Gordon Clark On Right to Work

Posted November 1, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

This is from a booklet produced by the Chamber of Commerce in 1962:

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Clark Quick Quote

Posted October 25, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

John Robbins Quick Quote

Posted October 11, 2019 by Sean Gerety
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teresa

I saw this quote posted on a Facebook Clark page and decided to post it here only because it’s such a strong point that virtually no one ever makes.  How easy are we impressed by the so-called “good works” of others that it completely blinds us to the soul-destroying lies they teach and believe. 

The trees that are cut down and thrown into the fire in verse 19 are the men Jesus commands to depart from him in verse 23. They are the men who have done spectacular works in the name of Jesus on Earth. This implies, please note, that the fruit by which we are to know them is not primarily their works, perhaps not their works at all, but their doctrine, their teaching. We have become so accustomed to thinking of fruit as behavior that we have missed Jesus’ point in his warning against false prophets: They are recognized by their doctrine. What they teach is their fruit. That is why John gives us a doctrinal test in 2 John 1:7, 9-11.

See John’s full discussion of Matthew 7:21-23 here.

Dear John …

Posted September 11, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

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The two-tier scheme of salvation that posits initial justification by faith (or baptism) and final salvation on the last day by works done by faith, is a lie. Yet, this is exactly what is being advanced today by everyone from John Piper, to Doug Wilson and his Federal Vision friends (yep, they’re still around), to the big boy on the block, the Rome state-church.  That’s because all those who are justified by belief alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone will enter heaven completely apart from any works they will ever do  — no exceptions –and Jesus Christ our surety guarantees it.  Consider the following for R. Scott Clark:

It is being argued by some prominent evangelicals, who identify themselves as Reformed, that salvation is in two stages. They say that the first stage of salvation is justification by grace alone, through faith alone on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed. In their scheme, however, there is a second stage. This is where things become complicated.

Many who have read or listened to these teachers have only heard or read them speaking about the first stage of salvation and have assumed (as I did) that they are orthodox. This reading of their doctrine ignores, however, what these teachers are actually saying. It ignores the rest of what they are saying. In their scheme, justification by grace alone, through faith alone is only stage one. There is a stage two. Here is where the problems begin. The proponents of this view speak of “final salvation through works” (see the resource page below). So, in their view, there is an initial salv

ation and a final salvation. For them, our justification by grace alone, through faith alone, is just the beginning of the story.

This is not a way that the Protestant Reformers spoke about salvation nor is it the way that the Reformed Churches, in their confessions, speak about salvation. Following the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8–10, they taught and confessed “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not from works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Paul there clearly makes faith the instrument of our salvation and contrasts it with works. These are two distinct principles, faith and works (Rom 11:6). Further, Paul knows nothing of two stages of salvation. Paul did not say, “For you are initially saved through faith alone but you will be finally saved through your works. That thought never entered his mind.

The source of this two-stage doctrine of salvation is neither Paul nor the Reformers. It is Rome and some ostensible evangelicals who are dissatisfied with the Reformation account of Scripture. Rome says that we are initially justified through baptism but only finally justified by grace and cooperation with grace, which they call sanctification. In their scheme, we are only as justified as we are sanctified and we are never sufficiently sanctified in this life. Therefore, according to Rome, we are never actually justified in this life. They have formally condemned as presumptuous anyone who says that they are now justified by grace alone, through faith alone.

Some evangelical revisionists have, over the years, adopted and adapted this two-stage scheme and tried to tie that wagon to the Reformation. In so doing, they have created a kind of theological Frankenstein’s monster. Under their view, we are out on bond, provisionally free but awaiting trial. In their scheme, Christ has made it possible for us to be saved but he has not actually accomplished our salvation. We have yet to do our part, which will be part of the instrument of our “final salvation.”

That should satisfy no one who knows his Bible or his Reformed catechism.

Read the full article here.

 

 

John Robbins Quick Quote

Posted August 3, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

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I have been thinking this week how the knee-jerk reaction to Gordon Clark’s simple definition of faith and saving faith is often misconstrued as some sort of “easy-believism.” For Clark, belief is the assent to an understood proposition. Saving belief is the assent to the understood propositions of the Gospel. What differentiates the two is not some additional psychological disposition or state of mind wrought in the believer thereby making the one saving and the other not. Instead, the difference between genuine saving belief from the non-saving very ordinary and ubiquitous variety (everyone believes an untold number of things from the mundane to the profound), is the meaning attached to the declarative sentences believed, or, simply, the propositions themselves. This isn’t to say that the one who understands and assents to the propositions of the Gospel won’t evidence their beliefs by their actions ala’ James 2, they will. Rather, it is to say that the act of believing itself is what saves a man and unites him to Christ as “the alone instrument of justification” and not the accompanying life the believer will necessarily lead — or struggle to lead — as a result.

