Replying to Monty Collier and Ripping His Lies to Shreds Sunday, Aug 28 2011 

In a recent Facebook forum on Gordon Clark, Monty Collier wrote a scathing post about me. It was removed by the moderator. This guy is so entertaining; let’s tune in! Monty says,

“Drake Shelton is no Clarkian. He’s a Greek Orthodox / Catholic whore.”

>>>Now that’s a good start to an entertaining movie. Someone get me some popcorn!

“He does not believe in Sola Fide.”

>>>Really? Can you prove it on pain of the 9th commandment?

“I recently confronted him and his heresy on youtube, and he completely fell apart.”

>>>The gentleman whose youtube account we debated on has now been removed from Youtube, so you’ll have to take Monty’s word for it.  I drowned him in quotes from Presbyterian Theologians and he went silent.

“He admitted on youtube that he thinks salvation is based on what we do “

>>>You are in violation of the 9th commandment you pathetic excuse for a Christian. I made clear so many times as I have made clear to other Hyper-Calvinists, the basis of justification, i.e. the meritorious cause is the work of Christ alone. Christ’s righteousness alone. The condition of application is faith. I have probably had to write this a hundred times.

“Shelton’s view of union with Christ is that of Federal Vision, but when I confronted him on this his only defense was: “I haven’t read a single Federal Vision writer.” Notice such a claim does not imply that his position is different from that of Federal Vision–LOL!”

>>>You are in violation of the 9th commandment again you lying fool. I even quoted Shaw for you so you knew what I meant.  I’ll quote him again,: Robert Shaw commenting on WCF 11.4 says,

“The righteousness by which they are justified was perfected in Christ’s death, and the perfection of it was declared by his resurrection, and they may be said to have been virtually justified when Christ was acquitted and discharged as their head and representative; nevertheless, they are not actually and formally justified until they are vitally united to Christ by faith.”

So union with Christ is not a meritorious cause but is the point at which the work of Christ [which is the only meritorious cause of justification] is applied to the believer. It is as God comprehends us in Christ that the declaration of justification is made. Moreover, my view of union with Christ has nothing to do with Federal Vision. I had to refute Sean on this point before and proved him a liar on this point as well. In my article: Protestant Ecclesiology Part 3; The Visible and Invisible Church and its Relationship to Union with Christ, by Drake I was told by Sean Gerety that Rutherford’s view of an unbeliever’s union with Christ was the Federal Vision position. Sean said in his blog article Putting Words In His Mouth?

“In the combox to a previous post Drake said, “Unbelievers in the Covenant of Grace have a certain non-salvific, legally binding union to Christ while remaining at the same time under Adam and the Covenant of Works” [emphasis mine]. How can those who are under “Adam and the CoW” simultaneously be members of the CoG? Do they have a foot in each and are just straddling the fence between heaven and hell? And, is there even a such thing as a fence between heaven and hell? What kind of worthless and ineffective covenant is this?

Let’s take for granted that Drake isn’t so far off the reservation in that he really believes the non-elect have faith, then how are the non-elect members of the CoG? The FV men say via baptism, does Drake? Could it be that Drake is confused about the external aspects of the CoG’s administration which the non-elect can participate in with the substance of the covenant or its internal aspects? FWIW Drake exemplifies the kind of confusion concerning the covenant that in my view has allowed the FV men to make incredible strides in the spread of their false gospel.” [January 11th, 2011, 9:36AM]

[Sean quoting me] ‘I just said that faith was the condition to receive the promises of the covenant of grace not to be a party in it. You have misrepresented me and completely failed to deal with what I am saying.’

[Sean replying] Hogwash. You said unbelievers have a “legally binding union to Christ.” [January 11th, 2011, 11:51AM]

So what does the Federal Vision teach about the Covenant of Grace? Sean says “Let’s take for granted that Drake isn’t so far off the reservation in that he really believes the non-elect have faith, then how are the non-elect members of the CoG? The FV men say via baptism, does Drake?”

No. I am saying that in order to be a member of the COG one must perform a profession of faith, or simply be a child or household servant of someone who does profess faith [Baptism is excluded from this]. So this is the first point against Sean.

To John 15:2:

John Calvin commenting on John 15:2 says,

“2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit As some men corrupt the grace of God, others suppress it maliciously, and others choke it by carelessness, Christ intends by these words to awaken anxious inquiry, by declaring that all the branches which shall be unfruitful will be cut off from the vine But here comes a question. Can any one who is engrafted into Christ be without fruit? I answer, many are supposed to be in the vine, according to the opinion of men, who actually have no root in the vine Thus, in the writings of the prophets, the Lord calls the people of Israel his vine, because,by outward profession, they had the name of The Church.”

Matthew Henry commenting on John 15:2 says,

“(1.) The doom of the unfruitful (v. 2): They are taken away. [1.] It is here intimated that there are many who pass for branches in Christ who yet do not bear fruit. Were they really united to Christ by faith, they would bear fruit; but being only tied to him by the thread of an outward profession, though they seem to be branches, they will soon be seen to be dry ones. Unfruitful professors are unfaithful professors; professors, and no more. It might be read, Every branch that beareth not fruit in me, and it comes much to one; for those that do not bear fruit in Christ, and in his Spirit and grace, are as if they bore no fruit at all, Hos. x. 1. [2.] It is here threatened that they shall be taken away, in justice to them and in kindness to the rest of the branches. From him that has not real union with Christ, and fruit produced thereby, shall be taken away even that which he seemed to have, Luke viii. 18. Some think this refers primarily to Judas.”

Jamieson, Fausset Brown on John 15:2

“2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit . . . every branch that beareth fruit–As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they arevitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him. The fruitless He “taketh away” “purgeth” (cleanseth, pruneth)–stripping it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (Mark 4:19), “that it may bring forth more fruit”; a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the natural husbandry.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire BibleJohn 15:2

“Ver. 2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit,…. There are two sorts of branchesin Christ the vine; the one sort are such who have only an historical faith in him, believe but for a time, and are removed; they are such who only profess to believe in him, as Simon Magus did; are in him by profession only; they submit to outward ordinances, become church members, and so are reckoned to be in Christ, being in a church state, as the churches of Judea and Thessalonica, and others, are said, in general, to be in Christ; though it is not to be thought that every individual person in these churches were truly and savingly in him. These branches are unfruitful ones; what fruit they seemed to have, withers away, and proves not to be genuine fruit; what fruit they bring forth is to themselves, and not to the glory of God, being none of the fruits of his Spirit and grace: and such branches the husbandman taketh away; removes them from that sort of being which they had in Christ. By some means or another he discovers them to the saints to be what they are; sometimes he suffers persecution to arise because of the word, and these men are quickly offended, and depart of their own accord; or they fall into erroneous principles, and set up for themselves, and separate from the churches of Christ; or they become guilty of scandalous enormities, and so are removed from their fellowship by excommunication; or if neither of these should be the case, but these tares should grow together with the wheat till the harvest, the angels will be sent forth, who will gather out of the kingdom of God all that offend and do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire, as branches withered, and fit to be burnt.”

