Quotes That Will Trouble The “Escondido Theology” R2K Crowd — #4

Although the institutions and examples of the Old Testament, of the duty of magistrates in the things and about the worship of God, are not; in their whole latitude and extent, to be drawn into rules that should be obligatory to all magistrates now, under the administration of the gospel,-and that because the magistrate was “custos, vindex, et administrator legis judicialis, et politiae Mosaicae,” from which, as most think, we are freed-,- yet, doubtless, there is something moral in those institutions, which, being unclothed of their Judaical form, is still binding to all in the like kind, as to some analogy and proportion. Subduct from those administrations what was proper to, and lies upon the account of, the church and nation of the Jews, and what remains upon the general notion of a church and nation must be everlastingly binding

John Owen
Works (London: Banner of Truth, 1967), VIII, 394
The Latin phrase means, “guardian, vindicator, and manager of the judicial law, and of the constitution of Moses.”

Thesis 42: The judicial laws, some of them being hedges and fences to safeguard both moral and ceremonial precepts, their binding power was therefore mixed and various, for those which did safeguard any moral law, (which is perpetual,) whether by just punishments or otherwise, do still morally bind all nations; … and hence God would have all nations preserve their fences forever, as he would have that law preserved forever which these safeguard. . . . As, on the contrary, the morals abiding, why should not their judicials and fences remain? The learned generally doubt not to affirm that Moses’ judicials bind all nations, so far forth as they contain any moral equity in them, which moral equity doth appear not only in respect of the end of the law, when it is ordered for common and universal good, but chiefly in respect of the law which they safeguard and fence, which if it be moral, it is most just and equal, that either the same or like judicial fence (according to some fit proportion) should preserve it still, because it is but just and equal that a moral and universal law should be universally preserved…

Thomas Shepard, The Morality of the Sabbath, in Works (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1853), III, 53f.

Quotes That Will Trouble “The Escondido R2K ‘Theology'” Crowd — #3

Nor do I find a warrant for Magistrates to compel any to profession of truth, Psal. 110. His people a willing people. To Order what men shall believe, is to exercise Dominion over men’s Consciences: It is One thing to cause the people to attend the means, and another to make them believe the truth, the first they must do, but not the second: Faith is God’s gift. It is one thing to hinder Idolatry and blasphemy spreading, another thing to make people renounce an opinion, and embrace the truth. […]

They may Command and Order the people to come and attend upon the Ministry of the Word, as the means instituted by Christ for their instruction to salvation. It is one thing to order them what they shall believe, another thing to order them to wait upon the means. All grant the civil Magistrate may call public Assemblies, to hear their Proclamations, and Statutes, &c. read: if they may call a whole Town to hear a Law, then much more may they call them to hear God’s Laws.

Stephen Marshall, The power of the magistrate in matters of religion, vindicated. The extent of his power determined. In a sermon preached before parliament on a monthly fast day (London, 1657), pp 5, 7-8.

“For it is a thing more certain that whatsoever God required of the civil magistrate in Israel or Judah concerning the observation of true religion during the time of the Law, the same doth he require of lawful magistrates professing Christ Jesus in the time of the Gospel, as the Holy Ghost hath taught us by the mouth of David, saying (Psalm 2): ‘Be learned, you that judge the earth, kiss the Son, lest that the Lord wax angry and that ye perish from the way.’ This admonition did not extend to the judges under the Law only, but doth also include such as be promoted to honours in the time of the Gospel, when Christ Jesus doth reign and fight in His spiritual kingdom, whose enemies in that Psalm be most sharply taxed, their fury expressed and vanity mocked. And then are kings and judges, who think themselves free from all law and obedience, commanded to repent their former blind rage, and judges are charged to be learned. And last are all commanded to serve the Eternal in fear, to rejoice before Him in trembling, to kiss the Son, that is, to give unto Him most humble obedience. Whereof it is evident that the rulers, magistrates and judges now in Christ’s kingdom are no less bound to obedience unto God than were those under the Law.”

