24 November 2007

On Essential Doctrines and Those Who Deny Them

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Root of the Matter," a sermon preached 12 April 1863 at the Met Tab.


he tree can do without some of its branches, though the loss of them might be an injury; but it cannot live at all without its roots: the roots are essential; take those away, and the plant must wither. And thus my dear friends, there are things essential in the Christian religion. . . .

With regard to essential doctrines, it is very desirable for us to be established in the faith. A very happy thing it is to have been taught from one's youth up the sound and solid doctrines which comforted the Puritans, which made blessed the heart of Luther and of Calvin, fired the zeal of Chrysostom and Augustine, and flashed like lightning from the lips of Paul. . . . .But we always believe, and are ever ready to confess, that there are many doctrines which, though exceedingly precious, are not so essential but that a person may be in a state of grace and yet not receive them. . . .

Though Calvinistic doctrine is so dear to us, we feel ready to die in its defense, yet we would by no means set it up as being a test of a man's spiritual state. We wish all our brethren saw with us, but a man may be almost blind, and yet he may live. A man with weak eye-sight and imperfect vision may be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven; indeed, it is better to enter there having but one eye, than, having two eyes and being orthodox in doctrine, to be cast into hell fire.

But there are some distinct truths of revelation that are essential in such a sense that those who have not accepted them cannot be called Christians, and those who wilfully reject them are exposed to the fearful anathemas which are hurled against apostasy. I shall not go into a detailed list. Let it suffice, that I give you a few striking illustrations.

The doctrine of the Trinity we must ever look upon as being one of the roots of the matter. When men go unsound here, we suspect that, ere long, they will be wrong everywhere. The moment you get any suspicion of a man's wavering about the Divinity of Christ you have not long to wait before you discover that on all other points he has gone wrong. Well did John Newton express it—

"What think you of Christ is the test
To try both your state, and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of him."

. . . . A gospel without belief in the living, and true God—Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity—is a rope of sand. As well hope to make a pyramid stand upon its apex as to make a substantial gospel when the real and personal Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is left as a moot or disputed point.

Likewise essential is the doctrine of the vicarious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any bell that does not ring sound on that point had better be melted down directly.

I do not think we have many in our denomination—we have some who are not very clear—still I think we have but few that are unsound in the doctrine of the real substitution of Christ. But there are plenty elsewhere; perhaps I need not indicate the locality, for in the denomination where they seem to be tolerably prolific they have one earnest tongue and one ready pen that is always willing at all times to expose the miscreants who thus do damage to the cause of Christ, by giving up the precious blood of Jesus as the sole cause of the remission of sins and the only means of access to God. Why, my brethren, we have nothing else left after we have given up this choice seal of the everlasting covenant, on which all our hopes depend. Renounce the doctrine of Jesus dying in our place, room, and stead! Better for us all to be offered as one great hecatomb, one mighty sacrifice to God on one fire, than to tolerate for a moment any doubts about that which is the world's hope, heaven's joy, hell's terror, and eternity's song.

I marvel how men are permitted to stand in the pulpit and preach at all who dare to say anything against the atonement of Christ. I find in the Dutch Church, in the French Church, and in the German Churches, that men are accepted as Christian ministers who will yet speak hard things against the atonement itself, and even against the Deity of Him by whom the atonement was made.

There is no other religion in the world that has been false to its own doctrines in the way that Christianity has been. Imagine a Muslim allowed to come forward in the pulpit and preach against Mahomet! Would it be tolerated for a single moment? Suppose a Brahmin fed and paid to stand up in a temple and speak against Brahma! Would it be allowed? No surely; nor is there an infidel lecturer in this country but would find his pay stopped at once, if, while pretending to be in the service of Atheism, he declaimed the sentiments he was deputed to advocate.

How is it? Why is it? In the name of everything that is reasonable and instinctively consistent, whence can it be, that men can be called Christian ministers after the last vestige of Christianity has been treacherously repudiated by them? How is it that they can be tolerated to minister in holy things to people who profess and call themselves sincere followers of Jesus, when they tread under foot the precious blood of Christ, "reduce the mystery of godliness to a system of ethics"?

To use the words of a divine of the last century, they "degrade the Christian Church into a school of philosophy; deny the expiation made by our Redeemer's sacrifice; obscure the brightest manifestation of divine mercy; undermine the principal pillar of practical religion; and make a desperate shipwreck of our everlasting interests. They dash themselves to death on the very rock of salvation."

No; we must have the atonement, and that not tacitly acknowledged, but openly set forth. Charity can go a good way, but charity cannot remove the altar from the door of the Tabernacle, or admit the worshipper into the most Holy Place without the blood of propitiation.

