Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

January 30, 2007

Christian Mind paper part the third: Covenant of R…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 3:03 am

Christian Mind paper part the third: Covenant of Redemption

Reserving the covenant of redemption for a separate treatment is warranted because many Christian Theologians, as noted in part above, restrict the covenant concept to only those “transactions” that occur in Biblical history and therefore don’t consider what is typically referred to by this covenant as a covenant in any sense at all. Consequently, it is dropped from the discussion. However, though not explicitly named a covenant of redemption, the WCF points to the intratrinitarian commitment that lays the groundwork for the works principle manifested in the covenant of works and the plan of redemption (which itself is based on Christ fulfilling his covenant of works made with the Father):

It pleased God , in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten son, to be the mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest and King, the Head and Savior of his church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom from all eternity give a people, to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified1.

And further in the confession:

The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.2

The covenant of redemption is different from all other covenants on three counts. The first is that it is the only covenant that is made not between God and man, but between the persons of the trinity. The second is that it is the only covenant not named as such even if implicitly.3 Thirdly, the covenant of redemption, precisely because it was not initiated at some specific place and time in the history of creation is not a covenant whose defenders can point to a specific passage that details it fully.

Essentially, the covenant of redemption is a works covenant. The pledge “this I will do” forms the basis of the covenant. God the Father elects a rebellious covenant breaking people for himself which he promises to give as an inheritance to his Son. God the Son promises to work as the second Adam (and as the true Israel) in order to reconcile the rebellious elect to the Father. God the Spirit promises to effectually bring these rebellious elect to saving belief in the Son.

1WCF Ch. 8, P1.

2WCF Ch. 8, P3.

3The Davidic covenant of 2 Sam. 7 is not named a covenant during the historical event when it is announced but is referred to as a covenant in Psalm 89:3. Likewise, the Adamic covenant of works is referred to as a covenant in Hosea 6:7.

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83 Comments »

  1. A note on your footnote 3: the Davidic Covenant is named as such by God in 2 Chr 7:18.

    What do you make of the conditions of obedience/faithfulness in 2 Chr 7:17-22? Is this an extension of the Davidic Covenant, converting it from unilateral (Royal Grant) to bilateral (Suzerainty) form? Is this “Solomonic Covenant” recognized as distinct from the Davidic (somewhat in the way that the Mosaic Covenant is distinct from the Abrahamic Covenant)?

    Finally, what do you make of Gen 22:16-18, when God reiterates the Abrahamic covenant, as conditional on Abraham’s (already completed) obedience? Or the possibility that Gen 12:1 is a condition for the first pronouncement of the AbCov in 12:2-3?

    Some questions from our friend Frank Valenti, maybe that will spice up your blog for a while…

    Comment by RubeRadhttp://ruberad.wordpress.com — January 30, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  2. Your questions regarding the conditionality of the royal grant are good and worth exploring.

    I will submit what I know tonight.

    As for spice, I don’t need any.

    Comment by Bruce S — January 30, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  3. Yup, needs a little spice. Interesting content, but not exactly riveting prose. How about, “dispensationalism sucks”, or “The Covenant of Redemption kicks all the other covenants’ butts!” Now you’ve got the kids involved, and Jerry Springer interested in theology.

    Comment by Albino Hayfordhttp://jimost.wordpress.com — January 31, 2007 @ 5:09 am

  4. I won’t give much of an answer – mostly because I don’t see these so called conditions as anywhere near offsetting the “I wills” in Scripture.

    The promise of God to Abraham, of course, has two manifestations. The land – which of course the Israelites got. And the heavenly city, which is what believers (pilgrims) were really looking for. Israel’s stay in the earthly land was conditional on obedience only because of the works covenant. The prophetic lawsuits were tempered by God’s longsuffering accompanied by “but for the covenant I swore to your fathers A,I, and J”. Also, mercifully, the exile was a 70 year “timeout”. Go to your room. A way to stage the drama of redemption in ways not imagined.

    If FV is correct, I’m going to hell. And I will be a miserable son of a bitch all the way there. The FV burden is too much. I’ve seen too much of the theology of glory to ever want to go back and get any more of it. In other words this isn’t a hair-splitting debate to me.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 1, 2007 @ 5:31 am

  5. For clarification, I am disobedient and can’t see much of a change in this regard down the road. That is, I haven’t cut off my hand, plucked out my eyes or sold everything I have and given the money to the poor. These flagrant acts of disobedience are what will damn me if FV is right.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 1, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

  6. Now that I’ve thought about it, here’s what makes sense to me:

    Unlike the Mosaic and Adamic (and “Solomonic”?) covenants which include continuing conditions (blessings & cursings, do this and live, fail and earn death), AbCov (Gen 22:16, 12:1) has preconditions. Just like the New Covenant has the precondition of Christ’s obedience. This is the big difference: nowhere does God tell Abraham “I am making a covenant with you, but if you screw it up, the deal is off!”. That type of statement is what God promised to Adam, Moses, and Solomon, and all of them did end up screwing up, and they all got the promised curses — God is faithful to his word though we are not! But God’s promise to Abraham (and Adam&Eve (Gen 3) and David, and Christ) has no escape clause, no possibility of revocation due to our unfaithfulness. They are promises from God, and they unilaterally and reliably depend on God’s own faithfulness.

    Obviously, Abraham sacrificing Isaac is a type of God sacrificing Jesus (nowhere else in scripture is child sacrifice encouraged or condoned). Therefore, the linkage between Abraham’s faithfulness (and let’s not forget Isaac’s faithfulness — how easy would it have been for a teenager to escape from a ~100 year-old man if he decided not to be obedient to the point of death?) and the initiation/establishment/sealing of the covenant, typifies the Father and the Son executing the Plan of Redemption in order to initiate the New Covenant.

    But still my question remains — does reformed tradition recognize a Solomonic covenant distinct from the Davidic covenant, or am I just crazy?

    Comment by RubeRadhttp://ruberad.wordpress.com — February 3, 2007 @ 4:58 am

  7. Ron reported problems leaving comments, but it just worked for me, so I am attempting to forge a comment from Ron (pasted from email):

    Comment by Lord_Ronhttp://www.xanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 3, 2007 @ 4:59 am

  8. Rube:

    A problem with that structure is it seems to neglect the fact that Abraham was already in covenant with God when he fulfilled the necessary condition of faithfulness. But as both Paul and James remind us, Abraham was justified *before* he was circumcised (Rom 4) and *when* he offered up Isaac (James 2). So the pre-condition, as you put it, was faith. But faithful obedience was an ongoing condition (of which we see the specific instances of circumcision and the offering up of Isaac).

    Also, with the Mosaic as well as the “Solomonic” covenant, there is a failure to note that those covenants are the fullfillment of the covenants that preceeded them (and therefore, in the mono-covenantal paradigm, the same covenant). Let me flesh this out:

    1. God promised Abraham numerous offspring and a place to put them.
    2. The Exodus is one of the firstfruits of that covenant. “God remembered His covenant with Abraham…” (Exodus 2)
    3. When God entered into covenant with Abraham, He also entered into covenant with Abraham’s offspring. (Gen 17:7)
    4. The children of Israel at the Exodus were Abraham’s offspring and therefore living under the Abrahamic covenant.

    Now check this out, here’s the kicker: If the Mosaic covenant was conditioned upon faithful obedience (which we both agree it was), but the Abrahamic covenant was unconditional, then God did in Exodus 20 what you say my understanding of Genesis 22:16 accuses Him of doing to Abraham, that is starting with an unconditional covenant and then backdooring some conditions in there after the fact. The problem presented by this accusation (which we both agree is obviously false) only goes away when one realizes that the Abrahamic covenant began and continued with the ongoing condition of covenant faithfulness.

    Bruce: “I won’t give much of an answer – mostly because I don’t see these so called conditions as anywhere near offsetting the “I wills” in Scripture.”

    Do you see any conditions in Ezekiel 33:13-16 as “offsetting” the “I wills” in that same passage? God even goes so far as to say, “I surely will…” How do you reconcile that passage with your statement quoted above?

    ron

    Comment by Lord_Ronhttp://www.xanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 3, 2007 @ 5:04 am

  9. Testing again — now I’m having trouble…

    Comment by RubeRadhttp://ruberad.wordpress.com — February 3, 2007 @ 5:33 am

  10. Welcome aboard, Ron. I ask simply this: are you asserting somehow that these conditions are attached to something other than the covenant of works? To me these describe the covenant of works.

    I heartily affirm vs. 13 regarding the futility of trusting in my own righteousness. To that I add that I trust in the righteousness of another. I know that is foolish. It will be like walking into a gun battle with no gun. But that is how I read the gospel.