John Lightfoot on John 15:1

“Our Saviour, as we have said before, discoursed these things immediately after that he had instituted the holy eucharist: while he was ordaining that holy sacrament he had said, “This is the new testament in my blood”; and from thence immediately adds, I am the true vine: so that for the future the church is to be under the administration of a new testament, and not, as the Jewish church, under that of the old; and from henceforward I am the true vine, into which all the branches of the church must be ingrafted, and not into the Israelitish vine any more.”

Here are all the quotes I could find from Rutherford’s Covenant of Life Opened where he speaks on the issue of unbelievers in the COG and being united to Christ and this union to Christ being something Legal and binding on their persons,

“[Section title: “It is False that None are in the Covenant of the New Testament but Converts”] ’because there can be none (say Anabaptists) but real believers under the New Testament in covenant with God. Yea but the New testament offers Christ a Covenant , in the preached promises, alike to fathers and sons, Matthew 4:16, the people (fathers and sons) that sat in darkness saw great light…How can the Lord say, blessed be Egypt, and though the whole seed be visibly in Covenant, old and young, yet it followeth not that, therefore every promise that is absolute, that is, of a new heart is made to all and everyone within the Visible Covenant…the Lord calls them those whom he delivered out of Egypt his people…whether they have a new heart or not, the Lord calls them his people…so the Church of Corinth, 2 Corinthians 16, is called his people…many of them uncircumcised in heart…and with many of them God was not well pleased…and so it is most false that none are in Covenant under the New testament, but only believers; for Judas, Demas, Simon Magus, and all the externally called…are by their profession in Covenant externally (Pg. 134-137)…[Section Title: “All in Visible Church are in the Covenant”] “the Adverb (really) relates to the real fruit of the fulfilled Covenant, and so such as are only externally within the Covenant, are not really within the Covenant, for God never directed, not intended to bestow the blessing Covenanted, nor grace to perform the condition of the Condition upon them..But they are really Covenanted and engaged by their consented profession to fulfill the Covenant. And as the commands and threatening [THAT’S LEGAL LANGUAGE] of the Covenant of Grace lay on a real obligation, upon such as are only externally in covenant, either to obey or suffer [THAT’S LEGAL], so the promise of the Covenant imposes an engagement and obligation upon such to believe the promise, but sometimes, we say the promises of the Covenant of Grace are not really made to the reprobate within the Visible Church, because God intends and decrees to, and for them, neither the blessing promised, nor the saving grace to fulfill the condition or to believe. And therefore these word are figurative, Hebrews 8:10…that is, this is the special and principle Covenanted blessing, I will give them a new heart: which must not be called a simple prediction, though a prediction it is, but it is also a real promise made absolutely to the elect, which the Lord fulfills in them (pg. 151-152)… “They are become the Kingdoms of the Lord, not only because they are truly converted, but because they are the chosen of God in the Office-house of Christ, and Christ reigns over them by the Scepter of his Word whom he is to convert. And external Covenanting with God is of itself free Grace and a singular favor bestowed of God, Psalm 147:19-20; Deuteronomy 5:1-2; Matthew 21:42-43; Luke 14:16,21. It is free Grace that God will have hypocrites and real infidels to beget children to him that are internally in Covenant with him; and fills up the number of the elect by Reprobate parents who are instrumental to the incoming in the world, and into the Visible church, of many Heirs of Gloryand in so doing there is a Church right [THIS RIGHT WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? ]communicated from Reprobate Parents to their Children, that are Heirs of Glory.(pg. 171)… [In a context of discussion Romans 11] “But many Nations descended of Adam have universally rejected Christ, and know not the Name of Christ the blessed seed. Question: May we not say that the root is Christ as mystical Head, from whom we partake of the sap of grace and life and fatness?  Answer: The intent of Paul is to prove that the Jews, cut off, because their unbelief, shall be grafted in again, in the Lord’s own time, because of the holiness of the Covenant, that was in the root and in the first fruits Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is true, their Covenant-holiness is not the adequate cause, why they shall be grafted in really into Christ, for so all the carnal children, who had this relative holiness must be really engrafted into Christ, but it is with the Lord’s free love, both the cause of their personal, and of their Church engrafting, and the continued deriving of that relative holiness being a continued free favor in its kind, is the Lord’s love in the same kind to root and branches, otherwise it should not bear truth, which it said, verse 28, which expounds this, verse 28, that they are beloved for the fathers, not as if they were predestined to life, because Abraham was so chosen, but because of the Father’s Covenant-holinesswhich was holiness from Christ not as root and head,  through the influence of saving grace, but as politic head which yet is, what we say.  For because Christ is holy as root, head and redeemer, the Jews once his Church Visible and to be so again, the branches are not really holy by faith, because all of them were not in Christ: But if all Jews and Gentiles, and also Infants who are Jews and Gentiles and parts of the body be baptized into the visible body, so are Infants.” (182-183)… “For Antinomians, and legal justitiaties miserably err in both extremities: the former will have no New Covenant in the days of the Gospel, but that which is made with the elect: The latter will have no New Covenant but such as is made with the whole race of mankind, Pagans not excepted: So Socinians, Arminians, Papists. 1. They [COG and COR] differ in the parties contractors: The parties contractors in the Covenant Preached, are God, and all within the Visible Churchwhether Elect or Reprobate, and their seed, they professing the Gospel…But it’s a rich mercy that professors are dwelling in the work-house of the Grace of God, within the Visible Church, they are at the pool side, near the fountain, and dwell in Immanuel’s land where dwells Jehovah in his beauty, and where the Golden Candlesticks, and where these run rivers of Wine and Milk, such as are Expectants of Grace and Glory, to such the Marriage Table is covered, eat if they will.” (pg. 476)

A Joint Federal Vision Profession under the section, “The Sacrament of Baptism” says, “We affirm that God formally unites a person to Christ and to His covenant people through baptism into the triune Name”.Rutherford, as I have pointed out many times says that God unites men to Christ and the COG/Visible Church through profession. The basis on which we Scottish types assert this I mentioned in part 2:

“Who are the members of the visible Church? Reed says,

“Consistent with such views, the visible church has been defined in the Westminster Confession (25:2-3) as “those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children.”

