Friday, July 20, 2018

UNDERSTANDING FAITH OR FAITH AS UNDERSTANDING








The common definition of biblical faith involves a tripartism of notitia, assensus, and fiducia. Ligonier Ministries describes the situation like this:


Notitia. Notitia refers to the content of faith, or those things that we believe. We place our faith in something, or more appropriately, someone. In order to believe, we must know something about that someone, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assensus. Assensus is our conviction that the content of our faith is true. You can know about the Christian faith and yet believe that it is not true. Genuine faith says that the content — the notitia taught by Holy Scripture — is true.

Fiducia. Fiducia refers to personal trust and reliance. Knowing and believing the content of the Christian faith is not enough, for even demons can do that (James 2:19). Faith is only effectual if, knowing about and assenting to the claims of Jesus, one personally trusts in Him alone for salvation.


Based on this description Notitia appears to be an intellectual element and can be said to be knowledge or understanding (I could have named this post “Knowing Faith or Faith is Knowing”). Assensus appears to be an element of the will in that one not only knows something to be true but of a will assents to it. Fiducia from the definition above wants to make the truth personal. This breakdown of faith has become official orthodoxy in most conservative circles despite not being scriptural or explicitly stated in any confession. In this post, I want to examine scripture on this to see if it makes the same conclusions that most theologians of our day do about “Faith”. I intend to show from scripture that faith and believing are used interchangeably and that they both ultimately are a faculty of intellect (knowing or understanding). I intend to show that faith is a gift and cannot be achieved by human willpower and so unbelievers not only do not believe the gospel but cannot believe without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. I intend to show that the gospel is good news and therefore is something to be either believed or not. I intend to show that faith in the gospel will result in evidence of good works. Finally, I intend to show that despite faith being a gift, God normally uses the means of preaching to produce it in the elect and does not directly produce it in a vacuum.



                                                                KINDS OF FAITH?



The London Baptist Confession of 1689 states in chapter 14:3 This faith, although it be in different stages, and may be weak or strong,11 yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers”. This has led many theologians to break faith up in to different kinds.  Temporary, Historical, Speculative, Intellectual, Head and Demonic are just some of the types of labels given to Faith to indicate a belief in the gospel that is not saving and will lead eventually to Hell. The statement is correct in that faith has degrees, as shown in Mark 9:24, where the man clearly is a believer but in need of spiritual growth, however, errantly promotes the idea that unbelievers believe the gospel temporarily and that their faith is of a different nature than that of the elect. This a most Arminian statement and not in any way close to being scriptural. 1 John 2:19 tells us “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they are not of us.” clearly indicating that apostates were not really of us or true believers. It mentions nothing of them being “temporary believers” because their faith was deficient in kind or nature. Romans 1:16 states that Paul is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” showing that any one that believes the gospel is saved! It nowhere states how they are to believe the gospel just that they are to believe it. Matthew 13:20, 21 is often used to prove this idea of a “temporary faith’ but a few verses down in 23 we read only the good soil “hears the word and understands it”. This so-called temporary faith is in appearance only and not a different kind of faith. Judas never believed the gospel at all, he did not believe it with a temporary kind of faith (John 6:64, 71 & 17:8-12).

  

                                                Believing in Faith or Believing in Christ?



Saving faith or belief is always outward focused on Christ, what is often said to be “extra nos” by theologians. The opposite of this is “intra nos” which is focused on ourselves. To distinguish different kinds of faith makes it necessary to examine intra nos our faith or ultimately have faith in our faith. The same also goes for those that distinguish between “faith” and “believing”. These same groups try in vain to divide faith from belief. Often we read of an “easy believism” which is to be read as not saving but “faith alone” is read positively as saving. Scripture in contrast has no such distinctions. John 3:16 clearly says “… whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” and 1 John 5:4 states that we overcome the world by our faith. Paul advised the Philippian jailer to believe for salvation in Acts 16:31 but in Romans 3:28 he says we are justified by faith apart from works. Clearly there is no difference in faith and belief. We are justified by belief alone just as much as we are justified by faith alone.



                                                     Knowledge of the Truth



The strange thing about the common understanding of Faith is that despite theologians claim that it is made up of understanding, will and trust, is how easily they are willing to claim something as faith without the person having any understanding. The usual exposition of Matthew 13:20, 21 states that these stony soil people had a temporary faith because they lacked in either will and/or trust but they had a head faith (read understanding). Scripture contradicts this interpretation in verse 23 however where it says only the good soil understands. We often read in scripture that faith is a “knowledge of the truth”. 2 Timothy 3:7 describing apostates says that they are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truthand 1 Timothy 2:4 says God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. 2 Timothy 2:25, 26 reiterates this by saying with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” Clearly, faith is equivalent to understanding the gospel as true. Speculation is not faith! We all think of possibilities before accepting the veracity of something but this is not faith. King Agrippa in Acts 26:28 was never persuaded and so did not have a knowledge of the truth. Ephesians 4:13 calls it a “knowledge of the Son of God” and goes on to say in verse 18 that unbelievers are “darkened in their understanding” and “excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them”.



                                                     The Gift of Faith!



Faith is a gift of God! Ephesians 2:8, 9 say that “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Philippians 1:29 states that it has been granted to us to believe in him for Christ’s sake. Before God opened our eyes we were dead in our trespasses and sins and were not able in the slightest to come to the knowledge of the truth. In Mark 4:11 and 12 we are told “And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” Only the elect see the gospel as truth. No one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).

  

                                                       Believing Unbelievers?


