Replying to Dale Tuggy on his Criticisms of Calvinism Through Theology Proper; Can He Handle It? Monday, May 27 2013

I have yet to see a Professional Philosopher or Theologian allow my comments on these issues to go public on his blog. They usually delete them and go straight into panic mode. Can Dale Handle the Heat?

The following is my comment just in case it gets deleted which as we all know here is the rule not the exception.


If you do not understand the question, you are not prepared as of yet to have a position on this issue. This all comes down to Anthropology and Theology Proper. Pelagius stated that human nature was arbitrary, and only became constituted through the gnomie-the hypostatic use of the faculty of will. Thus, evil and righteous were not to be predicated of a subject until said subject had developed a moral habit of their own through the gnomie. Thus, the idea of an ontological tendency necessary to a genus of beings was ruled out in Pelagius and this is later developed in Eastern Orthodox Theology with Maximus the Confessor who really perfected the idea of the gnomie. This is LFW to the Eastern Pelagian system.

To take this view of the will is to deny tons of traditional theology. For instance the doctrines of penal substitution and the doctrine of hell require God to have a tendency, an ontological necessity (Thus no LFW), to punish evil. I chased this white rabbit to the bottom of its hole a couple years ago. It also has implications in Theology Proper. In order to maintain the LFW, one must posit an absolute monad as your ultimate principle. Thus God is not a person (The Father) but an essence, huperousia. That is, in order to answer this question: “why does God will what he wills?”, with the answer, “I don’t know” and thus positing an absolute freedom to God’s activity (LFW), one must posit that God is an essence huperousia and not a person. When one posits the ultimate principle as a person, an intelligent being, like the Father, one answers the question “why does God will what he wills?”, with the answer “Because it agrees with his nature” (Thus staying within ousia-the categories of human language and not bailing out into huperuosia); thus marginalizing God’s activity and denying absolute LFW.

To take your view of the will, is nothing short of denying Christianity full stop. What you are teaching is Aleister Crowley’s Thelema, which is why you also probably don’t keep the Sabbath. You don’t do you?

Reply to Ryan Hedrich’s Necessitarianism Wednesday, Dec 19 2012 

Ryan Hedrich has written a reply to my last article here. I reply:

“On Drake’s view, that which is necessary according to God’s nature is also necessary according to His will. But that which God wills is not necessarily necessary according to His nature”

>>>I fundamentally reject this. I have said this to you many times Ryan. All of God’s volitions have to be in according with his nature. You are terminating all of God’s activities on absolute necessities of nature. I believe that some of God’s actions are not absolute necessities of nature, but activities agreeable to nature. You even state it:

“Now, in our last discussion, Drake agreed that “what God wills must be agreeable to His nature.”

>>>Thank you.

“But, as I just mentioned, he also said he doesn’t think that God’s nature determines everything He wills.”

>>>Depends on what you mean by “determines”. His nature sets the bounds of what the will may pursue.

Turriten says,

“The will can be called the primary rule of justice either intrinsically or extrinsically…In the former sense, his will is regulated by his justice; in thelatter sense, the justice in us is regulated by nothing else than his will…But with respect to God, the will cannot always be called the first rule of justice. It is a rule in those things which have only a free and positive goodness, but not in those things which have essential goodness…For in the latter, God’s will is regulated, not indeed extrinsically but intrinsically (viz. BY HIS MOST HOLY NATURE). Hence it has been well said that certain things are good because God wills them…but that God wills others because they are just and good per se in their own nature…”

Institutes, Vol 1, pg. 233, Third Topic, The Will of God, xviii, Third Topic, The Will of God, xviii, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 1994) Muller affirms this on page 455, in Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 3(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2003)

What you believe is that the bounds are jointly exhaustive with the will and thus you have conflated the two IMO. Thus there really are no bounds there is just the activity of nature. See you even state my position:

“His nature prescribes the boundaries of what can be willed in all cases, but it does not determine what must be willed in all cases.”

>>>Thank you.

 In that case, the argument I outline in the above paragraphs is little different than what it was then:

“The only problem, as I see it, is that on your position, no answer can be given as to why the divine will instantiated this “world” (or reality) over against another  “world” which would have similarly been agreeable to the divine nature.”

>>>Chronologically: Because God’s will is eternal. The chronological reason why he didn’t instantiate another world is because his choice to instantiate this one is eternal and immutable. Logically: I don’t know. We have been over this before. Just because we cannot answer why God decided to do this or that is not a problem, it is simply a spehere inn which God has not revealed himself. I already said this to you a long time ago:

“Even Clark realized that we don’t have answers to everything. My lack of omniscience does not imply a contradiction. God has not revealed that to us completely. This particular complaint is embarrassing for you as a Calvinist. Why does God choose one man over another to be his elect? Is his decision arbitrary? ; Or did He have a [non-arbitrary] reason? If the latter, does not such a reason imply that His will is naturally necessitated? So now, God is necessitated to redeem. So then his mercy is dependent on him showing that mercy to a creature. The exact complaint that I showed is pagan dualism.