The passage that the Westminster Confession uses to prove that profession enters one into the visible Church is 1 Cor 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus,saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

It has also been used by the Scottish Churches to show that this profession is indicative of becoming a member of the Covenant of Grace (COG). The two passages used to support this assertion are as follows:

Exo 19:8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.

Exo 24:3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!

In A Joint Federal Vision Profession’s section titled, “Apostasy” it says,

“those who fall from that position of grace are indeed falling from grace. The branches that are cut away from Christ are genuinely cut away from someone, cut out of a living covenant body. The connection that an apostate had to Christ was notmerely external.”

Having said that they view the union to be “not merely external” does not tell me what they believe. However, Rutherfordclearly calls a reprobate’s union to Christexternal but still asserts a legal obligation on the reprobate and this obligation is the whole reason these people are held more accountable for falling away. What will the Hoeksemite or Baptist view say? That God judged them more harshly because they knew more than the average Joe? Does that mean that all unbelieving scholars who study Christianity are more liable to God than ignorant lazy fools?  Nonsense! The Summary Statement of AAPC’s Position on the Covenant, Baptism, and Salvation says that,

“The Church is not merely a means to salvation, a stepping-stone to a more ultimate goal. Rather, the Church herself is the historic manifestation of God’s salvation (WCF 25.1,2), the partially-realized goal in history that will be brought to final fulfillment at the last day.”

Rutherford’s view is that theVisibleChurchis synonymous with the COG and is for this reason NOT COEXTENSIVE WITH SALVATION (Which as you can see is both the Baptist and Sacramentalist view) but is the tool that God applies the COR. This is the exact point that the Auburn Avenue Theology is here denying. AAPC continues,

“When someone is united to the Church by baptism [NOT Rutherford’s view], he is incorporated into Christ and into His body; he becomes bone of Christ’s bone and flesh of His flesh (Eph. 5:30).[Rutherford posits an external,legally binding union] He becomes a member of “the house, family, andkingdomofGod” (WCF 25.2). Until and unless that person breaks covenant, he is to be reckoned among God’s elect and regenerate saints.”

 Buchanan mentions that elect infants are virtually justified but the gospel must be impressed upon them and they be exhorted to exercise faith to attain actual justification. If AAPC means that we think the best of those in the COG fine, but if they mean we should assume all children in the COG are regenerate and that it is insulting to exhort them to exercise faith, let them be accursed.

So Rutherford’s view is not even close to the Sacramentalism of the Federal Vision. For more detail on this issue of the COG and COR see The Covenant of Redemption by Drake Shelton and then my comments on Sean’s blog.

I believe that union with Christ is effected at the point of faith, not Baptism as the FV teaches. So once again you are proven a liar Monty.

“Sheltonthinks we are justified by the act of our faith (this is, by defintion, the heresy of evangelical obedience, which is condemned in the Westminster Standards, and it is a complete departure from Reformed theology–placing him firmly in Antichrist’s camp).”

>>>LOL! Sure. Already refuted dozens of times.

“In Calvinism, we teach that we are justified only by the object of our faith–never the act of it.”

>>>You have yet to show how I contradicted his.

“The Gospel is only about what Christ did for us: it is not about what we do”

>>> But your Christ has only one will. Yours is not the Christ of the Bible

“but Sheltonknows nothing of Law / Gospel Distinction”

>>>I am getting the impression that I have forgotten more than you have ever have or  ever will know.

“Shelton, unlikeClark, actually claims God loves the reprobates (of course, he has no Scripture to support this).”

>>>I am not repeating what I have already made clear here:

I also have always claimed to be a Clarkian in my philosophy not my theology. Technically there is no real distinction between these but colloquially this means that I take Clark’s epistemology and metaphysic.

“That’s right,Shelton doesn’t hold to a lick of Absolute Predestination.”

>>>Actually I am a Supralapsarian and have proclaimed myself such for a long time now:

“Shelton, unlikeClark, also claims that sanctification is synergist.”

>>>That is what Shaw teaches.

“Clarktaught that sanctification is monergistic,”

I have read his book on sanctification numerous times. Show where he says this. Not where he claims that Sanctification was merited by Christ but where he says that man is passive in sanctification.

“Like Van Til,Sheltonbelieves in common grace and the “Free Offer of the Gospel”

>>>Like Turretin and Rutherford.

“worships the self-contradicting “church fathers.”

>>>Well I want to know what they said yes.

“Shelton, unlike Clark, claims that the Covenant of Grace is conditional.”

>>>Never read Clark speaking to this issue. Robbins does in typical Baptist form but I’d like to see where Clark takes up the parties of the COG. I’ll take Turretin and Rutherford’s view thanks.

“Like Greco/Catholic whores Jay Dyer and Paleocrap, who have also been caught on Facebook posing as Clarkians,”

>>>>I know nothing of the Paleo, but Jay posed as a Clarkian? That’s a laugh. I’d like to get some evidence for that.

“Sheltonlikes to pretend he’s a Clarkian, then point people to Greek Orthodoxy.”

>>>Hate to break this to your fractionally read ignorant hubris but Gregory Palamas said much of the same stuff that Clark did when he debated Barlaam the Aristotelian Scholastic.Clark also holds to social trinitarianismn which I have shown is Greek Triadology. So do you think you are more Clarkian for holding a Medieval Roman view of the Trinity rather than a Greek and Nicene? Nonsense!

“Sheltonis so irrational that he went as far as to say that Gordon H. Clark and John W. Robbins were not theologians–LOL!”

>>>>They weren’t. Clarkwas a Philosophy teacher and Robbins was an economist and a politician. Writing some theology does not make you a respected theologian.

Sean Gerety’s “Janus Alive and Well: Dr. Scott Clark and the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel (Part 2)” Refuted Saturday, Aug 27 2011 

Just got my copy of the Trinity Review today in the mail and lo, who else but my old cronie Sean Gerety is at it again. I would usually ignore this rubbish but since Sean was so kind to leave me some nasty tidbits on a Facebook post yesterday I thought I would return the favor.  Gerety begins his Monothelete discourse with,

“salvation is all of God and man is just the undeserving and even unwilling recipient of God’s free and unmerited grace.” (pg. 1)

Unwilling? Robert Shaw shows in his exposition of the Confession 10.1-2 on the Effectual Call,

“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.”