This leads us to the question of those that some theologians say believe without the Holy Spirit, after all don’t demons believe and go to hell. This reference is to James 2:19 where we are told “demons also believe and shudder”. The proper understanding of this is that demons faith (in their damnation) causes them to work (shudder). Our faith (in the gospel) will lead us to do works fit for the Kingdom. This is not saying demons believe the gospel as not even elect angels believe that (1 Peter 1:12) but that their faith works. Simon the sorcerer is another unbeliever said to believe (Acts 8:13) but once again whatever Simon believed it was not the gospel as he thought he could obtain the gift of God with money (Acts 8:20). The natural man cannot believe the things of God for they are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14). Notice that none of the rulers understood the wisdom of God, for if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8, Acts 3:17), Jesus tells us that they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). Apostates may have a zeal for God but it is not according to Knowledge (Romans 10:2). Unbelievers are blind, deaf and unreasoning animals (Isaiah 6:9-11, 2 Peter 2:12). God has hardened and blinded them from the truth (Romans 9:18, Romans 11:7, 8, 2 Corinthians 3:14 & 2 Corinthians 4:3-5). While people believe in God through natural theology (Romans 1:20, 21 & Genesis 4:13) no person believes in Christ unless the Father draws them (John 6:44) and anyone that does believe in Christ will most certainly go to heaven (John 6:37).

  

                                                            Gospel=Good News 



Many current theologians complain that the gospel is just “facts” and this cannot save anyone. They are right the gospel is facts but the alternative would be lies and of course that is what you believe if you deny the gospel. Paul told the Corinthians that they stand in the gospel unless they never really believed it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. In Galatians 1:6 we learn that to believe a different gospel is to desert Christ. Romans 1:16 tells us the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Read all about it, Christ died for the sin of man and conquered death in the resurrection and anyone that believes in him alone for salvation will be saved. 



                                                              Means of Grace



Despite faith being a gift, God has normally utilized the natural means of hearing or reading the gospel in the scriptures and not through some direct means such as personal conversation in a burning bush or white light. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:21 tells us that God is pleased to use preaching to save those who believe. We must be faithful witnesses always ready to give an account of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). 



                                                                Cause & Effect



Faith will produce works of righteousness. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s artwork created for good works, and we learn in Titus 2:14 that believers are “zealous for good works”. We must be careful to remember that faith is the root and works are the fruit and never try to get the cart before the horse. Without faith we cannot please him, a person that goes to God must first believe that he is and that he will reward him we learn in Hebrews 11:6. We are saved by grace not by works (Ephesians 2:8, 9 and Titus 3:5).  



                                                                     Conclusion 



Christ while on earth talked about his testimony and the testimony of scripture pointing to him (John 5:36, 39). If we receive the testimony of men the testimony of God is greater (1 John 5:9). Testimony is to be believed as truth or rejected as lies. God has given us, the elect, understanding to know the truth and set us free (1 John 5:20, Acts 13:48). We hear his voice and follow him (John 10:27). This faith is a gift and is passive.  Faith is an understanding or knowledge that Christ is the sacrifice for my sins and rose to prepare a place for me and is coming again. It excludes human will as Romans 9:16 tells us “…it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy”. How you define faith is how you believe you are justified. If you define faith as “affections” then you are justified by affections. John Calvin’s definition of faith is helpful here when he says “Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit”. Soli Deo Gloria!



                                                               Further Reading



Letters on Theron and Aspasio by Robert Sandeman- The best work on faith. Congregational Theologian

Works of Archibald M’Lean in Six Volumes- Especially volumes 1, 4, and 2- Scotch Baptist Minister


The Miscellaneous Writings of the late William Braidwood- Scotch Baptist Minister


The Works of Mr. John Glas in Five Volumes- Especially volume 2- Congregational Minister

                                                             Other Books on Faith


What Is Saving Faith by Gordon Clark- Presbyterian Minister who advocates for faith=understanding & assent.


Faith, Obedience, and Justification: Current Evangelical Departures by Samuel Waldron- Reformed Baptist Minister.


Faith and Its Evidences by John Owen- Puritan Theologian


Free Grace Theology: 5 Ways it Diminishes the Gospel by Wayne Grudem- Charismatic Calvinist Baptist Theologian


The Secret Stifler: Incipient Sandemanianism and preaching the gospel to sinners by David H.J. Gay- Particular Baptist Minister


Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 by R.T. Kendall- Faith from an Amyraldian perspective


The Gospel According to Jesus: What Does Jesus Mean When He Says "Follow Me" by John MacArthur- Evangelical Minister

What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvin's Doctrine of Faith in Its Exegetical Context by Barbara Pitkin

Final Destiny: The Future Reign of the Servant Kings by Joseph Dillow- Arminian Dispensationalist Theologian

The Current Justification Controversy by O. Palmer Robertson- Presbyterian Theologian

A Companion  to the Current Justification Controversy by John Robbins- Presbyterian Theologian

Life in the Son: A Study of the Doctrine of Perseverance by Robert Shank- Arminian Baptist minister

A Faith That is Never Alone: A Response to Westminster Seminary California by P. Andrew Sandlin

Salvation By Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King by Matthew W. Bates

Not By Faith Alone: The Biblical Evidence for the Catholic Doctrine of Justification by Robert A. Sungenis- Catholic Theologian

Monday, April 02, 2018

A Review of The Secret Stifler: Incipient Sandemanianism and preaching the gospel to sinners by David Gay

Recently I came across a curious little book called The Secret Stifler. Its stated purpose is to save the church from incipient Sandemanianism, which was a movement that emphasized that Saving Faith is like any other faith except in the object of the Christian Gospel. Sandemanianism denies to Saving Faith any emotions, obedience or will and says it is a spiritual understanding or belief of the gospel alone. If Saving Faith is not belief of the Gospel alone then what is it?

