Calvin and Keister Tag Team the Federal Vision

The following is from Lane Keister’s systematic dismemberment of Joshua Moon’s floor speech that was given on the floor of the Siouxlands Presbytery in defense of Greg Lawrence (the man who was determined by two separate investigative committees to be a Federal Divisionist and a man who should be brought to trial but continues to evade prosecution).  While I recommend the entire piece, I selected just the portion below because the quotes Lane provides from Calvin (and one from Peter Barnes) are so devastating to the entire false FV scheme of baptismal regeneration and the covenant  that they deserve special recognition.

I have to admit, I was extremely impressed by the job Lane did dissecting and demolishing every one of Moon’s historical and exegetical arguments.  Frankly, I am surprised Lane hasn’t been brought up on some frivolous Ninth Commandment charge by Moon’s whining session for failing to protect and care for Moon’s good name.  That’s because after Lane is finished with him, I simply don’t know how Moon can show his face in any Christian presbytery.  OK, and to be charitable, Moon’s arguments would probably carry some weight in Doug Wilson’s Confederation of Federal Divisionists and Phony Evangelicals,  but I did say “Christian presbytery.”

So, while I will continue to pray that Lane may one day come to his senses and repent of his tragic exoneration of Doug Wilson on the doctrines of justification and imputation, I will say this piece has gone a long way in repairing his imagine at least in my mind.  I guess when the Federal Divisionists are stinking up his own Presbytery Lane is really a very good bare-knuckle brawler after all.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

An excerpt from An Answer to TE Josh Moon’s Report on the Views of TE Greg Lawrence by Lane Keister

A fifth passage that TE Lawrence adduces is Galatians 3:26-27, which he argues proves that baptism brings one into fellowship with Christ and also brings adoption as sons of God. However, the text explicitly states that everyone who is a son of God is a son of God through faith (vs 26), not through baptism. The “for” in verse 27 does not explain something that is epexegetical to verse 26. Rather, verse 27 describes the sign, the reason they may have assurance that they are the sons of God. And the thing signified is here viewed as connected with the sign for those who have what verse 26 says. Again, Calvin is helpful and worth quoting at length, for his insight into the two ways Paul speaks (this is from his commentary on the passage):

But the argument, that, because they have been baptized, they have put on Christ, appears weak; for how far is baptism from being efficacious in all? Is it reasonable that the grace of the Holy Spirit should be so closely linked to an external symbol? Does not the uniform doctrine of Scripture, as well as experience, appear to confute this statement? I answer, it is customary with Paul to treat of the sacraments in two points of view. When he is dealing with hypocrites, in whom the mere symbol awakens pride, he then proclaims loudly the emptiness and worthlessness of the outward symbol, and denounces, in strong terms, their foolish confidence. In such cases he contemplates not the ordinance of God, but the corruption of wicked men. When, on the other hand, he addresses believers, who make a proper use of the symbols, he then views them in connection with the truth- which they represent. In this case, he makes no boast of any false splendour as belonging to the sacraments, but calls our attention to the actual fact represented by the outward ceremony. Thus, agreeably to the Divine appointment, the truth comes to be associated with the symbols.

But perhaps some person will ask, Is it then possible that, through the fault of men, a sacrament shall cease to bear a figurative meaning? The reply is easy. Though wicked men may derive no advantage from the sacraments, they still retain undiminished their nature and force. The sacraments present, both to good and to bad men, the grace of God. No falsehood attaches to the promises which they exhibit of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Believers receive what is offered; and if wicked men, by rejecting it, render the offer unprofitable to themselves, their conduct cannot destroy the faithfulness of God, or the true meaning of the sacrament…(after quoting Romans 6:5, LK) In this way, the symbol and the Divine operation are kept distinct, and yet the meaning of the sacraments is manifest; so that they cannot be regarded as empty and trivial exhibitions (emphasis added, pp. 111-112 of Calvin’s Galatians commentary).

Calvin’s sermons are even more plain on this matter:

Baptism then maketh us not all Christians, and again we know, that to be made the child of God, is too great a benefit to be fathered upon a corruptible element (Sermons, p. 484).