Sean says we are unwilling. The Bible says we are willing in the day of God’s power. Which is right?  Sean continues to praise Gordon Clark’s books on Predestination  (The two actually were made into one later) which I have read and they are elementary material for college kids at best. Those books deal with very little that one requires when considering Pelagianism and the issues that have arisen in Church History.

His continued stubborn assertion is that the Free Offer is entirely paradoxical which is a laugher. Matthew Winzer was a bit more honest in dealing with the issue that the will or desire of God for the salvation of the Reprobate in classical Puritan writings was not in the same sense.  The desire to save the elect was on the level of decree. The desire for the Reprobate’s salvation is at the level of precept/nature. So we are not saying that he desires the salvation of elect and reprobate in the same sense.  This dead dog has been kicked many times. Winzer’s work is the best thing I have read from a Hyper Calvinist and I dealt with it in detail here: The Free Offer of the Gospel; A Non-Paradoxical and Rational Construction by Drake.

Sean criticizes Clark for not reading other material but his own “in house stuff”. (pg. 5) This was a complete howler. If you know anything about Sean, this man has read so little outside of Gordon Clark’s material that his posse over at God’s Hammer is made up almost entirely of Hyper-Calvinist Baptists.  When you read his writings he actually gives you the impression that the Reformers did not believe in Van Til’s Paradoxical view of the Trinity, Analogical predication and the Free Offer. It is completely shameful. They believed all those things.

Later on page 5 we get some insight into the real issue here, that is the distinction between a desire at the level of precept and a desire at the level of decree. He makes the same mistake that Winzer was careful to articulate and avoid. Sean thinks that a desire at the level of precept is the same thing as decree.  The “is” and “ought” issue is something completely irrelevant.

At the end of this review, Sean is at least implying that the analogical view of Scott Clark is somehow out of the ordinary in Reformed Theologians. This was a trip. Do we seriously have to go through all of the quotes by Aquinas on this for you Sean? The Reformers followed Aquinas strictly at these points.  Van Til’s view is a little different but not substantially and it for sure is no univocality. So who cares? Why are you trying to make Gordon Clark’s view of predication mesh with the Scholastic views? It doesn’t and it never will.  This is why, because you are an ignorant fractionally read Hyper-Calvinist Bureaucrat.

Here are the main two points for Sean that he still does not understand.

1. If you believe in Chalcedonian Christology which I hope you do, Christ’s humanity is consubstantial/ essentially the same in nature with our own fallen humanity. The Monothelete heresy said that the humanity of Christ was utterly passive in the economy of salvation and the divine will forced the human nature to act in the Economia (Which is exact point that Shaw denied).  This is the exact same view you have of humanity in the economy of Salvation. Man has no will in the Economia and posits not activity or synergy anywhere in your soteriology.

2. The distinction between desire at the level of precept and desire at the level of decree still escapes you.  You need to study the debate between Rutherford and Owen on the Decrees. Guy Richard’s Samuel Rutherford’s supralapsarianism revealed: a key to the lapsarian position of the Westminster Confession of Faith? is a great start to show your position and then read Carl Trueman’s  John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice to see how Owen refuted it. Rutherford made a mistake here.  On Rutherford’s view, which fell into your Hyper-Calvinist Nominalism (See Jules Grisham’s EUTHYPHRO, GOD’S NATURE, AND THE QUESTION OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES Part 2 and 3) which denies the reality of God’s essential attributes, God is not under any compulsion from some external independent force of justice that compels him to be just to the elect; neither does mercy necessitate the Atonement. The order of Decrees for Rutherford’s supralapsarianism looks like this: 1. The decree to elect some and reject the rest 2. The decree to create both elect and reprobate 3. The decree to permit the fall which is the intrinsic basis for punishing and pardoning sin 4. Ad Extra;  The decree to be merciful to some. 5. The decree to provide salvation for the elect and no others. Richard, after explaining the ad extra decrees, in his exposition of Rutherford on page 33 footnote 29 says, “This means that the Atonement of Christ now, becomes necessary, but only contingently necessary. It is only necessary because God has chosen to act in justice and mercy towards his creatures. Before deciding to do so, God could have…punished sin or not punished sin or could have forgiven sin in some other way.”

So then vindicating justice is not some essential attribute but an ad extra decree. This is your exact mistake. You don’t believe in any essential attributes, you just believe in an unbridled will that can will what it wants completely arbitrarily without any reference to an essential nature. On this there are only volitions/desires at the level of decree, none at the level of nature/precept. Owen shows that God’s hatred of evil and desire to punish it is not simply an ad extra decree. It is something essential to God.  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. And neither does Sean.

Edward White, in an extremely important section on the connection between the Justice of God, Penal Substitutionary Atonement and Justification by Faith Alone says in his Life in Christ, (London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1878) Chapter 19 Section 2,

“There are influential schools of thought, professedly Christian, and even Protestant, which zealously denounce the notion of an expiation of past sin by Christ’s sacrifice; affirming that there is no direct connection between His death and the forgiveness of sinners. They teach that Christ’s death was simply a measure in God’s providence employed to bring out the sinfulness of man; and so, by affording the noblest example of divine self-sacrifice, to influence men by example to abandon an evil life. As for pardon, — God being a Father, it is said, forgives sin freely, and without further consideration, as soon as the sinner, who is His son, repents. He requires no price, ransom, or satisfaction, whereby impunity may be purchased. Christ is our Saviour in this sense alone, that He leads us to repentance and a new life, and therefore delivers us by such change of character from the punishment due for past offences. The blood-sacrifice of Christ was His life-sacrifice; and He gave Himself for our sins both by life and death, in this sense, that He might ‘deliver us from this present evil world,’ by teaching us to do the will of God our Father. The man who repents becomes thereby righteous, and God gives Him eternal life accordingly; reckoning righteousness to the man who becomes righteous in the root-principle of his being…

The apostles teach, as plainly as words can teach anything, that the death of Christ was an Atonement by expiation, or sin-offering, for ‘Sins That Are Past’ (Romans iii.), not simply a provision for preventing future transgression. They teach that God’s ‘Fatherhood’ was not of the nature of the demoralized fatherhood of the modern world; where the leading notion, on the part of bad children, seems to be that it is the part of a good parent to bear patiently any excess of rebellion or extravagance, to forgive it universally, and even to find means for these excesses, such a line of action being considered specially ‘paternal.’ But the Scriptures teach that the Fatherhood of God rather resembles the primitive idea of fatherhood set forth in the law of Moses, and throughout antiquity, which included the judicial character ;— so that the father of a family, however loving to good children, was empowered and expected to act as a magistrate; and even to bring forth a ‘rebellious son’ to the gates of the city, and there, if he were ‘a glutton and a drunkard’ (Deut. xxi. 18), deliver him up to the executioner of vengeance; or even to decree the death by fire of a daughter-in-law who had committed fornication, as occurred in the history of Judah the son of Israel (Gen. xxxviii. 24).