“There must be some other “world” agreeable to the divine nature on your view, or else this world would have been necessary, a point to which you strenuously object.”

>>>I still think you are using the word “necessary” ambiguously. Along with the nature-will conflation I think we now have a logical necessity-chronological necessity conflation arising.

I believe that this world is chronologically necessary not logically necessary. I think you believe that it is both. Thus in order for your argument to be consistent, you must provide the logical reason why God chose one man over another for salvation. If one must know every reason behind God’s volitions to escape arbitrarity, then you must explain the logical reason why God chose one man over another to be his elect.  The last time I brought this up you said,

“In a manner of speaking, this is true. I think it would be more technically correct to say that while we have the reason – it is according to His good pleasure because it maximally manifests His glory – we are at present unable to understand how the election of one man over against another (abstractly considered) functions toward this end. It’s a question of how, not why. And in any case, I admit that there is a necessary reason for electing one man over against another.”

You also said,

“Are you saying that because God’s glory would be maximally manifested by His creation of this world, this world is what He chose to create?”

To which I replied,

>>>Maybe, maybe not. The MODE AND CIRCUMSTANCE is not revealed only the essential purpose [God”s glory-DS].

You responded,

“What mode and circumstance are you referring to, and how is it revealed (or is it)?”

To which I replied,

“>>>Your assertion is that THIS PARTICULAR creation (mode and circumstance of a creation) is a necessity of divine nature for the maximizing of God’s glory. I say that this particular creation is not a necessity of nature but a [chronological] necessity deriving from the eternality of divine will for God’s glory. I am not going to commit myself to the idea that THIS PARTICULAR creation is the only possible way God could have maximized his glory. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t I don’t know.”


“I believe last time we established that another such “world” would have been one in which God didn’t create.”

>>>And I replied that your statement itself is meaningless, because you are making God a world. I said,

“Sure it does. You want to put God into the category of the “other possible world” and the entire endeavor is getting quite goofy.”

Your argument assumes upon a denial of creation ex nihilo.


“That would be, you said, consistent with the divine nature.”

>>>Did I? Where? I thought I challenged the meaning of your premise every time.

“This is why the instantiation of this “world” must have been arbitrary relative to any other “world” which would have been agreeable to the divine nature. This is why I say that on your view, the divine will is arbitrary. Anything you could adduce as a reason for God’s instantiation of this “world” (e.g. “for His glory”) could without exception have been adduced as a reason for the other.”

>>>That same argument could be applied to soteriology, which you have yet to face. An appeal to ignorance is not an appeal to arbitrarity.

“The word “reason” can be replaced by the word “basis” and as we have discussed many times there are two of those in God: nature and will. So yes you could ask what was the basis of his eternal will, and I would respond, the agreeability of his nature.

“I am afraid the point has been missed. If I ask what the basis or reason is that, given that world A (in which God creates) and world B (in which God never creates) are both agreeable to His nature, God chose to instantiate world A rather than world B, the answer “it was agreeable to His nature” doesn’t suffice.”

>>>That is because you have changed the question. Notice, above the question is “What is the basis for God’s will to create”? In the latter the question is, “why is this world agreeable to his nature and another is not?” TO THAT QUESTION I TAP OUT IN IGNORANCE.

“Drake does mention that there are two “reasons” or “bases”in God, but He doesn’t elaborate as to what that means.”

>>>Reason 1-A chronological necessity extending fro the eternality of the divine will.

Reason 2- A logical necessity extending from the absolute necessity or agreeability of the divine nature.

“in what way does his answers to these questions solve the problem of seeming arbitrariness (i.e. God’s choosing of world A which is no more or less agreeable to His nature than world B would have been)?”

>>>I have already refuted  the premise that ignorance=arbitrarity.

“Firstly, I have to wonder what was the point of the previous questions designed to determine whether I was speaking of necessity “according to nature”or necessity “according to will” when it is apparent he already knew I was speaking about the former.”

>>>I don’t understand this paragraph.

“More importantly, how is the will of God necessary if it is not necessitated by His nature?”

>>>Chronologically. Thus other possible worlds are chronologically  eliminated.

“Now Drake offers a few criticisms of his own. Firstly, he thinks that my assertion that there are not multiple possible worlds agreeable to God’s nature implies “a conflation of activity, essence and existence. This is ADS.”

>>>The exact phrase I responded to was, “but I assert that creation is not consubstantial with the Father because the Father did not [and, therefore, could not”. Here we have activity (Which I use synonymously with existence IN THIS CONTEXT), “the Father did”, with nature and will, “could not”. I don’t think you have fairly faced the argument. .

