McAtee contra E. Michael Jones’ Description of Lutheran Theology

A Roman Catholic describes his understanding of Reformed soteriology. McAtee returns the favor.

“According to Lutheran theology, sin is not removed from the sinner through confession, penance, and a firm resolution not to sin again. Sin is ineradicable, but God in His mercy covers it with His grace as ‘snow covers shit.’ Grace does not perfect nature because nature cannot be perfected. Instead, it maintains a tension between corrupt nature and it’s redemption that Hegel would later describe with the term ‘Aufhebung,’ which is an essentially untranslatable term, meaning roughly both to exalt and maintain.”

Dr. E. Michael Jones
Hollowcaust Narrative — p. 210
Idiot Roman Catholic

Of course the flip side of this is;

“According to Roman Catholic theology, sin is removed from the sinner through confession, penance, and a firm resolution not to sin again only to find that such an arrangement is a lie since always sin comes back so that the sinner has to continue to go to confession, penance again and again and again because the Roman Catholic penitent’s resolve not to sin again is like shit that covers snow. This means that the Roman Catholic is never done with sin and that all his rigamarole is just so much play acting that has absolutely zero impact on either his sin nature or his actual sin. For the Roman Catholic sin is also ineradicable but by the legal fictions that are Rome’s sacramental system it is pretended that sin is dealt with. Grace does not perfect nature because nature is always having to return to Rome’s blasphemous sacramental system where grace is like just so much water in a leaky bathtub. Rome’s “grace” can never clean the poor supplicant because by the time the supplicant leaves the confessional booth he is more dirty than when he arrived since all that sacramental grace has leaked out of the human container.”

A Lutheran vs. A Calvinist — Note The Differences… 2008 Throwback

I originally posted this post in 2008. I could not find it in the search function of Iron Ink. Fortunately, I back up all my posts so that even if they somehow come up missing I have a copy.

In this discussion, I locked horns with a Lutheran named Rev. Paul T. McCain. In the following long conversation the differences between Lutherans and Reformed as pretty well established in the context of some heated polemics.

At the time of this debate I had no idea that Rev. Paul T. McCain was such a bigwig in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I have no idea why he decided to waste time debating me but …

Rev. Paul T. McCain Obituary

I am hopeful that now that Rev. McCain has entered glory he now realizes that God is and always has been from the foundations of time what would later become known as “Calvinist.”

_________
Bret writes;

Paul,
Imagine how glad I am for your response. This will clearly lay down the differences between the Faith once and forever delivered unto the saints and the mixed thing that is Lutheranism that you call Christianity.

Personally I have not completely understood those organizations that seek to make common cause between Lutherans and Calvinists. On one hand I understand the desire to re-introduce objective Christianity to an extremely subjective Evangelicalism. But in the end the irrationality of Lutheranism that you perfectly display negates whatever agreement might be found between the Reformed and the almost but not quite Reformed.
I know that you don’t like the interactive approach but that is what I am going to do here all the same so as to be just as thorough in my answer as you were with your eisegesis.
————————————————
Paul wrote,
Bret, how ironic that you accuse me of making assertions without evidence. I’ve told you, any number of times, here and elsewhere, all the evidence you want is easily found at www.bookofconcord.org The Book of Concord is easily enough available.
————————————————-
Bret
I am familiar with the book of Concord. Familiar enough to know that it doesn’t answer the questions that I have been raising and has you so unsettled that you are throwing the kitchen sink at me in you most recent post.
———————————————–
Paul,
You, on the other hand, have offered no evidence, whatsoever, to back up your claims about what Lutheranism teaches, other than your cute little rhetorical games.
————————————————-
Bret
I am sure that it makes you feel safe to dismiss my legitimate points as ‘cute little rhetorical games.’ But even that rhetorical trick doesn’t answer your jagged inconsistencies.
————————————————
Paul writes,
I for one would appreciate learning about your degrees. I would be most interested to learn of them and understand precisely your education and what background you have that give your claims to understanding Lutheranism credibility.

Please share!