In the answer to the question “What is Justifying Faith” the Westminster Confession Larger Catechism 72 makes this crystal clear.

Here is what Q. 72 says:

Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

Now, consider the following explanation Dr. Robbin gave to Alan Strange in a letter he submitted to the OPC’s New Horizons magazine which they refused to publish:

Question 72 does indeed have a contrast in mind, but it is not contrasting assent with “receiving and resting,” as Dr. Strange mistakenly supposes. There are two reasons Dr. Strange’s contrast cannot be correct.

First, “receiving and resting” are figures of speech, and “assenting” is literal language. “Receiving and resting” mean “assenting.” Dr. Strange has made the common theological error of taking a figure of speech as literal. Incidentally, that is why he fails to offer any definition of “receiving and resting” that differentiates them from assent. In fact, they are not different, but metaphorical expressions of the literal word, “assent.”

The second reason that Q. 72 is not contrasting “assenting” with “receiving and resting” is that the authors of the Westminster Standards have a different contrast in mind. Reading the Standards with subjectivist presuppositions, Dr. Strange supposes they are contrasting differing psychologies of faith (assent vs. receiving and resting), when they are actually contrasting the truths believed. Psychology was not on the minds of the Westminster Assembly, but making clear what truths had to be believed in order to be saved was. Dr. Strange forgets that the word “faith” has two distinct meanings, one objective and one subjective. The Standards are contrasting belief in the “promise of the Gospel,” that is, in the truth of eternal life, with belief in the “righteousness [of Christ] for pardon of sin, and the accepting and accounting of his person righteous.” They are making clear that the sinner must not only believe in (assent to) salvation from sin and eternal life (which they call the “promise of the Gospel”), but that he must also believe in (assent to) the imputed righteousness of Christ in order to be saved. Their concern is that the proper object of faith is believed, not that some undefined and nebulous mental state must be added to belief in order to make it efficacious. Their message is that belief in eternal life and pardon from sin is not saving faith, but to that must be added belief in Christ and his righteousness as the sole means of obtaining eternal life.

The Westminster Standards clearly teach that the object of faith, Christ and his imputed righteousness, not our subjective mental state, is what saves us. Dr. Strange, like so many today, reads the Westminster Standards with his subjectivist glasses on, and thereby misses and misrepresents what they teach.

Therefore, Dr. Strange is completely wrong when he asserts that “Clark is clearly not within the Reformed tradition in defining faith itself as knowledge and assent alone.” Not only is Clark clearly within that tradition, but he is also the most accurate reporter of what Scripture teaches about saving faith. All your readers should read his book for themselves. [emphasis mine]

The Justification That Doesn’t Justify

Posted July 10, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

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There was a time when perhaps John Piper could be given the benefit of the doubt when it came to how sinners can stand justified before a righteous and holy God. I recall in 2002, long before the Piper/Wright debates, when John Robbins’ scathing review of Piper’s book Future Grace came out there were howls across the internet decrying Robbins for attacking such a prominent, respected and faithful Christian pastor and teacher. After all, in his review, Pied Piper, Robbins wrote:

Piper proclaims: “I am hard pressed to imagine something more important for our lives than fulfilling the covenant that God has made with us for our final salvation” (249). Consider his words carefully. Piper does not mean that the work of Christ in perfectly fulfilling the covenant on behalf of his people is the most important thing he can think of for our final salvation; he says that we personally, or as he says, “experientially,” fulfill the covenant on our own behalf, and that our fulfillment of the covenant is the most important thing for our final salvation. We ourselves “fulfill the covenant that God has made with us for our final salvation.” Furthermore, keep in mind his description of “future grace”: “the heartstrengthening power that comes from the Holy Spirit…is virtually the same as what I mean by future grace.” Therefore, if we fulfill the conditions required of us, if we obey the covenant, then God will give us “the heart-strengthening power that comes from the Holy Spirit,” and we will be saved. This is not the Gospel. It is a pious fraud.

While others have been very slow in identifying the false gospel of John Piper, Robbins was more than a decade ahead of the game (he often was) and was grossly reviled and dismissed at the time and since because of it.

I mean, people will sometimes ask wasn’t Piper the man who confronted and successfully challenged N.T. Wright over the doctrine of justification? Wasn’t Piper the champion of the historic Reformed doctrine of justification over against the New Perspectives novelties of Wright? Well, was he? I’ll admit I may have read one or two pieces by Piper and Wright at the time of their public debate and controversy, but as I’ve mentioned elsewhere I have never cared very much for Piper or paid him that much attention. I’ve always found his writings obscurant, flowery and overly effeminate. Not my cup of tea.