    Please remember that this paper is not about the COW per se. It is about the covenant as a lens into systematic theology, particularly the covenant of redemption as a lens.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 3, 2007 @ 5:39 am

  11. Grrr, gotta type this all in again! It was better the first time!

    “But faithful obedience was an ongoing condition (of which we see the specific instances of circumcision and the offering up of Isaac).”

    Offering up of Isaac was a one-time deal, not an ongoing condition (same as the cross, and we don’t want to crucify Christ again!) And even FV, who is accused of making too much of baptism, would not say that baptism constitutes faithful obedience. Baptism is a one-time initiation event, a sign of entrance to the covenant. Not an ongoing condition.

    “God promised Abraham numerous offspring and a place to put them.”

    But this promise to Abraham has two distinct senses that are difficult to entangle until the clarity of the NT.
    Yes, Israel grew to a large nation, but in the N.T. we learn that the children of Abraham are actually those who have faith. Yes, Moses/Joshua took possession of a physical land, but in Hebrews we learn that Abraham “was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. …a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

    And yes, Moses’ covenant had conditions of faithfulness attached to retention of the physical land by the natural descendants. But a proper N.T. understanding does not require backing Mosaic-style conditions back to Abraham.

    Comment by RubeRadhttp://ruberad.wordpress.com — February 3, 2007 @ 5:41 am

  12. Note: the “Please remember” above was not directed specifically to Ron.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 3, 2007 @ 5:59 am

  13. Rube said, “Offering up of Isaac was a one-time deal, not an ongoing condition (same as the cross, and we don’t want to crucify Christ again!)”

    This is an obvious straw man. Nowhere do I say or even come close to insinuating that we ought to sacrifice Christ again.

    And again, “And even FV, who is accused of making too much of baptism, would not say that baptism constitutes faithful obedience. Baptism is a one-time initiation event, a sign of entrance to the covenant. Not an ongoing condition.”

    Here, you have made a fallacious equivocation. What does baptism have to do with Abraham’s obedience after he was already in covenant with God? Since Abraham was already in covenant with God, his obedience on Mt. Moriah cannot therefore be said to be a “pre-condition” to covenant membership like baptism or circumcision.

    So we are back to the original question. How did a condition find its way into the Abrahamic covenant when that covenant is supposed to be unconditional?

    Comment by Ronxanga.com/lord_ron — February 5, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  14. Wait, there’s more. Was God’s requirement of Abraham to “walk before [Him] and be blameless” (Gen 17:1) a “pre-condition” to covenant entrance? If so, then how long did Abraham have to walk blamelessly before the LORD? Just long enough to meet the necessary “pre-condition” and then he could go back to living however he wanted to? And wasn’t Abraham already in covenant with God via God’s promises to him in Gen 12? Were those just stray promises to one outside of a covenantal relationship with God, or were they the makings of a covenantal relationship?

    And if Gen 17:1 was an ongoing condition, then why not call the Abrahamic covenant a covenant of works?

    And if it was no condition at all then was God just laying out a wish list? “Um, it would be nice if you’d obey me and worship me alone, but I’ll love you, no matter what.” And if that was the case, what made God go all condition-crazy to the latter members of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 17:7) after the Exodus? And their reward for faithfulness was not simply a stretch of land (as as one has implied), but the love of God himself. (Ex 20:6) And you know what? It is the same for us.

    John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

    Was Jesus preaching a “works-based” covenant?

    These two things you will see in every covenant if you honestly look through the scripture and stop trying to cram God’s Word into your works/merit paradigm: Grace and obligation.

    Comment by ronxanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 6, 2007 @ 1:35 am

  15. My short answer is that John 15:10 isn’t materially any different than the conditions expressed in Matthew 5:20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Same deal. Impossible conditions. Why haven’t you cut off your hands and plucked your eyes out Ron? Go ahead, tell me your holier than I am. Go ahead.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 6, 2007 @ 5:54 am

  16. Bruce, do not be deceived, brother. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Was Paul giving an “impossible condition” there in Gal 6? What about Christ to the churches in Revelation? Isn’t repentance from sin a condition for entrance into and continuance in the New Covenant? What is the difference between the Christian’s faith and the faith of demons? Really, I want to know how you understand James 2 or the warnings in Rom 11, 1 Cor 10, or Hebrews 3,6,10. Does 1 John mean to say, “No one knows God”? Because it says we know that we know Him if we obey His commands. The one who says, “I know Him”, but does not obey His commands is a liar.

    I haven’t cut off my hands or plucked out my eyes because they aren’t keeping me from the kingdom. Jesus didn’t really want people to cut off their limbs, bro. You know this. He wanted them to obey Him. In His great commission, He commanded His disciples to baptize and teach obedience. Do you think Christ simply wanted His disciples (and us) to hand out impossible requirements?

    In chapter 14, the WCF says that saving faith yields obedience to the commands of scripture, trembles at the threatenings, and trusts in Christ for sanctification as well as justification. Do you trust in Christ for your sanctification, brother? Or do you think that correct theology is enough to save you? Don’t demons have correct theology?

    Some of your comments on this thread are discouraging, brother. Do you have no hope of growing in obedience in the future?

    Do you not know that you have been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy? In Christ, you have been given grace and He will keep you strong until the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have been entrusted with the secret things of God, but it is required that you prove faithful. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? And that is what you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Do you not know that your body is a member of Christ Himself? I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brother, that our forefathers were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be an idolater, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way of escape so that you can stand up under it.

    I mean this in all sincerity as Paul did when he penned it to the church in Corinth. Notice who and what he says they are, and yet he warns them of falling into sin and being condemned. I will be praying for you, brother. May the Word of God have its way with your heart.

    Grace and Peace in Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ronxanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 6, 2007 @ 9:19 am

  17. Bruce and Rube,

    The more you debate with Ron, the more opportunity you give him to confuse you.

    ron = Rome.

    He confuses and blends justification with sanctification, faith with faithfulness, and consequently, it is no surprise to see him pushing monocovenantalism. The more you debate him, the more convoluted he will get. The more convoluted he gets, the harder you’ll have to work to untie the knots, and the more difficult it will be to keep track of it all. I advise you to drop the conversation with him. Go and read the OPC’s justification report instead.

    Rube,

    The relationship of the Davidic covenant and the Solomonic is akin to that between the Abrahamic and the Mosaic.

    E

    Comment by Michael — February 6, 2007 @ 9:32 am

  18. *sighs*

    Michael,

    If you couldn’t tell, I was actually trying to encourage a brother, not merely win an argument.

    You have made some unsupported assertions about me. Feel free to substantiate them. Use scripture, please. And please answer the questions I have presented concerning the scriptures and WCF passage I have cited. If you are unable to do this, then your accusations against me are unfounded and are nothing more than your breaking of the ninth commandment.

    Comment by Ronxanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 6, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  19. Ron: Michael, you’re ruining my opportunity to sink my claws into these people. I’m harmless. I just want them to be happy.

    Satan: Did God realllllly say?

    Ron: Michael, if you are going to accuse me, substantiate it, because I want to get my claws into you too.

    Ron, if you haven’t read the OPC’s justification report, go read it. If you don’t agree with it, I have nothing to say to you. If you do agree with it, then I also have nothing to say to you, at least about this, because your problem is solved.

    If you haven’t read the OPC’s report, and have no intention of reading the report, I think I have even less to say to you.

    E

    Comment by Michael — February 7, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  20. Ron,

    You are right about one thing. If I really am unable to articulate exactly why you’re wrong, I have no right to say what I’ve said. You’re absolutely right.

    Your views have been declared as heresy more than once by the church at large, most recently by the OPC. Not only can I articulate exactly what’s wrong with your views, but my entire denomination has published a very helpful paper on it.

    You might notice that I’m still not articulating what’s wrong with your views beyond the blurring of distinctions that I mentioned above. You might also notice that that post was not addressed to you but to Bruce and Rube, because I didn’t intend for that post to make your errors clear to YOU, but to THEM. It is my hope that THEY understand what’s wrong with what you’re saying. If YOU want to understand what’s wrong with what you’re saying, feel free to read the OPC’s statement. It’s free. If you don’t want to read that statement, then you aren’t really interested in figuring out what’s wrong with your views, you’re only interested in trying to bully people into accepting them, so that you can confuse them and ruin their doctrinal understanding which they have so carefully been building over the years. If you are unwilling to read the OPC’s report, it proves that you are a wolf seeking merely to confuse people by lengthy debate, and that you have sought the blood of Bruce and Rube, children of God.