So, again, the doctrine of justification by faith is one of the roots of the matter. You know Luther's saying; I need not repeat it; it is the article of a standing or falling Church. "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast."

Do you preach that doctrine? My hand and my heart are stretched out to you! Do you deny it? Do you stutter over it? Are you half-afraid of it? My back must be turned against you; I know nothing of you; you are none of the Lord's! What saith the Apostle Paul to you? Would he have communed with you? He lifts his hand to heaven and he says—"If any man preach any other gospel than that ye have received let him be accursed!" That is Paul's saintly greeting; that is Paul's Apostolic malediction—an "Anathema Maranatha" upon the man that preaches not the Lord Jesus, and who does not vindicate the great doctrine of salvation by grace and not by works.

Well now, friend, you may have come in here to listen to our doctrine, and to judge whether you can hold fellowship with us. We have been talking about the root of the matter. Permit me to say that if you are sound on these three points, the One God in Trinity, the glorious doctrine of the substitution of Christ in the place of sinners, and the plan of salvation by simple faith in Jesus, then inasmuch as these roots of the matter are in you, God forbid that we should exclude you as heretical. If you are in other points unenlightened, and groping about in uncertainty, doubtless the Lord will teach you, but we believe the root of the matter is in you so far as doctrine is concerned.
C. H. Spurgeon


37 comments:

Gilbert said...

I know that some people roll their eyes when people talk about Spurgeon and other "dead preachers". But here's something that speaks one hundred plus years later, and is completely current and relevant to the spiritual state the Christian church is in right now. I find it fascinating that other religions have less or very little problem with their base "theology", whereas we do. Satan himself attacks ours, of course, because he knows who is right.

Now that I know, I cannot fathom this: how can mankind possibly make the Gospel any more exciting, any more wonderful, any more relevant, any more truthful about our standing with God apart from Jesus, nay, any more ANYTHING than it is? And yet, generation after generation, we fall into the same traps. Sadly, for some things, I have to point that finger squarely back at me. Father, forgive us.

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Good stuff as usual from CHS. Although three main pillars seem very few indeed, yet we may group other essential doctrines under these heads. The Virgin Birth, for example, is closely linked to the doctrine of the Trinity because the Eternal God cannot be made manifest with Adam's guilt clinging to his soul. Again, there can be no blood atonement by one who was born in sin like the rest of us etc.,

Although we have the straight talking Trinity deniers out there, like the JW's etc., yet within the Evangelical circle there have arisen those who are now denying that the title "Son of God" is a reference to Christ's "Deity." More than ever, we need to heed to ourselves and our doctrine.

Keep her lit!

Eduardo said...

Great post! This just shows us that history goes around in circles. We see how these essential doctrines are being attacked today, just as it has happened all throughout history, but instead of being Pelagius, Arius, Arminius, etc, it is people like McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, etc...
We have to stand strong and confront those blasphemous claims...

YnottonY said...

I enjoyed Spurgeon's words as well. One thing I have observed is that people fail to distinguish between essentials that 1) must be AFFIRMED in order to be justified, and 2) those that will not be DENIED (or repudiated) by those truly justified. It has become popular, thanks to N. T. Wright, to mention Hooker's statement that we are saved by faith alone and not by belief in faith alone. Since Sola Fide is not necessary to affirm in order to be justified, some conclude that Sola Fide is therefore not essential. They even allow that a true Christian might repudiate (explicitly deny) the doctrine. They fail to distinguish between those doctrines that must be affirmed for justification (first class essentials) and those that the truly regenerate will not deny (second class essentials).

Take the Trinitarian doctrine, for instance. I don't see a place in scripture that says believe that the Son and Holy Spirit are distinct, yet co-equal persons with the Father and you shall be justified. Does it follow that the doctrine is not essential? Of course not. The truly regenerate will never repudiate the Trinity doctrine as false. It is, like Sola Fide, a second class essential.

If you argue for the essential nature of the doctrines Spurgeon talks about in this post, be prepared to hear from those that say, "Oh, so you think one must BELIEVE/AFFIRM these doctrines in order to be saved?!" They will straw man your view as if you think it is a first class essential. This is becoming quite common.

Notice Phil's title for this post. It is not "On Essential Doctrines and Those Who Do Not AFFIRM Them." It is "On Essential Doctrines and Those Who DENY Them."

steve said...

That's a choice selection from Spurgeon. I read it more slowly than usual, appreciating his forthright stand on the matter.

And there's no handwringing here!(a reference to Solameanie's succinct plea in a comment on the previous post).

donsands said...

What a sermon. Good words to fire me up for church.

"and flashed like lightning from the lips of Paul"

This man flowed with words like no other. I pray the doctrines of the Scriptures would do the same in our say, and our pulpits. And that we would have courage to keep those out of the pulpits who don't belong there. Amen.