“why does Drake think that “the Son and Spirit [are] said to be eternally begotten and spirated because the divine nature is communicated to them” suggests arbitrarity?”

>>>Because on my view eternal generation and spiration are the means/channels/relation, by which the communication is made. If they already have the communication logically before the eternal generation and spiration, there is no need for these activities. They are arbitrarily thrown into the mix to make it look like the Christian view.

“I stated the existences of the Son and Spirit are necessary in any case, so if everything God wills is to maximize the manifestation of His glory, and the Father has communicated divinity (and individuating properties) to two other subjects, the logical conclusion is that this communication is willed for His glory”

>>>That activity is not from the will but the nature.

“which is clearly not ad hoc.”

>>>You are confusing categories. You think that purpose equals basis. You are getting the cart before the horse.

His last argument, stated here, explains why he thinks that it is necessary to maintain that creation is not necessary according to God’s nature, and this, unless I am mistaken, is supposed to show why that which is derived by a necessity of nature is that to which the divine nature is communicated. Essentially, the argument is that if creation is necessary according to God’s nature, such makes God’s nature dependent on creation, which is pagan.

>>>Which you have already admitted to:

“I think I finally understand your argument. I haven’t really grasped it until now. It’s this:

God’s nature is His attributes. You think that I am asserting God’s nature depends on creation in the sense that God’s mercy, wrath, justice, compassion, goodness, etc. (or at least one of those attributes) requires a creation. If mercy et. al. could be predicated of God apart from creation, then it could not be the case that creation necessarily follows from the divine nature. If mercy et. al. cannot be predicated of God apart from creation, these divine attributes would “depend” on creation, and so divine nature wouldn’t be self-sufficient in that sense. Is that right?

This seems true and that you have a point here. I need to think about it, as well as the implications of each position. Could you expand a bit more on what would follow if God’s self-sufficiency were denied? You’ve referenced a few concepts, but I would need more than just “that’s Plotinian” or pagan. Not to say that I would want to be associated with either, obviously, but I still have one problem with your position:”


“But dependent in what sense? In my article on Clarke, Drake made the point – with which I agree – that the properties of the Father logically depend on the Son. The Father cannot be the Father unless there is a Son, which is no problem since the Son has always existed. But this isn’t pagan, is it?”

>>>No, it is not pagan because as you admit, the Son is not a creature, he is eternal. But wait, we have already established though, that the Son is consubstantial with the Father.

“The Son metaphysically depends on the Father, yet the Father too in some sense depends on the Son. If no deficiency in the Father is implied in this case, then I do not see why, by way of analogy, it may not be said that creation is necessary according to God’s nature so long as it is clarified that any implied dependency doesn’t suggest deficiency.”

>>>First of all, my argument (Which is the same as my argument regarding divine infinity), is that an absolute necessity to create extending from the divine nature (ANC), requires that the meaning of the attributes, their definition, is dependent on a creation. A dependence, not in the order of existing in the genus of being, but a logical order in the genus of epistemology.  Thus this logical dependency, requires that the objects juxtaposed to the attributes, must always be so juxtaposed in order that the attributes may be so defined. Thus the creation must also be eternal.

So the emphasis, is not on a deficiency, in the order of existing in the genus of being, but on the nature of the logical juxtaposition, which is the Neoplatonic, infinte-finite; ying and yang dialectic.

“Indeed, creation is from God precisely because God had a reason to create. That this reason is necessary according to His nature rather anticipates any objection that this reason is externally imposed on God.”

>>>I am not saying that your view imposes a creation above God, just like Plotinus did not place the hierarchy of being above the One but emanating out of it.

“God is sufficiently able to effect that which He most strongly desires; the fact that He must do so according to His nature is not because of what creation is”

>>>By “what creation is”, do you refer to the genus of being or epistemology?


“The creation clearly metaphysically depends on the Creator”

>>In the order of existing sure, but the meaning of both is dependent on the juxtaposition in your theology.

“but it must also be kept in mind that it is the nature of God that determines the nature of creation”

>>>In the genus of being, but not in the genus of epistemology. Thus in the order of existing, not the logical order: on your theology, and guess what, in Plotinus’ theology.

“It is rather like epistemology: in epistemology, there are axioms and theorems. In short, axioms are the set of propositions purported to be sufficient in order for knowledge to be possible.”

>>>But that knowledge depends on a genus of being, an order of existing which begins with the mind of the Father.

“They are preconditions for knowledge.”

>>>In the genus of epistemology sure, and I know these two genuses have some overlap, but the “existence” of the Father’s mind, makes all that epistemology possible in the order of existing.








Common Grace and Divine Dispositions in the Economy of Salvation Monday, May 14 2012 


God is 1.) Universally gracious to all his creatures. 2.) Generally gracious to mankind including the elect wicked.3.) Covenantaly gracious to his Church-those who profess the true religion, though a mixed group of saved and unsaved  4.) Especially and Effectually gracious only to his elect.