    But before you read the report out of spite, remember, I still won’t talk to you about this after you’ve read it, because if you agree with it, your problem is solved, but if you disagree with it, I’ve nothing to say to you. If that document can’t convince you, I’d be utterly arrogant to think I can. So don’t read it, hoping that you’ll get to sink your claws into me or Bruce and Rube via this blog after you’ve done your pennance reading the report. You’ll have no such luck.

    By the way, if you keep trying to argue with Bruce and Rube, I’m going to keep making you look foolish. It’s really going to make you frustrated. You’ll be in a perpetual bad mood. What will make you really mad is that I won’t really enter into honest debate with you, but will only continue to declare you to be the wolf that you are. So try to sink your claws into them if you like, but I will make sure it costs you something.

    E

    Comment by Michael — February 7, 2007 @ 12:19 am

  21. Ron,

    Not that your admission is required, because it was as plain as day, but you obviously are admitting here that you don’t believe in justification by faith alone. The gospel you believe in is a false gospel and a lie.

    Here you have been here on this thread, trying to bully Bruce and Rube into accepting your heretical, false gospel.

    I don’t need to know you. I don’t want to know you.

    I want you to get your grimey, slimey, nasty lies away from my friends. You are a liar, you hate the true gospel, you are as bad as Rome, and your willingness to bully people into accepting your false gospel is atrocious.

    You want to have unity with the church, the TRUE church, of which you are not now a part, due to your false confession?

    Then let go of your false gospel and embrace the truth.

    Far from being a doctrine that doesn’t matter, Sola Fide is what the church, the gospel, stands or falls on. If justification is not by faith alone, then it is by works, and if it is by works, it is no longer grace, and Christ died for nothing.

    You have RUINED the gospel, distorted it into a Roman lie and called it reformed. It is repulsive, disgusting, sinful, dirty, and exhibits the spirit of antiChrist.

    1Jo 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

    You seek unity with the church?

    1Co 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

    There can be NO union between your false gospel, wolf, and the true gospel. Be sad, and talk about how narrow minded I am all you want, but you just sound the same as the liberal progressives who want us to accept gays and all kinds of stupid things. Keep it up, wolf.

    Comment by Michael — February 8, 2007 @ 12:45 am

  22. It grieves me that there is still division like this in the Church. I pray with our Lord, may we be one and the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son.

    Mr. Echo, brother,

    I want you to take a good look at what you are doing. You don’t know me. You have never met me (that I know of). How can you treat me so uncharitably, and without any explanation save something like, “You believe what those people over there say you believe and that’s bad”?

    It is a sad irony when the doctrine of Sola Fide divides the Church. It is ironic because a correct understanding of Sola Fide should remind us that ALL PEOPLE who have faith Christ belong at the same table, regardless of their view of Sola Fide or their failure to incarnate their view of Sola Fide, as Peter did.

    Galatians 2:11“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

    I suppose you could continue to call me a “wolf” as you have threatened without even addressing one thing that I have said, but you are wrong about one thing, brother. You won’t be making me look foolish by doing so.

    Comment by ronhttp://xanga.com/Lord_Ron — February 8, 2007 @ 12:45 am

  23. Ron,

    By the way, in case you were wondering, my attitude is a direct result of the fact that you’re trying to bully people into accepting your views. My attitude would be completely different if you were teachable, open to the truth, and seeking help. Because, as an adherent to a false gospel, you do need help. But rather than seeking help, or at least being even keel about it, here you are trying to TEACH your lies to these guys. You’re trying to CORRECT them, bullying them into accepting your lies as truth. You are not merely tempting them to sin or sowing confusion, you are DEMANDING THAT THEY RENOUNCE THE GOSPEL AND ACCEPT YOUR FALSE GOSPEL!!!

    Your actions are more than worthy of excommunication. Have a nice day wolf.

    E

    Comment by Michael — February 8, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

  24. “Not that your admission is required, because it was as plain as day, but you obviously are admitting here that you don’t believe in justification by faith alone.”

    If it is so obvious, brother, then perhaps you could show me where you believe I have made such a denial. Perhaps I could clarify.

    In Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ronxanga.com/lord_ron — February 8, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  25. It is a sad irony when the doctrine of Sola Fide divides the Church. It is ironic because a correct understanding of Sola Fide should remind us that ALL PEOPLE who have faith Christ belong at the same table, regardless of their view of Sola Fide or their failure to incarnate their view of Sola Fide, as Peter did.

    So here you make it clear that “faith alone” shouldn’t divide people, when that’s the very thing that SHOULD divide people, dividing the church from the world.

    Comment by Michael — February 8, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  26. http://www.opc.org/GA/justification.pdf

    here ya go Ron, just in case you couldn’t find it.

    Comment by Michael — February 8, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  27. “So here you make it clear that “faith alone” shouldn’t divide people…”

    I’m sorry, bro, let me clarify. What I meant to say was that the doctrine of “faith alone” shouldn’t divide the Church. It certainly should divide the Church from unbelievers, but Paul tells us in Gal 2 that this doctrine should unite all of God’s people, not divide them.

    In Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ronxanga.com/lord_ron — February 8, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  28. So you’re saying that I should accept Norm Shepherd as my brother, and Steve Wilkins, and the other Federal Vision ilk, and NT Wright and James Dunn, etc. We’re all one happy family. Oh, and the Pope is my brother too.

    Is that right?

    Comment by Michael — February 8, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

  29. Bruce,

    I really wish you’d switch to WordPress. Blogger is no good. Posting is a REAL pain.

    E

    Comment by Michael — February 9, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

  30. Whew! It’s been a long time since I dropped in!

    Do you have no hope of growing in obedience in the future?

    I do, but that has nothing to do with justification. I am already justified, all of my sins (past, present, and future) were forgiven 2000 years ago, and there is therefore now no condemnation. Sanctification is an entirely separate category.

    Do you think Christ simply wanted His disciples (and us) to hand out impossible requirements?

    Yes. If we were handed possible requirements, we might try to achieve them under our own power. That’s really the point of the gospel. If you are handing out requirements as if they were possible, that’s just wrong. Any requirements that are possible for ourselves to acheive are not the right requirements. My motto: There are three types of people in the world: hypocrites that admit it, hypocrites that don’t, and people whose standards are too low.

    This is an obvious straw man. Nowhere do I say or even come close to insinuating that we ought to sacrifice Christ again.

    Likening Abraham’s obedience wrt Isaac (which was typological of Christ’s sacrifice) to a condition of continued faithful obedience for us, insinuates continued sacrificing of Christ.

    Echo: I think you can roll back on the invective a couple of notches. I’m certainly nowhere near buying into Ron’s theology.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 12, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  31. Rube,

    I know you’re not.

    E

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 13, 2007 @ 12:25 am

  32. “Likening Abraham’s obedience wrt Isaac (which was typological of Christ’s sacrifice) to a condition of continued faithful obedience for us, insinuates continued sacrificing of Christ.”

    Oh my goodness, bro. That doesn’t even make logical sense for one, and secondly, it is in opposition to the scriptures. The author of Hebrews says that it is those “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, … they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” You accuse me of sacrificing Christ again (or insinuating it) for acknowledging ongoing covenantal conditions when the Bible says that it is those who fail to meet the ongoing covenantal condition of faithfulness who are the ones crucifying Christ all over again.

    “I do, but that has nothing to do with justification. I am already justified…”

    My statement was to Bruce who said, “I am disobedient and can’t see much of a change in this regard down the road.” But wrt your response, how is it that Paul tells the Corinthians that they were justified, but then goes on to tell them that “they must prove faithful”? What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians with all those warnings to justified Christians? I quoted much of 1 Corinthians up there and got called ‘Rome’ for it. Strange…

    “If we were handed possible requirements, we might try to achieve them under our own power. ”

    Not if we trust in Christ. Nowhere do the scriptures give any indication that the imperatives are impossible to perform by faith. You impugn our Lord by making Him a cosmic jester, toying with us by dangling His demands just out of our reach. He says, “This is what I require…”, but He doesn’t really mean it. But the scriptures tell us that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Or perhaps that was a jest too…

    “That’s really the point of the gospel.”

    The gospel has many points and our inability to please God OUTSIDE of faith in Christ is just one. Another point is that we are now dead to sin and must walk in righteousness.

    “There are three types of people in the world: hypocrites that admit it, hypocrites that don’t, and people whose standards are too low.”

    Here, you deny that anyone could actually walk before God righteously by faith. This is a full-scale denial of God’s sanctifying work in the Christian. You read the Bible last year, right? Did you just skim past all those righteous people the Bible speaks of? This is one reason the Church is in the state she is in. Living a life of obedience to God has become a theoretical impossibility. But when you read the Bible, you find the righteous and the unrighteous, the just and the unjust, the upright and the crooked, the wise and the foolish, the blameless and the wicked, etc. The Bible is loaded with folks who don’t fit your paradigm.