YnottonY said...

Also, for those who quickly quote Spurgeon's statement that "Calvinism is the gospel," they should balance that statement with the one in this post:

"Though Calvinistic doctrine is so dear to us, we feel ready to die in its defense, yet we would by no means set it up as being a test of a man's spiritual state."

In other words, one can disagree with the doctrines and still be in a state of justifying grace.

John said...

The Spurge sure is right. My ears perk up whenever I hear someone speak disparagingly of blood atonement, or otherwise argue that it is "overemphasized". The infection of humanism runs deep.

Hadassah said...

It is uncanny how fresh and relevant this is. My eyes kept getting wider as I read it and thought, "yes, yes, he could be talking to people right now, today."

Joshua said...

A choice selection, indeed! I did a Google search to find the whole sermon from which this was excerpted, but couldn't find it on the 'net, at the Spurgeon Archive or elsewhere. Any ideas on how to track it down?

Stefan said...

Good, prescient, pertinent stuff as always.

SolaMeanie said...

How unloving and un-irenic of Mr. Spurgeon. I'm shocked, shocked. Who cares about a novel concept like biblical truth when our unity is at stake.

BReformed said...

A well-chosen excerpt with which to begin the week.

Tartanarmy said...

No; we must have the atonement, and that not tacitly acknowledged, but openly set forth.

Charity can go a good way, but charity cannot remove the altar from the door of the Tabernacle, or admit the worshipper into the most Holy Place without the blood of propitiation.
----------------------------------
Great message from Spurgeon.

What if one positively rejects that a "particular person's sins" were not actually and really "propitiated" at the cross?

But rather, you affirm that all mens sins were "expiated" conditionally on the cross?

In other words. No actual "propitiation" as the term means takes place at the cross, but a "dualism" whereby all of mens sins have been dealt with by the cross on the condition of faith,

but an actual person's sins, (let us say Spurgeon's sins for sake of argument) were not actually taken away and nailed to the cross 2000 years ago?

If someone was to say to Mr Spurgeon that his actual sins had not been dealt with upon the cross 2000 years ago, but were in fact only "conditionally" so, until he exercised faith, would he have embraced that kind of propitiation/expiation?

Just wondering.

Rev.J. Theodore Helms said...

Spurgeon lives! He is so contemporary, I guess because truth is truth and the nature of man does not change. I am re-reading "The Soul Winner" after having read it many years ago and I am amazed at the relevance for our day; Hybels should have read this before Willow Creek.

Daryl said...

Tartanarmy,

As incorrect as conditional expiation is, still one would presumably be believing that (whether is be their own specific sins specifically propitiated or all men's sins covered so that salvation is made available) Christ's sacrifice paid they're debt, thereby gaining their entrance to heaven based on the act of God, rather than their own actions. I'd say, in the example you've set forth, the issue is really bad theology but still worthy of salvation because of who the credit for salvation falls to in the understanding of the believer in question.

Now if they were taking some credit for salvation based on their wise decision to accept Christ...that's another story altogether.

Mike Riccardi said...

Joshua,

It's
here.

Tartanarmy said...

Thanks Daryl for your comments.
I agree with what you said.

But when does a refusal or denial that actual sins were actually dealt with, ie nailed to the cross, 2000 years ago, become a slight upon the propitiatory sacrifice?

I mean, did Jesus actually propitiate in reality, or hypothetically?

At what point would we be believing in "another" Jesus?

If substitutionary atonement is really important, at what point does a "conditional" atonement become a different kind of atonement, hence a different Jesus?

Do you see what I am getting at?

Mark

Daryl said...

Mark,

I see exactly what you're getting at...and have no answer for it.

Perhaps there is room for a slight, without calling it apostasy. (Just thinking out loud.) Wasn't Arminius (who held pretty closely to that) considered basically a misled Calvinist, rather than an out and out heretic?

I agree it is a slight against the finished work, however the telling question (as R.C. Sproul put it I believe) is "so...was that a good thing you did, accepting Christ?"

I'm not sure we can go further than the answer to that question. We need to allow for faulty understanding of the mechanics of salvation.

Tartanarmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tartanarmy said...

Thanks Daryl.

It's just that there is a move within modern (post Murray/Stonehouse) reformed soteriology, (ynottony, David Ponter and others) to promote a universalistic aspect to the atonement (which even Phil Johnson and others seem open to) that kinda concerns me.

I am not convinced that good old Spurgeon (even with his inconsistencies) would have entertained for a moment.