The book is modest and unimpressive in its appearance and publication. The Preface is written by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Professor, Michael Haykin. Haykin has been lambasting Sandemanianism for years being a Padawan of the teaching of Andrew Fuller. He sets the pace of the book by saying if Sandemanianism is true then we cannot distinguish true believers from nominal believers as even nominal believers "mentally assent to the truths of Christianity"(p.9). So for Haykin unbelievers believe that Christ died for their sins and rose again for their salvation, but they still go to hell because they just believed it with their mind. This is far from scripture which teaches "the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..."(Rom.1:16).

The author then goes on to give a little helpful background of his theology in his Preamble. He is a five-point Calvinist, Particular Baptist. He does not like the term "Reformed Baptist" as he thinks it is an oxymoron. He does not agree with the 1689 London Confession strictly as he is not a Covenant Theologian. He declares himself a decided New Covenant Theologian.(p. 17)

Next the author goes on to announce that in this book he is just focusing on the understanding of "Faith" in Sandemanianism and not the system as a whole. He repeats the oft made proclamation that Andrew Fuller "effectively destroyed"(p. 24)  Sandemanianism back in the 19th century. Sandemanians do not agree with this assessment but I guess we got to take the author's word for it. He then includes Gordon Clark as a modern day Sandemanian by quoting from his book What is Saving Faith? (p. 25) David Gay does not seem to understand Clark in the quote. Clark says "Not all cases of assent, even assent to biblical propositions, are saving faith, but all saving faith is assent to one or more biblical propositions." (p.26) Clark simply meant believing in angels and demons although biblical propositions, do not save. Only believing the propositions of the Gospel save! This unbelievably and sadly causes David Gay confusion. David then goes on to assume that because Sandemanians deny that faith is emotional that it necessarily leads to dry dead Christianity. It seems to be foreign to him that faith leads to a heart of worship as its effect. He cannot fathom this concept.

David Gay declares that Sandemanianism produces passionless preaching. He is clear that preaching should not be cold hard facts but vibrant and dynamic and uses a case study of Christmas Evans to prove it. It is not surprising Gay feels this as scripture says "people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions..." (2 Tim. 4:2-5). Finally, Gay does a comparative study of the exegesis of Sandemanian interpretations of Scripture with his own. This I found helpful in that he at least, unlike other critics, has grappled with the writings of Sandemanians directly. The main argument Gay uses is James 2:19 where demons are said to believe in one God. For him Demons believe Christ died for their sins and rose again for their salvation but they still go to hell (p. 60). Gay seems totally ignorant that Christ did not die for angels (Heb 2:16) and that the gospel is not even understood by elect angels much less demons (1 Pet. 1:12). Quite often John 2:23-25 is used to employ that something other than faith is necessary for salvation but Jesus in John 3:11,12 says these people (of which Nicodemus was one) did not receive his testimony by believing him. Simon the Sorceror (Acts 8:13) is another example often used to prove that believing the gospel is not enough but Simon believed he could "obtain the gift of God with money"(Acts 8:20) which is clearly not the gospel of Jesus Christ. These examples fall by the wayside as one examines them faithfully in scripture. Believers passively receive faith and are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man at all but by the will of God alone (John 1:12,13). Soli Deo Gloria

Although I disagree with the author on almost all of his scriptural interpretation, I do recommend this book for the very helpful history of Sandemanianism and the usually careful quotations of Sandemanian exegesis which hopefully will lead people to the truth. His history is generally good with minor exceptions like saying the Sandemanians leading scholar was a man named William Robinson. I am unaware of such a scholar but am aware of a William Jones who wrote many books and articles on Sandemanians and Sandemanianism. Gay also says Sandemanianism is a Reformed error in one of his appendices (p. 209), showing rightly that they are five-point calvinists. The main problem with the book is where David Gay defines saving faith. He declares "We must be clear. Relying, leaning, trusting, obeying, resting, embracing, cleaving, holding, fleeing to, and casting myself on Christ are not mere accompaniments of saving faith; nor can they be limited to the effects of saving faith. They lie at the very heart of saving faith itself. They are saving faith."(p. 90) We see here clearly that he includes obedience in saving faith and he makes no bones about it. David Gay and Michael Haykin sadly teach a works salvation.

"I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me." (2 Tim. 1:12) Amen!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hyper-Calvinism?

So often today you read about the dangers and horrors of Hyper-Calvinism but what is it exactly?  To Arminians that believe a Christian cannot lose salvation (or so-called 1 point Calvinists e.g. John Rice) anyone holding to the other 4 points is a Hyper-Calvinist, to an Amyraldian (or so-called 4 point Calvinists denying Limited Atonement e.g. Norwich Reformed Church) those who hold to Limited Atonement are hyper, and Infralapsarians often refer to Supralapsarians as hyper( e.g. R.C. Sproul ). Hyper-Calvinism is blamed on people picketing homosexual funerals (e.g. Westboro Baptist Church) and those who hold to "Doctrinal Perfectionism" ( groups that believe a Christian's doctrine will be perfect e.g. Outside the Camp ). I have even recently read someone referred to as a Hyper-Calvinist for denying the charismatic gifts. Usually you see hypers defined by a set of doctrines as in Iain Murray's book Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, where he says hypers are those who deny gospel invitations are universal, the warrant of faith, human responsibility and the love of God for everyone. Someone once wrote that Hyper-Calvinism is anyone more calvinistic than me, and while I find that funny, I do believe there is an error that can be rightfully called "Hyper-Calvinism".


The word "hyper" means "above or beyond" and so added to calvinism would mean anyone who takes the teachings of Calvin to an unprecedented extreme. Therefore to determine what "hyper-calvinism" is one must first know what Calvin held to. This automatically discounts anyone who claims as hyper people who hold to predestination as Calvin himself held to this doctrine. There are some doctrines in which there is some controversy on what exactly Calvin held, for instance both Amyraldians and Infralapsarians claim Calvin for there own and even quote him in there defence, muddying the waters. The key to discussing this properly however is to focus on doctrine and not on Calvin personally due to the confusion.