John Knox, The appellation of John Knox from the cruel and most injust sentence pronounced against him by the false bishops and clergy of Scotland, with his supplication and exhortation to the nobility, estates and commonality of the same realm (Geneva, 1558) in idem, On rebellion, ed. R. A. Mason (Cambridge, 1994), pp 91-2.

Heidelberg Catechism Sermon — Lord’s Day 32

LORD’S DAY 32 — 86. Q. Since we have been delivered from our misery by grace alone through Christ, without any merit of our own, why must we yet do good works?

A. Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit to be His image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for His benefits,1 and He may be praised by us.2 Further, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits,3 and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbours for Christ.4

1 Rom 6:13; 12:1, 2; 1 Pet 2:5-10. 2 Mt 5:16; 1 Cor 6:19, 20. 3 Mt 7:17, 18; Gal 5:22-24; 2 Pet 1:10, 11. 4 Mt 5:14-16; Rom 14:17-19; 1 Pet 2:12; 3:1, 2.

87. Q. Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and impenitent walk of life?

A. By no means. Scripture says that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, greedy person, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like shall inherit the kingdom of God.1

1 1 Cor 6:9, 10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5, 6; 1 Jn 3:14.

Premises in the Question

Antinomianism is not an option

The Christian is dead to the law as a tool of condemnation for lack of the required moral perfection. But as the Scripture instructs us we have been Redeemed by Christ from that condemnation. Christ paid the penalty for our lawlessness. But Christ did not pay the penalty of sin for our lawlessness that we might be free to be a lawless people. The redeemed are dead to the death sentence of the law, Christ having taken upon Himself their death sentence, but they are now alive to the law as the righteous standard by which they can adjudicate what the performance of “good” is.

We are the people who have been redeemed in order to do “good,” and when the Christian or God’s people as a whole resolve to sin that grace may abound their lives tell a lie about what God has done. So LD question 32 does not allow us to be unconcerned with obedience.

The Scripture reinforces the point of LD 32

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

As the law was man’s indictment, and as the law’s fulfillment of fallen man’s penalty and unrighteousness in Christ’s death was the way in which Christ’s death glorified the Father so the law now is the means which the Spirit uses in order to grow us up in Christ by sanctification.

The Church in the 21st century is awash in antinomianism. There continues to be a lack of concern for good works and the standard that defines those good works (God’s Law).

The second unstated premise we have already grazed against and that is,

If we must still do “good” there must be a standard which determines what “good” is.

Whatever standard a man chooses my which to determine the good is the god of that person’s life.

If a person determines by his own decision making what “good” is then that man is a law and a god unto himself

If a person determines by some other authority that is not looking to God’s authority for determining what “good” is then whatever that other authority is, is god unto the person.

Modern man in the West largely looks to the God State in order to be the standard of what is “good.” Following Mao’s dictum that “Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people,” the West largely determines “good” by the masses of elected officials.

So, we must do good as LD 32 teaches and in order to discern what is good we must have a standard and as LD 33 will teach that standard is that which conforms to God’s law.

Leviticus 18:4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.

I Sam. 15:22 And Samuel said,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

LD 32 then goes on from the premises in the question to answer why we do good

I.) We Do Good Because of Divine Renovation

Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

As the Spirit of God teaches here we were created for good works and we are being renovated constantly to that end.

The Scripture teaches not only has Christ delivered us from the penalty of sin by being redeemed by Christ’s blood, counted as righteous with Christ’s righteousness, but it also teaches that another aspect of that deliverance is that we are transformed from glory unto glory.

13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

After listing the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians Paul can say … “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We have been given the Spirit of the living God as a guarantee of that which is to come, and that Spirit of the living God works to renovate — renew — all of our life.

The Spirit of God working in us, renewing us, works to the end that we bear the fruit of belonging to Christ. That fruit is recognized because it is consistent with God’s Character and we know God’s character because in the law we find the Character of God revealed.

This divine renovation that is going on in us is a work in progress. We are never completely renovated on this side but as we are already accepted in Christ, we are not trusting in our renovation to be right with God but because we are right with God we eagerly anticipate our renovation.