And again:

But first of all let us mark here, that when Saint Paul speaketh of Baptism, he presupposeth that we receive the thing that is offered unto us in it. Many that are baptized do wipe away the grace of God: and notwithstanding that it be offered them, yet they make themselves unworthy of ir through their unbelief, lewdness, and rebellion. Thus ye see that the power of baptism is defeated in many men. But when there happeneth a mutual agreement and melody between God and us: then has baptism the effect whereof Saint Paul treateth and discourseth in this text (Sermons, p. 485).

Peter Barnes, in his excellent recent commentary on Galatians (p. 178), says much the same:

Surely, Paul is referring to water baptism. It is true that external baptism does not unite us to Christ. Paul is hardly saying that the rite of circumcision does not save or add to salvation, but the rite of baptism does! As John Stott puts it, “Faith secures the union; baptism signifies it outwardly and visibly.”

Plainly the views of Calvin and Barnes are not the views of TE Lawrence or of TE Moon. For TE’s Moon and Lawrence plainly say that even wicked men gain at least some advantage from the sacrament, even if it is a lesser version than what the elect receive (although such a two-tiered reception of the benefits of baptism is certainly nowhere taught in Scripture). Again, Calvin says that there is nothing signified present unless the sacrament be received in faith. Calvin says that wicked men gain no advantage from the sacrament whatsoever. Only believers get the thing signified, and they have to be believers (meaning that they must have true faith) to receive those benefits. Calvin says that baptism does not make us Christians, whereas TE Lawrence says that it does make us Christians. Calvin says, in effect, that a person is a Christian when sign and thing signified are both present. TE Lawrence says, in effect, that it comes in the water rite regardless of faith, or that faith itself comes in the water rite.
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And, just one more quote I selected for special recognition since Lane explains the Christian covenant of grace so plainly here that even the most persnickety Puritan would be pleased:

The substance of the covenant of grace is made only with the elect. Furthermore, the substance of the covenant of grace is salvation itself. WLC 32 indicates that the grace of God is manifest in the covenant of grace by actually giving salvation. That is the substance of the covenant of grace. But a person may participate in the outward administration of the covenant, and yet not be elect. Such a person can be said, with respect to the proper definition of the substance of the covenant, not to be a member of the covenant of grace at all. This follows directly from WLC 31. Only with respect to the outward administration (which is defined in WLC 33-35) can non-elect people be said to be part of the covenant. It is certainly not “full members of the covenant of grace, without qualification.” The Standards carefully qualify membership in the covenant of grace as to substance and administration. [emphasis in the original]

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42 Comments on “Calvin and Keister Tag Team the Federal Vision”

  1. ray kikkert Says:

    Since the mug shot bears no resemblance to Calvin … it must be the good Reverend L.K. … back in the day 🙂 I must say I do like this style of clergy cloth 🙂 The good Reverend L.K. is going to have to chuckle when he sees that picture … it’s a good one Sean.

    Over at the URC forum … J. Barach and other FV friendly types continue to do their best to confuse/bore/babble… folk with respect to these issues of Justification/Sanctification/Baptism/WCF 11:2/ The Covenant of Grace.

    A recent statement by one indicated that:

    ” [co-urc] Re: The FV & Justifying Faith (WCF 11.2)

    Hi all,

    I couldn’t help but notice this passage in Bible study today, considering the discussion we’ve been having.

    For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. – Galatians 5:6

    Not an alone faith, but only a working faith.

    Regards,
    Pete Scholtens
    Solihull Presbyterian Church”

    …notice the subject heading?

    Calvin had a name for such folk …. leisured rabbi’s


  2. Sean,
    I emailed you a few months ago regarding the incarnation book by Dr. Clark. I am a seminary student. I studied that book and the relating issues that Dyer brought up 4-8 hours a day for months and produced a paper on the issue that I was asked to give to my presbytery. They have accused me of heresy but have backed off from that though they won’t answer the major issues that deal with the application of sola scriptura and Clark’s philosophy. I have challeneged them to deduce the patristic understanding of these doctrines from scripture alone and they keep avoiding the issues. I have claimed that without a Clarkian/Augustinian Platonistic Philosophy, Sola Scriptura falls and have applied this to their love of Van Til’s pathetic dribble. I don’t know what to do and the more I read Clark I feel obligated to take a number of exceptions to the confession. I will not be able to be ordained in this denomiation and I really don’t know what to do. Can you give me any guidance on a Presbytery that is sympathetic to Clark’s philosophy? Also, in reference to Logic. The logic text that Clark wrote was great and I read it but I need something a bit more advanced dealing with the set theory and propositional loigc as it is different than other logic applications and all the difficulties that surround logic and it’s relationship to Clark’s philosophy. Thanks
    Drake