————————————————-
Bret
What you think I am making my education up?
I promise you that my education is as expansive as yours and in the course of it I have read Luther, Chemnitz, Walther, Forde, Melancthon, Pieper, Scaer and other Lutherans. Of course not in the measure that I have read the greater lights of the Reformed World but still enough to profit from those Lutherans while noting their glaring inconsistencies.
————————————————-
Paul,
The only gaping holes I can see in this discussion are those in your arguments. The fundamental point is your denial of universal grace, which is a clear denial of Holy Scripture.
———————————————–
Bret
Saving Grace is not universal. If it were all would be saved since saving Grace is indefeasible. You see I don’t believe in a weak and insipid Grace that can only accomplish whatever sovereign man pleases to allow it to accomplish.
Passages where Scripture affirms that Grace is Particular.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Paul, if Grace were universal then all would know the Father. But since saving Grace is particular the only ones who know the Son are those whom God particularly reveals himself. The text even says that GOD hides these things from the wise and prudent. This text demolishes all Arminian-Lutheran special pleading.
Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Here Paul the reason is stated that the parable was given for a very non-universalistic reason.
John 10
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Here Paul those who are not the Sheep don’t receive universal Grace to understand. Earlier Jesus could say that all that the Father gives me will come to me. Obviously those who could not hear were not given to Jesus therefore they were not given universal Grace.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Of course Paul your universal saving grace thoroughly denies this passage and steals from God the right to be God. This passage by itself teaches that Grace is particularistic.
I have some more passages lined up for you but I will wait to unload them for when you come back with your inevitable protestations.
———————————————–
Paul,
You’ve yet to provide any evidence that would help us understand why the word “all” in the Scripture, “Christ died for all” doesn’t actually mean “all”. Why doesn’t “all” mean “all” in Titus 2:11, “The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people”?
————————————————
Bret
Actually I dealt with this in an earlier thread you buried so fast that nobody (including you it seems) got a chance to look at.
Context Paul. Paul is exhorting Titus in instructions for various classes of people (older woman, younger men, bondservants). He goes on then right in verse 11 to give the theological basis for the practical advice. Because Paul refers in the immediately preceding context to these classes of men, most likely he again is thinking in terms of all categories of men (slave inclusive) and not of everyone without exception. Also it is not an unimportant feature of the passage that the emphasis in the context moves from ‘all men’ to the redeemed community (note the immediately following ‘teaching US’ and ‘WE should live.’ This all serves to give the sense that the ‘all men’ to whom grace has savingly appeared are to be defined in terms of the redeemed covenanted community.
Besides Paul if we take ‘all’ to mean the way that you want to butcher it then we have proven to much for do you really want to suggest that the Grace of God that appeared to all men in that passage appeared to the Magyars on the Russian Steppes at that time or to the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s in Africa? Again the way you want to use ‘all’ makes nonsense of the passage.
————————————————
Paul
Why doesn’t “all mean “all” in 1 Timothy 2:4: “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”?
————————————————
Bret
This passage follows the Titus pattern. Paul has said that prayers are to be made for all men. He then goes on to restrict that meaning to ‘Kings and those in authority.’ As Paul narrows the definition of ‘all’ down it is evident that he desires prayer for all classes or types of people. Without such a restriction some Lutheran literalist might have prayed for dead people since the word ‘all’ was not restricted by the word ‘living.’ In this context Paul says God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. The context requires us to see the word ‘all’ as being restricted in the second instance just as it was in the first instance. God desires all categories of men to be saved just as he desired the believers to pray for all categories of men.
Secondly, to take this passage the way Arminians/Lutherans take it is to prove too much. If God desires all men to be saved then all men will be saved since God sits in heaven above and does whatever he pleases. Or do Lutherans teach that God sits in heaven above doing whatever he pleases except when man informs God to, ‘buzz off’ when he desires to save him?
————————————————-
Paul,
Why doesn’t “whole world” mean “whole world” as it says in 1 John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”?
————————————————-
Bret
You keep wanting to make redemption mean redeemability. In your construction Christ does not redeem anybody but only makes him or her redeemable as long as they bring that work that the one who says ‘no’ doesn’t bring. You beggar the idea of propitiation by making it mean ‘potentially propitiated.’
John is stressing the ethnic universalism of the atonement. It is not restricted to the Jewish nation nor even to those believers he is writing to. The efficacy of the Atonement applies to people from every tribe, tongue and (denomi)nation that God has chosen and so John writes ‘for the whole world.’
And again to take it the way you do proves too much. If Jesus is the propitiation for each and every person who has ever lived then each and every person who has ever lived has been propitiated for. The Father’s wrath has been turned from them. This is something that is objectively true and can’t be undone by the subjective will of fallen men. It wouldn’t matter if they told God to, ‘get lost’ they still would be saved since the propitiation has been rendered.
————————————————
Paul writes,
Scripture forbids limiting the “kosmos” of John 3:16 to the elect, for according to verse 18 of John 3, unbelievers belong to “the world.”
————————————————-
Bret
“The whole debate as to whether the love here celebrated distributes itself to each and every man that enters into the composition of the world, or terminates on the elect alone, chosen out of the world, lies thus outside the immediate scope of the passage and does not supply any key to its interpretation. The passage was not intended to teach, and certainly does not teach, that God loves all men alike and visits each and every one alike with the same manifestations of his love. And as little was it intended to teach or does it teach that his love is confined to a few especially chosen individuals selected out of the world. What it is intended to do is to arouse in our hearts a wondering sense of the marvel and the mystery of the love of God for the sinful world-conceived, here, not quantitatively but qualitatively as, in its very distinguishing characteristic, sinful.”
 B.B. Warfield
————————————————
Paul
Is the universal grace of God for every individual? 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not willing that any should perish.” Why doesn’t “any” mean “any”?
————————————————-
Bret
Context again Paul.
Peter writes that the Lord is longsuffering towards ‘US’. Who is the ‘US’ that Peter refers to? Obviously it is the covenant believing community. So when Peter immediately then says that “The Lord is not willing that any should perish,” it is obvious that the reference remains the believing community. God is not willing that any of His elect should perish. Hence,
John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the
last day.
————————————————-
Paul,
The Lord swears in Ezek. 33:11 “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”
————————————————-
Bret
If a judge can have no pleasure in the exercise of the death penalty yet have even less pleasure in seeing the wicked go unpunished then God likewise can have no pleasure in the death of the wicked and yet have greater displeasure in not seeing the wicked visited for their sin and so deal eternal justice to the wicked.
God can decree both his displeasure over the death of the wicked and His pleasure at seeing His justice upheld.
You see this is what I can’t understand. Lutherans are so good in some areas on thinking at different levels but when it comes to these issues they are so one-dimensional.
————————————————-
Paul,
But how could he not have pleasure if he in eternity created some to go to hell, as Calvinism teaches. What a sadistic god Calvinism would hold forth, one who gets his jollies creating some to go to hell.
———————————————–
Bret
You are a Blasphemer.
God is the thrice compassionate and forever merciful God who does not leave the guilty unpunished and yet shows grace to a thousand generations who love him and keep his commandments.
You seem to think that all because the divine decrees are true that means man’s culpability is not true. No Calvinists worth his salt comes close to teaching such nonsense. Man goes the way that God decrees but he does so in such a way that he desires. Scripture clearly teaches that Judas was predestinated for his role and yet he sold the Savior gleefully and on his own. Scripture clearly teaches that Joseph’s brothers intended evil to their brother on their own account and yet Joseph instructs us that God had predestinated it all (Gn. 50:20). Peter holds the Jews responsible for the crucifixion (You by the hands of wicked men…) and yet he also teaches that God predestinated it all. You show no ability to think Biblically in this matter. Someday Paul you will be held accountable for that Sadistic God
comment.
————————————————-
Paul,

Scripture clearly teaches that the merit of Christ was earned, even for those who do perish eventually through unbelief. 1 Cor. 8:11, “The weak brother, “for whom Christ died” will perish.