I.) God’s Will – What is God’s disposition towards men?

A.) God has a Preceptive (Moral) De Jure Will: What it should be. God has a Decretive (Quoad Eventum)Will; What they will be or what it is. Though God only has one will (The decretive will), the Preceptive will is an execution of part of the decretive will. See The Divine Will by Drake.

Here are a few examples:

i.) Moral Will – 7th Commandment- Forbidding adultery

Decreed Will- Psalm 139:16 David commits adultery

ii.) Moral will (De Jure) Jon 3:4 “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Should be destroyed, they deserve to be destroyed.

Decreed Will (Quoad Eventum) Jon 3:10  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (Rutherford, Covenant of Life Opened [COL] pg. 8)

iii.) Review: In reference to God’s dealings with men he tells us what things ought to be, but for his own purposes he has decreed that things will be very different than the way they ought to be.

B.) Relation to the salvation of men

i.)Positive aspects

1.) God’s Dispositions are manifested in a love that desires the salvation of all men (Volition reflecting nature not decree) and shows goodness and kindness to all men that should lead them to repentance.

a.) Mark 10:21

Mar 10:21  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Mar 10:22  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Mar 10:23  And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”

Do hardened sinners grieve over the Word? Yes. There is some grace mingled with reprobation:

Mat 27:3  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,Mat 27:4  Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.Mat 27:5  And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

b.) Ezekiel 33:11

c.) Acts 17:30 Commands all to repent according to the De Jure Preceptive Will not Decreed Qouad Eventum.

d.)  Romans 2:4-5

I am not saying that God’s grace tries but that it should or ought lead to repentance. Goodness ought, de jure, bring sinners to repentance. But Qoud eventum does not always bring sinners to repentance because God does not provide the condition, though he still holds sinners responsible to repent.

e.) The goodness and kindness shown to the reprobate

1.) Luke 6:35 We should not think this refers only to the elect wicked. For one, we do not know who the elect wicked are. Secondly, we are commanded to love as God does. If the hyper Calvinist was correct it would follow that we only love the elect and only hate the wicked.

2.) Mat 5:45 

3.) Acts 14:16-17

Objection.) The Bible says that God hates the wicked.

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Psa 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psa 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Answer) God displays:

1. A Love of Complacency to converted elect

2. A Love of Benevolence to non elect Reprobate

3. Wrath and Curse Federally but not Penally to non converted Elect for the non converted elect receive afflictions that are Evangelical not Judicial. Rutherford, Covenant of Life Opened [COL] pg. 8

4. Wrath and Curse Federally and Penally to non elect Reprobate for the afflictions of these people are merely the beginning of their satisfaction of Law Vengeance.  

5. Paternal wrath towards converted elect

6. Hatred only for the Reprobate- Jer 31:3

Objection.) God is only good to the wicked that he may condemn them the more!

Psa 92:5  O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

Psa 92:6  A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

Psa 92:7  When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:

Psalm 69:21-28, Psalm 73:18-19

Answer.) There are 4 major purposes for God’s kindness to the wicked:

1.) De Jure to bring to repentance,

2.) To treasure up judgment on them for the full manifestation of his justice in condemning them,

3.) Though God’s longsuffering is primarily to usward, consequently he is being longsuffering with the wicked to sustain the society of men while God effectually calls and perfects his elect in time.

4.) Through “common grace” God restrains the sinfulness of men (Tower of Babel) making them productive in society, producing and inventing things that continue the process of eliminating the suffering of the curse of sin. These are not good works, because they are not done for the glory of Yahweh.

C.) Concerning God’s hatred and love

If God only loves the elect and only hates the wicked, it would follow that the elect unconverted were never under God’s wrath and curse in any way. From this notion has sprung the doctrine of eternal justification. So if we reject eternal justification (Rom 8:30) what is God’s disposition toward the elect before effectual calling?

Rutherford: Romans 4

Before Conversion the elect sinner is federally under the curse and wrath of God’s law according to the covenant of works. However, the punishments that God afflicts the non converted elect with do not satisfy his law-vengeance against them but this affliction is evangelical to bring him to repentance.  After repentance, the elect are federally in Christ and are sons and therefore the afflictions God brings on us for sin are paternal to conform us to Christ.  The non-converted reprobate are federally under the curse and wrath of God and the punishments and afflictions he brings on them are according to his Law-Vengeance and Curse and should (de jure) bring them to repentance but actually and decretivly (qoud eventum) are only the beginning of God’s wrath being satisfied in them which will be completed in the lake of fire.


1. Does this grace flow from the atonement?

Only indirectly; directly, it flows from God’s nature. The atonement pertains to the decree, common grace pertains to divine nature. All things are related in some sense and so some benevolent consequences (not efficacious benefits of the COG) flow from the Atonement to all men.