We have an atonement, or a "propitiation", which actually "propitiates" at the cross, and then, in time, by the power of the Holy Spirit it is applied (resulting in repentance and faith etc)

But, if we are believing in a propitiation that is "really and only conditioned" upon "faith", are we not making "faith" the tail that wags the dog? and hence making the real propitiation of the cross of no effectual substance in and of itself?

And hence, preaching an "unfinished" work of "another Jesus" perhaps?

That is my concern.................

And to add insult to injury. Why is it, that these persons who are lenient to this kind of "propitiation" are also fairly soft on Arminians in general, and even defensive of their theology?

Maybe there is a reason the Church is in a mess, and the "emergent" movement is only a surface matter and not the root of the problem?

I am not sure.

Mark

Daryl said...

Mark,

You may be onto something there although I would say this:

While agree that it is important to understand the real sins were really dealt with on the cross, it is still faith which, at the least, applies that work to the believer. In either case it is faith that "activates" (bad word but the best I could come up with) the already procured justification in the life of a believer and the lack of faith which allows no such application (whether previously procured or not) in the unbeliever.
So in both cases, the IMMEDIATE cause of justification/non-justification is the faith and repentance/lack of faith and repentance in either life.

My feeling is this: I believe the cause of serious issues in the church (other than the humanity of all of us, of course) is the misunderstanding of both faith and repentance. As long as we imagine that either is something I drum up in order to fulfill the conditions for salvation rather than a gift God gives us in order to fulfill the necessary conditions for salvation, we run the risk of deciding we are the cause (in some measure) of our own salvation.

One last thing, I think it is worth noting that while the primary reformers (most notably Calvin and Luther) differed on whether the whole worlds sins were paid for on the cross, or just those of the elect, there was full agreement on the nature of faith and repentance.
I agree that it was only the sins of the elect that were paid for but I think the nature of faith/repentance is a much safer and better hill to die on.

Tartanarmy said...

Thanks again Daryl.

As far as faith and repentance are concerned, it has been suggested to me that if we put that in a secondary sense in any way, we are erring.

For me, all believers no doubt shall experience repentance and faith by grace alone as a gift, but where I see real problems, is in the view that does not see Christ Himself as an actual (rather than potential) Savior by virtue of His work alone.

I think people could miss the real Savior potentially, by a false understanding of the atonement.

When I was first saved many years ago, I knew that Jesus died for my sins, and that He had a plan and purpose that was being done for the salvation of His people.
I saw Him as a powerful Savior who really saves. A man on a mission if you like!

By regeneration, which again was a powerful work, I understood that even my repentance and faith were the result of His grace and certainly not because of any desire on my part.

But if we allow the idea that Jesus dies for everyone conditionally, are we not setting up some room for others to believe in "another" Jesus?

I am fairly old school when it comes to these issues, and therefore I have no fear for example that anyone whom Christ shed's His blood for shall somehow miss salvation. That will not happen.

Even though God works through means, like the Gospel being faithfully preached etc, What if the "means" of others are not faithful?
How much error could end up snowballing from such errors, that result in the shipwrecking of many souls?

If you teach a universalistic atonement in any sense, are you not at the very least potentially allowing faith and repentance to steer the ship, and therefore potentially promote a work righteousness?

We speak of the "immediate" need for repentance and faith for "Justification", and that is true, but is this principal negated if we place the Work of Christ and for Whom He died as secondary rather than primary in our preaching/teaching?

You see, behind any and all universalistic ideas of the atonement is the rather man centred idea that seems to hold onto the concept that all men everywhere require an atonement, just in case someone believes that Christ did not die for! I have heard it said by reformed men.

A thing that could never happen mind you. And, the whole impetus is wrapped up in this "well meant offer" idea that implies if God cammands all men everywhere to repent, He then desires for everyone to be saved.

As Calvinists, we know that command does not imply ability, as our differences with Arminians plainly show, but, and here is my point.

Does a command for all to repent, imply a desire in God to save everyone?

It seems to me that many modern Calvinists are just as confused as the Arminians at this point.

Then we have the "Hyper Calvinists", who make the same mistake, in thinking that if command implies ability, and man does not have the ability, then God cannot mean to call all men by duty to believe, so they reject duty faith!

Why can't the so called reformed get back to the implications found in say,

Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken.

and

Isa 53:11 He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify for many; and He shall bear their iniquities.

and

Mat 1:21 And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

When we talk about the gospel message being 1Co 15:3
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,


Are we reading that to mean that Christ died for everyone's sins according to the scriptures. If it does mean that, then I am in gross error and perhaps even such a person that needs to be silenced and repent immediately.
I have always believed that we hold out our Savior to all men where able to, in the hope that God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy.
I have always believed that God is able to save to the uttermost and that my business is to leave the saving of the soul to Him alone and not seek to get any man to do anything!
I have never presented Jesus Christ as this Savior who wants to save everyone and is willing to save everyone, hence I have never taught that Jesus died for everyone and that God loves everyone and has a plan for their lives.