Rom. 14:15: “Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.” Doesn’t “destroy” mean “destroy”?
————————————————-
Bret
In terms of the Romans passage vs. 4 of that same Chapter teaches,
Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Do you really want to contend that Paul writes that God is able to make both the meat eaters and non meat eaters Stand and then turns around and teaches that one of them might not stand?
In terms of the Corinthians passage Paul does not say that the weaker brother will perish. He asks a question of the stronger brother that basically says “is this such a big issue for you that you would see the weaker perish? The admonition of the Apostle serves as the means by which the end of the weaker brother not perishing is accomplished. It is no different from Paul’s shipwreck experience where he was told on one hand that nobody would perish and then was turned around and told that if the lifeboats were employed people would perish. The promise was absolute but means were used to bring about the end.
————————————————
Paul,
2 Peter 2:1 The false teachers whom who “bring swift destruction” are “denying the Lord that bought them.”
————————————————-
Bret
Do you ever read the context?
In vs. 9 these same people are referred to as the unjust who have been reserved under punishment for the day of judgment. When did God reserve them for that end? It is past obvious that Peter is speaking of them according to their own profession. He does after all call them ‘false teachers.’
Alternately they are teachers that are living in the covenant community which is a community as a whole that has been blood bought. They are the reprobates of that community who have denied the Lord that bought the visible community of which they were objectively part. In but not of.
————————————————
Paul,
The Lord wants to convert those who are lost, Matt. 33:37: “How often would I have gathered thy children together . . and ye would not.”
————————————————-
Bret
This is the same as Stephen saying in Acts 9 that his interlocutors do always resist the Holy Spirit. Those dead in trespasses and sins always resist the external call of the Gospel. They can’t do anything else. But that doesn’t mean that the command to repent isn’t extended to those who would not. That just increases their guilt; the increase of which they were predestined for.
————————————————–
Paul
I wonder why you want to restrict the preaching and words of Jesus, “Come unto me ALL who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
—————————————————
Bret
All who are weary and heavy laden may come. Unfortunately those who do not receive efficacious grace do no acknowledge either their weariness nor their heavy laden-ness and are among those who do always resist the Holy Spirit as the reprobate always enthusiastically do.
————————————————————————————————
Paul
I wonder why you want to make Jesus a liar when he says that He gives his flesh for the life of the WORLD in John 6:51.
————————————————
Bret
Tell me Paul . when Caesar Augustus issued a decree that all the World should be taxed did he have in mind Peruvian Incas being taxed on their gold.
John constantly uses ‘World’ in his Gospel. The obvious end of which is to hint at the coming globalization of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus is not a Jewish Savior. He is the savior of the whole World.
It was necessary for John to emphasize the exclusiveness of Jesus as the Savior. It is Jesus as Savior who provides life to the World. If the World is to have a life at all, Jesus is the one who gives it. But that doesn’t mean that each and every person who ever lives is given life.
—————————————————
Paul,
Your Calvinistic rationalism requires you to deny clear Scripture, or to define words that clearly mean what they say into something they do not.
————————————————-
Bret
Your meat axe approach proves squat. You refuse to use the analogy of faith and read the less clear in light of the more clear and as such you have one giant contradictory Lutheran mess. You turn Sola Scriptura into Sola Stupida.
Words mean what they mean given the WHOLE context of the text. Your exegetical method would take Les Miserable and conclude that Jean Val Jean was the villain because you refuse to read the text as a whole.
————————————————-
Paul,
Synergists, on the other hand, assert that we Lutherans in reality cancel universal grace because we insist SO strongly on “grace alone” and ascribe to the saved not a better, but a similar wicked conduct and equal guilt compared with the lost, and hence declares that the question, “why some are saved and not others” is question that we can not answer in this life, a question that belongs to the incomprehensible judgments and inscrutable ways of God.
—————————————————
Bret
It is only because the synergist hasn’t yet caught on to the synergistic ace up your sleeve. What you splendidly give with the right hand on the Sola’s you take with the left hand with your synergistic teaching on universal saving grace.
Why some are saved and not others is clearly taught in Scripture. It is nothing but the discriminating love of God who loves us not because we are made of better dirt but who loves us because he loves us. Unlike your god who can’t always get what he wants, the God of the Bible gets what He wants all the time.
Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
—————————————————
Paul,
You obviously really don’t believe what the Bible says about the mystery of God’s hidden will. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”( Ro 11:33-34).
————————————————–
Bret
All because we can’t know exhaustively doesn’t mean we can’t know truly. The revealed things belong to our children and us. The fact that you want to stick your head in the soteriological sand and cry ‘I can’t see the sun’ doesn’t mean that the Son isn’t shining. Pull your head out Paul.
—————————————————
Paul,
Why, what’s that? I think I hear John Calvin and his friend Bret saying, “I know the mind of the Lord! Yes, Lord, I’ve been your counselor! We will reveal your hidden will.”
———————————————————-
Bret
Why, what’s that? I think I hear Paul crying, “God is a fool who is irrational and tells us to believe both His Sovereignty and his inability to get what he desires. Don’t believe that the Word is comprehensible. Become irrational.”
Poor God, he can’t help it, he has to contend with mighty humans who can frustrate His will.
Lutheran Scripture,
“The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth (except when face to face with fallen man).
———————————————————
Paul,