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Drake. A Pres that is sympathetic to Clark? I don’t really know of any. I’m sure there are some that are at least not openly hostile to Clark. There are certainly Scripturalists sprinkled around and I do bump into them from time to time (the secret handshake helps). Plus, our numbers are growing, but Vantilianism still has a pretty powerful influence in most P&R circles. Trinity Foundation has a church registry that might be of some help. You could always find out where men like Gary Crampton, Paul Elliot, and Robert Reymond attend? Although, I don’t know if that’s going to help you work through the implications of Clark’s Incarnation as I don’t think any of those men hold to Clark theory. I know John Robbins embraced it and I’m very inclined to it as well.

    As far as advanced studies in logic, I can’t really help you there either as I’m certainly no logician. However, you should check out The Logic Classroom (http://www.logic-classroom.info/ ). Anthony Coletti maintains it for Dr. Elihu Carranza, who wrote the workbook for Clark’s Logic. I noticed Anthony posted his email address on the site and I would think he or Dr. Carranza could be of some assistance. I’m guessing I already got you in enough trouble by recommending The Incarnation. 😉

  4. ray Says:

    “I emailed you a few months ago regarding the incarnation book by Dr. Clark. I am a seminary student. I studied that book and the relating issues that Dyer brought up 4-8 hours a day for months and produced a paper on the issue that I was asked to give to my presbytery.”

    I would be interested in reading that paper of yours … if it is available Drake … thks in advance,

  5. Gus Gianello Says:

    Drake,

    I would appreciate it very much if you would contact me privately at:

    dr dot gus dot gianello at rogers dot com

    Gus

  6. Jim Butler Says:

    Drake,

    If you are emailing copies of your paper on the incarnation, I would like to receive one also. My email address is:

    jpbutler at shaw dot ca

    Thank you in advance,

    jim

  7. drake Says:

    My paper can be accessed here:
    http://olivianus.thekingsparlor.com/theology-proper/the-atonement-the-incarnation-and-their-theological-relationship

    Warning, this issue can potentially ruin you faith and your sanity if your soul is not prepared. I about lost my sanity about a month and a half ago. I am not claiming to have “solved” this issue but I believe it is the strongest presentation of the Clark view I am aware of.

  8. drake Says:

    PS footnote 28 is supposed to be ibid from footnote 24

  9. greenbaggins Says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Sean. I promise to re-examine my views on Doug Wilson.

  10. Lauren Kuo Says:

    Perhaps if we didn’t put the cart before the horse (baptism before faith), we might have eliminated a lot of the controversy and confusion.

    My assurance of salvation comes from the Word and the Holy Spirit bearing witness in my heart that I belong to Jesus. That simple.

  11. drake Says:

    How infants dying in infancy go to heaven before profession of faith on a Baptist Cart and horse model does not make it easier friend.

  12. Sean Gerety Says:

    Who is to say that infants can’t have faith? It would seem to me a natural implication of the biblical idea of an apriori endowment. The mind of an infant, even in the womb, is hardly a tabula rasa.

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Perhaps if we didn’t put the cart before the horse (baptism before faith), we might have eliminated a lot of the controversy and confusion.

    Admittedly, this has been an argument made by Baptists. That’s why we see Baptists like John Piper and James White embracing men like Doug Wilson as just their brother in Christ wrongly thinking the controversy has to do with a fight over the question of infant baptism and not justification.

  14. Sean Gerety Says:

    You’re welcome Lane. I certainly hope the men in your Presbytery took the time to read your reply to Moon. My guess is that they did not, which doesn’t detract from a job well done.