I have often thought that God does indeed have a plan for some sinners, and that is to suffer and die under his judgement and justice and again for His glory.
Man, am I attacked for even thinking such things, let alone actually saying them out loud.

I just want to say that believing such things has marginalised me in these days, and hindered even fellowship, because others distance themselves far away from me.
God help me.
Mark

Daryl said...

Mark,

I see your point, and even agree with you. But give yourself a little grace (or others), there is room for a faulty understanding on either side.

These are difficult doctrines, particularly in a North American church that has so often taught "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life"

Truth is, God loves everyone, but not in the same way. He also has a plan for everyone's life, but not necessarily one that they would consider "good". (Does Mike Tyson like how God has orchestrated his life ??)

Keep on Mark, and realize that, even while we strive for truth, we miss it in some (or many) places.

Sometimes we need to leave off debating some issues with some people and wait for a better time. (God knows I need to hear THAT)

Tartanarmy said...

Thanks Daryl for this kind and important discussion, I appreciate it very much.

Blessings
Mark

YnottonY said...

Daryl said:
"Truth is, God loves everyone, but not in the same way."

Quite true and very clearly in scripture. Spurgeon certainly taught the same. One wonders how anyone in their right mind could miss that.

Tartanarmy said...

Well, anyone who would dare to suggest that the Non Elect receives no kindness, benevolence and much good from God, is certainly not in their right mind. Amen.

Anyways, talking about essential doctrines, I recently read an article about John Wesley and Augustus Toplady, and in it there is much to seriously consider.

My opinion is that if you read this article and cannot praise it by the end, and in fact find yourself opposing what is said, then might I suggest that you may in all possibility have somewhere missed the gospel.

I know many today, even some who post here, and one who has posted in this thread, shall not find much to praise in this article.

Please have a read, it is "so" relevant to much of what is going on today in the Reformed sphere.

http://www.lgmarshall.org/Arminianism/langerak_arminianbabel.html

YnottonY said...

"Well, anyone who would dare to suggest that the Non Elect receives no kindness, benevolence and much good from God, is certainly not in their right mind."

In other words, he denies that God LOVES the non-elect, so he deliberately equivocates on the terms, which has been the case for many years now. It's silly and unheard of historically to think that God is "kind," "benevolent" and "good" to the non-elect and yet does not love them.

NKJ Hosea 9:15 "All their wickedness is in Gilgal, For there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious.

Daryl,
If you pay attention to what Tartanarmy is doing, he's insinuating things about people who disagree with his version of "limited atonement" to the point of questioning if they have really believed the gospel. He's sounding more and more like Marc Carpenter and the Outside the Camp group on that issue.

Spurgeon didn't think that those who differed with his atonement views were missing the gospel, anymore than he thought that about denials of the other points as well.

Listen to Dr. Greg Welty's lecture on Election and Calling, and listen to what he says about the "Calvinism is the gospel" issue. Listen for his distinction between esse and bene esse. It is helpful.

YnottonY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YnottonY said...

You might also note that his link leads to a "Protestant Reformed Church" ministers article. The PRC are notorious hyper-Calvinists, i.e., quite staunch in their denials of God's universal saving will, His universal love, common grace and well-meant offers. It is Tartanarmy's custom to paste and link to their material on the internet.

Tartanarmy said...

Sadly, Tony is not quite reformed, but thinks he is. He considers me to be Hyper, which is not true at all.

He promotes a much less robust Calvinism than I do, and seems to think that I follow him around!
I have been reading here and other places he has posted before him!

I have debated Hypers, but these days people like Tony broad brush all strong Calvinists as Hyper, including the folks over at the PRCA, which incidently, I have no affiliation.
I just happen to read a lot of good stuff from them for some reason.

I have stated many times that I do not to lightly use the term "love" as I believe the love God has for His people cannot be compared to any lesser kind of "love" for the Non Elect, therefore I prefer to speak of God's kindness and benevolence, and leave "love" for that "special" relationship between the Groom and His Bride...

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

Psalm 5:5, "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,"

Psalm 11:5, "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates."

Tartanarmy said...

Oh yeah, he did not say whether or not he praised the article I linked to, except to insinuate that it was Hyper!

That is all we need to know really.
It is an excellent read and all reformed people would and should give it a big thumbs up regardless of whatever bias one may or may not have againsts the PRC and it's affiliates.

And Spurgeon would have agreed with Toplady btw, so I think Tony does not only know anything about Hyperism but not a lot about Spurgeon either...sad but typical.