Your entire argument rests on the assumption that Christian doctrine must not be taken from Scripture but must be shaped according to the requirements of a uniform “system.”
——————————————————–
Bret
No, my entire argument rests on the fact that God is a God of order. My entire argument rests on the fact that I can trust His Word to not be ignorant, stupid, contradictory or irrational.
And don’t give me any shuckin and jivin about ‘systems.’ You are just as wedded to your chaotic system as I am to my uniform system. You are just smitten with a system as the next guy. That system is called Lutheranism. And even though it is a kaka system it is still a system.
——————————————————–
Paul,
Your system trumps the clear text of Scripture every time. You’ve proven that point over and over by your own words.
—————————————————————–
Bret
I have given you scripture over and over again in this post. Deal with them.
My words have proven that God’s word is true and synergists need not apply.
————————————————————
Paul,
Calvinists, such as yourself, attack the universal grace of God and teach the particularism of saving grace.
———————————————————-
Bret
Calvinists such as myself are lock step with Luther in Bondage of the Will. More is the pity that more Lutherans aren’t.
You say you want yet another text teaching particularism?
2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will
The text says, “If God peradventure will give them repentance Paul.” God doesn’t give that to everybody.
——————————————————-
Paul,
So, in your “system” God really doesn’t love all men, Christ does not redeem all men, the Holy Ghost does not desire to convert all men.
————————————————————
Bret
I have a Bible that says that ‘God hates workers of iniquity.’ What does your Bible say? I have a Bible that talks about the Wrath of God resting on the unbeliever. What does your Bible say?
So, ‘no,’ the Bible doesn’t allow for a effeminate God who is hamstrung by the men he awakens to eternal life telling God, ‘up yours.’ My Bible does not allow for a God who can’t always get what He wants. My Bible doesn’t teach that my blessed Savior failed in any respect to win those for which He died.
———————————————————-
Paul,
The highest principle in Calvinistic/rationalistic theology is the “sovereignty” of God who predestines some to damnation, others to salvation.
————————————————————
Bret
The highest principle in Lutheran/irrationalist theology is the ‘sovereignty’ of man who can spit on the grace of God. Man will ascend to the most high and decide who will receive grace and who won’t.
————————————————————————
Paul,
The Bible’s chief teaching is the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
————————————————————
Bret
Why must you divorce sovereignty from grace? Grace by definition is sovereign. Sovereign grace.
————————————————————
Paul,
I sometimes wonder why God even bothered with Jesus in your system. He should just have saved everyone the trouble and executed his “sovereign will” and just gotten it over with.
—————————————————————-
Bret
Oh the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Jesus is in the Bible Paul because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of Sin.
Your comment here though is most revealing. It reveals that you really don’t believe that God’s will is sovereign. Being ‘in Christ’ is really a matter of man’s will for you. Here we see the naked pelagianism for what it is.
Obviously the final answer to that statement though is that God knew that in the enacted pactum salutis the Glory of the Triune God would be displayed to the praise of His glory and grace.
———————————————————————–
Paul,
Just as Calvinism with its Christology must resort to a philosophical axiom “finitum non capax infiniti” , so the Reformed denial of the Scriptural doctrine of universal grace is ultimately and conclusively founded on the philosophical axiom: Whatever God earnestly purposes must in every case actually occur; and since not all men are actually saved, we must conclude that the Father never did love the world, that Christ never did reconcile the world, and that the Holy Spirit never does really want to create faith in all hearers of the Word. This is Calvin’s chief argument in Institutes III, 21-24 on Predestination.
————————————————————
Bret
More baloney.
I have given you reams of scripture that teach the particularity of Grace. Quit your carping and deal with the texts. Here is another one for you,
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Note, Sunshine, the last four words.
——————————————————————
Paul,
Calvinism finally puts its rationalistic constructs over the Scripture and thus denies universal grace and subjects believers to nothing but doubt, always wondering if they truly are among the elect, instead of pointing them to the objective reality of Gods’ universal grace in Christ.
———————————————————————-
Bret
I point my people all the time to the Sacraments where God’s promises are found. Wrong again Pastor Paul.
——————————————————————-
Paul,
Bret, the only gaping holes here are those in your theology, a theology that leads only to the gloomy haunts of Calvin’s worldview, where the “sovereign god” of his own making trumps the loving, gracious God revealed in Christ Jesus.
————————————————————
Bret
LOL
Meaning that God can’t be both sovereign and loving and gracious?
Well, I suppose I should expect no less of a conclusion from our resident irrationalist.
————————————————————
Paul,
And you have the audacity to accuse Lutherans of being synergists because we maintain the Bible’s teaching on universal grace? You just don’t get it, do you? We do NOT attempt to resolve the question that so plagues the dark soul of the Calvinist, “Why some, not others.”
————————————————————————
Bret
I get it just fine. You are synergist. The Bible does not teach universal saving grace! God didn’t call Mordecai, Habib, or Mohammed. He called ABRAHAM and thus showed his particular grace.
Likewise God with Israel,
Deuteronomy 7:7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
God particularly chose Israel out of all the nations just as he chooses His people today from among all peoples. Particular Grace is EVERYWHERE in Scripture. You are either blind or worse if you can’t see it. Saving grace is particular.
————————————————————
Paul,
We say that all are lost ONLY because they choose to reject. We say that all are saved ONLY because of the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
————————————————————
Bret
Rhetorical nonsense. You can’t have it both ways.