    Finally, I never got an answer from you on why God ‘backdoored’ some conditions into the Abrahamic covenant at Mt. Sinai. I know you want to separate the two covenants because that is the bones of your system, but the fact is that the children of Israel were the offspring of Abraham and therefore were members of the Abrahamic covenant. (Gen 17:7) They were in the same covenant as he was. To say that God dealt with Abraham under a grace-based covenant, then switched to a works-based covenant with the children of Israel, and then switched back to grace under the New Covenant, just plain isn’t scriptural. It isn’t even reformed!

    WCF XI “Of Justification”
    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

    The Mosaic covenant was pure grace. It was in this covenant that God revealed in detail His will to forgive sins by the shedding of blood. David had this to say about the graciousness of the Mosaic covenant:

    Psalm 103:6 The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
    7 He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
    8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.

    Comment by Ron — February 14, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  33. Did you just skim past all those righteous people the Bible speaks of?

    We’ve been around this tree in other contexts, so you know my answer. All have fallen short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one. Anybody the bible describes as righteous is not actually themselves righteous, but they are forgiven sinners, and imputees of Christ’s righteousness through faith.

    Finally, I never got an answer from you on why God ‘backdoored’ some conditions into the Abrahamic covenant at Mt. Sinai

    Because in the covenant with Abraham the unilateral “land” promises were about a spiritual land and a spiritual people; the covenant with Moses was a separate, bilateral covenant involving a physical land and a physical people. There’s a reason they are easy to confuse — because the physical is intended as a typical picture of the spiritual.

    To say that God dealt with Abraham under a grace-based covenant, then switched to a works-based covenant with the children of Israel…

    He didn’t switch. To the grace-based AbCov God added a temporary republication of the works-based AdCov, as a type and as a vessel through which to bring the AbCov to fulfillment.

    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

    Exactly. Israel didn’t receive justification through Mosaic sacrifice any more than we receive justification through communion. It is impossible for the blood of grapes or the crumbs of loaves to take away sins.

    Living a life of obedience to God has become a theoretical impossibility

    It always has been, and will remain a theoretical impossibility. You can keep your Wesleyan (Arminian) Holiness doctrine of attainable perfection.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 14, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

  34. “the covenant with Moses was a separate, bilateral covenant involving a physical land and a physical people.”

    Bare Naked Assertion

    On the contrary, the scriptures say it is the same covenant.

    1. “God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…” (Exodus 2:23-25) and the Exodus story is a fulfillment of that covenant (note: I said, “a fulfillment”, not “the fulfillment”).

    2. God’s covenant to Abraham was with Abraham and his offspring (Gen 17:7) whom the Israelites were at the Exodus.

    3. If the covenant was “unilateral” when it was given to Abraham, then you make God into a liar when later on down the road in that very same covenant He says, “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

    Comment by Ron — February 14, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  35. “Exactly. Israel didn’t receive justification through Mosaic sacrifice any more than we receive justification through communion. It is impossible for the blood of grapes or the crumbs of loaves to take away sins.”

    I am not sure who you are arguing against here, brother. I never said anyone is justified by the sacraments. I do affirm, however that the sacraments are an effectual means of salvation.

    Comment by Ron — February 14, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

  36. Also, I have noticed that no one wants to touch the problem of 1 Corinthians. Doesn’t it bother anyone that Paul tells the Corinthians that they were “washed, … sanctified, … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    (1 Corinthians 6:11) and yet he goes on to say that they “must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2), and that they must “be careful that [they] do not fall” into idolatry, sexual immorality, grumbling, or testing God, so as to not meet the same fate as some of our fathers in the desert. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)?

    In Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ron — February 14, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  37. The communion comparison was not directed at you, but only making a related point. You say that MosCov was a covenant of Grace, on the basis that sacrifices make provision for atonement.

    I am just trying to make the point that the forgiveness does not come from the Mosaic covenant itself (it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins), but from Jesus’ sacrifice — i.e. the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.

    Yes there is grace before the Mosaic covenant (I brought you out of Egypt: now here are 10 commandments for you to obey). But there is no grace in the Mosaic covenant. For those inside MosCov, justification is grounded on the gracious promise of AbCov. David understood that (Ps 51).

    The Mosaic Covenant itself is legal in form. Do this and live, fail and die. Blessings and cursings. And yes, God was gracious in his application of the MosCov, in that he was usually quite lenient in applying the promised cursings. But that grace was based on AbCov (Because of the promise I made to your fathers, I will not at this time turn all you idolaters into vapor). God waited to finally and completely repay Israel for violating MosCov until the New Covenant was in place. Until AbCov was fulfilled, and MosCov became obsolete.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 14, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  38. “I am just trying to make the point that the forgiveness does not come from the Mosaic covenant itself (it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins), but from Jesus’ sacrifice — i.e. the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.”

    Again, I do not know who you are arguing against here.

    The Mosaic Levitical system was a shadow of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I agree. But to the saints of old, it was an instrument of God’s grace to connect them by faith to Christ’s work. Leviticus makes this clear by exhaustively overstating the fact after every sort of sacrifice is detailed, “… and his sins will be forgiven.” (This phrase occurs at least 10 times in Leviticus wrt the various sacrifices)

    The Mosaic Levitical system itself was gracious and it was the only thing “novel” in the Mosaic covenant.

    The Ten Commandments, though not yet codified in stone until Moses, were already part and parcel of God’s covenant with his people.

    1. We learn from Cain that God demands His people to worship Him rightly.

    2. The necessity of honoring parents is alluded to before the fall (!) in the statement, “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” Why couldn’t he just leave whenever he wanted?

    3. Cain and his seed show us that God forbids murder.

    4. The curses that came upon Pharaoh (and could have come upon Abimalech of the Philistines) because of Sarah and Rebecca reveal that God forbade adultery. (Not to mention Sodom and Gomorrah) We also see the negative consequences of dishonesty in those stories.

    I’m sure there are many more examples, but it is clear that God didn’t suddenly start disliking certain behavior on Mt. Sinai.

    Consequently, the Levitical system was the primary establishment of the Mosaic covenant, and David says that the ways God revealed to Moses and the children of Israel were gracious. (Psalm 103:6-8) Perhaps David was just ignorant of the fact that the ways God made known to Moses and the children of Israel were actually damning, not gracious, and that the Israelites were supposed to see that God was just jesting with all those impossible requirements in order to drive them to the real grace in Christ. But wait, they didn’t realize that grace was in Christ since that mystery wasn’t revealed to them yet, they just believed that grace was in what God had given them. Suckers…

    Comment by Ron — February 14, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  39. The Mosaic Levitical system itself was gracious and it was the only thing “novel” in the Mosaic covenant.

    ??? How are sacrifices “novel”? God sacrificed animals to cover the shame of Adam & Eve. Cain & Abel sacrificed. Job sacrificed “in case his children had sinned”. Abraham sacrificed Isaac. Jacob sacrificed. Moses asked Pharaoh to let Israel go and sacrifice. Jethro sacrificed. All before Leviticus, all outside of the Levitical system.

    David says that the ways God revealed to Moses and the children of Israel were gracious. (Psalm 103:6-8)

    Look again:

    The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
    7He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
    8The LORD is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

    Who was oppressed? Which acts of God were made known to Israel? This is talking about the Exodus; more specifically, the grace before the covenant.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 14, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  40. “??? How are sacrifices “novel”? God sacrificed animals to cover the shame of Adam & Eve. Cain & Abel sacrificed. Job sacrificed “in case his children had sinned”. Abraham sacrificed Isaac. Jacob sacrificed. Moses asked Pharaoh to let Israel go and sacrifice. Jethro sacrificed. All before Leviticus, all outside of the Levitical system. “

    You are right, it’s all the same. Thanks for proving my point for me. 😉

    Seriously though, my point was not that sacrifices themselves were new, but the detail in which those sacrifices were to be carried out was first given out after the Exodus. I suppose the same could be said of exposition of the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy, but I think it is interesting how Leviticus comes first.

    “Who was oppressed? Which acts of God were made known to Israel? This is talking about the Exodus; more specifically, the grace before the covenant”

    The rest of the Psalm does not bear out your understanding of that verse. David exhorts his own soul to bless and praise God for the forgiveness of his own soul’s sin (Psalm 103:1-4), and throughout the Psalm he makes it clear via generalization that all of God’s covenant people who fear Him are in view here. So, it is not just talking about the Exodus.

    Then after he speaks of God’s graciousness to Moses (the “ways made known to Moses” is a clear reference to the Mosaic Law which David delighted in), He goes on to affirm that this graciousness is toward “us” meaning the people of God then living under the Mosaic covenant (vs 10-12).