The Scriptures, in accord with Nature and Providence, alike teach in every page the eternal authority of righteousness, of righteous ‘severity’ as well as righteous ‘goodness’ (Romans ix.). Revelation knows nothing of a God, forgiving sin without sacrifice or suffering,—nothing of arbitrary pardon, or of the abrogation of law, because the execution of penalty will be painful to the offender, or to the governor. In the physical world we see on all sides inexorable execution of law without regard to the feelings of the violator. In Revelation we find, notwithstanding the presence of mercy for all who comply with certain conditions, the same steadfast assertion of universal order and Divine Righteousness. ‘Thine eye shall not spare,’ is the key-note of the law.

It is necessary, therefore, to explode resolutely the sentimental and wholly romantic notion of the Divine Character, derived from bad human models, on which those proceed who now offer violence to the scripture teaching on the Atonement of Christ. Nature knows nothing of a God who makes little of broken law, directly the breaker of it discovers that he is in trouble, or even professes to be sorry for his offence. It is, as all may see, an awful thing to oppose the physical forces of nature; yet the results of transgression abide, and often operate for generations. Similarly the scripture knows nothing of this false God of modern times—all-benignant, all-forgiving—who takes no account of past sin, immediately that the transgressor desires to escape the penalty. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ The most prominent lesson both in Nature and in Scripture is the immense difficulty of doing away with the consequences of law-breaking; for even when sin is forgiven, its secondary consequences remain forever. Thus it is that the law of Moses… teaches that pardon can be obtained only through sacrifice, and this not eucharistic, but expiatory. The High Priest ‘lays his hand ‘ upon the victim,’ confesses over him all the iniquities of Israel,” putting them upon the head of the goat,—and then the blood is carried into the holy of holies to be sprinkled before the Divine Judge, ‘to make an atonement thereby.’ This idea is impressed on the Israelites by every complication of the ritual,— the ‘exceeding sinfulness of sin,’—and pardon only through a sin-offering. This, however, it is said, is but symbol. Yes, but a divinely appointed symbol, whose signification is made clear by the words of our Lord Himself when about to die.

What explanation does the Son of God give to His disciples of the object of His own death? It must be admitted that no words ever spoken by those holy lips ought to receive more reverent attention than His when He was about to ‘offer up Himself.’ If His death were nought else than a representative burnt-offering of obedience to God on man’s behalf, an example of self-sacrifice, for the purpose of stimulating us to live and die self-sacrificingly, He will surely tell us now. If His death were a sin-offering, an expiation of ‘ sins that are past,’ He will surely tell us that also. Hear, then, His words. He ‘took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed on behalf of many, for the remission of sins‘ (Matt. xxvi. 28).

We will not multiply words over this dying utterance of the Son of God; much less offer perverse criticism with a view of explaining away its force. The ‘remission’ of sins, is the word used, in its verbal form, by the same Divine Speaker in the prayer which He taught His disciples. ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;’ and there as here, it manifestly signifies not reformation of character, but the blotting out or remission or forgiveness of offences that are past. Here, then, at the Last Supper, our Lord declares that He died in order that sin might be forgiven unto men. His death was an atonement, an expiation, a propitiation, a sin-offering. ‘When he shall make his life (or soul) an offering for sin (asham), he shall see his seed’ (Isaiah liii. 10).

Thus also taught the apostles after Christ’s resurrection. S. Paul, in writing an exposition of the way of salvation to the church of Rome—the church of the chief city on earth,—after describing the guilt of both Jews and Gentiles, and setting forth the impossibility of obtaining justification by law, — declares that righteousness is the free gift of God to sinners through Christ, whom God hath set forth, a propitiatory sacrifice, through faith in His blood. The sense of this word may be learned in the Greek version of Numbers v. 8: ‘Let the trespass be recompensed to the Lord, even to the priest, beside the ram of the atonement or propitiation, whereby an atonement or expiation shall be made for him’

S. Paul further declares that this ‘propitiation,’ or sacrificial expiation, so set forth, is for the purpose of ‘ declaring His righteousness with respect to the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God :— to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness (i.e., His righteousness in remitting past sins), that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.1

We need not add to these two declarations — one of the Lord Himself, the other of His chief apostle — writing his chief explanatory sentence, in his chief epistle, addressed to the chief church of Christendom. Neither of these statements admits of being justly set aside on critical grounds. And they are supported by the whole body of apostolic teaching ; as in the statements of the epistle to the Hebrews, that ‘He hath put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself ; ‘— that ‘by His own blood He hath obtained eternal redemption for us ; ‘— that ‘ the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, shall purge our conscience from dead works to serve the Living God ; ‘— that ‘Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;’ — that ‘this man has offered one sacrifice for sins forever,’ having ‘ by one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified,’ — having (Col. ii. 14) ‘by Himself purged our sins,’ —’ blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,’ and now ‘ having to make intercession for us.’

The fact of atonement for sins made by the death of the Son of God is then plainly and repeatedly asserted in the New Testament Scriptures.”

Here Edward White shows again why denying volition to God at the level of nature destroys Penal Substitutionary Atonement and Protestantism. The Hyper Calvinists deny volition at the level of precept to deny the Free Offer while the Eastern Orthodox deny volition at the level of nature to deny Vindicating Justice and the entire Juridical System of Soteriology in toto; Two sides and extremes of the same error.