  15. What would you guys do if you didn’t have a heresy to hunt down? I’d love to hear more from ALL of us Reformed types (FV or not) on the topics that the NT dwells on, aptly summarized by James 1:26-27. Maybe we should all take a break from debating and focus on James 2:18. Let’s put our faith into practice! For some, I suppose this means making sure their presbyteries are pure and undefiled, but that doesn’t neccessarily mean our religion is pure and undefiled.

    Christ will judge us, based upon what we have done–Matt. 25:31-46. I hope we all take the time to notice that we won’t be judged on whether we passed the right presbytery exam.

    I’m sorry I may not be back to check on what fun discussion this might spark. I’ll be too busy preparing my children to worship on the Sabbath tomorrow 🙂

    Just some thoughts that have convicted me of late …

  16. Drake Says:

    Sean,
    I believe infants can have faith. You should be very familiar with what my argument was: Ad Hominem. Lauren said,
    “Perhaps if we didn’t put the cart before the horse (baptism before faith), we might have eliminated a lot of the controversy and confusion.”

    I was simply pointing out that the Baptist model cannot furinsh us a staright answer on how infants dying in infancy go to heaven. Therefore, not clearer and less confusing than the presby model. I’m with you brother, and no, not a tabula rasa. lol

  17. Drake Says:

    To Greg: Amen brother. But for myself I am in agreement with James Durham who once said, if I knew I had 11 years to live, I would study for ten and preach all the 11th. That is what I am trying to do and being a single, near poverty stricken man that is not an ordained minister I find nothing better to do with my time than study and put my beliefs to the fire.

    Drake

  18. Drake Says:

    What you are doing is fantastic but Christianity is not a one size fits all in every sense of application.

  19. Sean Gerety Says:

    I was simply pointing out that the Baptist model cannot furinsh us a staright answer on how infants dying in infancy go to heaven.

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you.

  20. Dave Resh Says:

    Sean,

    Could you recommend any reviews of Rutherford on the Covenant. I have read his article linked below, and to my untrained eye he seems to be spot on.

    http://reformedlayman.com/CovenantOfLifeOpened/THE COVENANT OF LIFE OPENED.htm

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Dave. I don’t have any reviews I could recommend on the Rutherford piece you linked. Not having read it, I really can’t say, but I’m hard pressed to think you can go very wrong reading Rutherford.

  22. Drake Says:

    Amen! Rutherford is my hero. If Clark would have been alive during Rutherford’s time, Rutherofrd would have been a Clarkian all the way. Rutherford was a supralapsarian. One suggestion is Guy Richard’s work: Samuel Rutherford’s supralapsarianism revealed: a key to the lapsarian position of the Westminster Confession of Faith?
    Awesome stuff.

  23. Drake Says:

    Richard read all of the contra-Arminian apolgetic writings by Rutherford in the latin and translated them into English. He’s the beefcake on Rutherford right now.
    Consult richard

  24. Drake Says:

    I read the Covenant of life a couple times. it is by far the best systematic theology I know of. It’s rough on organization but the content is the deepest stuff I have ever read on systematic Theology.


  25. “I was simply pointing out that the Baptist model cannot furinsh us a staright answer on how infants dying in infancy go to heaven.”

    Of course it can. The Baptist model allows for the possibility that an infant has faith, is regenerated even from its mother’s womb. But we don’t presume it and baptize a child based on this presumption. That would be as Lauren said, putting the cart before the horse.

    Lauren, I agree. We shouldn’t look to our baptism for assurance of our salvation. See my blog.

  26. Drake Says:

    lawyertheologian

    “Of course it can. The Baptist model allows for the possibility that an infant has faith, is regenerated even from its mother’s womb. But we don’t presume it and baptize a child based on this presumption.”

    Good but we don’t either. Presbyterians baptize based upon a promise, not a presumption of regeneration. A Baptist basis for baptism is different. Your assesment of the conversation is confusing to me. You are admitting faith before baptism yet what Lauren was warning us from was baptism before faith. That was her whole point. Your admission that faith can come before baptism refutes her claim in toto.


