge (gnôsis) that humankind is alien to this realm, and possesses a “home on high” within the plêrôma, the “Fullness,” where all the rational desires of the human mind come to full and perfect fruition…On this belief, all knowledge belonged to these Gnostics, and any interpretation of the biblical text would be for the purpose of explaining the true nature of things by elucidating the errors and distortions of the Demiurge.”

Don’t we get this from Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox quite often? The Gnostic Magisterium was a vital aspect of their epistemology.  They claimed to be the only authority to teach and interpret the scriptures. This was the spirit of Antichrist which culminated into the Papacy.  Scripturalism is Protestant and believes in the Priesthood of the believer and a direct relationship between man and God; no need for hierarchies and intermediaries. Man and the Divine Person of the Logos have a direct relationship. Moreover the Gnostics did not believe that salvation was through just any kind of 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?) The proposition, “I am alien to this realm” is not a proposition of scripture. That knowledge saves Scripturalism does not deny, but that knowledge is revealed in the Protestant Canon of the Holy Scriptures.

Moore says,

“However, since even the Pleroma itself is not, according to the Gnostics, exempt from desire or passion, there must come into play a salvific event or savior—that is, Christ, the Logos, the “messenger,” etc.—who descends to the material realm for the purpose of negating all passion, and raising the innocent human “sparks” (which fell from Sophia) back up to the Pleroma (cf. Apocryphon of John [Codex II] 9:25-25:14 ff.).”

This was their reintegration principle. Scripturalism believes that the ultimate principle is the mind of God.  This principle has distinctions between subject and predicate. This philosophy sees no imperfection in distinction. Here, there is no need for integration. Each individual will keep their distinct personalities for all ages to come. The future will hold a vast, complex and distinguished reality to the glory of God.

In an exposition of Basilides Moore says,

“Through the union of Wisdom and Power, a group of angelic rulers came into existence, and from these rulers a total of 365 heavens or aeons were generated (Irenaeus 1.24.3). Each heaven had its own chief ruler (arkhôn), and numerous lesser angels. The final heaven, which Basilides claimed is the realm of matter in which we all dwell, was said by him to be ruled by ‘the god of the Jews,’… Since the realm of matter is the sole provenance of this spiteful god, Basilides finds nothing of value in it, and states that “[s]alvation belongs only to the soul; the body is by nature corruptible” (Irenaeus 1.24.5)…The notion that material existence is the product of a jealous and corrupt creator god, who favors one race over all others, is really the “mythical” expression of a deeply rooted ethical belief that the source of all evil is material or bodily existence. Indeed, Basilides goes so far as to assert that sin is the direct outcome of bodily existence,”

The Scripturalist view is that the body is not evil at all but good and the source of evil is the mind of Satan.

Moore continues,

“Basilides does not call upon his hearers to abandon the material realm only to dissolve into negativity; instead, he offers them a new life, by appealing to the grand hierarchy of rulers persisting above the material realm (cf. Fragment D). When one turns to the greater hierarchy of Being, there results a “creation of good things” (Fragment C, translation modified). Love and personal creation—the begetting of the Good—are the final result of Basilides’ vaguely dialectical system, and for this reason it is one of the most important early expressions of a truly Christian, if not “orthodox,” philosophy.”

Moore is simply gone mad. Where in the Scriptures do we read, “turn to the greater hierarchy of Being”? Jesus says, search the Scriptures. Dionysius the Areopagite in his Ecclesiastical Hierarchies picked up off these pagan ideas and convinced the Church to assimilate them into their Ecclesiology as he deceived them into thinking that he was the first century disciple of Paul.

51 Items Regarding the Hyper-Calvinism/Neoplatonism/Origen/Divine Simplicity/Filioque/Hyper Determinist Package Monday, Jun 13 2011 

Before I begin I want to stimulate interest in this issue by a couple quotes from Clark:

Clark says,

“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

Yet Dr. Clark, in his book on The Atonement, pg 133 (The Trinity Foundation, Jefferson Maryland, 1987) 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.”

Why the drastic change? What happened? My argument is that Hyper-Calvinism happened. The consequences were a denial of the free offer, a denial of permissive decrees, a denial of a free creation and a collapsing of the nature and the will into the exact Monad God that he spent his life fighting against and he originally rejected.

