Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Church or a clean club?

[A companion to this post from March 2012: Word and Sacrament - Gospel Sanctification]

I have a friend, an elderly English gentleman, who left the Anglican Church back in the 1960s.  He said that he finally had come to the conclusion that the Church of England was basically a clean club.  I don't think that was necessarily an accurate assessment of every parish in the Church, but what did he mean by that?  Maybe that the Church seemed to be made up of pretty decent people who, more or less, were doing pretty well with this Christian life thing.  That all was pretty good in the lives of the flock.  No big struggles with sin.  No bouts with doubts.  And that just didn't describe his life which was fraught with struggles and weaknesses.  The Church, in his eyes, seemed to be the place for the mostly-together-good people, a clean club.

So, what is wrong with that?  Well, there's nothing wrong with people doing OK.  But there is something wrong with the idea that the Lord's house is a place for people who are not that bad, people who are pretty good.  My friend's description of his church is a picture of how Christians, and people in general, tend to look on the surface.  Yet it's this surface image of a clean club which we protectively hold that minimizes the reality of our sinful natures and the sins that beset us.  Being a card-carrying member of a clean club short-circuits the need to hear God's unvarnished Law which exposes and magnifies our sin, leaving one with little thirst for the cleansing comfort of God's amazing grace declared in His Gospel.

Think of the incident found in Luke 7:
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

Parable of Two Debtors

40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Which debtor are we?  The one who owes a small amount or the one who owes an enormous debt?  Well, if you're like me, you do think of yourself as a sinner, but not that big of a sinner!  It's especially so because, hey, we've been Christians for quite a while.  We've made progress.  We've grown.  I've improved and am more acceptable than I use to be.  We think what we mainly need is, not the blood of the cross, but more grace and help to live as we ought.  The emphasis can become less and less on what our Savior Christ Jesus has done for us sinners and more on how we can grow to better live for God.

The Reformers were on to something; and that something was that we Christians are indeed very big debtors, in their words - miserable sinners.  They preached the Law in order to do much more than just inform Christians on how they were to live.  Rather, the Law was presented in order to reveal, within the hearers, sin as utterly sinful.  They also boldly proclaimed the reconciliation of sinners in Christ Jesus.  And sinners/saints having heard, looked with renewed faith to Christ alone as those reckoned righteous by God's grace.

In the incident above, Jesus was teaching what it means to be a Christian, not just what it means to initially get saved.  In other words, we are great sinners who have mercifully received a great salvation.  And, I don't think the apostle Paul was merely waxing eloquent when he declared near the end of his life to Timothy, Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:15). We loses sight of this since part of what it means to be a sinner is to be one who denies or obscures his sin, in a clean-club sort of way.  Therefore, it falls to the Church, through the ministry of Word and Sacrament, to perpetually call believers to not dissemble nor cloak our [sins] before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father; but acknowledge and confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by His infinite goodness and mercy in Christ Jesus (Morning Prayer 1662 BCP).

So let's be done with clean clubs and take direction from Martin Luther who, in a letter to Spalatin, wrote:
Therefore my faithful request and admonition is that you join our company and associate with us, who are real, great, and hard-boiled sinners.  You must by no means make Christ to seem paltry and trifling to us, as though He could be our Helper only when we want to be rid from imaginary, nominal, and childish sins.  No, no!  That would not be good for us.  He must rather be a Savior and Redeemer from real, great, grievous, and damnable transgressions and iniquities, yea, from the very greatest and most shocking sins; to be brief, from all sins added together in a grand total.
Jesus Christ gave Himself to die on the cross to save real sinners with real sins.


  1. Amen, brother. Even the most sanctified Christian remains until the end of his life a "miserable sinner" who deserves hell. The sum total of all our sins, including the least of our sins, makes us worthy of damnation. Thanks be to God for His mercy and grace!

  2. Hey Jack,

    Those are some great thoughts. Hope all is well.


  3. Amen, Charlie. Like Luther said on his deathbed, "This is true, we are beggars all."

  4. Hello Dennis,

    thanks, and nice of you to drop in. I hope all is well with you, also. May God's blessing be yours.

  5. But, Jack, don't you know that after we are united to Christ, this "sinner" business no longer applies to us, since the law is now our friend, and there is from that point on no difference between law and gospel?

    Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    The neonomians conclude from the above that

    1. The wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, and we know who they are because they continue to sin, and even on purpose.

    2. it makes no sense that God is going to punish the condemned non-elect for these sins and not also punish the justified elect for the same specific sins. So even Christins when they sin are going to get punished for it.
    3. Therefore, the neonomians conclude that the justified elect don’t commit these sins, or at least not for long, and never on purpose.