  27. What Lauren was warning of is baptism before evidence of faith. Doing so, although claimed based upon a promise (that some of them are elect?), it is also claimed to be based on a presumption of faith/regeneration, or at least a presumption of election. Again, if we don’t presume anything of our children, then we would baptize them only AFTER they have demonstrated faith, just as we do with all others. Faith first, then baptism. Our children are baptized first, and then faith is looked for. That is putting the cart before the horse. Again, our children are viewed as being in the Covenant and sinning against it if rejected when in fact if rejected it is clear they were never truly in it. Also, they are exhorted to look back at their baptism (which they have no remembrance of) rather than their faith as a basis of assurance. Thus many, if not most, end up with a false assurance.


  28. Oh, that’s right. I’m not supposed to comment on this issue.

    I think Lauren meant evidence of faith preceding Baptism. I’d check with her.

  29. Drake Says:

    “What Lauren was warning of is baptism before evidence of faith”

    That’s not what she said. The whole point of her post was that baptism before faith (proper) is putting the cart before the horse. That was the whole point. Your admission of faith before birth is great…but to your baptist theology’s shagrin, Paedo baptist.

    “Again, if we don’t presume anything of our children, then we would baptize them only AFTER they have demonstrated faith, just as we do with all others. ”

    This is true only if baptism is based on faith alone. Paeodo baptists see baptism as a sign based on the promise of Gen 17 repeated in Acts 2:39 (That a promise to NT believers can be conditional and a NT believer can fall from that promise is proved from Heb 4:1). Not only so but judgment: Baptism is the antitype of the Flood of Noah (1 Peter 3:20-21)The crucifixtion: Jesus says Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! I could go on and on. Your simplistic understanding of Baptism representing only repentance and faith is your fatal flaw my friend.

    Speaking of Apostasy with the baptist children: If one young man that has grown up in the church gets baptized and then when he’s 15 he apostasizes and then comes back when he’s twenty: Do you re-baptize him? If you don’t your admitting the Baptism represents more than repentance and faith.


  30. Drake,

    I hope Lauren will speak for herself. But the only way to make sense of what she said is that without faith, that is, the evidence of faith, baptizing someone first, and then observing faith later is putting the cart before the horse. Don’t be so overly literal. Lauren was never denying that an infant could be an elect and could have faith. Her whole point was about baptizing infants based on a presumption (Had you read her posts on the previous page?).

    A sign based on a promise? Sign of what? Promise of what? Again, if a child does not have faith and is not elect, their baptism doesn’t symbolize anything (significant) regarding themselves. Are you discarding presumptive election? Again, Lauren’s point is that children are made to look to their baptism (as really signifying that they were in the Covenant) for assurance. That only makes sense for those whose baptism is contemporaneous with their faith, since it is what baptism symbolizes that is important. As Lauren said, believing the gospel is the only proper basis of assurance.

    Yes, any person who is baptized who was not a believer at the time should be rebaptized when truly a believer.

  31. brandon Says:

    I was reading Mark Karlberg’s “Federalism and the Westminster Tradition” and came across some interesting comments that I would love to get others’ opinion on:

    Baptism as the sign and seal of the Covenant of Grace identifies and secures, according to its proper purpose, the salvation of those chosen in Christ (in the mystery of God’s electing purpose). Hence, not all recipients of the baptismal ordinance receive the saving benefits of Christ’s atonement. Baptism, like circumcision previously, enunciates the dual sanctions of the covenant, blessing for obedience and curse of disobedience. In all cases Christian baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the covenant family of God, the church visible. It does not guarantee salvation for all who receive the sign. The fruits of justification (and regeneration which precedes justification) are manifested in converted lives – lives evidencing true repentance, faith and obedience. Here we must distinguish properly the benefits of the Covenant of Redemption to the elect and the wider (common grace) benefits of the Covenant of Grace to the unregenerate who find themselves included within the covenant family in its historical formulation.

    [footnote]There are three leading covenants in the Bible – the Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace. The question is often raised: Is the new covenant made with Christ and the elect, Christ being the mediator of the historical covenant? How are we to view the new covenant in Christ’s blood, the fulfillment in history of the eternal Covenant of Redemption? First it must be said that the administration of the historical Covenant of Grace is not restricted to the elect. (Here is a place were the Federal Visionists, once again, confound matters – alongside many other theological misconceptions and deviations they erroneously draw from Scripture. To be sure, our tradition is partly to blame for current misinterpretations and misformulations.)