Sean is following Dr. Gordon Clark’s latter Hyper-Calvinist mistakes in an attempt to be loyal to his master. Gordon Clark was a man worthy to be a man’s master in Epistemology and Metaphysics (Philosophy), but his Theology was not his strong suit. I have written many articles here cataloguing these things: 49 Items Regarding the Neoplatonism/Origen/Divine Simplicity/Filioque/Hyper Determinist Package

There are other issues touching on Antinomianism that overlap with Sean’s Theology but these two points are the most devastating.

Thomas Aquinas’ Use of Romans 1:19 in Summa Theologica Saturday, Aug 27 2011 

Q1. A.6. Whether this doctrine is the same as wisdom?

“Hence wisdom is said to be the knowledge of divine things, as Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 14). But sacred doctrine essentially treats of God viewed as the highest cause—not only so far as He can be known through creatures just as philosophers knew Him—“That which is known of God is manifest in them” (Rom. 1:19)—but also as far as He is known to Himself alone and revealed to others. Hence sacred doctrine is especially called wisdom.”

Here he takes it to mean the Light of Nature in the Empirical Scholastic sense.

Q. 12. A. 12 Whether God can be known in this life by natural reason?

“On the contrary, It is written (Rom. 1:19), “That which is known of God,” namely, what can be known of God by natural reason, “is manifest in them.”

I answer that, Our natural knowledge begins from sense. Hence our natural knowledge can go as far as it can be led by sensible things. But our mind cannot be led by sense so far as to see the essence of God; because the sensible effects of God do not equal the power of God as their cause. Hence from the knowledge of sensible things the whole power of God cannot be known; nor therefore can His essence be seen. But because they are His effects and depend on their cause, we can be led from them so far as to know of God “whether He exists,” and to know of Him what must necessarily belong to Him, as the first cause of all things, exceeding all things caused by Him.

Hence we know that His relationship with creatures so far as to be the cause of them all; also that creatures differ from Him, inasmuch as He is not in any way part of what is caused by Him; and that creatures are not removed from Him by reason of any defect on His part, but because He superexceeds them all.

Reply to Objection 1: Reason cannot reach up to simple form, so as to know “what it is”; but it can know “whether it is.”

First, Aquinas refers this to the Light of Nature in the Empirical Scholastic sense. Second, his reply is contradictory, because as he has said many times, existence and essence are the same. His view of Simplicity cannot distinguish between what it is and whether it is.

Q. 56. A. 3 Whether an angle knows God by his own natural principles?

“On the contrary, The angels are mightier in knowledge than men. Yet men can know God through their natural principles; according to Rom. 1:19: “what is known of God is manifest in them.” Therefore much more so can the angels.

I answer that, The angels can have some knowledge of God by their own principles. In evidence whereof it must be borne in mind that a thing is known in three ways: first, by the presence of its essence in the knower, as light can be seen in the eye; and so we have said that an angel knows himself—secondly, by the presence of its similitude in the power which knows it, as a stone is seen by the eye from its image being in the eye—thirdly, when the image of the object known is not drawn directly from the object itself, but from something else in which it is made to appear, as when we behold a man in a mirror.

To the first-named class that knowledge of God is likened by which He is seen through His essence; and knowledge such as this cannot accrue to any creature from its natural principles, as was said above (Q[12], A[4]). The third class comprises the knowledge whereby we know God while we are on earth, by His likeness reflected in creatures, according to Rom. 1:20: “The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” Hence, too, we are said to see God in a mirror. But the knowledge, whereby according to his natural principles the angel knows God, stands midway between these two; and is likened to that knowledge whereby a thing is seen through the species abstracted from it. For since God’s image is impressed on the very nature of the angel in his essence, the angel knows God in as much as he is the image of God. Yet he does not behold God’s essence; because no created likeness is sufficient to represent the Divine essence. Such knowledge then approaches rather to the specular kind; because the angelic nature is itself a kind of mirror representing the Divine image.”

Again, Aquinas refers this to the Light of Nature in the Empirical Scholastic sense.

Q. 167. A. 1. Whether curiosity can be about intellective knowledge?

“Reply to Objection 3: The study of philosophy is in itself lawful and commendable, on account of the truth which the philosophers acquired through God revealing it to them, as stated in Rom. 1:19. Since, however, certain philosophers misuse the truth in order to assail the faith, the Apostle says (Col. 2:8): “Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men . . . and not according to Christ”: and Dionysius says (Ep. vii ad Polycarp.) of certain philosophers that “they make an unholy use of divine things against that which is divine, and by divine wisdom strive to destroy the worship of God.”

Again, no explanation on how an innate revelation can be empirical.

According to Gen 2:17 and 1 Tim 2:14 Adam understood the concept of moral law and the concept of death. Adam had never seen anyone die. This eliminates the possibility that “Our natural knowledge begins from sense”.

Irenaeus on the Gnostic View of Authority; Sound Familiar? Friday, Aug 26 2011 

Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 2)

The heretics follow neither Scripture nor tradition.

“1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.1 Corinthians 2:6 And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.”

Much confusion here ay? The Gnostics said that to understand scripture you must have knowledge of tradition and the viva voce.  Sounds exactly like Eastern Orthodoxy and Romanism. Especially the latter.

Disappointed with Carl Henry on Divine Simplicity Thursday, Aug 25 2011 

I am at the Southern Seminary here in Louisville, Ky on my day off reading through Carl Henry’s Volumes on God, Revelation and Authority.  In Volume 5.6 he deals with the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. HE MENTIONS NOTHING OF DR. CLARK’S REJECTION OF THIS DOCTRINE AND SHOWS NOTHING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIMPLICITY  AND UNIVOCAL PROPOSITIONAL REVELATION.  As I have catalogued in detail in my article Divine Simplicity and Scripturalism Part 2, Simplicity is the core error of the Scholastics and the rejection of this is at the core of Clark’s Philosophy. Let me repeat,

Three Types of Religious Philosophy by Gordon Clark (The Trinity Foundation: Jefferson, Maryland, 1989), pg. 63

“Thomas developed the theory of analogy far beyond the simple observation of Aristotle, and it took on major proportions when the subject was God. Thomas held that the simplicity of the divine being required God’s existence to be identical with his essence. This is not the case with a book or pencil. That a book is and what a book is are two different matters. But with God existence and essence are identical. For this reason an adjective predicated of God and the same adjective predicated of man are not univocal in meaning. One may say, God is good, and one may say, This man is good; but the predicate has two different meanings. There is no term, not a single one, that can be predicated univocally of God and of anything else.”