    I thank God for another gospel, which teaches us to fear God and God’s law, because we know that not even Christ in us causes us to satisfy God’s law and we trust in the death of Christ as that which answers the demands of God’s holy law.

    Those who are without Christ are under the wrath of God for the very same sins which we continue to commit. Our hope is not that we are no longer coveting idolaters, but that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Why tell Christians not to be coveting idolaters, if Christians can’t be coveting idolaters?

    1. Mark, you're overlooking the fact that the Westminster Confession of Faith deals with antinomianism. Both neo-legalism and antinomianism are dealt with in the Westminster Confession. Those who have no valid profession of faith are those who continue in sin with no change. Sanctification comes from knowledge of God's written word (John 17:17; 2 Peter 3:18 Psalm 119:11; Psalm 1; Romans 12:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 John 5:3,

      The idea that someone could continue in sin and have assurance of salvation is completely unbiblical and unconfessional. Not only the WCF but the 39 Articles of Religion soundly condemns antinomianism:

      CHAPTER XVIII—Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

      1. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation (Job 8:13–14, Micah 3:11, Deut. 29:19, John 8:41) (which hope of theirs shall perish): (Matt. 7:22–23) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, (1 John 2:3, 1 John 3:14,18–19,21,24, 1 John 5:13) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. (Rom. 5:2,5)

      The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

    2. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion puts it succinctly also:

      XI. Of the Justification of Man.
      WE are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

      XII. Of Good Works.
      ALBEIT that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

      XIII. Of Works before Justification.
      WORKS done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

      I could quote the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism. The Catechism in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer calls for us to forsake the works of the devil and follow Christ: A Catechism

      And who could forget Romans 6:1-4?

      “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1–4, NKJV)

      Justification is by faith alone. Election is unconditional. But God has foreordained that the elect walk in righteousness. We all fall short. But grace is not a license to sin.

      “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV)
      There is indeed no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1--2; Romans 8:1-2). But if the habits of your life have not changed and there is no maturity or sanctification or a valid profession of faith, then it is questionable that such a person is indeed a Christian. In fact, Paul calls for such persons to be excommunicated. (2 Corinthians 5).

      He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:8-10 NKJ)

      Sincerely in Christ,


  6. Those who continually confess that they do not continue to sin are continually lying. Charlie, have you stopped sinning yet? Have you even changed enough (for the better) that you can now reasonably trust in what God has done in you, and no longer put all your trust in Christ's death on the cross?

  7. Jack's point about the church not being a "clean club" is NOT about rejecting our obligation not to sin. The law's authority does not change because of our inability. And regeneration does not mean that we now have the ability to keep the law. The real antinomians are those who think that their imperfect (but improved, they think) obedience to the law is sufficient for the sake of assurance. The demand for perfection by the law has not changed based on the Christian's inability to be perfect. Our only hope is in identification with Christ's death.

    Romans 6 is about Christ the public representative of the elect first being under condemnation, sin and death.

    Romans 6:7 “For one who has died has been justified from sin. 8 Now since we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death NO LONGER has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died HE DIED TO SIN once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 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. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

    Christ was never under grace and is still not under grace. Christ was under the law because of the imputed sins of the elect. Romans 6 is about Christ’s condemnation by the law and His death as satisfaction of that law. Christ after His resurrection is no longer under law. The death of the justified elect is that VERY SAME legal death. The resurrection of the justified elect in Romans 6 is the result of justification from being under law.

    Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being unable not to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally transferred by God to Christ.

    Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and since the elect are united with a death like his, the death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. And this is what Romans 6:7 teaches: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”

    Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s transformation by grace and by the Spirit so that the justified elect cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin) They tell us that justification was in chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”.

    But Christ was never under the power of habitual sin or any sin, and the death of the elect is like His death.

    Romans 6:10, “For the death He died He died to sin.” When the elect consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God, they are to think of themselves as dead to the guilt of sin.

    Romans 6:14 does not say, For sin shall not be your master, because the Holy Spirit has changed you so that you cannot habitually sin, but only occasionally and always with repentance. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not by your master, because you are not under law but under grace.”


    Stephan Walton is an Anglican. Please read this good essay on Romans 6.

  9. Mark, I agreed with most of what you said until you said that we cannot stop habitually sinning. So I guess that means you can be a practicing homosexual, a whoremonger, a fornicator, and an adulterer without having to give an account for your sins to God or to the church? Unfortunately, not being under the law as a covenant of works does not mean you have a license to habitually sin.

    Furthermore, 1 John 3:8 makes it clear from the present active indicative participle in the Greek (poieo) that those who continue sinning are of the devil. This is not talking about moral perfectionism as the Wesleyans contend. No, it is talking about habitual sin. A habitus.