Hyper-Calvinism is in a nutshell a denial of a natural means of grace. These "calvinists" take the doctrines of grace to the unprecedented extreme of denying, contrary to the Bible, that preaching or any form of teaching is necessary in bringing someone to the faith. An example of this can be seen in the teaching of the Primitive Baptist Church. Elder Kirby of this group says in a statement of their beliefs " 1. What is the basic difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious societies?
Answer: The basic difference is that Primitive Baptists believe in salvation by grace. There are really only two positions that a person can occupy on this matter. One is that salvation is by grace, and the other is that 
salvation is by works. It cannot be a combination of the two. A person may say that he believes in salvation by grace, but if he sets forth any act of man's will, such as repentance, faith, baptism, or hearing the gospel, as a condition for obtaining it, then this position must be put on the works side. Primitive Baptists believe that salvation is of the Lord, that it is by His grace, and that nothing needs to be added to it." he goes on to say again later " 10. Don't you believe that the preaching of the gospel is God's ordained means of bringing eternal salvation to the sinner? Answer: No, only by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit can eternal life be brought to the dead sinner (John 3 : 6-8) .The gospel brings life and immortality to light, but doesn't produce life (llTim.1: 10)."  This is in clear contrast to the scriptures which say that "it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." (1 Cor. 1:21) and in Romans 10:17 we learn that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


 Now this denial does lead to other doctrines such as anti-missionism and can lead to "eternal justification" but it is the denial of a natural means of grace that is the root of this teaching. Incidentally, it is often assumed that all supralapsarians are hypers and definately that all hypers are supralapsarian but this again is an error. Curt Daniel in his book The History and Theology of Calvinism states that "while all Hyper-Calvinists have been Supralapsarians, not all Supralapsarians have been Hyper-Calvinists" p.89. I would question the necessity of all hypers being supra. Elder Kirby states on predestination "  4. What is their position on predestination? Answer: They believe that God has predestinated a great number to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom.8: 28-30) .While some object to this doctrine because they say it is unfajr, Primitive Baptists rejoice in it, for they see that had it not been for predestination, the whole human family would have been lost forever. Predestination is not the thing that condemns a man, or puts him in a ruined condition, but the very thing that gets him out of such a state. Predestination concerns not "what" but "whom." It is the great purpose of God to lift a people up from sin and corruption and make them like Jesus Christ. That's glorious ! " Notice here we see he denies the doctrine of reprobation which is essential to true double predestinationism and thereby supralapsarianism.



PRACTICALLY SPEAKING


The ramifications to this way of thinking are widespread. As we have already discussed it denies the need for witnessing and missions. Parents in this group often will not even teach their children to pray or worship or anything scriptural as they expect the Lord to do it without them and thus raise up a generation of degenerates. This thinking also leads to a lack of emphasis on education or studying, as God will give as he sees fit and therefore a quietist anti-intellectualism is characteristic of this group. They will pick on or forbid college and reading of books. The pastors in these groups often do not study a sermon as they expect God to give them "direct revelation" in the pulpit and thus they are very similar to charismatic/pentecostal groups. I heard one Primitive Baptist preacher say that he does not work his sermons up but gets them worked down. Finally, this group will be presuppositional in its thinking. This group will not hear of anyone giving proof for God or the Bible as everyone is supposed to just know the truth of these things. Thus there sermons will be more moralistic and less Christocentric as they will preach to the "heart" and not the "head". After all to them salvation is about the will and not the intellect. People are damned not for what they do not know but what they willfully reject.


CONCLUSION


Anyone familiar with God's word will clearly see the faults to this mindset. Proverbs 22:6 commands us to train our children. Timothy we learn was trained by his mother and grandmother and thus came to faith ( 2 Tim. 1:5, 3:14-15. We are commanded to study to show ourselves approved in 2 Tim. 2:15. God gives the church teachers (Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:28). Lastly, we are told in John 14:6 that people that do not know the good news of Jesus Christ will go to Hell. A.W. Pink has put it succinctly in saying concerning the "causes of salvation:

" The Original Cause is the sovereign will of God, for nothing can come into being save that which He decreed before the foundation of the world.

The Meritorious Cause is the mediatorial work of Christ, who "obtained eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:22) for His people, purchasing for them all the blessings of it by His perfect obedience to the Law and His sacrificial death.

The Efficient Cause is the varied operations of the Holy Spirit, who applies to the elect the benefits purchased by Christ, capacitating them to enjoy the same and making them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

The Ministerial Cause and means is the preaching of the Word (James 1:21), because it discovers to us where salvation is to be obtained.

The Instrumental Cause is faith, by which the soul receives or comes into possession of and obtains an interest in Christ and His redemption.

Such distinctions as these are not merely technicalities for theologians, but are part of the faith once delivered unto the saints, and unless they apprehend the same they are liable to be deceived by any Scripture-quoting false prophet who accosts them."

Quoted in Curt Daniel's booklet Biblical Calvinism from A.W. Pinks book Sermon on the Mount.


FURTHER STUDY

Hyper-Calvinism and John Gill by Curt Daniel - This and his above named resources are only available at Good Books 2456 Devonshire Rd. Springfield, IL 62703 USA

Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South by John Crowley

A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism by Phil Johnson at  http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm

Hyper-Calvinism is the Truth: Darth Gill responds to Phil Johnson at http://www.predestinarian.net/content/21-Hyper-Calvinism-is-the-Truth

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Double Honor


Once in a while the question of whether Elders should receive a salary is raised. Some denominations such as the Primitive Baptists deny paying salaries. One Elder in this church writes:

"18. Do Primitive Baptist ministers receive a salary?Answer: No, they devote their time and substance to the service of God out of love, and as the Lord blesses their labors among His people, those among whom the minister has labored contribute willingly to his needs (ICor. 9:9-14)."