YOU CANNOT BE A SCRIPTURALIST AND BELIEVE IN DIVINE SIMPLCIITY. Why is it that I am an exiled common man with only a year of seminary training and I get this while these widely known Scholars don’t? Oh, maybe that’s why I’m not too excited about going back to seminary.  God help us.

Private Judgment in William Whitaker Thursday, Aug 25 2011 

A Disputation on Holy Scripture, pg. 460-461

“Our thirteenth argument is to this effect: No man is a sufficient judge of controversies or interpreter of scripture: therefore, not the pope. For no man ought to decide controversies by his own authority, but by that of another, namely, of God and the scriptures. So formerly the Nicene fathers condemned Arius by divine testimonies; so the holy bishops condemned Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, by the authority of scripture, and not by their own. Besides, if a man could define controversies by his own authority, he would have a sort of lordship over our souls and faith, which the apostle plainly denies, 2 Cor. i. 24… Furthermore, if we were placed in the power of a man, to remove all controversies and determine what should be believed, then the sentence of a man would be the matter of our faith.

Our fourteenth argument is as follows: If the scriptures do not interpret themselves or judge controversies, this is because they are either obscure or imperfect. But neither impediment exists: for we have shewn before that they are plain in all necessary things; and that they are perfect in all respects, we shall demonstrate hereafter.

Our fifteenth argument is this: Every one ought to rest upon his own faith and his own judgment, and not depend upon another’s will and pleasure. Therefore the Roman pontiff is not the sole judge of controversies in the church. For each individual should be his own judge, and stand by his own judgment, not indeed mere private judgment, but such as is inspired by God: and no one can bestow the Holy Spirit save God who infuses it in whom he will. Nor can any one man render another certain in matters of religion, with whatever authority he may be invested. Christ says, John vi. 44, 45, “No man can come unto me unless my Father draw him: wherefore whosoever hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me.” John the Baptist says also, John iii. 33, “He that receiveth his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” There is, therefore, need of Christ’s testimony before we can truly and aright believe anything.

There remains now our last argument, which is drawn from human testimony, and the authority of the ancient fathers. Irenaeus, in his 4th book against Heresies, cap. 63, says that “the legitimate and safe exposition of the scriptures is by the scriptures themselves1.” Hilary, in his 1st book upon the Trinity, writes thus upon this subject: “The best reader is he who rather waits for the meaning from the words than imposes one, who takes instead of giving it, nor forces that to seem to be contained in the expression which, before reading it, he had presumed to be the sense. When, therefore, the discourse shall be of the things of God, let us allow to God the knowledge of himself, and wait upon his words with a pious veneration. He is a sufficient witness to himself, who is not known but by himself.” So Hilary.

Augustine hath many testimonies in our favour. In his book of Marriage and Concupiscence, Lib. n. cap. 33, he writes thus: “This controversy requires a judge.” But who shall be the judge? He replies, “Let Christ be the judge.” And a little after: “With him let the apostle judge also; for Christ himself speaks in the apostle3.” Why did he not say, Let the Roman pontiff ”.


The Essence and Energies Distinction in David Bradshaw Refuted Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 

The following is taken from David Bradshaw’s paper The Concept of the Divine Energies which is a summary of his book Aristotle East and West:  Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom. I have read many books by Eastern Orthodox Theologians on this issue and this paper is the best expose’ of this doctrine. The fundamental problem with it as he admits, is that it makes God ontologically and eternally economical which destroys the distinctions required for the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son and vindicates the Filioque error.

Bradshaw gives a timeline of this distinction in the history of philosophy,

“The last stage preparatory to the thought of the Greek Fathers was pagan Neoplatonism.  Let us return to the philosophical tradition to ask precisely how the Neoplatonists attempted to synthesize the thought of Plato and Aristotle.  One criticism which might be raised against Aristotle’s theology is that it has no room for a proper sense of the mystery of the divine.  After all, if the Prime Mover is the summation of all intelligible content, what he is can in principle be grasped by the act of thinking (noēsis), however far our own thinking falls short of that ideal.  In Plato there are hints of a sharply different picture.  The famous depiction of the Good in the Republic as “beyond being” could be taken—and was taken by the Neoplatonists—as meaning that the Good is beyond noēsis as well, notwithstanding that Plato himself seems to regard it as an intelligible object.(pg. 6)…Aristotle tells us that some in the Academy, perhaps including Plato himself, identified this One with the Good (Met. xiv.4).  Later interpreters, putting these various fragments together, concluded that the One of the unwritten doctrines, the One of the Parmenides, and the Good of the Republic, are all one and the same….Here we have, then, a first principle sharply different from that of Aristotle:  unknowable, unnamable, the source of being for other things, while itself “beyond being. (pg. 7)…[In Plotinus-DS] Intellect comes forth from the One precisely as its external act or energy, what Plotinus refers to as its energeia ek tēs ousias, the energy that comes forth from the substance.  So far, then, the answer is that Intellect as an energy is dependent upon the One.  However, Plotinus is too deeply steeped in Aristotle to think that substance is not itself a kind of energeia (a point emphasized in Metaphysics viii.2).  Hence he also posits an energeia tēs ousias, an internal act or energy constituting the substance, of which the external act is a kind of image.” (pg. 7-8)

Then Bradshaw seeks to define the distinction,

“Somehow by energeia Gregory and Basil would appear to understand both that which God is, and that which God performs. (pg. 10)… Basil and Gregory in their turn revise Plotinus by rejecting the distinction of hypostasis between Intellect and the One.  For them the relevant distinction is rather that between God as he exists within himself and is known only to himself, and God as he manifests himself to others.  The former is the divine ousia, the latter the divine energies.  It is important to note that both are God, but differently conceived:  God as unknowable and as knowable, as wholly beyond us and as within our reach.” (Pg. 10)

Now comes the core difficulty. Bradshaw says,

“If they are the sphere of personal action in the way that I have described, then at least some of them could be different;  otherwise they would be a kind of emanation rather than the free acts of a free Creator.” (pg. 13)

The point I think he is missing is still that the doctrine of the uncreated energies means that God is ontologically economical. The fact that the energies could have been different is irrelevant. Either way is an eternal economy.