    The Bible continually speaks about sanctification as a change of mind, a transformation in thinking. The word "repent" is "metanoia." It literally means a change of mind or a change of thinking. So it is the truth of Scripture that brings about progress in sanctification.

    To confuse justification with sanctification is the unpardonable sin in Reformed theology. Roman Catholics and neo-nomians confuse sanctification with justification and make justification an infused righteousness rather than an imputed righteousness. Antinomians confuse justification with sanctification and make sanctification something that is merely imputed and therefore not infused. As the late Charles Hodge clearly laid out in his systematic theology, faith is the instrument by which God applies the benefits of Christ's active and passive benefits to the believing elect person. Faith does not justify. It is Christ who justifies the believer and faith is instrumental to the imputation of the benefits. Sanctification, on the other hand, is infused into the heart and requires cooperation on our part. God is the ultimate cause of our cooperation and obedience. (Proverbs 21:1; Philippians 2:12-13). It is therefore ultimately monergistic but God's causation results in our cooperation or synergistic process of sanctification.

    Do I continually fail to keep the law perfectly? Absolutely. Do I practice wickedness as the habitus of the Christian life? No. Such a person has no valid profession of faith and would be subject to church discipline and excommunication. (1 Corinthians 5:1ff).

    As an illiterate black deacon in the Missionary Baptist Church once quoted to me on a continual basis, "Cha'les, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2 KJV.

    The idea that we are once saved always saved is neither a Puritan doctrine nor and Anglican doctrine. The 39 Articles of Religion makes that clear enough in Articles 1-17. The Westminster Confession likewise rules out false assurance of salvation. I am not an advocate of Lordship salvation or neo-nomianism. That would be Richard Gaffin, Jr. Norman Shepherd, and the Federal Visionists.

    I am, however, an advocate of the propositional revelation view of Scripture. Scripture alone is the Word of God and it is the truth that God uses to sanctify His elect. (John 17:17; Psalm 119:11; Psalm 19:14; Romans 12:1-3).

    Salvation is a lifelong process and saving faith always results in good works. Good works before faith merit hell. (Proverbs 21:4). Justification is by faith alone. Sanctification produces good works out of gratitude, not as a means of meriting forgiveness, salvation, or eternal rewards. Without faith nothing we do can please God. (Hebrews 11:6).



    1. Charlie, I don't think Mark would disagree with what you wrote. When he wrote, "Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s transformation by grace and by the Spirit so that the justified elect cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin)", he wasn't saying that the justified elect can and do embrace habitual sin. He is not saying that a believer can wantonly go on sinning. Rather I think what Mark meant by the word "habitually" is defined in the parenthesis. In other words a true believer continues to sin throughout his entire life in "thought, word, and deed" even though he does have a new heart and right will born of the Spirit and is in union with Christ. In that sense it's habitual. And yet by grace he is being conformed to Christ. So, we are not climbing a ladder of sanctification by building more and more of our own personal righteousness.

  10. Catechist
    MY good Child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the Commandments of God, and to serve him, without his special grace; which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer. Let me hear therefore, if thou canst say the Lord's Prayer.

    OUR Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil. Amen.

    Question. What desirest thou of God in this Prayer?
    Answer. I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people: that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we ought to do. And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our souls and bodies; and that he will be merciful unto us, and forgive us our sins; and that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers ghostly and bodily; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death. And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore I say, Amen, So be it.

    A Catechism

  11. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. (1 Timothy 1:8-11 NKJ)

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17 NKJ)

  12. Jack, apparently you do not agree with Scripture. Although sanctification is subjective and imperfect throughout the Christian life, sanctification is indeed progressive. The 39 Articles make that clear and so does the Westminster Standards:

    CHAPTER XIII—Of Sanctification

    1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, (1 Cor. 6:11, Acts 20:32, Phil. 3:10, Rom. 6:5–6) by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, (John 17:17, Eph. 5:26, 2 Thess. 2:13) the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, (Rom. 6:6,14) and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; (Gal. 5:24, Rom. 8:13) and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, (Col. 1:11, Eph. 3:16–19) to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (2 Cor. 7:1, Heb. 12:14)
    2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; (1 Thess. 5:23) yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; (1 John 1:10, Rom. 7:18, 23, Phil. 3:12) whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. (Gal. 5:17, 1 Pet. 2:11)
    3. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; (Rom. 7:23) yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; (Rom. 6:14, 1 John 5:4, Eph. 4:15–16) and so, the saints grow in grace, (2 Pet. 3:18, 2 Cor. 3:18) perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7:1)

    The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

    1. Charlie, and apparently you like to jump to and draw incorrect conclusions. I not only agree with your statement:

      "Although sanctification is subjective and imperfect throughout the Christian life, sanctification is indeed progressive. The 39 Articles make that clear and so does the Westminster Standards"

      I certainly agree with WLC on sanctification.