However, according to a short summary of their debate published in Christianity Today, while there are differences between Piper and Wright to be sure, when it comes to the question of how one gets into heaven, what CT categorize as”Future Justification,” the two men are eerily similar and are even in agreement.

Piper:

Present justification is based on the substitutionary work of Christ alone, enjoyed in union with him through faith alone. Future justification is the open confirmation and declaration that in Christ Jesus we are perfectly blameless before God. This final judgment accords with our works. That is, the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives will be brought forward as the evidence and confirmation of true faith and union with Christ. Without that validating transformation, there will be no future salvation.

Wright:

Present justification is the announcement issued on the basis of faith and faith alone of who is part of the covenant family of God. The present verdict gives the assurance that the verdict announced on the Last Day will match it; the Holy Spirit gives the power through which that future verdict, when given, will be seen to be in accordance with the life that the believer has then lived.

Given the above Piper is hardly the champion and hero of the historic Christian faith even in his conflict with N.T. Wright. When it comes to the question of how can a sinner get into heaven Piper and Wright are basically on the same page which makes their other differences merely cosmetic. Let’s face it, if justification by faith alone is not what gets you into heaven and only makes “final justification” possible, then Luther and the entire Reformation were wrong and Rome was right.

Today, and particularly after the sermon Piper preached in 2017 entitled, “Faith Alone How (Not) to Use a Reformed Slogan ,” only the willfully blind Piper fan-boy (or someone who similarly believes in justification by faith and works) can defend Piper much less identify him as a faithful Christian pastor and teacher. Not that Piper has said anything new it’s just that he has rarely been quite so clear and unambiguous. Piper has left no more cover for his defenders to hide behind. As previously discussed on this blog (and by others like Tim Kaufman, Tim Shaughnessy, Carlos Montijo, Patrick Hines who have all extensively documented, discussed, and unpacked Piper’s false gospel and the implications of Piper’s use of the unbiblical and false theological category, “final salvation”), Piper does not believe all who are justified go to heaven. The justification which occurs when a person first believes only changes a person’s “position” relative to God from where final salvation/justification is merely possible. To survive God’s judgment on the last day and attain “final salvation,” works must be accompanied by this faith if one can ever hope to enter into heaven. A man will be called to point to his works done in Christ’s name and not to Christ alone in order to enter heaven.

Piper proclaims:

Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin (Romans 8:13) and the pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Mortification of sin, sanctification in holiness. But what makes that possible and pleasing to God? We put sin to death and we pursue holiness from a justified position where God is one hundred percent for us — already — by faith alone.

It’s on the basis of faith plus works by which a believer will attain “final salvation.” We don’t enter into eternal rest and perfect fellowship with God on the basis of Christ’s work alone accomplished outside of ourselves on a cross almost 2000 years ago. It’s the fruit of sanctification that God works in us by faith that is the basis for our admittance into heaven. Piper is crystal clear and emphatic; “In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has borne, and we are saved through that fruit and that faith.” So much for salvation by faith alone.

According to Piper justification which occurs by faith alone is a completely different theological category from how one gets into heaven. Piper insists, “we should not speak of getting to heaven by faith alone in the same way we are justified by faith alone.” Well, of course, we should speak of getting to heaven in the same way we are justified because to be justified is what gets you into heaven. That’s exactly what the word justification encompasses. Jesus said; “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:254)” And, again in John 3:36a He says; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life ….” There is no future judgment of the believer. According to Jesus justification is a present as well as a future reality for all believers. Eternal life is something the believer already possesses. The problem with Piper is that he doesn’t believe it. Piper is proclaiming to all who will listen that Jesus Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial and atoning death is not enough to get anyone into heaven. Tragically, we already know how that turns out for people like Piper and those who follow him (see Matthew 7:22,23)

Piper provides a justification that doesn’t justify.

With all that said, I recently came across a piece by Richard Phillips, “Five Arguments Against Future Justification According to Works” (part1, part2). Interestingly, Phillips is writing in response to N.T. Wright and any number of the five arguments apply equally to Piper (I know, how ironic). However, I was really struck by his third argument since it is an argument I haven’t seen raised in response to Piper “future salvation” but one I also think is devastating to his false gospel.