    Then, David speaks of covenantal conditions in vs. 13, 17, and 18. I find those verses so beautiful and gracious, I cannot help myself but quote them here at length:

    “13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

    17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children-

    18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

    Beautiful.

    So we have David here, speaking both of the grace of God in the ways he showed to Moses and the children of Israel (again, clearly a reference to the Mosaic covenant), and then he follows it up with covenantal obligations. Grace and obligation.

    Comment by Ron — February 15, 2007 @ 12:31 am

  41. It must be a full moon. The wolf has come back out of hiding.

    Ron,

    As a republication of the covenant of works, the Mosaic covenant required works and perfect obedience. Meanwhile, the law also, according to the original covenant of works, requires perfect obedience. In the covenant of grace, such as the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants, salvation is not by works, but by faith in Christ. But it’s not the faith that actually earns or merits salvation, it’s the righteousness of Christ that earns salvation. We obtain this righteousness by faith, and this righteousness is ours in the covenant of works, and this whole complex is called the covenant of grace. Thus, the Bible can say that anyone who is perfect and holy will be saved: exactly, we who are in Christ by faith.

    If you had read the OPC’s justification report, you would have understood this.

    But you didn’t read it, because you think it easier and more fun to argue with Rube, and to try to influence him. Well, you’re wasting your time. Rube won’t be taken in by you. You won’t convince him of anything.

    You keep proving your predatory, wolf-like nature. You aren’t interested in discovering truth, but bullying people and changing their views. You think you’re going to change Rube’s mind or Bruce’s mind. But you are a wolf, and you misunderstand the Scriptures. Your crusade is not righteous but anti-christ and anti-gospel. You are trying to convince people to earn salvation by works, to be Christ for themselves.

    I’m calling you to repentance, as much as to silence. Wolf. Beware the very serious reprocussions of barring the way to heaven.

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 15, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  42. “As a republication of the covenant of works, the Mosaic covenant required works and perfect obedience. Meanwhile, the law also, according to the original covenant of works, requires perfect obedience. In the covenant of grace, such as the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants, salvation is not by works, but by faith in Christ. “

    Mr. Echo,

    Again you make unsubstantiated assertions, brother. Not only is your works/faith view of the Mosaic and New covenants unscriptural, it isn’t even Reformed.

    WCF XI “Of Justification”
    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

    How do you reconcile the above statement from our confession with the statement of yours I quoted? And how do you reconcile your “perfect obedience” requirement of the Mosaic covenant with the fact that with the Mosaic Covenant came God’s gracious provision for forgiveness of sins? Is the Levitical system part of the Abrahamic covenant, or the Mosaic covenant?

    If you had read the OPC’s justification report, you would have understood this.

    But you didn’t read it

    You are right, brother. I didn’t read it. It’s like 1600 pages. I did, however read the 20 point summary at the end, and it doesn’t accurately describe my views. I only found one point that I would plea “guilty” to and that is point 19 wrt paedo-communion. So, I don’t really need to read it, do I? I am not at all interested in spending hours watching a straw man burn.

    I’m calling you to repentance, as much as to silence. Wolf.

    Actually, what you are doing with statements like that, is you are making an accusation. Here is a link to the church I am in submission to.

    newlifelamesa.org

    If you are going to continue to make accusations toward me, please stop electronically anathematizing me and do it biblically by bringing the matter before my local session. My name is Ron Smith. But remember, “If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime,… and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you.” Deut 19:16-19

    In Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ron — February 15, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  43. You are right, brother. I didn’t read it. It’s like 1600 pages.

    Actually, it’s 89 pages, which is a lot shorter than the complete works of N.T. Wright, Norm Sheperd, Doug Wilson, et al, which FV seem to be saying are required reading before any criticism is allowed.

    I did, however read the 20 point summary at the end, and it doesn’t accurately describe my views. I only found one point that I would plea “guilty” to and that is point 19 wrt paedo-communion

    ?!?! From where I’m standing, I see you scoring on at least 3,5,6,7,11,12,15,17,18,19 (let’s see, carry the one) 10 points! (and that’s not including partial credit for 4,10,13,14,16)

    Comment by RubeRad — February 15, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

  44. Actually, it’s less than 89 pages

    Oh, my bad. I must have been a little confused. It seemed like 1600 pages… Anyway, like I said, they aren’t talking to me, and I don’t think they are talking to the Federal Vision.

    ?!?! From where I’m standing, I see you scoring on at least 3,5,6,7,11,12,15,17,18,19 (let’s see, carry the one) 10 points! (and that’s not including partial credit for 4,10,13,14,16)

    Bare Naked Assertion. I mean, no one could hold both 12 and 13 since they contradict each other. I question ICAO (which would limit Christ’s work in our justification to forgiveness, and I now see gets me a point for #11, but I am admittedly not really sure on that one), but I have also said that Paul’s doctrine of justification carries with it gentile inclusion (and that is a big part of his doctrine of justification). So, I do not hold 12 or 13.

    And when have I denied that the first covenant God made with Adam was legal as well as filial? (6) It sounds more like you score on that one, brother. The conclusion of the works/merit paradigm is that Adam, as well as Christ, was an employee earning a wage rather than a son.

    I have only denied that the covenant was meritorious. The scriptures never speak of them in that sense. Adam did nothing to earn his right standing before God. He was born that way. But he was given conditions to remain that way. Likewise, *IN HISTORY*, the convert is re-born with a right standing before God. But, he is given conditions to remain that way. I know, I know, if he apostatizes, he never really had a right standing before God. But Peter says he forgot his former sins were forgiven and Hebrews says he tramples underfoot the blood of the Son of God whereby he was sanctified.

    And when have I said that the concept of covenant is only conditional? I have acknowledged God’s eternal unilateral covenant (in private conversation with you, perhaps not explicitly here). I only emphasize that covenant to be behind the scenes. It belongs to the secret things of God. What I have said is that the eternal covenant works its way out in history in the form of a relationship whereby God initiates the restoration of communion between Him and His people. That covenant in history comes with promised blessings for obedience and promised curses for disobedience. They are all over the Bible. I have posed numerous questions wrt this and they remain unanswered. (Like #36 on this thread, for instance. This unwillingness (or inability) to account for all of scripture is typified in #4 on this thread)

    But you don’t hear me when I say stuff like, “I believe God decreed before time whatsoever comes to pass”, because all you hear is “conditional”. And we modern reformers don’t like conditions because we have gotten into the bad habit of trying to view all things, including the Covenant, through the eternal decrees of God (which are certainly unconditional), rather than viewing the secret things through that which is revealed.

    If you ever really listened to the lectures or read the books, you would know that the Federal Vision does not deny that God decreed unconditionally before time whatsoever comes to pass. We got that. That is our fundamental presupposition.

    But some reformed folk think that is the end all of Reformed theology (like when your eyes were first opened to the five points). But wait, there’s more! That’s only the beginning. The Federal Vision goes further and examines how God’s eternal decrees (like individual election unto eternal glory with Christ) work themselves out in history. Particularly, FV examines how God uses means of grace in the Sacraments and the Church to work out His eternal, wise plan.

    I could go through each point, but I don’t have the time and I have probably already lost you.

    In Christ,
    Ron

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 1:13 am

  45. Ron, Ron, Ron,

    There is a difference between denying the points in the report, and squeezing out on a technicality because the summary description is insufficiently detailed or poorly worded. Are you intentionally feigning ignorance?

    Before much longer I’m sure we should take this elsewhere, since this whole threadjacking was originally based on a tenuous connection to a footnote in the first place!

    3: You love the mono-covenantalism, which means (by definition of “mono”) that you lump covenants together, and deny/blur/diminish distinctions between covenants — in particular the covenants of Works and Grace.

    5: You ALWAYS say “covenants in the bible ALWAYS include conditions of continued faithfulness”. I.e. every covenant has conditions. I.e. every covenant is conditional. Regardless of whether you dodge this accusation by making an exception for “God’s eternal unilateral covenant” (of redemption), the more important point is that you see the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants as conditional.

    6: You deny the covenant of works (although Kudos for reinstating it in your boys’ catechism), and by denying that the AdCov was based on works/merit, you deny that it was legal. (Unless you can tell me what you think the difference is between a covenant being legal vs. involving merit). Also, you say “The conclusion of the works/merit paradigm is that Adam, as well as Christ, was an employee earning a wage RATHER THAN a son,” as if I (and OPC report) deny that the covenant was filial. But note that #6 says “legal AS WELL AS filial”. We say “legal and filial”, you say “not legal, only filial”, or “not legal, but gracious and filial”

    7: See #3

    11: I’m glad you fess up to #11, but I am confused when you say “I question ICAO (which would limit Christ’s work in our justification to forgiveness”. If you mean “I question ICAO (because denying ICAO is harmonious with my belief that Christ’s work in our justification is limited to forgiveness)”, then I understand. But if you are saying “I question ICAO (which would limit Christ’s work in our justification to forgiveness, which is a wrong belief that you hold)”, then I don’t understand. Here’s the point. Imputation of Christ’s Passive Obedience (his death on the cross) is laying claim to the sacrifice that (merely) earns our forgiveness. But adding ICAO is what goes beyond just forgiving us to a state of neutral sinlessness, going further to credit us with all of the good works with which Christ merited the promise of the covenant of works.