Mark

YnottonY said...

From Phil's Primer:

"If the hyper-Calvinists in England tend to be Baptists, in America the Presbyterian variety seems more common. The best-known American hyper-Calvinists are the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC). They deny that there is any sort of "offer" (in the sense of a proffer or tender or proposal of mercy) in the gospel message. They also deny that they are hyper-Calvinists, because they insist that the only variety of hyper-Calvinism is that which denies the gospel call (Type-1 above)."

YnottonY said...

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

It is a fallacy to draw an inference from this passage that because it is said that God hated Esau, he therefore did not love him in any sense. God may love and hate the same creature in different respects, as is the case with the elect who are still in unbelief.

Psalm 5:5, "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,"

Without thinking or reflection at all, Mark views "all who do iniquity" as the non-elect. What he fails to see is that all of us were once "workers of iniquity," both elect and non-elect alike, in our unbelief. To deny the principle that God can both love and hate a creature at the same time but in different senses or respects leads one to the error that God never hated the elect, as with thinking that He never loved the non-elect. The one is the flipside error of the other.

Psalm 11:5, "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates."

The Apostle Paul himself once loved violence. Are we to foolishly conclude that God had no love for Paul while he was lost? Of course not. Some of the elect who are yet unregenerate love violence.

One has to be exceedingly blind and biased to convert "workers of iniquity" and "those who love violence" into the non-elect alone. It's indicative of a warped system driving interpretation, rather than exegesis determing systematics.

The hyper-Calvinist reasons just like the Arminian but merely does so from different faulty presuppositions. Furthermore, some hypers tend to elevate non-essentials to an essential status, such that anyone denying their decretal points have "missed the gospel," so to speak.

YnottonY said...

One might also point out that if Rom. 9:13, Psa. 5:5 and Psa. 11:5 can be used to disprove God's love for the non-elect (on the supposition that He cannot love AND hate them at the same time in different respects), then they can also be used to disprove that God is "kind," "benevolent," and "good" (i.e., well-disposed) to them. That is precisely the conclusion that the PRC makes.

Why doesn't Tartanarmy follow his argument to its logical conclusion and also deny that God is kind and benevolent toward the non-elect? It's because it allows him to keep a veneer or semblence of being historically orthodox in his Calvinism, even though his heart really embraces the PRC denial that God has any good-will toward the non-elect in any sense. Like the PRC, Tartanarmy strongly denies that God loves the non-elect, that He wishes their salvation, and that God is making a well-meant offer of salvation to the non-elect through the gospel call.

Also, since he has equated belief in strict particularism with belief in penal substitution, then the denial of the former must mean the denial of the later, or so he thinks. This is one of the ways a strictly limited atonement view is made to be a part of the very essence (esse) of the gospel message. Thus, if you disagree with or repudiate strict particularism, you must have "missed the gospel." A purely decretal view of the atonement is, by this means, elevated to an essential status.

Mark would benefit (if he were teachable) from reading the material on the Calvin and Calvinism (Classic and moderate Calvinism) link in Phil's own blog roll above.

Tartanarmy said...

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

It is a fallacy to draw an inference from this passage that because it is said that God hated Esau, he therefore did not love him in any sense. God may love and hate the same creature in different respects, as is the case with the elect who are still in unbelief.
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This is what happens in modern Calvinism. It puts things there that are not there.

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Psalm 5:5, "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,"

Without thinking or reflection at all, Mark views "all who do iniquity" as the non-elect. What he fails to see is that all of us were once "workers of iniquity," both elect and non-elect alike, in our unbelief.
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What Tony fails to realise is that "Known to God from the beginning are all of His works" and by making some distinctions (unwarranted) he turns God into a confused schizophrenic.
Again he adds things.
Even though the "elect" were at one time not yet regenerated, does that imply that God did not love them from His perspective?
What you need to realise is that these Neo-legalists are making the lynch pin, such things as "Unbelief, faith" as a condition etc as the tail that wags the dog.
They are "time bound" in their theology and have little room for God's decrees, even dismissing them where it suits, or if not dismissive, relegate them to a position of extreme Calvinism and mock those who hold to God's decrees as myopic. It is laughable.

I do not even espouse eternal Justification, but do you think Spurgeon did? In fact he was open to the idea and would not speculate either way.
That should make Spurgeon more Hyper than me at this point! Will Tony call out Spurgeon because he sympathised with Gill on that matter?
I do not think so. Tony is way too selective in how he quotes others.
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To deny the principle that God can both love and hate a creature at the same time but in different senses or respects leads one to the error that God never hated the elect, as with thinking that He never loved the non-elect. The one is the flipside error of the other.
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Here we have it.
Trying to make God into a man made image in order to hold certain distinctives that are not exegetically valid from scripture.
It is playing loose with words and drawing false inferences from false assertions. It is like we are talking about the Open Theist god with these Neo-legalists.
No Calvinist denies that from our perspective, God shows much kindness to the Non Elect nor that from our perspective He has hidden Himself from the yet to be regenerated for many reasons known only to God.