    2. And agree with the WCF on sanctification...

    3. So your Van Tilian contradictions come out again. Which is it? Are we progressively sanctified or not. Your earlier comment denied it when you said that we don't climb a ladder of sanctification. Of course we grow subjectively in sanctification. Justification is objective and final/complete. Sanctification is not. It requires progress.

      Logic is essential to interpreting Scripture. It's the equivocation of Van Til's theology that allows for triperspectivalism, the Federal Vision, and other errors.

    4. Charlie, you either need reading glasses or need to read more carefully. And you definitely need to stop reading as if everything is part of the Clark/Van Tillian debate. My full quote that you refer to is:

      And yet by grace he is being conformed to Christ. So, we are not climbing a ladder of sanctification by building more and more of our own personal righteousness.

      By grace alone we are sanctified, i.e. progressively sanctified. By grace and not by our own works.

      WSC Q. 35. What is sanctification?
      A. Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

      The free grace of Sanctification enables us to work as those dead to sin and now alive to God in Christ by offering ourselves as obedient servants, striving against sin and setting our purpose to love God and neighbor... yet the righteousness that is our sanctification is not ours.

      "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:" - (1 Cor. 1:30)

      It is Christ's righteousness both now in our sanctification and on the day of resurrection when the elect with be clothed in blood-washed white linens of Christ's righteousness, not their own. We obey. And He sanctifies through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, (1 Cor. 6:11, Acts 20:32, Phil. 3:10, Rom. 6:5–6) by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, (John 17:17, Eph. 5:26, 2 Thess. 2:13)... not by our own works of personal righteousness.

      "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

      Complete salvation (election, calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification) - by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.


    5. Jack, it's not my problem if you don't define your terms. I clearly distinguished between justification as objective righteousness and sanctification as inherent and subjective righteousness and holiness. If sanctification is not affecting the person's righteousness or holiness or maturity, then the implication is that you reject sanctification as personal and subjective. Charles Hodge is clear on this. I did not say that the imputed righteousness of justification is the same kind of righteousness that is infused into the heart via sanctification, which is progressive.

      Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. (Hebrews 6:1-3 NKJ)

      Secondly, since you reject logic and propositional revelation by defaulting to Van Til's theology of paradox, I cannot trust anything you say unless you define your terms and state clearly and logically what you mean. You implied that sanctification is not inherent in the person who is being sanctified but that it is somehow merely imputed. That would be the antinomian position. Both neo-legalism and antinomianism lower God's standards. The Biblical view is that God never stops demanding perfect obedience. That's why we need imputed righteousness for right standing with God and progressive sanctification/personal righteousness to have assurance of salvation and a valid profession of faith. Of course, the ultimate assurance flows from justification by faith alone and practical assurance results from our faith/belief. A valid profession of faith is one that does not continue in sin.

      And yes, everything depends on your view of Scripture. If you reject Scripture as the logical revelation of God, then you are a skeptic and not a Christian. That would include your pals over at Westminster Seminary, California. Neo-orthodoxy is everywhere.

      Mike Horton's rejection of plenary verbal inspiration, inerrancy of Scripture, and the infallibility of scripture was made very clear in his systematic theology. In particular, his doctrine of speech/act theory totally rejects plenary verbal inspiration and the logical and propositional nature of Scripture.


    6. Dear Charlie aka Don Quixote,

      Chasing heresies, slaying heretics... Soon you'll be the only one left. Seriously, and I don't say this lightly, you should talk to someone as you regularly display oppositional character traits. You've told me that you have been too negative in certain past interactions and situations and that it is something you need to be aware of and working on. So, I say this to you as a friend and brother in Christ. There is no need to take things to the level that you do. Unless, of course, as if on a mission from God, you are set on rooting out all perceived errors according to an inquisitional bent that you too readily embrace.

      Lastly, I've asked you before to not use the comment section of this blog as a forum to lay unfounded and already refuted charges against others (e.g. WSCal) as it is a violation of the 9th commandment. This is strike two. Sadly, I fully expect you to vindicate yourself on your blog. Carry on...


  13. Question 75
    What is sanctification?
    Sanctification is a work of God’ s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit (Eph. 1:4, 1 Cor. 6:11, 2 Thess. 2:13) applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, (Rom. 6:4–6) renewed in their whole man after the image of God; (Eph. 4:23–24) having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, (Acts 11:18, 1 John 3:9) and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, (Jude 20, Heb. 6:11–12, Eph. 3:16–19, Col. 1:10–11) as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life. (Rom. 6:4,6,14, Gal. 5:24)

    The Westminster Larger Catechism: With Scripture Proofs. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

  14. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28–31, NKJV)