    12: I agree that consistency doesn’t allow one to believe 12 & 13 simultaneously, which is why I didn’t give you a full point for 13 (despite your attempts to convince me that Paul was not ranting about Jewish legalism, but only Gentile inclusion). But #12 is just a rephrasing (or logical consequence) of #11.

    15: An assertion that the continued inclusion in the New Covenant is conditional on continued faithfulness is a denial of perseverance. Although when pressed you pay lip service to perseverance, the effect of your emphasis on objectivity is to declare “any actual assurance you may have is secret and not worth dwelling on. In this world, your only objective assurance is your covenant faithfulness”

    17: You are physically incapable of hearing somebody say “invisible church” without objecting, or at least rolling your eyes.

    18: Here’s a description of paedocommunion: “an overly-objectified view of sacramental efficacy that downplays the need for faith and that tends toward an ex opere operato view of the sacraments.”

    19: confessed

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 4:30 am

  46. I have posed numerous questions wrt this and they remain unanswered. (Like #36 on this thread, for instance. This unwillingness (or inability) to account for all of scripture is typified in #4 on this thread)

    Actually, I didn’t notice #36 until you just pointed it out, and #4 is just saying “I’m not interested in talking to you”. I am confident that my #6… is the response you didn’t get out of #4. Obviously you’re not satisfied, but that’s to be expected.

    As for 1 Cor, no it does not bother me. 6:9-11 is pretty standard “You were sinners, now you are not”. 4:2, which you pluck out of context, is immediately followed by “But”, and goes on to explain that we should not judge by any outward standard. Ch 10 is written for an example to us, just like the OT was written for an example to us, just like Heb 6/10 were written for an example to us. Yes, we should take heed, and all of these examples are a means God uses to work perseverance in us. God is Faithful!

    So here’s your question. Why is the word “therefore” in Rom 8:1? How does “there is no condemnation” follow from the context, which so eloquently describes Paul’s (and our) inability to attain covenant faithfulness?

    Could it be that for those who are in Christ, their final verdict of justification or condemnation does not depend on the quality of their sanctification?

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 5:01 am

  47. You love the mono-covenantalism…

    Never said that. I know I used the term before, but please allow me to clarify. I recognize a distinction between the covenants, but one thing that separates covenantal theology from dispensationalism is acknowledging continuity between the covenants. I definitely deny that the Mosaic covenant is a republished covenant of works, but as I have said, this is well within the bounds of the confession and historic reformed orthodoxy. Concerning “both dispensations”, Calvin writes,

    It is possible, indeed, to explain both in one word. The covenant made with all the fathers is so far from differing from ours in reality and substance, that it is altogether one and the same: still the administration differs… What we propose to insist upon here may be reduced to three heads: – First, That temporal opulence and felicity was not the goal to which the Jews were invited to aspire, but that they were admitted to the hope of immortality, and that assurance of this adoption was given by immediate communications, by the Law and by the Prophets. Secondly, That the covenant by which they were reconciled to the Lord was founded on no merits of their own, but solely on the mercy of God, who called them; and, thirdly, That they both had and knew Christ the Mediator, by whom they were united to God, and made capable of receiving his promises.

    The first point here contradicts the last paragraph of #11 on this thread and the second is an obvious denial of the Mosaic covenant being a covenant of works. So, it looks like Calvin himself could not be ordained in the OPC.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 8:32 am

  48. as if I (and OPC report) deny that the covenant was filial.

    I know you don’t do it overtly. I said that denial was the logical conclusion of the works/merit paradigm, and it is. Children are by nature the objects of their Father’s favor. They do not have to merit it. Therefore, introducing the unscriptural notion of merit into a covenant logically denies that covenant’s filial nature.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  49. But adding ICAO is what goes beyond just forgiving us to a state of neutral sinlessness

    This is unscriptural nonsense. If there is no sin, there is righteousness. You can’t show me one solitary verse that speaks of someone being “neutral” wrt righteousness vs unrighteousness. It is either one or the other. This goes back to the non-meritorious nature of the covenants. Even before Adam did anything at all, he was righteous. He was born that way. God did not make him in some “neutral” state wherein he had to merit God’s favor. When God was done creating Adam, He proclaimed all of creation to be “very good”. And furthermore, the earth was created out of a dark void and Adam was raised from the dust of the earth. Creation itself is a picture of salvation. Salvation is a “new creation.”

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  50. and by denying that the AdCov was based on works/merit, you deny that it was legal

    Not if I see the Law as gracious, which I do (as did David – Psalm 119:29).

    This is consistent with the way we parent our own children, is it not? We love them, and they have done nothing to merit our love. They come to us as objects of our unmerited love and favor. And we give them rules and discipline them because we love them. The Law is gracious.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:13 am

  51. Dude, I laughed out loud when I read this from Calvin:

    From what has been said above, it must now be clear, that all whom, from the beginning of the world, God adopted as his peculiar people, were taken into covenant with him on the same conditions, and under the same bond of doctrine, as ourselves… This discussion, which would have been most useful at any rate, has been rendered necessary by that monstrous miscreant, Servetus, and some madmen of the sect of the Anabaptists, who think of the people of Israel just as they would do of some herd of swine, absurdly imagining that the Lord gorged them with temporal blessings here, and gave them no hope of a blessed immortality.

    Yeah, Calvin pretty much says that the whole “Mosaic covenant as a republished covenant of works” is baptist doctrine.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  52. Oh, I guess I should cite those quotes of John Calvin. IOCR Book II, Chapter 10

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  53. As for 1 Cor, no it does not bother me. 6:9-11 is pretty standard “You were sinners, now you are not”. 4:2, which you pluck out of context, is immediately followed by “But”, and goes on to explain that we should not judge by any outward standard.

    How did I remove it from its context (other than simply quoting it w/o pasting the whole book)? What did I say it meant, that it did not? What does Paul mean by, “You must prove faithful?” Does he mean, “You can’t prove faithful”?

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  54. Was Moses a liar?

    Deut 30:11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

    Is this God’s Word or isn’t it? Can it be believed? Is God trustworthy?

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:48 am

  55. despite your attempts to convince me that Paul was not ranting about Jewish legalism, but only Gentile inclusion

    I never said only. But you have to at least admit the link. If jewish legalism meant gentile exclusion, then Sola Fide carries with it the inclusion of Gentiles. I don’t see how anyone can read Paul and miss this. Galatians 2 is one of the most obvious texts. Paul basically says to Peter, “Why do you expect Gentiles to live like Jews? Don’t you know we are all are justified by faith in Christ.”?

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  56. Never said that. I know I used the term before, but please allow me to clarify…

    It is this kind of tactic that makes me frustrated with you (and presumably others with the rest of FV). Since you are so aware of how I misunderstand you at every opportunity, why do you not speak clearly to begin with? Do you make a habit of bandying about the term “mono-covenantalism” just for inflammatory purposes? How does the following statement allow the reader to understand that you don’t love the mono-covenantalism?

    So, like I said, it isn’t about “deserving”. The question is about merit and the so-called covenant of works makes God the debtor to man had man continued faithfully in the garden. But the mono-covenantal view always keeps man in debt to God so that even if Adam had continued in the garden faithfully, it would have been a matter of pure grace. After all, God placed him there. God gave him everything he needed, including communion with Himself. The Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters of the deep and was the means of this communion (how else?). Adam was created in a state of privilege – a state he didn’t even ask to be created in, much less merit. That sounds like a gracious covenant to me…

    As for Calvin, I agree that the statements you quote are pretty harsh on my view of MosCov as an earthy flava of AbCov. But how is “MosCov is a republication of AdCov” not confessional?:

    WC XIX:

    I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

    II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.

    Next up, #48

    “…as if I (and OPC report) deny that the covenant was filial…” I know you don’t do it overtly. I said that denial was the logical conclusion of the works/merit paradigm, and it is. …Introducing the unscriptural notion of merit into a covenant logically denies that covenant’s filial nature.