2. How does common grace apply to loving your enemies?

A.) In Christian Sanctification we are admonished to imitate our father in heaven with reference to our enemies. Eph 5:1, Luk 6:36.

B.) If you believe that God is only merciful to the elect, this will greatly affect your views of Christian sanctification.

3. Did Christ obey the second law, love thy neighbor as thyself?

Yes. The Hyper Calvinists say that Christ only loved the elect. In HC-ism it follows that we only love the elect and only hate the wicked. This would contradict the verses that teach to love our enemies.

Sean Gerety Tries to Buttress His Hyper-Calvinism Thursday, Dec 1 2011 

In his blog  Calvin the Hyper-Calvinist Gerety celebrates his ad extra economia with quotation from Calvin.

Calvin the Hyper-Calvinist

“Hugh McCann recently sent me a few selected quotes from Calvin’s Calvinism : Treatises on ‘The Eternal Predestination of God’ and ‘The Secret Providence of God’ that were so good that I decided to post virtually the entire passage from page 157 through 167.  It has been quite a few years since I’ve read this book, but it is an invaluable resource to anyone still debating the completely discredited and irrational doctrine of the so-called “well meant offer” where God is said to ineffectually wish for, or desire, the salvation of all men universally considered through the preaching of the gospel.  Ineffectually simply because the reprobate, the non-elect, never come to saving faith and is why defenders of the WMO, like John Murray, posit in God “an ardent desire for the fulfillment of certain things [i.e., the salvation of the reprobate] which he has not decreed in his inscrutable counsel to come to pass…”

What Gerety and Co. still refuse to deal with is John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice where he clearly refutes the ad extra economia of Calvin and Rutherford. Trueman, in his essay John Owen’s Dissertation on Divine Justice admits that Calvin made the same mistake as Rutherford’s ad extra economia when he says,

“Thus, Calvin, in commenting on John 15:13, makes the following comment:

God could have redeemed us by a word or a wish, save that another way seemed to him best for our sakes: that by not sparing His own and only-begotten Son, he might testify in His person how much he cares for our salvation. And those hearts must be harder than  iron or stone which are not softened  by  the incomparable sweetness of the divine love.

Here, it is clear that Calvin  grounds the necessity  of Christ’s death in  an  act of God’s will, not in his vindicatory justice. This view was not found to be at all unacceptable amongst the Reformed  orthodox  in  seventeenth-century  Britain, and  the Westminster Confession, not surprisingly, makes no explicit ruling on this issue. As noted above, it is found in the writings of such  impeccably  Orthodox  figures as Twisse and  Rutherford  and  is thus scarcely  a peculiar position for a Reformed theologian to hold.” (pg. 90-91)

The Hyper Calvinists deny volition at the level of precept/nature to deny the Free Offer while the East denies volition at the level of nature to deny Vindicating Justice; Two sides and extremes of the same error. Does Gerety escape the Hyper- Calvinist accusation? No.

Is Grace Alien to Man’s Original State or Was the Covenant of Works Itself Gracious? The former I deny the later I affirm. Thursday, Nov 24 2011 

Most apologetical works of the Eastern Orthodox against Calvinism are aimed at a Hyper-Calvinist straw man. The Eastern Orthodox apologists try to make grace something alien to nature in Reformed Theology so that they can corner it in an accusation that the entire system is Pelagian.  InAmerica, since the rejection of nationally established Protestant nations a view of the covenant of grace has been taken to buttress the idea of pluralism and it is loaded with Hyper-Calvinism. It is the system of Thomas Boston which shares many similarities with the Reformed Baptist system which is Hyper-Calvinism Par Excellence. In opposition to these errors I affirm  with Rutherford that the  Covenant of Works was ITSELF a gracious covenant.

Samuel Rutherford says,

“In all pactions between the Lord and man, even in a Law-Covenant there is some outbreakings of grace. It is true, there was no Gospel-Grace, that is a fruit of Christ’s merit in this Covenant. But yet if grace be taken for undeserved goodness: There are these respects of grace. 1. That God might have given to Adam something inferior to the glorious image of God, that consists in true righteousness, knowledge of God, and holiness, Gen 1:26, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10 … 2. Being and dominion over the creatures is of undeserved goodness … 3. The Covenant of Works itself, that God out of sovereignty does not command, is undeserved condescending; that God bargains for hire, do this and live, whereas he may … [as] Sovereign Lawgiver … charge and command us, is overcoming goodness. Law is honeyed with love, and hire; it is mercy that for our penny of obedience, so rich a wage as communion with God is given…”

Samuel Rutherford, The Covenant of Life Opened: Or, A Treatise on the Covenant of Grace (Edinburgh: Robert Broun for Andrew Anderson), 35.