But these Neo-legalists want to tie God up into multiple wills and passions, ( see the historic creeds for how they carefully discuss such matters) and they attempt to make Him more amiable for what they themselves think He should be. It is nonsense and contradictory theology that no reformed Christian should even begin to ponder.

These concepts associated with "Love and Hate" deserve far better treatment than these Neo-legalists give them. They have elevated such things as "Common grace" and relegated such things as "God's decrees" all in the effort to present a kinder, gentler god, all the while claiming to be the orthodox stewards of reformed theology.

It is a joke, and one only needs to read their writings (or visit Tony's web blog) to get a grasp of their bent toward the very ideas and principals that something like "Dort" dealt with so long ago, and that was the weaker doctrines of the likes of Cameron and Amyrauld and the theology of Saumer, the lesser divines such as Davenant, Ussher, Arrowsmith, Sprigge, Pritte, Carlyle, Burroughs, Strong, Seaman and Calumy.
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Psalm 11:5, "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates."

The Apostle Paul himself once loved violence. Are we to foolishly conclude that God had no love for Paul while he was lost? Of course not. Some of the elect who are yet unregenerate love violence.
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See how Scripture is subtly twisted when one reads into it our nice little theological meditations?
God never hated Paul, never! Where in scripture does it say that God ever hated His elect at any time? No one is arguing that men, even the unregenerate elect love violence, but does that mean God hated His people before they were regenerated?

Where is the scriptural evidence?
To quote that God hated His people at Gilgal and loved them no more, has nothing to do with election/regeneration, nor does the fact that unregenerate elect were in darkness even remotely suggest that God hated them!
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One has to be exceedingly blind and biased to convert "workers of iniquity" and "those who love violence" into the non-elect alone. It's indicative of a warped system driving interpretation, rather than exegesis determining systematics.
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Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Any Calvinist knows that before we were regenerated we are those who love violence and are workers of iniquity, and I certainly am not blind to that simple observation, but it does not get to the heart of the issue!

It is like the phrase, "sufficient for all but efficient for the elect", another non information saying that is quite popular, or that God loves the sinner but hates the sin. Tony is forever engaging in platitudes of this kind, but he knows a lot of theological terms in which to hide these platitudes.

Again I ask the simple question, does the fact that the yet to be regenerated are these things, imply that God really hated them? That is the question.

The Neo-legalists present a god like us. One who changes His mind, has multiple passions, emotions and desires.

The answer to these issues is by that thing the Neo-legalists pay lip service to, it is called "systematics", something I never ever see them do!

It is just so easy to label more robust Calvinists as Hypers than actually engage the texts of scripture with due care. It is just so typical that these people not only fail at the textual level, but they saturate the discussion with quotes and statements out of context and or irrelevant to the discussion.
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The hyper-Calvinist reasons just like the Arminian but merely does so from different faulty presuppositions. Furthermore, some hypers tend to elevate non-essentials to an essential status, such that anyone denying their decretal points have "missed the gospel," so to speak.
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Another example, but me thinks he is feeling the heat to his feet so to speak. The last thing we want in these dark days is to muck around with essential doctrines, and I have to laugh that this same Tony has dedicated a whole web site to these so called Nonessentials.

It is absolutely astounding to behold.
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One might also point out that if Rom. 9:13, Psa. 5:5 and Psa. 11:5 can be used to disprove God's love for the non-elect (on the supposition that He cannot love AND hate them at the same time in different respects), then they can also be used to disprove that God is "kind," "benevolent," and "good" (i.e., well-disposed) to them. That is precisely the conclusion that the PRC makes.
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Absolute nonsense, and he is falsely and so matter of factly speaking lies at this point. Tony has an amazing inability to separate his own logical conclusions from the conclusions of others.

He has not figured that out yet sadly, and by failing at that point he misrepresents the beliefs of many solid Calvinists.

Every Calvinist worth his salt knows that God not only shows much kindness and mercies to the Non elect, but that He at times shows judgements and sufferings etc to His elect, both pre and post regeneration.

Tony has a system folks, and it binds not only his mind but it binds God too. It is truly sad to see.
But even sadder is the fact that his theology is "THE" theology of the reformed community today more than ever.
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Why doesn't Tartanarmy follow his argument to its logical conclusion and also deny that God is kind and benevolent toward the non-elect?
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Simple, I do not bind God up into your theological constructions Tony.