    In other words, you deny that a covenant can be both legal AND filial. Yes, I know that you want to squeeze out of this by redefining “legal” (#50, “the Law is gracious”), but that’s not what the report authors are talking about. You know (and vociferously object) that they are declaring the AdCov is based on merit, and that’s what they mean when they say “legal”. One point for #6. Take it like a man.

    Re: Gentile inclusion:

    I never said only. But you have to at least admit the link.

    A link is not identity (as N. T. Wright seems to push). There are passages about gentile inclusion, and there are passages about justification. And part of the point of AbCov blessing the nations is that Justification be defined in a way that allows not just Jews, but also Gentiles to benefit. But is nonsense to redefine Justification to gentile inclusion (again, as Wright seems to push). And from our previous discussion elsewhere, you were trying to find/put gentile inclusion in justification passages that I just didn’t see. In any case, “partial credit” means that I am not convicting you (calling you out) for #13, but merely informing you that I am officially suspicious.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

  57. RE: #54 and Deut 30:11-16. Thanks for pointing this out. Indeed, I have previously felt very uncomfortable about this passage, since you asked me to think about it, it is starting to make more sense to me.

    Why does God say that keeping the commandments is “not too difficult for you or beyond your reach”? If it really was not too difficult, why did nobody ever succeed? This is EXACTLY the same question as, why did Adam sin, even though God “endued him with power and ability to keep it [the covenant of works]”? EXACTLY the same question as 1 Cor 10: If “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” why do we continually stumble? Why is it even POSSIBLE for us to sin?

    The answer to all of these is this: the fact that it is “not difficult”, “we are endued with the ability to keep it”, and “we may be able to endure it” — all of these are the grounds of our condemnation. The reason (or one reason, anyways) it is just to punish sinners is that sin is the result of free will actions, where we could have chosen otherwise.

    Turning back to you: how do you reconcile what God says to Israel in Deut 30 with what he says privately to Moses in Deut 31:16-18 almost immediately afterwards? Given that the publication of the scriptures exposes this private conversation to Israel, how are they supposed to feel about Deut 30 in light of Deut 31?

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  58. …reading further in Deut 31, God’s answer to the question I just posed confirms what I said about Deut 30: v21: “And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness“. Deut 30 is a witness against sinners, against any who would protest “I couldn’t help it!”

    Thankfully, when this witness (the Law which shows that we are meritorious) convicts us, those of us who are God’s children do not shirk responsibility or deny wrongdoing, but we confess our sins, and he is sure to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness!

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  59. Obvious typo: “we are meritorious” should be “we are NOT meritorious”

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  60. But how is “MosCov is a republication of AdCov” not confessional?

    Because you left this part out. Section III of that same chapter refers to the Law given to Adam and Moses as “this law, commonly called moral”. Then in section V, we see:

    V. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.

    So, while I disagree with the confession’s characterization of the AdCov as a “covenant of works”, I agree with everything else in that section. But the contemporary law/gospel paradigm that has sadly become the standard of reformed orthodoxy (at least in America) can only hold to the name, “covenant of works” while discarding much of the substance of what the confession says about God’s gracious Law.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

  61. Given that the publication of the scriptures exposes this private conversation to Israel, how are they supposed to feel about Deut 30 in light of Deut 31?

    The same way God wanted them to feel about Ezekiel 33. He was telling them, “You shall surely die”, but giving them the opportunity to repent so this would not take place.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

  62. One point for #6. Take it like a man.

    No thanks. I believe the covenants are both legal and filial. You and the OPC reporters (and anyone else who holds strict law/gospel) should take a point for #6 for not believing the covenants to be filial.

    If we who are evil do not set our children up to fail, how much more does our perfect and gracious Father give to His children everything necessary for life and godliness?

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

  63. I don’t understand how you think that XIX.V contradicts XIX.I “AdCov was a covenant of works”, XIX.II “MosCov was a republication of that covenant of works”.

    I disagree with the confession’s characterization of the AdCov as a “covenant of works”

    Let me rephrase that for you. You deny “that the law given in Eden is the same as that more fully published at Mt. Sinai and that it requires perfect obedience.” That’s what they mean by “and that it requires perfect obedience”, i.e. AdCov, as a Covenant of Works was not gracious, and the republication was not gracious, and that’s precisely what you disagree with. One point for #8, take it like a man.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  64. I don’t understand how you think that XIX.V contradicts XIX.I

    I don’t. I didn’t say it did. I said, “while I disagree with the confession’s characterization of the AdCov as a “covenant of works”, I agree with everything else in that section.” So, I am disagreeing with the name only. The contradiction I see is with how you define the “covenant of works” and how they describe it in XIX.V. You define it as a binding, yet impossible covenant only for Adam and the people of Israel until the establishment of the New Covenant. On the contrary, XIX.V states that Law found in the AdCov and the MosCov, “doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof.” And again, “Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.” This directly contradicts your view of the “covenant of works”. We can call it whatever we want, I guess. The Bible calls it a covenant of love. But typical Lutheran Law/Gospel (which I believe you hold) defines it in a way drastically different that the scriptures and the WCF.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  65. No thanks. I believe the covenants are both legal and filial. You and the OPC reporters (and anyone else who holds strict law/gospel) should take a point for #6 for not believing the covenants to be filial.

    You believe the covenants are both (graciously) legal and filial. OPC reporters state that the covenants are (meritoriously) legal and filial. Do you really think that OPC reporters mean “the Law is gracious” when they use the term “legal” here?

    Whether the OPC reporters believe or don’t believe the covenants are filial, or whether the implications of merit/works make them consistent, is not the issue.

    The issue is that the OPC reporters are charging FV with denying that AdCov/MosCov are “works/merit legal”, and they are correct in asserting that FV believes that. It is undeniably true that the OPC reporters and FV disagree on the meaning of the phrase “AdCov and MosCov are both legal and filial”

    The issue is you ridiculously asserting “I did, however read the 20 point summary at the end, and it doesn’t accurately describe my views” and “they aren’t talking to me”

    Try reading the points again, and every time you find “A denial”, replace it with “The FV and Ron disagree with what the writers of the OPC report intend and imply when they say”. For instance

    “The FV and Ron disagree with what the writers of the OPC report intend and imply when they say that the law given in Eden is the same as that more fully published at Mt. Sinai and that it requires
    perfect obedience.”

    These word games you are playing are stupid, childish, and dishonest. If you understand enough about the OPC reporters to assert that they mean the wrong thing when they assert that the covenants are both legal and filial, then you understand the intent of what they are really saying, and you deny their statement! And you should probably read the OPC report to find out how they biblically back up their statement that they deny.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  66. typo: …that YOU deny

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

  67. The contradiction I see is with how you define the “covenant of works”

    YES YES YES

    Since you know so well how I and the OPC reporters define the covenant of works, when OPC report #6 says “A denial of the covenant of works”, you say “Yep, I deny what you intend by the phrase ‘covenant of works'”

    POINT FOR #6, take it like a man

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  68. POINT FOR #6, take it like a man

    I’ll take that point when you agree that Calvin and the WCF take that point with me.

    The reformation was not built on Law/Gospel. That was mainly Luther and his followers and disagreement on this has continued to this day. So, it is ludicrous for the OPC to say you can’t be ordained in the OPC if you don’t hold that view.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  69. Man, I need to read the WCF and historic reformers more ofter. I just love this stuff:

    WCF XIX.VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it: the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.

    The Law, and all its “uses”, do “sweetly comply” with the Gospel. Beautiful.

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

  70. I’ll take that point when you agree that Calvin and the WCF take that point with me.

    I already gave you Calvin, and I’m not giving you WCF. It’s not my problem that you have a different understanding of how the law and the gospel sweetly comply.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

  71. It’s not my problem that you have a different understanding of how the law and the gospel sweetly comply.

    What is your understanding of how the Law of Adam and Moses do sweetly comply with the gospel? Do you believe your understanding approximates the WCF’s understanding?

    Comment by Ron — February 16, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

  72. You might be surprised to know that “sweetly comply” is my favorite phrase of the WCF. It’s beautiful to listen to and say, in addition to the critical meaning.

    And I believe that there’s a reason the Divines put that phrase in there. Because they believed it was necessary. I.e. a proper understanding of the Law carries a risk of confusion, a tension with gospel. In your understanding, “sweetly comply” is a nice phrase, but redundant preaching to the choir.

    Beacuse of Paul’s understanding of the law, he was constantly defending himself against charges of antinomianism. But has anybody ever confused Paul’s message and accused him of legalism? I’ll try to stick with Paul and stay in the anti-antinomian line of fire.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  73. And Martin Lloyd-Jones

    Comment by RubeRad — February 16, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  74. Actually, the argument works both ways and Lloyd-Jones realized this.