Darkness: A Consistent Hyper-Calvinist Saturday, Oct 1 2011 

It is the hallmark of the Hyper-Calvinst movement to posit an absolute determination to create the universe in God. This is contrasted with the Puritan view which rejects an arbitrary will on the Pelagian side  and also rejects an absolute determination on the Hyper-Calvinist side to affirm a divine volition agreeable to nature but not absolutely necessary to nature.

Turretin says, Institutes, Vol. 1, 5th Topic, Q. 11, “XVI. Although original righteousness can properly be called ‘grace’ or a ‘gratuitous gift’ (and so not due on the part of God, just as the nature itself also, created by him), it does not follow that it is supernatural or not due to the perfection of the innocent nature. For although God owed nothing to man, yet it being posited that he willed to create man after his own image, he was bound to create him righteous and holy.” (pg. 473)

Owen says,

“Of this kind is his purpose of creating the world, and in it rational creatures, properly adapted to know and obey the creator, benefactor, and Lord of all. In works of this kind, God hath exercised the greatest liberty : his infinitely wise and infinitely free will is the fountain and origin of all things. Neither is there in God any kind of justice, or any other essential attribute, which could prescribe any limits or measure to the divine will. But this decree of creating being supposed, the divine will undergoes a double necessity, so to speak, both in respect of the event, and in respect of its manner of acting. For in respect of the event, it is necessary, from the immutability of God, that the world should be created: and in respect of the manner of doing it, that it should be done omnipotently, because God is essentially omnipotent; and it being once supposed that he wills…to do any work without himself, he must do it omnipotently. Yet, notwithstanding these considerations, in the creation of the world, God was entirely a free agent: he exercised will and understanding in acting, although the choice of acting or not acting, and of acting in one particular way or another, is taken away by his immutability and omnipotence…These loud outcries, therefore, which the adversaries so unseasony make against our opinion, as if it determined God to be an absolutely necessary agent in his operations ad extra, entirely vanish and come to nought. But we will treat more fully of these things, when we come to answer objections.” T​he Works of John Owen, Volume 9, A Dissertation on Divine Justice, pg. 360-363 [London: Printed for Richard Baynes, 1826]

The Hyper-Calvinist view must have the attributes of God dependent on the creation as an absolute necessity. God’s goodness is therefore dependent on creation. This is pagan par excellence. Here, in the famous movie, Legend the character Darkness explains the Hyper- Calvinist view perfectly:

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.

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.

The Covenant of Redemption; Adoptionism; Justification and Christology by Drake Saturday, Jul 9 2011 

The Covenant of Redemption, Justification and Christology

Is Christ a Son by Nature or by Adoption?

Bostonian and Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology Refuted

Perry Robinson has correctly complained of the Adoptionist Tendencies of Bostonian Reformed Theology. Robinson complains,

“His [Calvin’s] Christology precludes such a view since “Christ” is the person of the mediator, which is more for Calvin and the Reformed tradition than the person of the Eternal Logos… Given that the Sonship of Christ per the person of the mediator comes into existence at the incarnation for the Reformed… Buchanan’s work (which I’ve read) is predicated upon the same faulty Reformed Christology where the person of the mediator is a product of the union, tying two things together under a single name.”

Now, I must admit that this complaint does strike the target when discussing Bostonian views of the Covenants, which in itself is in essence no different than the Reformed Baptist view.

First, to be fair to Calvin, though Calvin did emphasize seeking “the person of Christ not in the eternal person of the Son but in the incarnate mediator.” This statement in itself does not require an Adoptionist or Nestorian view. He is not saying that the mediator begins with the human nature. He says that the Mediator is RECOGNIZED in a human nature. However, Calvin did teach “it is nevertheless only in union with human nature that we recognize the person of the mediator.” (Christ and the Decree, by Richard Muller [The Labyrinth Press: Durham, North Carolina, 1986] pg. 29) So is Calvin here saying that the mediator was not until he took flesh? No. Muller makes very clear, “Calvin does, in fact, speak of the ‘person of the mediator’ prior to the incarnation, in reference to the Old testament witness…The eternal Son is designated as mediator prior to the incarnation and performs his office in the communication of God’s Word to man.”(pg. 29) Muller affirms that it was the medieval scholastics who…affirmed Christ as mediator according to his humanity in order to state that the eternal divine person, apart from the hypostatic union, does not mediate”. (pg. 33) On page 36 Muller discusses the place of Christ in the ordo salutis. The question is, how does he appear in the history of redemption? A question that Muller brings up regards the Predestination of Christ. Muller refers to the Augustinian view through Toledo 675 A.D. and Thomas Aquinas as, “The man Jesus or, more precisely, his human nature was predestined to be the Son of God in incarnation…The predestination of Christ according to his human nature establishes the form of man’s redemption.” (Christ and the Decree, pg. 36-27)

The place of Christ in the History of Redemption as it relates to man’s salvation was also a debate in Scotland in the 17th century. Thomas Boston (1676-1732) proposed a view of the Covenant of Grace that “the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace, are not two distinct covenants, but one and the same covenant.” (The Complete Works of Thomas Boston, by Thomas Boston, ed. Samuel M’Millan (reprint, Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1980), 8:396). Boston’s followers included the Secession Church that broke off from the Church of Scotland and most American Reformed that I know of.  The Presbyterian Seminary that I attended in South Carolina taught this view and it is virtually indistinguishable from the Reformed Baptist view.