I have said to you from day one, that theological constructions can be useful tools, but tools were never designed to be the rule. You have not listened to me in all of these years regarding this very simple point.

I am able to "use" the tools, but I know when to put them away and let what has been uncovered speak for itself. You have not learned that yet.

Your use of logic is also poor, and only exposes your folly. You sound good, but closer examination and overall systematics destroys your platitudes thoroughly.

I have been doing that for a few years with your arguments and have only ever received mocking and disdain from you. When not being mocked and misrepresented I have been flooded with a mishmash of out of context quotes and assertions, most of which you "never" interact with and most of which I actually agree with the authors you quote against me!
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It's because it allows him to keep a veneer or semblence of being historically orthodox in his Calvinism, even though his heart really embraces the PRC denial that God has any good-will toward the non-elect in any sense.
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Again, please note the lie and misrepresentation which really bothers me no end.

I affirm God's common grace to the Non elect and believe He shows amazing kindness and acts of benevolence to the Non elect every waking moment of their lives.

I suggest you cease and desist from misrepresenting me and others on this score, for you only make yourself look dishonest and devious.
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Like the PRC, Tartanarmy strongly denies that God loves the non-elect, that He wishes their salvation, and that God is making a well-meant offer of salvation to the non-elect through the gospel call.
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Here we go, same ol same ol Tony. Let me say it to you again. God's "LOVE" is found in one place and one place alone Tony. It is "In Christ". That's it.

We are to preach that to every sinner this side of Heaven, and we do so, pleading that sinful humanity will repent and believe the gospel, that whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.

Stop misrepresenting my beliefs and telling lies about what I do and do not affirm. I have at all times spoken plainly on these matters.

You have popular Calvinism on your side, but I will not for a moment embrace your paradoxical and sloppy "Agape" theology.
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Also, since he has equated belief in strict particularism with belief in penal substitution, then the denial of the former must mean the denial of the later, or so he thinks. This is one of the ways a strictly limited atonement view is made to be a part of the very essence (esse) of the gospel message. Thus, if you disagree with or repudiate strict particularism, you must have "missed the gospel." A purely decretal view of the atonement is, by this means, elevated to an essential status.
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Oh man, you are something else Tony. I shall just leave what "I have said" for others to judge. I suggest you spend more time actually trying to find out what such things as "Propitiation", "satisfaction" and Penal atonement actually entails.

And to bold faced suggest that Penal substitution as I understand it, is merely some kind of decretal view of the atonement tells me all I need to know about your understanding of the atonement. It is scary.
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Mark would benefit (if he were teachable) from reading the material on the Calvin and Calvinism (Classic and moderate Calvinism) link in Phil's own blog roll above.
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I try to be teachable, and have and am learning every day, but I do not like what I see coming from you and others in these days.

You mentioned Phil and his Hyper Calvinist piece. I have read it many times and I say that it is only average and does not and should not be the final word on what is Hyper-Calvinism. It is a good guide, and people like you have used it against other Calvinists, which was never Phil's intention I believe.

And, you really ought to lay off the PRC.

In fact, I highly suggest the readers here get hold of the audio debate between Richard Mouw (someone I have just recently had on my blog who suddenly disappeared after I asked some plain questions about Mormonism and Common grace) and David Engelsma on the subject of common grace.

Even the Banner of Truth, had good things to say about the debate.

http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?495

And again, I see Tony has not a good thing to say about the article I originally linked to here. His silence speaks volumes yet again.

And in conclusion, I would attempt to call him my brother (something he will not reciprocate) but he would only mock me for being false, so I will just say that he is a brother with much error to consider, and much misrepresentation over these years to repent of concerning things he has attributed falsely to me and my beliefs.

Mark

Please keep this thread up Phil, as it gets at things, so to speak.
Tony may have the last word, even if it invites comment. I may post at my blog any necessary follow up.

YnottonY said...

"God's goodness, as exercised towards his creatures, is often expressed in the Scriptures by the term love. Love is distinguished as benevolence, beneficence, or complacence. Benevolence is love in intention or disposition; beneficence is love in action, or conferring its benefits; and complacence is the approbation of good actions or dispositions. Goodness, exercised toward the unworthy, is called grace; toward the suffering, it is called pity, or mercy." John L. Dagg, A Manual of Theology (Harrisonburg: Gano Books, 1990), p. 76. (The link leads to the edition found on The Reformed Reader).

Dagg, a strict particularist and an orthodox Calvinist, well knows that benevolence is a kind of love, as did all the Puritans. God is both loving and gracious to all. It's just standard Calvinism (and Spurgeon knew it), but seems strange to those steeped in PRC propaganda on the internet.