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "salary" as fixed compensation paid regularly for services. Let us look to see if Scripture has anything to say on this subject or whether it is a human invention. At the outset let me say I only intend, in this discussion, to look at the question of paying Elders a salary in general and do not intend on taking up the discussion of whether or not there is a distinction in Elders commonly demarcated "Teaching" Elders and "Ruling" Elders, and whether both classes of Elders are to receive a salary. For a discussion of this debate, see chapter 10 of A Scottish Christian Heritage entitled "The Problem of the Elders" by Scottish Theologian Iain Murray.

In 1 Timothy 5:17,18 we read "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer is worthy of his wages.' " indicating that a man is to be paid for his services. While the term "double honor" is debated as to its precise meaning, the clear understanding of this passage that those occupying the office of Elder, who labor in word and doctrine are entitled to a wage.

Next let us take a look at the passage affixed to the quotation by Elder Kirby of the Primitive Baptists above, only let us start at 1 Cor. 9:6 where Paul questions whether or not Barnabas and him have a right to refrain from working. In verse 7 he goes on to ask who goes to war at his own expense, who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit and who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock. Paul uses this rhetoric for the purpose of showing the need for churches to support their Elders with a fixed income or salary. Later in verse 11 we are asked if it is a great thing for Elders to reap material things in return for spiritual things they give, to which the clear answer for anyone who serves God and not mammon (Matt. 6:24) is a resounding "NO"! Verse 13 instructs us that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar. In verse 14 what has been implicit becomes explicit as Paul declares "Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel."

In 2 Corinthians 11:7,8 we learn that Paul preached to the Corinthians free of charge, but that he was paid a wage from other churches to minister to them. Finally, in 2 Thessalonians 3:9 Paul indicates that he had authority to compel a wage or salary but he chose not to, to be an example and as verse 8 says, to not be a burden. While it is true that Elders, as every Christian, live by faith and not by sight and congregations incomes do vary according to a number of factors such as size and income capacity, it is the responsibility of the church to provide support in the form of a salary, however large or small, to its Elders. An Elder may have to, like Paul did as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3), work another job but he should be paid for his services. This does not mean that churches have to pay for airplanes, boats, new vehicles or even homes but they are obligated to pay them a wage. While the gospel is not for sale (Acts 8:18-21) we are to take care of our own.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Preaching the Word; Out of Season



"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Preaching God's holy word is at an all time low today. Entertainment in the form of (christian?) rock/country/folk concerts, dramatic presentations, magic acts, powerlifting, shouting, dancing, running the aisles, screaming, barking, howling and even the so-claimed miraculous acts of healing and speaking in tongues fill many of churches on the typical Sunday morning. In some congregations politics is the raison d'etre and not the gospel of Christ. In this discussion, I want to look at the scriptures to see what preachers should be doing instead of using worldly substitutes. I am going to be using the text of 2 Timothy 4:2-4 as my base.

In the second verse of chapter 4 in Second Timothy we see Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, command Timothy to preach the word whether it is popular to do so or not. Timothy was to be ready or prepared regardless of how he was received, whether congratulatory or critique. He was to convince and exhort as well as rebuke. Many "conservative" preachers have the rebuking part down as they jump headlong into some diatribe about sin, but neglect the important truth of convincing and with that exhorting. Integral to "convincing" is the presenting of evidence and proof for why either not to do something or why to do something. Notice this is to be done with longsuffering or patiently, and with teaching. Preachers should be patient with a congregation realizing that just as you have to potty train a child so to there are babes in Christ needing time to mature.Paul had to do this with the Corinthian church as we read in 1Corinthians 3:1-3 "And I, brethren could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" . This does not mean that a preacher should cater to babes, however, but he should inspire growth. This is only possible by "leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ" and moving on to "perfection"(Heb. 6:1).

Teaching is the communication of the sound doctrine taught in scripture. Paul exhorted Timothy to "Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me" in 2 Tim. 1:13 and commanded him to "commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" in 2Tim. 2:2. The ability to teach is an imperative to being a preacher. In 1 Tim. 3:2 we learn that a bishop (pastor, preacher, elder) is to be able to teach and Titus 1:9 expounds on this saying that he is to be "holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." As a matter of fact there is no distinction between a pastor and teacher as we learn in Ephesians 4:11.

In verse 3 of Second Timothy chapter 4 we are told the outcome of hearts being unreceptive to the truth. They not enduring sound doctrine, get in exchange teachers they do like, who entertain their itching ears according to their own desires and not that which God would have for them. Realize that a pastor can be faithful to the truth and a church still go bad as we learn in Hebrews 4:2 that faith is necessary for truth to profit. By looking at what these unbelievers reject we can also see the pattern of a good preacher. They reject sound doctrine, so he is teaching this and they get different teachers, again alluding to the fact that this pastor was a teacher.
Verse 4 carries on this line of thinking as they "turn their ears away from the truth" and are "turned aside to fables". There is no in-between; you either believe the truth or a lie. A preacher is either preaching the truth of God or he is cheating and lying to people, diverting their attention to unimportant distractions.