You say that Grace comes to all men. Those who are saved therefore have done something meritorious that those who aren’t saved haven’t done. They all received the same grace. The difference therefore is not in the grace received but in what is added by one that is not added by the other. Thus you deny all your precious solas. I treat your solas with more dignity and respect then you could ever dream of. Don’t worry. they are in good hands with me.
————————————————————
Paul,
Arminians, and with them any truly synergistic Lutherans there may be, do say that God’s grace is serious, effective and sufficient, but they ADD that the gracious divine power in the means of grace does not really suffice to produce faith: human cooperation is necessary for faith to result.
————————————————————
Bret
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You say the same thing. Why doesn’t the unbeliever who receives the same grace as he who does believe, not believe? It is because, unlike the one who does believe, he does not co-operate with grace. How much more clear can I make this?
————————————————————
Paul,
Some synergists say it depends on human cooperation, and the exercise of man’s free will. Another group says that the “thing in man” on which conversion depends is man’s decision to accept grace, or yielding to grace, or refraining from willful resistance. BUT both types of synergists mean the same thing: the divine operation in the means of grace does not suffice to produce faith itself.
————————————————————
Bret
And your universal saving grace does not suffice to produce faith in the willful resistance of the unbeliever. Therefore it is co-operation, which is what the person who ends up believing, is rendering up, for without it that person would conquer God’s intent as well as the other. The same universal grace comes to both. One willfully resists. The other willfully co-operates.
—————————————————————–
Paul,
The Bible teaches that grace not only makes it possible for man to believe, giving him the power to belie, but that it creates the very act of faith. Phil. 1:29: “Unto you it is given . . to believe on Him.”
————————————————————
Bret
Why doesn’t it create the act of faith in everybody? What causes them to differ? It certainly isn’t the grace since that is the same. It is not God’s intent because according to you he wants everybody to be saved. It is not the scope of the Atonement according to you since Jesus died for everybody. It is not the wooing of the Holy Ghost since according to you he woos everybody the same. The difference is found in one place and one place only. The difference is in the one who co-operates with the universal grace and one who doesn’t. God isn’t in control of this process . fallen humans are. That is the only conclusion possible if one doesn’t have a handy dandy mystery box nearby which one can throw unavoidable conclusions in that one doesn’t like to admit.
——————————————————–
Paul
Calvinists and synergists stand at the ready with an answer to the old question, “Why some, not others. Calvinists answer it by denying universal grace. Synergists answer by denying the principle of grace alone.
———————————————————
Bret
Scripture denies universal saving Grace.
Here is another.
1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Note here Paul that some are particularly chosen to confound those not chosen. Universal saving grace is clearly denied here. And why is it that some are in Christ Jesus and others are not? The text teaches that it is because of God that those who are foolish, weak, and despised are in Christ. God chose them particularly and not the wise and the strong.
——————————————————–
Paul,
Lutherans refuse to answer the question.
——————————————————–
Bret,
Lutherans refuse to admit that they answer the question. Or alternatively Lutherans put their fingers in their ears and shout . ‘we can not be held accountable for the clear implications of our teaching.
————————————————————
Paul,
We maintain both the gratia universalis and the sola gratia principles must be maintained side by side, without any rationalistic compromise.
————————————————————
Bret
Yes, it is true . you are incoherent.
—————————————————
Paul,
Whoever is saved, is saved by grace alone, and not because of a lesser guilt or a better conduct over against grace; whoever is lost, is lost through his own fault, and not through a lack of the grace of God or the gracious operation of God.
————————————————–
Bret
So you keep saying . in the face of all the evidence to contrary.
“It is not of him who will nor of him who runs but of God who gives mercy.”
—————————————————
Paul,
Various attempts to resolve this problem reveal only theological immaturity. No mature theologian will indulge in such speculation.
——————————————————–
Bret
No need to speculate. It is resolved by the clear teaching of Scripture.
Romans 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
———————————————————
Paul,
Romans 11:33: “How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out” of course in the Calvinist’s Bible they really shoudl pencil in, “except for us” at the end of that verse. And from the looks of it Bret has it inscribed in gold in his copy of Scripture.
————————————————–
Bret
LOL
By this reasoning we should make judgments about nothing since everything is unsearchable.
(Actually, my copy is inscribed with heavenly ink from God’s own hand)
—————————————————-
Paul,
And of course, I’m sure the good Calvinist’s Bible has scratched out the “ek merous” of 1 Cor. 13:12, “Now we know in part” instead it must read, “Now, actually, we have it all figured out.”
———————————————————–
Bret
Ad hominem . like much of your post. We don’t pretend to have it all figured
out. We just stand by the clear teaching of Scripture.
———————————————————-
Paul,
But we Lutherans choose to retain the text of Scripture and realize that in eternal life, when our understanding of God and divine things will no longer be fragmentary (1 Cor. 13:12), this obscure matter, too, will become clear to us.
——————————————————-
Bret
But it is not obscure. You want to talk about obscure things becoming clear let’s talk about the hypostatic union, or the Trinity, or the nature of the sacramental union. You see Calvinists are just further ahead. We look forward to the really tough ones being understood.
——————————————————–
Paul,
Here I stand. I can do none other. God help me. Amen.
—————————————————-
Bret
You may be standing but your position is lying in such ruins that only God can help you.
————————————————–
Paul,
Indeed, you have a different spirit.
—————————————————–
Bret
Yes . one that can think straight.