A Theological Introduction to the Mystagogy of Saint Photios by Joseph Farrell

‘Free Choice in Maximus the Confessor’ by Joseph P Farrell Reviewed by Drake Shelton

My Debate with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics on Monergism

Origen’s Mistake and One of Dr. Clark’s Mistakes

Jay Dyer’s “If You’re a Serious Calvinist, to be Consistent, You Must Also Be” Refuted by Drake Shelton

Divine Simplicity 1

Divine Simplicity 2

Carl Trueman’s John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice (Hyper-Calvinism holds a Nominalist view of God)

Jules Grisham’s  EUTHYPHRO, GOD’S NATURE, AND THE QUESTION OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES part 2  (Hyper-Calvinism holds a Nominalist view of God)

A Scripturalist Construction of Greek and Nicean Triadology Part 1

A Scripturalist Construction of Greek and Nicean Triadology Part 2 Eternal Generation

A Scripturalist Construction of Greek and Nicean Triadology Part 3; The Procession of the Spirit 

Augustine on the Unipersonality of God, ed. Drake

The Triads; Palamas vs. Calabria; Uncreated light vs. Thomism and Van Tilism

The Triads 2; Gregory Palamas on Sensation

The Triads 3; Essence and Energies; Theophany

The Triads 4; Uncreated Powers; Appeal to Rationality and Unity

Philosophy of Gordon Clark, ed. Nash part 1; Divine Simplicity; Participation in God

Do You Know What You Believe? Part 3 What is God? Part A

Do You Know What You Believe Part 4; What is God? Part B The Trump Argument for Scripturalism

Do You Know What You Believe? Part 5; What is God? Part C Procession of the Spirit

Creation Ex Nihilo

Aquinas’ Created Light vs. The Scripturalists’ Uncreated Propositions by Drake Shelton

Aquinas and Augustine on Divine Simplicity, ed. Drake

The Scholastics and the Van-Tilians Have Only Created Light

Scripturalism’s Immediate Knowledge Related to Infant Salvation by Drake

Object Lessons on the Difference Between Election and Actual Salvation: Conditional or Unconditional?: To My Reformed Baptist and Hoeksemite Friends by Drake

Saving Faith

What You See at the Bottom of the Clark-Van Til Rabbit Hole; Scripturalist Christianity vs Neo-Platonism

W.G.T. Shedd and Robert Shaw on Conversion and the Order of Salvation

Samuel Rutherford and Joseph P Farrell vs. John Gill and God’s Hammer on Eternal Justification. Is God’s Hammer a Think-Tank for a Revitalized Origenism?

Having Trouble Understanding Aquinas? Divine Simplicity and Participation in God, by Drake

Sean Gerety’s Monothelitism Exposed in the Free Offer from The Free Church by Drake

Cyril Lucaris and the Synod of Jerusalem

The Economical and Ontological Trinity; What is it?, by Drake

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

Cyril Lucaris’ Rejection of the Filioque, by Drake

Francis Turretin’s Neo-Platonism in Divine Simplicity, by Drake

Saving Faith and Truth as Encounter in Plotinus, by Drake

Time and Eternity in Gordon Clark and Georges Florovsky; Hyper Determinism Refuted; More Problems for Sean Gerety’s “God’s Hammer” by Drake

Emanation, Eternal Generation and Creation: What’s the Difference? by Drake

Hyper-Calvinism and Neoplatonism Connected, by Drake

Reprobation, Free Will of Man Related to Effectual Calling, Responsibility and the Justice of Receiving the Imputed Guilt of Adam in John L Girardeau’s “Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism” by Drake Shelton

Lapsarianism by Drake

Creation Ex Nihilo-Early Clark vs. Later Hyper-Calvinist Clark

Clark & Calvin on Determinism & Responsibility by Pat T McWilliams (See the comment section)

The Conditionality of the Covenant of Grace in Samuel Rutherford, by Drake

The Free Offer of the Gospel; A Non-Paradoxical and Rational Construction by Drake

The Free Offer of the Gospel in the Westminster Standards and the Hypocrisy of Sean Gerety’s God’s Hammer

My exchange with TFAN on these issues 

#48 The Covenant of Redemption is something referring to the Economy of Salvation and therefore cannot depend on some ontological procession of the Spirit from Father and Son as from a single source. Personally, I like the Eastern view better because it gives more ground for saying that the Holy Spirit is not a party in the Covenant of Redemption. The Western view always affirms that when one person is referred to all three must be referred to. In the Eastern system Rutherford’s Covenant of Life Opened gets couched in a much more compatible system.

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