Argument #3: Believers will not stand for judgment on the basis of their own works. Even while acknowledging that our sins have already been judged at the cross, some will argue that we must still be justified by our good works. Their key passage is Romans 2:6-13, where Paul speaks of “the doers of the law” being justified (2:13). Reformed theology has classically regarded this passage as describing how religious people hope to be justified apart from Christ. In chapter 1, Paul wrote of the condemnation of pagan idolaters, but in chapter 2 he addresses the religious Jew. Paul warns them against the idea that the law – the Torah – saves them, because one is saved not merely by possessing the law but by keeping it. If you are trying to be justified by the law, Paul says, then you have to do it, not merely possess it. John Calvin explains of Romans 2:13: “The sense of this verse, therefore, is that if righteousness is sought by the law, the law must be fulfilled, for the righteousness of the law consists in the perfection of works.” [7] This is why Paul proceeds to make the point that “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10), and “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). The point of Romans 2:6-13 is to show those who seek to be justified by their works that they will have to keep the law perfectly, which Paul then shows they cannot hope to do. Given its clear context, Calvin comments on Romans 2:13, “Those who misinterpret this passage for the purpose of building up justification by works deserve universal contempt.” [8]

According to the vision of final judgment in Revelation 20:11-15, it is only those outside of Christ who will be judged according to their works. John says, “I saw the dead, great and small standing before the throne, and books were opened” (Rev. 20:12). The question is, “To whom does John refer when speaking of ‘the dead’?” On a simple reading, we might assume that he means everyone who had previously been dead prior to their resurrection, that is, all persons who ever lived. But on more careful consideration, we should realize that those who are resurrected to death are only those who are resurrected for eternal condemnation. Jesus noted two categories of persons resurrected in the future: some will be raised “to the resurrection of life,” whereas the wicked will rise “to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:29). Now, John says in the Revelation, “the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Rev. 20:12). Here is the final judgment according to works, by which every man and woman outside of Christ will give an account before his holy judgment seat. But John mentions another book, by which those who are raised to life are justified: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). By necessary inference, some are judged by their works and thrown into the lake of fire, and others are not condemned because their name is in the book of life.

Future judgment according to works thus involves only those whose names are not written in the book of life. Elsewhere in Revelation, this book is described as “the book of the life of the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 13:8). It is not just the book of life, but the book of the life of Christ: the life granted to those named in the book comes from Christ through his death. Moreover, as Revelation 17:8 says, those names were written in the book of life “from the foundation of the world.” Thus we err in thinking that believers as justified on the basis of their own works, when the Bible insists that eternal life is grounded on Christ’s atoning death (contrary to N. T. Wright’s denial of solus Christus, see above), and that its recipients are determined according to God’s eternal predestination. Thus, those named for eternal life are those whose justification is based not on their own works but on the works of Christ. Those raised to death are judged according to their works; those whose names are written in the book of Christ’s life are not judged: as Jesus taught, whoever believes “does not come into judgment” (Jn. 5:24). Revelation 20:10-15 therefore shows two different categories of persons who are judged by two different standards (book of their own works vs. the book of the life of Christ), which results in two different eternal destinies. Thus judgment according to works is a future that only those outside of Christ must face.

A Great Way to Help a Great Organization

Posted May 2, 2019 by Sean Gerety
Categories: Uncategorized

amazon smile

I suspect many people who have read this blog over the years have benefitted from the work of the Trinity Foundation.  I know I have.  Without them, it is highly doubtful that any books by Gordon Clark would still be in print.  Plus, their Trinity Reviews provide a wealth of free material not to mention their huge selection of mp3 lectures that you can stream or download for free offered at their site.  In fact, I just downloaded the last three lectures today from Collection 7: Introduction to Christian Philosophy Thinking Biblically by John Robbins dealing with the World, the Flesh, and the Devil this morning to listen to while at the gym.  For those who are unfamiliar, not only was John Robbins the former president of the Trinity Foundation he also was an amazing mind and a great teacher who is greatly missed. (If anyone has never listened to a lecture by John Robbins or has been hesitant to even consider doing so since you’ve been told John was a big meanie or something silly like that, I highly recommend it.  You will be well fed).

Well, a couple of months ago I found a great way to support the ongoing work of the Trinity Foundation but I wanted to make sure it actually worked first before I posted it here. Even better you can recruit Jeff Bezos to help support the work of the Foundation by simply making all your Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com).  Just add Trinity Foundation (be careful to choose the one located in Unicoi, TN and not some other organization with the same name) as your designated charity.  The only caveat is that you have to make sure you go to the Amazon Smile site and not the normal dull Amazon site to make your purchases.

My hope is that if enough people add Trinity Foundation to their Amazon Smile we could see the entire Gordon Clark signature series finally completed.


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