EXPOSITORY PREACHING

One popular method of preaching today is called expository preaching. If understood properly and done right I do not have a problem with this method and even consider what has been done in the above discussion as expository. This is a conservative method and its goal is to teach the word of God verse by verse in its proper context. Unfortunately it has become linked with the Biblical Theology movement which dichotomizes biblical theology with systematic theology. Systematic theology is seen as human philosophy and untenable with scriptural truth. This, however, is ears, deaf to truth, turning to fables. As we see in 2 Tim. 1:13 the sound words of scripture form a pattern or system. Systematic theology takes all the scriptures dealing with a particular topic or doctrine and exposits them to teach and convince people of the truth of this teaching. Topical or, as I prefer, doctrinal preaching when done right utilizes expository preaching. Churches should be grounded in the doctrines of the faith and not left in ignorance. Another problem with the expository method is the tendency to get bogged down with peripheral issues involving textual criticism and historical analysis instead of teaching the truth. 1 Tim. 6:4 warns of people "obsessed with disputes and arguments over words". Finally, expository preaching at least implicitly denies the perspicuity(clarity) of scripture. One leading proponent of the expository method and critic of the topical method has reputedly took a decade to teach through the book of Luke. I doubt it took Luke a decade to write it. I have heard some of them brag about how long they have been on a particular verse as if it is a badge of honor. If scripture is clear it should not take us ten years to teach through the whole bible much less a book of it. How grounded in the faith is a church that does not get the whole counsel of God in the other books of the Bible if they are on one book for 10 years?

REVIVALISM

Another conservative movement that needs to be considered in this discussion is revivalism. This movement seeks the salvation of souls fervently and desires to inspire other christians in this endeavor. This is a noble aspiration and one I affirm, again when understood and done properly. I do not intend an in depth discussion of this movement here and may take this up at a later date more thoroughly but I do want to touch on how it affects preaching. Sometimes proponents of revivalism make the preaching of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ the only truth in scripture to be taught. They misunderstand 1 Cor. 2:2 and errantly take it to mean this very thing. Acts 20:27-30 informs us that we are to declare the whole counsel of God taking heed to ourselves and the flock. More often in revivalism you see the gnostic dichotomy of a head and heart and a word and power distinction. Revivalists often use 1 Cor. 2:4 and 1 Thess. 1:5 to distinguish between these things. I heard one speaker of this tradition say that in the classroom he teaches to the head but in the pulpit he preaches to the heart. Iain Murray, who is probably the most vocal advocate of this tradition, complains that he "once had the misfortune to hear addresses on 'the five points of calvinism' delivered as though we were attending a chemistry lecture" (John Calvin: A Heart For Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology edited by Burk Parsons p. xv). I am not completely sure I understand his criticism. If he is saying the presentation was boring, is it okay to give a boring delivery of chemistry? I personally try to put my "heart" into whatever I am teaching and would therefore hate to give a boring lecture on chemistry as much as I would on calvinism. Whatever truth you are teaching deserves the same exhortation, if for nothing else so you will not have a bunch of people fail the test. I also find this funny because I have personally sat under Iain at a conference and did not find it edifying and would even go as far as to say it was a boring presentation. Thankfully his books are of a better sort. As to whether there is a distinction between word and power, Paul in both the above listed scriptures is simply meaning that the Holy Spirit gave them an understanding of the truth and not the words only. 1 Cor. 1:18 tells us the message of the cross is foolish to the perishing but to the saved it is the power of God, Rom. 1:16 tells us the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes and Heb. 4:12 tells us the word of God is living and powerful. Reject anyone who believes the bible to be a "dead word".

CONCLUSION

Preaching is to pass on the pattern of sound doctrine left to us in the scriptures from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and written by the apostles through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the power of salvation to all who believe. It is clear and we should teach the whole counsel in orderly and timely fashion. It is alive and powerful not needing methods, emotion or a particular style to deliver it. Every member of the church ought to be able to give a defense of the hope that is in them 1 Peter 3:15. Every member needs to know what they believe about the trinity, inerrancy and sole authority of scripture, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and everything else. If they do not, you may lose them and even lose your job as they will look for a teacher to scratch their itching ears.

"And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright- words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd." Ecclesiastes 12:9-11


Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Atonement in Amyraut and Calvin





JOHN CALVIN




As discussed in the previous blog, there are those who claim to hold to the doctrines of grace and yet deny Christ's particular atonement. Some of these even claim John Calvin, pictured above, as there forebear in this system as they expound it. My primary goal in this blog is historical and will look at various works treating this discussion. This view is primarily known by its most vocal proponent Moise Amyraut and is called "Amyraldism". I do not intend in this discussion to give an in-depth treatment of Moise Amyraut's system and realize there are many so-called 4-point calvinists that would not agree with Amyraut's complete system but merely classify all 4-pointers as amyraldians for the purposes of this discussion.










Moise Amyraut was a professor of theology at the University of Saumer in France where he had been a student and learned under the Scottish theologian John Cameron whose system Amyraut advanced and extended at Saumer which was the largest Reformed Divinity School of the day(Armstrong p.xviii Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy). It is important to recognize that Cameron had himself developed the system as Brian Armstrong says that it was "Upon the foundation laid by Cameron, Moise Amyraut was to construct his theology"(Armstrong p70) and so it could just as well be called "Cameronism" but Cameron's influence was cut short (only 3 years)by an angry rioting mob that killed him. Amyraut's system is distinctive from Calvinism at the most basic level in that it holds to a "Hypothetical Universalism"(HU). This HU says that Christ's death, while definately saving the elect, also makes all men savable if they, hypothetically, were to believe. Christ died for the whole world, but the gift of faith, the effectual call and the irresistable grace are limited to the elect only. As Jonathan Rainbow notes in his book The Will of God and the Cross this makes it possible for Amyraut "to say both,

'God desires only the elect to be saved,' and, 'God desires every human being to be saved'" (p70) which is blatantly a contradiction.