Atonement — Meaning, Necessity, The Final, Life Without

 

Lev. 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being [d]sanctified.

The Meaning of Atonement

Since we are going to be looking at the matter of atonement this morning we will be well served to have a functional definition of atonement so that every time you hear that word you will know what we are speaking of.

Theologian Leon Morris tell us that;

Atonement means ‘a making of one.’ and points to a process of bringing those who are estranged into a unity… Its use in theology is to denote the work of Christ in dealing with the problem posed by the sin of man, and in bringing sinners into right relation with God.”

Theologian Paul Jewett adds,

“Etymologically the word atonement signifies a harmonious relationship of that which brings about such a relationship, i.e. – a reconciliation. Atonement is principally used of of the reconciliation between God and man effected by the work of the Cross.”

Both of these passages that were read this morning refer to the great religious fact of Atonement. The passages that speak of atonement or some aspect of atonement are ubiquitous in Scriptue.

In the idea of Atonement we find the great central truths of the Christian faith, but not only the Christian faith as we shall learn, but all the great central truth of all religions. Indeed, one of the burdens of the sermon this morning is to not only to understand the meaning and necessity of the Atonement but also to understand that atonement as a general category is an inescapable category wherein all men, regardless of their religious status, require and so seek out.

The text in Leviticus 17 reminds us that it was God Himself who required the sacrificial system wherein the Priests busied themselves in the work in bringing sacrifices for the purposes of Atonement. The text from Hebrews teaches that all that was prefigured in the OT work of the Priestly caste was fulfilled perfectly by Jesus the Christ.
When we consider the atonement we would do well to start with by looking at the necessity of the atonement. The atonement presupposes the central tenets of our undoubted catholic Christian faith. The necessity of the atonement implies

A Holy Creator God
A violation of the Creator Holy God’s Holy Law by man now the sinner laden w/ objective guilt
A resultant fractured relationship that means a Holy God’s just wrath is upon man the sinner
God’s requirement by way of blood penalty that must be paid in order for man to be restored
This penalty paid must propitiate and reconcile God while expiating sin, so redeeming sinners
God’s provision in Himself as the God/Man paying the penalty as substitute that man could not pay
With the result that Man the sinner is brought back into right relation with God

And in that brief outline lies the essence of the Gospel and a lifetime of preaching. This is how important and monumental the issue of Atonement is. So important is the subject that I have tried to read one substantial book every year during the last 4 decades on the Atonement or some aspect of it. Without a sound understanding of the Atonement there exists only a Christianity that is no Christianity.

With that in mind we come to the passages and note a few matters regarding atonement.

I.) The Necessity of Atonement

In the texts we have had read for us this morning we learn that Atonement is the great central fact of the Christian faith. Leviticus 17:11 teaches us that God required Atonement of His people. Indeed, the whole sacrificial system of the OT pivots on the necessity of atonement.

But the necessity of the Atonement has a far longer history than Israel’s sacrificial system. The necessity of atonement goes way back to the garden after the fall. It is hinted at already with the fact that our first parents were covered after their garden sin with the skins of slain animals. Atonement is even more clearly with the account of Cain & Abel. God looked with favor upon the offering brought by Abel but with disfavor upon the offering brought by Cain.

Why was Abel’s offering – ‘fat portions from some of the firstborn flock’ – acceptable while Cain’s offering of some of the fruits of the soil not acceptable? Could it be that Cain offered a bloodless sacrifice apart from faith while Abel offered God a better blood sacrifice combined with faith as it was.

This is what Hebrews 11:4 hints at;

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous,

So we see the necessity of atonement.

The atonement is necessary if we are have audience with God… if we are to be friends with God. And because of the atonement is necessary the OT is splashed and covered with blood that could only point in the direction of an atonement that the OT could only anticipate.

The word of the atonement in the OT is Kipper. We hear it in the Jewish celebration of Yom Kipper. It literally means to cover. The word is used to describe the effect of the OT sacrifices at the consecration of the High Priest and the altar and the annual sacrifices especially on the Day of atonement.

Atonement is necessary as covering because by the atonement the sins of the people were covered so that God did not see them. This was pictured in the OT by the fact that on the Day of Atonement the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of God and would sprinkle the blood of that atoning sacrifice upon the Mercy Seat of the ark of the covenant where within was the law of God which condemned the people as sinners. By this act the blood was covering the law’s just accusation against the sin of the people and so God’s just wrath was turned away and so God was pleased to continue with His people.

So we see it all there in this required sacrificial system that required blood atonement. This is why Scripture teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

However, the Scripture also consistently teaches that all this was only promissory and anticipatory of a greater future atonement. Indeed we find that very idea expressed a few verses earlier in the chapter that was read this morning;

Hebrews 10: 1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

All that blood. All that time and treasure. All that expertise in animal slaughtering could not possibly take away sins. And it was never intended to. It was intended to be a daily reminder that another substitute bloody death was coming who would take away sin for good.

And so we look at that final Atonement;

II.) The Final Atonement

The passage in Hebrews read this morning says explicitly that all that was done in the old and worse covenant by way of sacrifice “could never take away sins.”

The author of Hebrews here highlights the work of the OT High Priest and priests and contrasts that work with the redemptive work of Christ. Note how complete the contrast is in this text

 

Vs. 11 Vs. 12

Day after Day But
every Priest This Priest
stands sat down
he offers when [he] had offered
again and again for all time
the same sacrifices one sacrifice
which can never for sins
take away sins

The text teaches here that Christ then was the fulfillment of both the responsibilities of the great High Priest inasmuch as he offered up the sacrifice. The text teaches here that Christ also then was the fulfillment of those sacrifices as the sacrifice that He offered up as the Great High Priest was Himself as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

But unlike the High Priest of the OT he did up offer up Himself as Atonement for His own sins. He offered Himself as God’s atonement for the sins of His people. Unlike the High Priest of the OT once this self atonement was completed – this one sacrifice for sins – His work was complete and He sits down at the right hand of God.

Keep in mind that this is other contrasts

In the OT the sanctuary furniture included table, lamp, altar of incense, and the ark… but one thing it did not include was a chair. Yet when this High Priest completes His work He sits down simply because there is no longer any necessary atonement sacrifices to be accomplished.