Those who hold to Boston’s view speak of the one Covenant of Grace made between God and Christ, with the elect in Him; ergo, only believers in the COG.  This Bostonian COG has two aspects: an eternal and a temporal aspect.

Samuel Rutherford had earlier proposed a more traditional view that the eternal Covenant is called the Covenant of Redemption as is made between the Father and the Son. This is distinct from the Covenant of Grace which is made between God and all those who profess faith. The promises of the covenants are different.  To Christ it was promised, upon supplying the condition of the terms of the Covenant of Redemption, to be rewarded by being seated at God’s right hand, to rule over the whole world, to have a an elect seed and be the mediator of his people.  These rewards are not promised to those in the Covenant of Grace.  The promises to those in the Covenant of Grace include the remission of sins, being accounted righteous in Christ, the adoption as sons, a new nature, and holiness among others.  These are not promises that Christ received. It was because Christ’s humanity was NOT “the form of man’s redemption” that the COR was distinct from the COG. Samuel Rutherford says,

“Whosoever receives in his body the Seals of the Covenant of Grace, Circumcision, and Baptism, and yet needs no putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by Circumcision, and needs no forgiveness of sin, no regeneration, no burying with Christ in Baptism, as Colossians 2:11 , 12; Romans 6:3-5, and eats the Passover, and needs not that the Lamb of God take away his sins, as John 1:29 since he is holy, and without sin, he must be under the Covenant, and God must be his God, in some other Covenant than sinners areChrist must have received Seals for other uses and ends, then sinners received them” (Covenant of Life Opened, pg. 418)

If one affirms that Christ is in the same COG as sinners, he cannot escape from Robinson’s argument that this is an ipso facto admission that Christ is a Son of God by adoption as believers are, and not by nature.

I agree with Charles Hodge who says on Romans 1:4,

“Verse 4. Declared to be the Son of God. The word [horizein] means, 1. To limit, or bound, and, in reference to ideas, to define. 2. To determine. Luke xxii. 22, Acts ii. 23, Heb. iv. 7. 3. To appoint, or constitute. Acts x. 42..Acts xvii. 31. This last sense is given by some few commentators to [horisdenvtos] in this passage. The apostle would then say that Christ was appointed, or constituted the Son of God, by or after his resurrection. But this is inconsistent with what he elsewhere teaches, viz. that Christ was the Son of God before the foundation of the world, Col. i. 15. As shown above, Son of God is not a title of office, but of nature, and therefore Christ cannot be said to have been constituted the Son of God. This interpretation also would involve the latter part of the verse in great difficulties. Hence even those commentators who most strenuously insist on adhering to the signification of words, are constrained, ex necessitate loci, to understand [horisdentos] here declaratively, or in reference to the knowledge of men. That is, when Christ is said to be constituted the Son of God, we are not to understand that he became or was made Son, but was, in the view of men, thus determined.

The Vulgate reads, qui praedestinatus est, which version is followed by most of the Roman Catholic interpreters, and by Grotius. This rendering is probably founded on the reading, [proorisdentos] which, although old, has little evidence in its favour. Neither is the sense thus expressed suited to the context. Christ was not predestinated to be the Son of God. He was such from eternity“.

Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, pg 26-27

So, did the Sonship of Christ come into existence at his incarnation? No. John L. Girardeau says in Discussions of Theological Questions The Doctrine of Adoption II.,

“It is not intended to intimate that Christ was possessed of a two-fold sonship, as he was divine and as he was human. Upon this point I must confer with Dr. Candlish in opposition to Dr. Crawford. His sonship is eternally one. Had he become the Son of God as human, and thus in addition to his divine sonship, assumed human sonship, the consequence would be involved that he became a human person, since sonship supposes personality. That doctrine the church has always rejected, The last attempt made to support it, by the school of the “Adoptionists” failed to receive the suffrages of the Roman Catholic Church, and has not been approved by the Protestant. …We are thus, if believers, first, made one with God’s Son by community of nature-we become his brethren and therefore sons of God with him. Secondly, we are partakers of his life, because partakers of his Spirit and are as he is in God the Father’s regard. Thirdly, we are possessed by imputation of filial obedience, which performed the condition upon which we are indefectibly instated as sons in the fatherly favor of God.”