CRITIQUE



Unfortunately this is often an accepted teaching in calvinist circles. This is why, I believe, you do not hear more of amyraldism and people prefer to be called 4-point calvinists instead. A 4-point calvinist is seen as a subsection or alternate but equally calvinist perspective whereas Amyraldism would be seen as a competing system to calvinism. This is, in no uncertain terms a competing system whatever it is called and should be rejected vigorously. Amyraldism takes away the saving efficacy of the death of Christ. If Christ death is efficacious and He died for the reprobate then they would be saved. Amyraldism sees salvation as centered on faith and not Christ the true center. Faith only saves as it links us to Christ. For anyone to believe, their eyes must be opened first by baptism of the Holy Spirit into the death of Christ in regeneration giving new life to believe (Mark 4:11,12). Amyraldism denies Christ's active obedience in the fulfilling of the covenant of works. Christ is the fulfillment of the covenant of works for the elect allowing for the covenant of grace (Rom. 5:5-21). Amyraldism denies the clear teaching of scripture as exegeted in my previous blog that shows Christ died for His Elect.

HOW DID AMYRALDISM GET ACCEPTANCE?


Amyraut as Cameron before him claimed John Calvin as there forebear and thus tried to get respectability. They claimed that they are the ones that have kept the tradition of Calvin. Modern Amyraldists such as R.T. Kendall in the 1997 edition of his monograph Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 includes an appendix with multiple quotes from the Bible Commentaries of Calvin. From these multiple quotes Kendall concludes that "Fundamental to the doctrine of faith in John Calvin is his belief that Christ died indiscriminately for all men" (p1). While it is true that some of the statements made by Calvin are unclear and equivocal such as "Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive Him" (Calvin on Rom. 5:18 quoted in Kendall p.222-223) and "For God commends to us the salvation of all men without exception, even as Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world" (Calvin on Gal. 5:12 quoted in Kendall p.223) we must take into account Calvin's basis for this all, which he places in election, as he says in his commentary on John 13:18, "every part of our salvation depends on this". We must also take into account clearer statements from Calvin such as "Christ brings none to the Father but those given to Him by the Father; and this donation, we know, depends on eternal election; for those whom the Father has destined to life, He delivers to the keeping of His Son, that He might defend them" (Calvin on Heb. 2:13 quoted in Rainbow p.72-73).
Amyraldism gets some respect also in the fact that it has had representatives in both the Synod of Dort and the Westminster Assembly. John Davenant was a representative of the Church of England at the Synod of Dort in 1618 and was an avowed Amyraldian. The Westminster Assembly had Edmund Calamy in its midst, who followed in the footsteps of Davenant. These instances, however, should be seen as scandalous rather than an opening of the doors.

CONCLUSION

Christ's atonement is the basis for our faith and not the other way around. It is because of the healing we receive in the blood of Christ that we are regenerated, brought to life and are able to have faith. If faith earns our regeneration then we have something whereby to boast contra Eph. 2:9. Why and how does anyone come to believe who are dead in their trespasses and sins, whose foolish heart is darkened without the wonderful healing grace of God in the atonement of Christ. Make no mistake about it, the atonement of Christ is a doctrine worth dying for.

AMYRALDIAN WORKS:
Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France by Brian G. Armstrong
Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 by R. T. Kendall
The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus by G. Michael Thomas
English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology by Jonathan D. Moore

CALVINIST WORKS:
The Will of God and the Cross: An Historical and Theological Study of John Calvin's Doctrine of Limited Redemption by Jonathan H. Rainbow
By His Grace and For His Glory: A Historical, Theological and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life by Thomas J. Nettles

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Supralapsarianism


It may come as a surprise to some that those who hold to the doctrines of grace often called "calvinism" are not monolithic in their thinking. The subject of this blog deals with one of those differences. Supralapsarian is one of the classifications of the distinctions and is opposed to Infra or Sublapsarian. Infra and sub mean the same thing and are interchangeable but most non-supras prefer the term infra and so I will use this for the purposes of this blog. I do want to make note that sublapsarian is sometimes distinguished from infralapsarian by amyraldians or 4-point calvinists who utilize the sub for themselves. I do not intend to focus much on the amyraldians however and will deal with them in a future blog, Lord willing, and so am talking primarily to those who hold to the scriptural teaching of Definite Redemption.




Historically the focus of the debate between the two parties is over the logical order of God's decrees. While I will mention these different orders, I again do not intend on focusing on them as they are all speculations and not specifically laid out in scripture. The focus of this discussion is going to be on the question of equal ultimacy, the origin of the fall and sin and whether predestination is single or double. These issues are the crux of the debate.




THE LOGICAL DECREES?




Before charting out the views some definitions are in order. Both infra and sub mean below or after with supra meaning above and before. Lapsarian means fall. Supralapsarian therefore means above or before the fall and infra/sublapsarian means below or after the fall. Supras hold that God chose what would become of mankind before considering the fall whereas infras say God took into consideration the fall before deciding to either save or damn man.




I. The logical order often held by amyraldians such as Augustus Strong, Millard Erickson and Charles Ryrie amongst others is


1. the decree to create the world and (all) men


2. the decree that (all) men would fall


3. the decree to redeem (all) men by the cross work of Christ


4. the election of some fallen men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)


5. the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to the elect.




II. The logical order often held by infras such as Charles Hodge, William G. T. Shedd, R. L. Dabney, J. Oliver Buswell Jr., Louis Berkhof, Benjamin Warfield, John Gerstner, R. C. Sproul and Bruce Ware amongst others is


1. the decree to create the world and (all) men


2. the decree that (all) men would fall


3. the election of some fallen men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)


4. the decree to redeem the elect by the cross work of Christ


5. the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to the elect.




