Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On the Back Burner...

1. The way to... 
WLC 32: ... giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.
'Holy obedience... the way... to salvation', i.e. the way by which believers obtain salvation or the way in which believers walk to possess salvation already obtained? I prefer the latter.
"Christ is the way to life, because he purchased us a right to life. The practice of Christian piety is the way to life, because thereby we go to the possession of the right obtained by Christ."  (Witsius, Animadversions, 162)
2. "The law is indeed by itself, as it teaches us what righteousness is, the way to salvation: but our depravity and corruption prevent it from being in this respect an advantage to us." (John Calvin)

3. Christians are forward-looking by looking back... to the cross of Jesus.

4. A wrong prescription always follows a wrong diagnosis. The two may be logically consistent (which makes it seem so right) and yet still be wrong. Get the diagnosis right!

5. There is a Man in the glory, seated at the right hand of God.

6. "Sacred euphemisms" of the experiential-centered-life:
a. experience life
b.  touch the Lord
 c. live in your spirit, not in your mind... (really?)
d. the highest authority is the Spirit within you... (oh my...) 
 e. to share your experience of the Lord...
 f. how to make a right decision... follow the "peace" within you 
 g. to be "blessed" is to be moved emotionally 
 h. Scripture is the Word of God only when "by the Spirit" we experience it so.         (conveniently supports letter 'd'... thank you, Karl)
7. One mark of a true Christian is the struggle against sin, even though it may be occasioned by frequent setbacks.

8. Christians don't so much progress as persevere.

9. "For Calvin the promises of God flow from the covenants of God by which God has bound himself, and the covenants flow from election." (Robert Godfrey, John Calvin - Pilgrim and Pastor)

10. Axiom of linguistics and theology: "A term or word doesn't necessarily have to be present in order for the substance of a concept to be present." (Brian Estelle)

11. Apostolic tradition... Scripture.

12. "God the Son became incarnate to obey as the substitute for sinners, to die in their place as a payment for sin, their propitiation and expiation, to rise from the dead on the third day for their justification, whose person and benefits (righteousness, life, sanctity) are received through faith (trusting) alone in him alone." (R. Scott Clark)

13. "The world was to be redeemed through the proclamation of an event. And with the event went the meaning of the event; and the setting forth of the event with the meaning of the event was doctrine. These two elements are always combined in the Christian message. The narration of the facts is history; the narration of the facts with the meaning of the facts is doctrine. "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried"--that is history. "He loved me and gave Himself for me"--that is doctrine. Such was the Christianity of the primitive Church." (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, 29)

14. When moving away from a set liturgy defined by Scripture in favor of the spontaneous  "Spirit-led" form of worship, the church merely moves from one type of set liturgy to another. There is no re-inventing the wheel every week via the Spirit. Untethered from Scripture as a guide, Christ-centered worship inevitably morphs into a "worshipper-centered" experience both in its means and its end. **

15. "And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32).  What was once our disqualification before God's Law is now our qualification for God's grace in Christ; that grace being our sure ground in the Christian-life-liturgy of faith and repentance...

**I know, controversial to many...


  1. "For Calvin the promises of God flow from the covenants of God by which God has bound himself, and the covenants flow from election." Godfrey

    One amen for the plural "covenants". Another amen for the mention of election.

    Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election."

    But Sinclair Ferguson---"Norman Shepherd appears to adopt the view of the prevailing academic critique of the covenant theology of the seventeenth century (presented decades ago by Perry Miller), which suggests that the doctrine of covenant somehow makes God’s secret counsels less harsh. We ought therefore to look at covenant, and not at election. This analysis, both historically and biblically we reject… To use Shepherd’s own citation – the fact is that some passages, e.g. Ephesians 1:1-14, do employ the mode of looking at covenant from the viewpoint of election. Indeed, in that passage it is necessary for the reader to look for covenant in the context of election."

    Romans 9:11: “In order that God’s election might continue, not because of works.”

    Romans 11: 5, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would be no more grace.”

  2. John Owen, comments on Hebrews 8—This Sinai covenant thus made, with these ends and promises, did never save nor condemn any man eternally. Those who lived under the administration of Sinai who attained eternal life, did not do by virtue of the Sinai covenant. That coenant…. was “the ministry of condemnation,” 2 Cor. iii. 9; for “by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified.” That covenant directed unto the new covenant promise, which was the instrument of life and salvation unto all that did believe.Believers were saved under Sinai, but not by virtue of Sinai. Sinners perished eternally under Sinai, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. …No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect.

  3. If I need a holy obedience in order to "obtain" salvation, I'm done for. But if I'm given the right to life by Christ's holy obedience and the path he gives me to walk is obedience to him, no matter how weak and short of the mark mine is... well then my salvation is in his hands, not mine. Comfort...