    “Some so emphasize the law as to turn the gospel of Jesus Christ with its glorious liberty into nothing but a collection of moral maxims. It is all law to them and there is no grace left. They so talk of the Christian life as something that we have to do in order to make ourselves Christian, that it becomes pure legalism and there is really no grace in it. But let us remember also that it is equally possible to so overemphasize grace at the expense of law as, again, to have something which is not the gospel of the New Testament…To say that because we are under grace we therefore have nothing at all to do with law and can forget it, it is not the teaching of the Scriptures. We certainly are no longer under the law but are under grace. Yet that does not mean that we need not keep the law. We are not under the law in the sense that it condemns us; it no longer pronounces judgment or condemnation on us, No! but we are meant to live it, and we are even meant to go beyond it.” (Sermon on the Mount, 11-12)”

    I know you would disagree, but the FV’s understanding of covenant strives for a balance by stressing both the promises of God as well as the obligations of the Law. This was Shepherd’s point to with “grace and obligation” attached to each historical covenant.

    So sadly, it looks like we end up at an impasse like so many well-meaning brothers before us with something like, “Anyone who stresses the Gospel less than I do or the Law more than I do is legalistic and anyone who stresses the Gospel more than I do or the Law less than I do is antinomian.” I hope at least we can agree that no one has (or had) a perfectly balanced understanding or emphasis on Law or Gospel and that this is something God wants us to continue to work through as part of our sanctification. I believe the reformers would be the first to say that they didn’t squeeze every ounce of biblical truth out of the Holy Spirit 400 years ago.

    For the unity of the Body,
    Ron

    Comment by Ron — February 17, 2007 @ 12:09 am

  75. Ron,

    42

    I said Mosaic and Adamic covenants required perfect obedience, but I didn’t say what promises would be inherited. I only mentioned the inheritance of salvation with regard to the covenant of grace.

    Works were held out as a way of earning salvation in the covenant made with Adam. That’s why we call it the covenant of works. When Adam fell, that ushered in the covenant of grace.

    The Mosaic covenant is a republication of the covenant of works, demanding perfect obedience for residency in the land, not for eternal salvation. Thus when God had had enough of their disobedience, he kicked them out of the land.

    Yeah, Rube’s right, it’s not 1600 pages, it’s 90. It’s labeled that way because it had the page numbers assigned as part of the agenda for the General Assembly, which was over 1600 pages.

    And if you don’t think it applies to you, then you DO need to read it.

    Justification is by faith alone, because by faith alone we obtain the righteousness of Christ, the only righteousness that will withstand the judgment of God.

    The covenant of works says, be perfect or die forever.

    The covenant of grace says, Christ fulfilled the covenant of works for you. Have faith in him and this will be true of you. This faith is given by God by the Spirit through the preached Word, and he has promised to do this for all the elect.

    And you continue to uphold the Federal Vision’s teachings.

    To say (74) that you have struck a balance between obligation and the promises of God is a lie. You have not.

    To say that we can keep the law of God is a lie. And according to the Counsel of Trent, that makes me a heretic. I’m ok with that.

    The obligations of the new covenant flow from justification. Since we have been saved by Christ, therefore we do “good” works. I put “good” in quotes because they aren’t fully good.

    Chapter 16, WCF
    V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins,[16] but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:[17] and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit;[18] and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.[19]

    16. Rom. 3:20; 4:2, 4, 6; 8:18, 22-24; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; Psa. 16:2; Job 22:2-3, 35:7-8
    17. Luke 17:10
    18. Rom. 8:13-14; Gal. 5:22-23
    19. Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:15, 18; Psa. 130:3; 143:2

    So, you have invited me to go complain to your session. Well, I suppose I could, but that would be kind of unusual, wouldn’t it? I am not part of your church.

    Besides, your church should probably worry about convicting Wilkins right now. They can’t even do that.

    E

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 17, 2007 @ 1:01 am

  76. “So, while I disagree with the confession’s characterization of the AdCov as a “covenant of works”, I agree with everything else in that section. But the contemporary law/gospel paradigm that has sadly become the standard of reformed orthodoxy (at least in America) can only hold to the name, “covenant of works” while discarding much of the substance of what the confession says about God’s gracious Law.”

    Why not just convert to Rome? Wolf!

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 17, 2007 @ 1:02 am

  77. it looks like we end up at an impasse

    Long ago you and I reached an impasse as to what is correct doctrine. You did not convince me, and I did not convince you, and that’s just not going to change.

    And now as long as you continue to deny that the OPC Report is speaking to you, we have reached another impasse.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 17, 2007 @ 6:51 am

  78. I hope at least we can agree that no one has (or had) a perfectly balanced understanding or emphasis on Law or Gospel and that this is something God wants us to continue to work through as part of our sanctification. I believe the reformers would be the first to say that they didn’t squeeze every ounce of biblical truth out of the Holy Spirit 400 years ago.

    For the unity of the Body,
    Ron

    Comment by Ron — February 17, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  79. Obviously.

    But I hope we can agree that the doctrinal issues behind all of this, and the gulf between our positions, are too great to agree to disagree.

    You want me to say that we are just teetering around a similar balance point. But the point of the OPC report is to charge FV with being not merely a subtly different emphasis, but seriously out of balance.

    And if you won’t even admit that the report is speaking to you, then we can’t even begin to discuss who’s right or wrong.

    Or maybe somebody else could, but I’m done.

    Comment by RubeRad — February 17, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  80. “But I hope we can agree that the doctrinal issues behind all of this, and the gulf between our positions, are too great to agree to disagree.
    I cannot agree with that. I believe we can indeed agree to disagree on this. In fact, I believe we are mandated to. And as I have said before, I am less concerned with convincing anyone of my position than I am of demonstrating that position to be well within the realm of historic reformed orthodoxy.

    We modern American Christians are so quick to divide over every perceived doctrinal error, but somehow we’ve failed to see the lateral motion in doing so. Dividing the Body is itself an error. The spread of the Gospel is not the better for all our theological hardlines.

    For Trinatarian unity, to let the world know… (John 17:20-23)

    Evangelical Reunion – John Frame

    Comment by Ron — February 18, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  81. The OPC report uses the word “heresy” twice in connection with the Federal Vision. And that language remained in tact when it passed the General Assembly.

    E

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 19, 2007 @ 12:35 am

  82. The OPC report uses the word “heresy” twice in connection with the Federal Vision. And that language remained in tact when it passed the General Assembly.

    Not that it matters at this point, but that statement is at least misleading, if not false. The report says:

    The expression of this concern among those who question the trajectory of the FV ranges from relatively mild disapprobation to outright declarations of heresy.

    While this one statement “uses the word ‘heresy’ in connection with the Federal Vision”, it is not even close to an accusation of heresy on behalf of the committee toward FV advocates.

    And again:

    Those who do not seek systematically to correlate biblical revelation in its entirety may ultimately end up overstressing some aspect and land in error or heresy.

    Even if I concede that this statement is made directly toward FV advocates, it still doesn’t actually accuse them of heresy. It merely states that with their alleged disinterest in systematics, they may end up landing in heresy.

    Comment by Ron — February 19, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  83. Yeah, it appears you’re right.

    The original language of the report was different in the first statement. It said that the teachings of the FV range from error to outright heresy.

    I was at the General Assembly when they voted on this, and there were no changes made. Apparently someone changed this statement when they published it. I don’t know why, except that there might be some procedural question, since this is a study report, not actually a statement of the church.

    So you’re right, the OPC has not officially labeled the FV heresy.

    However, I guess it’s not the kind of thing that would result in a judgment of heresy, since no one was actually on trial.

    However, what follows the first comment amounts to an indirect indictment of heresy, which I quote below. But again, the proponents of the FV have not been brought to trial in the OPC. So a judgment per se is not really something they can pronounce, since they only have jurisdiction over those in the OPC. It’s not their place to condemn a PCA pastor as a heretic, for example. Anyway, the report goes on to say, and this would address YOU and your beliefs, that:

    The errors most often alleged by the growing body of FV opponents include but are not limited to the
    FV’s positions on the following: denial of the covenant of works, blurring of the law/gospel distinction, denial of
    the imputation of the active obedience of Christ in justification, failure to affirm the definitive nature of justification
    in this life, tendency to merge faith and faithfulness as instrumental in justification, rejection of the visible/
    invisible church distinction, sacramentalism approaching an ex opere operato position, and monocovenantalism
    that not only tends to identify covenant and election but sees only one covenant in God and between
    God and man. It has been noted by more than a few that there is a particular irony in denominating this
    position “the Federal Vision,” when, in fact, some of what the promoters of the FV seek to forward is at odds
    with classic Federal theology as expressed in the Reformed confessions, particularly the Westminster Standards.

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 20, 2007 @ 9:29 am


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