A couple implications here:

1.) This is why we can have no tuck with well intentioned and friendly Roman Catholics. I have good friends who want to be and are friendly with Roman Catholics. As such they are on good terms with them. However, they are not doing any friendly favors to Romanists by not telling them that their ongoing attendance to the Mass where Christ is once again sacrificed for sin as atonement is nothing but gross idolatry. There can be no reconciliation with Rome as long as Christ once for all sacrifice is denied by the Mass and we are offering the Roman Catholic rank and file no friendship if we do not at least occasionally bring that up to those of them who are our friends.

2.) Some of you here need to satisfied with this complete atonement. God is saying to you in the words of the song “Just come in;”

What do I see you draggin’ up here, is that for your atoning?

Some of you can’t believe that God’s grace is that gracious. Some of you can’t believe that God’s atonement is final. Some of you can’t believe that Christ has sat down. As such you can’t believe that your sins really are forgiven. As such you keep draggin’ before him your obedience so as to somehow be additions to Christ’s atonement.

Brother … Sister … you don’t have to keep living with your ongoing sin and guilt. Confess your sins and believe that God is faithful and just to forgive your sins. Brother … Sister … keep before you that God is satisfied with the atonement He provided for you. You don’t have to augment His atonement with your atonements.

Quit beating yourself. Christ has taken your beating for you. Quit thinking that you are accepted by your performance. You’re not, nor ever could be. You are accepted on the basis of the performance of Jesus Christ as your obedience and atonement. Some of us need to really believe that we are loved by God for the sake of Christ.

So there it is. Christ is our atonement. God’s just wrath is turned from us and our sin removed from us so that all we know now is God’s fatherly love and favor. We are those who have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our sin is covered and we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because of this atonement God is reconciled to us and we are reconciled to God. Because of this atonement the ransom price was paid not with silver or gold but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ – a lamb without spot or blemish and so we are redeemed.

III.) Life Without Christ’s Atonement

Now, what of those who have not closed with Christ and so come under his atonement? Have they escaped all this theology. Are they living life apart from the category of atonement.

We would say 1000 times NO and this truth needs to be heralded.

The non-believe in Christ still lives with the necessity of atonement and still spends their life seeking to come up with some other atonement besides the atonement that we have spoken of here briefly this morning.

Modern man is riddled with guilt and being riddled with guilt and refusing the atonement found in Christ he is forever seeking to provide self-atonement for himself. Indeed, the man apart from Christ busies himself all his life seeking an atonement that will cover the guilt he can not escape. People outside of Christ are dangerous for this reason.

They are dangerous because there are only so many options to look to for atonement when the atonement that is found in Christ is rejected.

Sinful and guilty Man outside of Christ can only find relief from his guilt and sin in an atonement that comes from either

1.) His paying for his own penalty (Masochism)
2.) His looking to pass on his sin and guilt to another so as to find atonement (Sadism)

These are the options for those outside of Christ who do not have Christ as their atonement. The need for atonement does not go away and so it is either the pursuit of Masochistic self atonement – the constant punishing of the self, or it is the sadistic activity on making others your atonement.

Let us make this clear;

Man apart from Christ is guilty.
He will not have Christ has his atonement
He still must do something with his sin and guilt
He still must have atonement
That atonement will be found in masochism or sadism
So, atonement is an inescapable category. It is never a matter of atonement. It is always a matter rather of which atonement will be sought out.

For our purposes I have drawn definitions of Masochism and Sadism form Websters Dictionary.

Masochism per Webster is – a taste for suffering

And I am insisting that modern man who has not fled to Christ and His suffering atonement will seek out his atonement with a taste for self inflicted suffering.

Now as it touches this Masochistic atonement modern man is like all that went before. I remember when I first read about the traveling flagellants. In medieval Europe they would travel from city to city carrying whips and flailing themselves on their backs.

The Flagellants were religious followers who would whip themselves, believing that by punishing themselves they would invite God to show mercy toward them. The Flagellants would arrive in a town and head straight for the church, where bells would ring to announce to the townsfolk that they had arrived. Having recited their liturgies the Brethren would move to an open space and form a circle, stripping to the waist and then walking around the circle until called to stop by the Master. They would then fall to the ground, adopting a crucifix position, or holding three fingers in the air (perjurors) or lying face down (adulterers). Having been thrashed by the Master, the Brethren would stand and begin to flagellate themselves. After some period of this self-torture, the Flagellants would throw themselves to the ground once more, and the process would begin again.

Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end. Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the end of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain of wheat or less. Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby. I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how sometimes those bits of metal penetrated the skin so deeply that it took more than two attempts to pull them out.–

Heinrich von Herford (c. 1300-1370), Chronicon Henrici de Hervordia

Much of the medieval system of forgiveness was all about masochistic behavior in one form or another

Modern man outside of Christ and without His atonement disguises this better but you can be sure that those without Christ are inflicting suffering among themselves in an attempt to provide a self-atonement. All people who are not Christians are either masochists or sadists or both. They are determined and govern by masochistic/sadistic impulses.

RJR agreed w/ us here writing;

“E.J. Warner, has written a very telling book, again from a totally non-Christian perspective, titled The Urge to Mass Destruction. This masochistic impulse is ultimately suicidal, because man, feeling his guilt and his sin, feels the need for punishment and the penalty of death, and so his activities become suicidal progressively, and the more deeply guilty a culture becomes and the more it departs from God, the more suicidal it will become until it is governed by what Warner called the urge to mass destruction, and Warner, writing approximately ten years ago, said that this urge to mass destruction was taking over the politics of modern man so that our modern politics is the politics of the urge to mass destruction. These men are all talking about atonement, about the desperate, the crying need for atonement in the heart of man, and it’s a sad fact that the pulpit doesn’t recognize that everything we deal with every day is wrapped up in this mad desire for self-atonement, for atonement without Christ.”