John L. Girardeau, ed., George Blackburn, Discussions of Theological Questions (reprint,Harrisonburg, Va: Sprinkle Publications, 1886; Richmond: The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1905), 487-488. Footnote

Girardeau says the same of believers that we can as sons obey as a servant. He says on page 482,

“I am constrained to believe that while the two relations co-existed in Christ, and co-exist in the believer, they are not identical. The one is not sunk in the other. The two sorts of obedience springing from them possess in themselves considered, distinctive specific characteristics. They are, however, brought into consistency of one generic obedience upon the one person who obeys. Somewhat like the two natures in Christ, the two relations are brought into union with each other upon one and the same person, but are not interfused or blended so as to lose their peculiar properties. And as in the latter case the personal obedience was undivided, so in the former…I can see no reason, therefore, for receding from the position, that the obedience of Christ as the mediatorial servant of the Father, a subject under moral law, grounded the Justification of his people as subjects of law, and that his obedience as a [eternal] Son grounded their Adoption as children in God’s house. The one entitles them to bow before God’s throne, the other to sit at God’s table.”

Perry says,

“If the righteousness is an earned righteousness then that which is declared is created. If it is earned by Christ’s humanity, then it isn’t eternal. Or do you propose some other righteousness than that merited by Christ?”

This is Equivocation. The idea in Reformed is that the essential and uncreated righteousness of God is declared in punishing the sin of the elect and having mercy on the elect through imputing the created surety righteousness of Christ to them. Buchanan says,

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

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

So what is uncreated on my view of Redemption? Girardeau says, our Sonship in Adoption as we are directly united to Christ’s human nature not his divine nature (Discussions, pg. 488) and I would add the objects of God’s mind that the believer participates in univocally. The eternal Sonship is not earned by Christ’s humanity. Christ’s humanity is the Eternal Son by Hypostatic Union.

Perry Robinson also complains,

“As to the conceptual matters, the Nestorians admitted one “person” of Jesus Christ. They also admitted that things true of his humanity could be spoken of this one “person” with no communication of energies. What they would not admit was that this one “person” was the eternal Son, the divine Logos and so it was impossible for them to admit that God suffered, died or was born. Hence their aversion to the term Theotokos. In their view, the “person” Jesus Christ was the product or result of the union of the two natures. This is why it is possible to give an unorthodox reading to the statement that after the Incarnation Jesus is a composite hypostasis. That could mean that the person is the product of the two natures coming into union or it could mean that the one divine person takes human nature into his divine person. The latter is orthodox while the former is heterodox. Consequently, there is no divine-human person of Christ, as the Westminster Confession apparently and erroneously teaches, when it states,

“So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. (WCF 8.2)”

Rutherford says of the Covenant of Redemption,

“it is an eternal transaction and compact between Jehovah and the second Person the Son of God, who gave personal consent that he should be the Undertaker, and no otherChrist is predestinate the head, the firstborn of the house, and of the many brethren, and say Amen to the choice, and we are chosen in him, as our head, and he was foreordained the Mediator, and the Lamb before the foundation of the world was laid, to be slain for our sin.” (pg. 429-430)

The Sum of Saving Knowledge states,

“2b The sum of the Covenant of Redemption is this: God having freely chosen to life a certain number of lost mankind, for the glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the world began, to God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himself so far as to assume the human nature, of a soul and a body, to personal union with his divine nature, and submit himself to the law, as surety for them, and satisfy justice for them, by giving obedience in their name, even to the suffering of the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom and redeem them all from sin and death, and purchase to them righteousness and eternal life, with all saving graces leading there to, to be effectually, by means of his own appointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This condition the Son of God (who is Jesus Christ our Lord) did accept before the world began, and in the fulness of time came into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected himself to the law, and completely paid the ransom on the cross: But by virtue of the foresaid bargain, made before the world began, he is in all ages, since the fall of Adam, still upon the work of applying actually the purchased benefits of the elect; and that he does by way of entertaining a covenant of free grace and reconciliation with them, through faith in himself; by which covenant, he makes over to every believer a right and interest to himself, and to all his blessings”

Here Rutherford and the Sum of Saving Knowledge affirm clearly that the same Eternal Person who authored the COR is the same Person who suffered on the cross. This person was not a product of the union between human and divine but was an Eternal Person who assumed a human nature.  This was the point that convinced me of the hypostatic union a year ago.

So what does it mean to be united to Christ? First, it means that Christ represents you in the Covenant of Redemption. This is a Representational Union. See Samuel Rutherford, Covenant and Life Opened and my article concerning it here. Second, it means that the Ideas in the Logos are directly and univocally impressed upon the mind of a man. Isa 53:11 By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many. These Ideas are not just general propositions that all men receive but the propositions of special revelation written upon the heart. No doubt the Scholastic and the Easterner will flip the script when they read this so I have provided articles here and here in reply regarding the Logos and Saving Faith.

Do I affirm the Theotokos? Yes. See here:

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

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. ”

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