So, in our deliverance, God delivers us both from the penalty of sin in our justification but in our sanctification by the Spirit in applying His Law, God delivers us increasingly and incrementally from the power of sin so that we increasingly become what we have been freely declared to be in Christ.

II.) We Do Good As Thankfulness So That God Will Be Glorified

This passionate pursuit of “good works” is the consequence of having been graciously given a firm grip on how great a salvation we have been saved with. Those who are the most earnest in this concursive work of renovation are those who have the firmest grip of what their peril was outside of Christ. Having been thoroughly convinced of their sin and misery due to being exposed to the threat of God’s wrath against them, all of their life is lived as an expression of gratitude for being freely redeemed.

So, in sanctification their justification is always before them.

In our lived out gratitude it is our hope that men will praise God for what He is working out within us. We want God to be seen and marveled at.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

The Christian’s passion is for God’s glory. There is nothing more that we desire people to see then the greatness of the God we serve. And so a motivating factor for us in our doing “good” is that God might be praised among men because of us.

It is not that we desire people to see anything about ourselves in order to take note but being owned by God we desire that people praise God and see His greatness in the way he has renovated us. We remain unimpressed with ourselves. What we desire people to be impressed with is how God could take such rabble and do such wonders.

We always remain but jars of clay (II Cor. 4) but it is our earnest passion that God’s glory would be seen through these simple jars of clay that men may be amazed that such a simple vessel can manifest the majesty of God and so praise God for how He can use earthen jars of clay.

III.) We Do Good So That We Might Have Assurance

A means of assurance that we are taught here is that we see the power of the living God working in us conforming us to Christ. We understand that this is all of grace but the grace we see assures us that we really do belong to God.

The negative side of this is that if there is no fruit produced then assurance is going to be a dicey matter. In point of fact if we don’t have fruit we shouldn’t have assurance … (but oddly enough the angst about not having fruit is itself likely fruit. The person dead in their sins doesn’t care about fruit.)

Jesus said in Matthew 7.16-17, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”

Now, there are dangers here that we must touch upon.

A.) One danger is that we will begin to start looking at our performances instead of Christ’s performance for us.

B.)There is a danger that we will begin to get impressed with our fruit forgetting that even our good works must be imputed with the Righteousness of Christ to be accepted.

C.) There is a danger that we will enter into fruit comparison contests.

D.) And for those who are tender of conscience and have a real grip on their sinfulness there is a danger of despairing of having any genuine fruit because they see their sin all over the best of their works.

Still, understanding that our ultimate assurance is found in Christ alone as mediated by Word and Sacrament, we find penultimate assurance in the fact that the Spirit of the living God is renovating us. We are not what we would be — we still see in us sin that we despise — but we are no longer what we once were and that can, in a minor key, give us assurance.

So we do good works in order to thank and praise God, and so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits. Those are the first two compelling reasons to do good works.

IV.) We Do Good So That People May Be Won To Christ

1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

You are the personal representative of Jesus Christ.

We must understand here that it is only the elect that will be drawn to Christ via our good works. The flip side of this is that the reprobate will be repulsed by our good works.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

As Christians we are a pucker up or duck kind of people, and as the antithesis becomes more and more worked out in our families, our neighborhoods, our culture, we will be loved and correspondingly hated by the elect and reprobate all the more consistently.

Still, we enter into good works because of our earnest desire that men might be won to Christ.

The HC ends with warning concerning a lack of the renovating work.

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

But dear congregation we have better hopes for you, hopes for works accompanying salvation.

So, for a few weeks we will be looking at God’s Law to talk to ourselves more about what these “good works” should look like and how they are defined. We will not be exhaustive here as it simply isn’t possible to be exhaustive on this kind of subject matter.

We end by noting that there seems to be a stream in the reformed church that wants to downplay sanctification and good works choosing to insist upon the “not yet” of sanctification as opposed to the nowness found in the reality that we are new Creatures in Christ. These folks would choose to look at the failures of Christians in their “good works” and suggest that sanctification can’t really be measured.