Bradshaw acknowledges this problem and points to a debate that was conducted by Hesychasts in the 14th century. Bradshaw says,

“Ultimately it was decided that there is an uncreated light and that it is simply the visible form of the divine energy.  This means that the divine energy is present in some form with the godhead from all eternity, quite independently of the act of creation.  That in turn implies that the divine energy is not (as one might otherwise be tempted to suppose) simply the way in which God manifests himself to creatures.  ”

When I read this I was shocked that he thought this was an answer to the problem but then he admits,  “The end of Byzantine civilization not long thereafter prevented any final clarification.” (pg. 14)

I also found his use of simplicity to be incoherent. Bradshaw says,

“The same would seem to be true of wisdom, being, power, life, love, holiness, beauty, virtue, immortality, eternity, infinity, and simplicity, all of which the Cappadocians (or other Fathers after them) list among the divine energies.” (pg. 14)

So then simplicity is an energy? Didn’t Basil just say that the essence was simple? On page 9 Bradshaw said,

“Basil’s answer emerges in the continuation of the passage:

The energies are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His energies, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence.  His energies come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.”

However he comments on the issue a bit more on page 17,

“As with any energy, God is both simplicity itself and beyond simplicity as its source.”  (pg. 17)

So then the essence is then beyond simplicity and simple at the same time. What a mess!

The core difficulty that drove the East to this nonsense is Basil’s complaint against Eunomias that Bradshaw quotes on page 8 “When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence? ”

As a Scripturalist, my answer is that Mercy or other attributes of God are thoughts of God’s mind and God’s essence is his necessary thinking. God is his thinking. Clark says, “God is his thinking. God is not a passive or potential substratum; he is actuality or activity…God is a living God…Hence logic is to be considered as the activity of God’s willing.” (Gordon Clark, The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark A Festschrift, ed. Ronald Nash [Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company], pg. 68)

So how is it one essence? Because the Father’s Mind in one. This is the Mind from which the Logos and the Holy Spirit proceed.

Moreover, as Jonathan Edwards pointed out in my article What is Grace? In Jonathan Edwards, the energy of action in the Godhead is the Holy Spirit. The Father is the source of the Operations but the Spirit is, as it were, the “arm” of the Godhead.

Bradshaw even comes close to this when he says,

“In light of this Biblical background, the notion of theōsis or deification may seem like a foreign importation.  It is at this point that the Pauline usage of the concept of energeia becomes crucially important.  An especially important passage was I Corinthians 12.  There Paul speaks of the “gifts of the Spirit” as including both miraculous powers such as prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the discernment of spirits, and enduring states of soul such as faith and wisdom.  Significantly, he describes these gifts as energēmata (works performed) of the Spirit, and the Spirit as “working” (energōn) them.” (pg. 12)

The same mistake that Bradshaw is making is the same one that the Scholastic West makes with created grace.  On either system man gets a hold of some energies outside of God whereby he can work and earn his salvation. The Biblical view is found in 1 Cor 1: 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

On the Biblical view God is everything to us. The persons of the Trinity are everything to us. The Father is the architect of it all. The Son is our righteousness, the Holy Spirit works in us to will and to do in sanctification.  The persons of the Trinity are effecting our salvation, not ourselves by the power of some created grace or some energy outside of God. This does not deny synergy in conversion. I believe that Regeneration is Monergistic  but the second part of the Effectual Call is Conversion. In Conversion man is active and co-operates with God’s grace. I wrote an article on this W.G.T. Shedd and Robert Shaw on Conversion and the Order of Salvation. I have yet to see an Eastern Apologist  fairly deal with this distinction and it is an old one. This is why I find Energetic Procession to be completely directed toward Hyper-Calvinism  and completely ignorant of Westminster Soteriology.  I have actually got a couple of their followers to admit this.

Carl Henry; Propositional Revelation vs. Personal Truth Monday, Aug 22 2011 

Been soaking up the works of Carl Henry and I thought I would share the wealth. Henry was a disciple of Dr. Clark, probably the most qualified to be his successor, theologically speaking, (That is instead of Robbins) and his Volume 3 is ripe for the reading. He wrote 6 VOLUMES (!) on God, Revelation and Authority, but Volume 3 is where the Epistemology gets a spotlight. Kevin King wrote his doctoral dissertation on this volume that you can read here.  I am foaming at the mouth to read all 6 volumes. I wonder what he did with Simplicity, Triadology related to Christology and union with Christ. I can’t wait for my copy to come in the mail. I have been reading up on the guy and he is by far the most influential Conservative Christian of the 20th century in America and he’s a Clarkian! They don’t tell you that in any Presbyterian Seminary right now. Anyways enjoy the read. Make no mistake, he is directly denying Eastern Hesychast “personal truth” and Western Scholasticism’s “relational truth”.  Will the Scholastics admit that we Scripturalists have Carl Henry in our corner?

Samuel Rutherford on Apostolic Succession Sunday, Aug 21 2011 

Rutherford says, regarding Apostolic Succession,

  “we deny the Popish succession to be a note of the Church, nor doe we in any sort contend it. First, because a right succession must be a succession to truth of Doctrine, not persaonall or totall to the chaire and naked office. So Tertullian [Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 32-DS], and falshood may succeed to truth, sickness to health, as Naziazen [Orations 11-DS]. Yea, as Occam saith, Laymen and Teachers extraordinarily raised up, may succeed to hereticall Pastors.

 Secondly, there is succession to the errors of preceding teachers, either materiall without pertinacie, holding what they hold; orformall to the same errors, with hatred of the truth and pertinacie; the latter we reject, the former may be in lawfully called Pastors. See what Beza saith of this …And as Augustine [FN: Aug-de vinc.c.16.], when they doe prove themselves to be the Church onely by Scriptures, non nisi canonicis libris. Thirdly, we deny not but Asia, Africa, Ehypt, and a great part ofEuropeheard not a word of Christ for a long time, as Binnius [FN: Binnius 10.4 p. 599] observeth in the Lateran Councell [FN: Concil. lateran.c.10.l.8. iscet deslaza]. And succession was interrupted many ages in the world saith Prosper [FN: Prosper de vocat gentium l.2.c.6.] and Augustine [FN: Aug-de consens. Evang-l.2.c.31]. Nor can Bellarmine [FN: Bellarm de Pont. Rom cap.4.] deny it.”

 Due Right of Presbyteries [London:E. Griffin, 1644], pg. 185

What Every Western Scholastic Must Read First Saturday, Aug 20 2011 

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

On the issues of Divine Simplicity, the Confusion and Impossibility of Distinguishing the Nature from the Will, the Similarities between Plotinus’ One and the Western Scholastic doctrine of Divine Simplicity and its complete incompatibility with Christian Trinitarianism, exposed in a masterful way by Farrell.

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