III. A. The logical order held historically by supras such as Theodore Beza, William Whitaker, William Perkins, William Ames,William Twisse, Francis Gomarus, Gisbert Voetius, Thomas Goodwin, Samuel Rutherford and John Gill amongst others is


1. the election of some men to salvation in Christ and the reprobation of the others


2. the decree to create the world and both kinds of men


3. the decree that all men would fall


4. the decree to redeem the elect, who are now sinners, by the cross work of Christ


5. the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to these elect sinners




B. A different proposal by supras such as Robert Reymond, Gordon Clark, Herman Hoeksema and possibly Jerome Zanchius and Johannes Piscator, according to Robert Reymond, is


1. the election of some sinful men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the rest of sinful mankind in order to make known the riches of God's gracious mercy to the elect)


2. the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to the elect sinners


3. the decree to redeem the elect sinners by the cross work of Christ


4. the decree that men should fall


5. the decree to create the world and men




Of the positions listed above the supra positions are closer to the truth of scripture and so therefore are preferred but again the discussion is a little arcane as we are never given any particular order. I also want to say the proposal of Robert Reymond does leave itself open to the criticism that God in considering men as sinful must be after(infra) the fall and not truly before(supra) and so I lean to the historic supra view.




THE ORIGIN OF SIN/EVIL




Typically when reading a theological work ,even by a calvinist, discussing sin, evil and the fall of man and angels the first thing you are told in bold letters is that God is not the author of sin and that He has a permissive will through which He (passively) just allows sin. They usually go on to say that evil is the absence of good as darkness is an absence of light and space an absence of material. The use of the word "author" is a little confusing. If one means by it a performer of sin then every Bible believer would agree God is not the author of sin(James 1:13). The ordinary use of the word however is a writer as of a book. In this case all Bible believers agree that God is the author of the Bible and yet it contains prophesies of all sorts of evils such as the betrayel and crucifixion of Christ(Acts 1:16-21), false Christs and prophets(Matt. 24:24) and the actions of the Beast in Revelation(Rev. 11:7). Isaiah 45:7 also explicitly informs us that God not only forms the light but he also creates darkness and then goes on to say that God not only makes peace but creates evil. Nothing happens by chance but by the predestined plan of God. Not even the wicked can look to God and boast of defying His predestined plan as "The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."(Prov. 16:4) God has even appointed our death(Heb. 9:27) and so whether by cancer, murder, suicide or any other way we can be certain that this is one appointment we will not miss. God is the ultimate author of everything and as Gordon Clark aptly put in his excellent book God and Evil "In Ephesians 1:11 Paul tells us that God works all things, not some things only, after the counsel of His own will"(p27).


DOUBLE HIS PLEASURE, DOUBLE HIS FUN WITH DOUBLE PREDESTINATION


In his book Chosen By God R.C. Sproul includes a chapter called Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: Is Predestination Double. In it Sproul makes the intriguing claim that he holds to double predestination all the while denying "equal ultimacy". He makes the claim using his wit and illogic that election is a positive(active) decree and reprobation is a negative(passive) decree. He bombasts equal ultimists as "hyper-calvinists" and other pejoratives. Let us look at scripture and see if he is correct. We have already seen from Proverbs 16:4 that God makes even the wicked for Himself. It would have been better for Judas and every other reprobate person if they had never been born as we learn in Matthew 26:24 but God creates them for Himself and has reserved them for the day of wrath(Job 21:30, Jude 4). God, we learn in Romans 9:22,23, wants to show His wrath and make His power known and does so by raising up leaders like the Pharaoh and hardening their hearts, blinding their eyes and deafening their ears to the truth(Rom. 9:17,18, Isaiah 6:9,10, 29:9,10, Mark 4:11,12). Hardening, blinding and deafening are actions and not passively just allowed. Sproul puts himself in the position of judging God as evil in doing this by not accepting the clear teaching of God's Word. Psalm 135 tells us "Whatever the Lord pleases He does" and goes on to say "He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt" and "slew mighty kings" and in Deuteronomy 28:63 we learn that "the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing". God has equally, ultimately, actively and doubly predestined everything that has ever happened and that will happen.
RESOURCES
A New Systematic Theology Of The Christian Faith by Robert L. Reymond-A systematic theology by a Presbyterian Supracalvinist who holds to Equal Ultimacy.
The History And Theology Of Calvinism by Curt Daniel-Essentially a systematic theology by an Baptistic Infracalvinist. It is very informative from the other side and has an excellent chapter, albeit inconsistent with his infra position, on the hardening of the reprobate.
God And Evil: The Problem Solved by Gordon Clark-A wonderful treatise on evil from a Presbyterian Supracalvinist Equal Ultimist perspective.
Chosen By God by R. C. Sproul- From a Presbyterian Infracalvinist perspective.
The Pleasures Of God by John Piper- From a Calvinistic Baptist perspective.
Perspectives On Election: 5 Views by Chad Owen Brand- See the chapters by Robert Reymond and Bruce Ware(InfraCalvinist Baptist).
A Southern Baptist Dialogue: Calvinism by Clendenen & Waggoner- See especially the chapter "A Molinist View of Election, or How to Be a Consistent Infralapsarian" by Molinist Ken Keathley which shows the fine line (if any) between Molinism and Infracalvinism.
Diversity Within the Reformed Tradition: Supra-and Infralapsarianism in Calvin, Dort, and Westminster by J.V. Fesko- A historical study advocating a Supracalvinist view while denying Equal Ultimacy by an Orthodox Presbyterian.
The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century Volume Two by Ligon Duncan- J. V. Fesko makes another attempt at formulating a Supracalvinism while denying Equal Ultimacy in his chapter "The Westminster Confession and Lapsarianism: Calvin and the Divines".


Soli Deo Gloria