And it is true, as we said earlier we are not yet what we will one day be and we remain sinners saved by grace, BUT we are sinners saved by grace who, by the Spirit’s renovating work are putting to death the old man and bringing the life the new man and so we can rejoice in the progress that the Spirit of Christ is working in us.

Quotes That Will Trouble “The Escondido R2K ‘Theology’” Crowd — #2

‎”We therefore conclude that the civil government, as soon as it discovers abominable heresies by which the glory of Christ is diminished and the salvation of souls prevented, is in duty bound, yea that it has the office, to wield the sword and to exercise its full authority against those errors which bring divisions among the people and other great calamities, as we have experienced more than once. And if the teachers of false doctrines will not be convinced of their error, nor desist from their preaching, let the government use its power and compel them to refrain from their mischievous work, so that the true doctrine, and the proper worship of God, may be retained pure and unadulterated, that peace and harmony may prevail.”

Martin Luther

‎”There are two governments: the one religious, by which the conscience is trained to piety and divine worship; the other civil, by which the individual is instructed in those duties which, as men and citizens, we are bound to perform”

John Calvin

This one thing I add more; that it is the duty of a christian magistrate, or at leastwise of a good householder, to compel to amendment the breakers and contemners of God’s sabbath and worship. The peers of Israel, and all the people of God, did stone to death (as the Lord commanded them) the man that disobediently did gather sticks on the sabbath-day [Numbers 15:32-6]. Why then should it not be lawful for a christian magistrate to punish by bodily imprisonment, by loss of goods, or by death, the despisers of religion, of the true and lawful worship of the sabbath-day? […] For it is a heinous sin and a detestable schism, if the congregation be assembled, either in cities or villages, for thee then to seek out byways to hide thyself, and not to come from there, but to contemn the church of God and assembly of saints: as the Anabaptists have taken an use to do.

Henry Bullinger, Fifty godly and learned sermons divided into the five decades containing the chief and principal points of Christian religion, ed. Thomas Harding (1849-52 Parker edn; 4 vols, Grand Rapids, 2004), i, 261-2.

Escondido, Radical Two Kingdom “Theology,” is a complete innovation. It is true that one can find the “Spiritual nature of the Church,” in Reformed Church history but the “Spiritual nature of the Church” and R2K are related the same way that a guppy and Godzilla are related.

Quotes That Will Trouble “The Escondido R2K Theology” Crowd — #1

‎”This argument has been harmoniously received and even become common in the opinions of the schools of orthodox theologians, which state that the magistrate ought to be the keeper of both Tables of the Law. Indeed, he is the keeper, to take care that the business he has been commissioned with is carried out in the same manner which the Lord has commanded him.”

Johannes Piscator

“Argument 4. What the Magistrate is fore-prophesied to be under the New Testament, that he must discharge with all the power God hath given him, and that perpetually, and not by the tie of a judicial and temporary law, which binds for a time only. But the Magistrate is fore-prophesied Isa. 49. 23. and 60. 10 Rev. 21. 26. to be a Nurse-father to the Church under the New Testament, to keep and guard both Tables of the Law, and to see that Pastors do their duty, to minister to the Church by his royal power, yea when the fountain shall be opened in David’s house, that is under the New Testament, he shall thrust through the false Prophet that speaketh lies in the Name of the Lord, Zach. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.”

Samuel Rutherford

“But this is not arbitrary to him, for he is the minister of God, (Rom. 13:4) and the judgment is the Lord’s (Deut. 1:17; 2 Chron. 19:6). And if the Magistrate is keeper of both tables, he must keep them in such manner as God has delivered them to him.”

George Gillespie

“The Magistrate is not merely appointed by God as both the keeper and avenger of the second Table, but certainly also, and especially, of pure religion, with respect to which he keeps an external discipline.”

Philip Melanchthon

‎”Therefore, in regard to this very subject of which we here treat, since we have the clear word and command of God, by which magistrates are ordered to punish blasphemy. And in addition (as we demonstrated above) this is particularly the duty of the Magistrate, to take care that sins against the first Table are avenged”

Theodore Beza