Lift your eyes and look around. What else can account for the odd behavior that we a currently seeing except for the mad pursuit to find a masochistic self-atonement? What else is all this piercing and tattooing … what else is all this gender dysphoria that pursues drugs and surgeries… What else is all these various addictions to various substances except the attempt to self-atone. The weight of sin and guilt is known. They will not have Christ atone for them and so they look to provide their own suffering and atonement.

With this realization how can there not be a place in our hearts that just weeps for these people? How can we look on this self-cruelty that seeks to provide a self-atonement and not have compassion and pity? How can we not long for them to know the only one who can so atone for them that they will be done with their own attempts at self atonement.

And now I’m fixin’ to meddle. What else can it be besides an urge to provide self-atonement that finds much of the leadership in the Evangelical/Reformed world that insists that the White Christian should be satisfied with being replaced in his own land thus suffering as hewers of wood and drawers of water? What else can it be but trying to pay for a false guilt that even were the accusations true (and they’re not) should be entrusted to having been paid for by Christ in His atonement. No… instead, so the narrative goes, we White Christians are to pay for the putative sins of our Fathers by taking upon ourselves a masochistic self-atonement.

No…. I will not play this game. My sins have been atoned for and I owe nothing to those who know not the atonement of Jesus Christ and so are trying to provide for their own self-atonement by sadistically foisting off their sin of envy upon me and my people.

And what of the attempt to self-atone that is Sadism which is defined in a delight in cruelty towards others?

There are those who, not accepting the atonement of Christ will instead of seeking masochistically to pay for their sins will instead sadistically seek to foist their sin upon others thus arriving at self-atonement?

Here we find the race pimps and race hustlers as I already mentioned. Here we find the Narcissist (and unsurprisingly we find Narcissism is growing by leaps and bounds in our culture) seeking to make everything the fault of someone else. Most of us have known them. They never take responsibility for anything… even if the same thing happens over and over again. They are forever pointing fingers at somebody else and are forever coming up with justifications for their behavior. Forever trying to find atonement by inflicting cruelty on others.

To all this masochism and sadism in our culture we have but one answer. That answer is the atonement of Jesus Christ who is the only way who is sufficient to provide atonement so as to save us from our own self-atoning efforts. It is Christ as our atonement who turned away the Father’s just wrath against sin. It is Jesus as our atonement who took away our sins. It is Jesus the Christ who reconciled God to us and us to God. It is the Lord Christ as our great High Priest who provided redemption.

Let us practice being satisfied with His atonement.

Baxter, McAtee, & Lusk on Final Justification

“To conclude, it is most clear in Scripture, that our Justification, at the great judgment, will be according to our Works, and to what we have done in the Flesh, whether good or evil; which can be no otherwise than as it was the Condition of that Justification.”

Richard Baxter
Puritan Neonomian

Advocating Final Justification

If one talks about “Final Justification” in terms of our works vindicating and agreeing with our forensic Justification which is/was by Christ alone there should be very little problem since Scripture talks about how our works shall follow us (Rev. 14:13). Further “Final Justification might be allowed as long as everyone agrees that all who were forensically justified will be finally justified without exception. However, to talk about a “final Justification” that somehow eclipses our forensic Justification is just Remonstrant trash. The same kind of trash being dished out by Federal Vision today;

“Final justification, however, is according to works. This pole of justification takes into account the entirety of our lives — the obedience we’ve preformed, the sins we’ve committed, the confessions and repentance we’ve done … God’s verdict over us will be in accord with, and therefore in some sense based upon, the life we have lived.”

Rich Lusk 
Federal Vision Remonstrant

As a brief aside here having interacted with the FV crowd quite extensively in days gone by, keep an eye out for the language above where we find the phrase “in some sense.” That is a weasel phrase that can mean just about anything.

Note, that while I do think that ever increasing obedience should be characteristic of the believer I would never think or say to myself that I really believed that my obedience would be connected to any final justification — even if in the way of vindication. Honestly, I know too well of my ongoing battle to put off the old man and put on the new man created in Christ Jesus to ever take hope in my “obedience performed,” for any kind of Justification. It strikes me that only someone not conversant with the depths of their own sin would write the way Lusk does.

We all would do well to remember our confessions;

“Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works are also accepted in Him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable, and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.”

Westminster Confession of Faith – 16:6

Corporeality & Covenantal Standing … A Question From Bulgaria

“Is there anything in the material composition of man which defines and determines his covenantal standing before God — be it salvation,etc. … ? If a person says, “yes, there is” he is a heretic and he must be excluded from Christian fellowship.”

 

Bojidar Marinov
2015

Note that Bojidar has said here that those who believe in the absolute necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation are a heretic. You see no one can be saved apart from the material composition of Jesus Christ being very man of very man. The Scripture teaches expressly that all of our covenant standing before God is dependent upon the material composition of man. If Christ is not very man of very man we are without hope.

Furthermore, as God only saves Adam’s race my covenantal standing before God and so my salvation is absolutely dependent on my material composition. God does not save spirit beings. God, in Christ, only saves men, — body and soul. Nobody saved is non-corporal and immaterial. If I am not a material being I cannot be saved.

Then there is the whole matter of covenant theology which does teach that our children, in their material composition, are members of the covenant precisely because they are the children of believers. The fact that children of believers are children of believers in their material composition does determine their covenantal standing before God as in the covenant, and that as ordered and commanded by God.

Obviously, nothing about any of this denies “Grace alone.” It is just to affirm that non-corporeal, material beings can not be saved

So … who is the heretic and who needs to be excluded from Christian fellowship?