    The Covenant of Redemption is the “compact” made between the Father and the Son, involving the full participation of the Spirit in the accomplishment and application of Christ’s redeeming work on behalf of the elect, and them alone. The Covenant of Grace in its historical outworking… is broader than election. That is to say, its administration over the course of history includes some nonelect within the visible church (whether new or old economies)…

    …Considering the Westminster Larger Catechism (31), it would appear that Meredith G. Kline’s line of interpretation, shared by some of the Puritan divines, did not with the day at the Westminster Assembly – or so it would appear. But here is where matters become much more subtle and complex. As one studies the literature of the period (and in the time leading up to the Assembly), various theological nuances must be acknowledged. The answer to question 31 of the Larger Catechism provides insight into what is the proper purpose of redemptive covenant, namely, election to salvation. However, redemptive covenant, as historically administered over the course of time, is broader than election. Q&A 31 must be read in the light of what is taught in Q&A 61-66. Tension? Yes. Need for reformulation and clarification? Yes. Although the Covenant of Redemption is not explicitly identified in the Confession, the substance is taught in chapter 8. In the final analysis, the answer to the Federal Visionists is not exegesis of the Westminster Standards per se, but engagement with Scripture and the confessions, the former being the final arbiter. Theological formulation does not end with these confessional writings, as important as they are in the life and witness of the church and in the history of doctrine. (Many of the comments in this note were first communicated in a recent exchange with my provocateurs Fowler White and Cal Beisner).

  32. Sean Gerety Says:

    Do you have a link to the White/Beisner side of the exchange he’s referencing?

  33. brandon Says:

    I don’t. The above was a footnote in his book and he gives no reference. It may have been a private email exchange.

  34. Sean Gerety Says:

    Too bad, that would have been interesting.

    I was doing my own search and came across two interesting pieces.

    The first is by Ralph Smith, a man associated with the FV, and his piece “Van Til, Karlberg, and Westminster.”

    It’s an interesting piece simply because he makes a pretty compelling argument that Van Til’s view of covenant is integral to the leveling of the CoW and the CoG we see in the Federal Vision. Of course, Smith sees this as a good thing, whereas I see it as another link between Van Til and the FV.

    The other is by John Fesko, “The Federal Vision and the Covenant of Works” which I haven’t read, but looks interesting. 🙂

  35. brandon Says:

    Thanks for the links, I’ll check them out. In the same footnote quoted above, Karlberg makes the following comment that I omitted:

    Ralph Smith’s study The Eternal Covenant: How the Trinity Reshapes Covenant Theology and his earlier work, Paradox and Truth: Rethinking Van Til on the Trinity are based on a misreading of the Bible and Reformed theology. Smith’s interpretation is a prime example of eisegesis, a reading into Scripture and into Van Til views contrary to the author’s meaning and intent. Smith’s thinking does reflect the mindset and hermeneutical methodology of the revisionists with exceptional clarity and conviction.

  36. brandon Says:

    btw, Karlberg’s primary volume is available online. I haven’t dug into it yet. If you haven’t read it I’m sure you would enjoy doing so:
    http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Covenant%20Theology%20in%20Reformed%20Perspective.pdf

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    Of course, there is the booklet that TF put out by Karlberg at:

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/188a-TheChangingoftheGuard.pdf

    Maybe it’s time for a re-read. 🙂

  38. ray kikkert Says:

    Gregory Soderberg Says:
    “What would you guys do if you didn’t have a heresy to hunt down?”

    …unfortunately … FV freaks as yourself do not know how to shut up and quit prostituting the doctrine of justification …so I for one must polemically respond.

    “I’d love to hear more from ALL of us Reformed types (FV or not) on the topics that the NT dwells on, aptly summarized by James 1:26-27. Maybe we should all take a break from debating and focus on James 2:18. Let’s put our faith into practice! For some, I suppose this means making sure their presbyteries are pure and undefiled, but that doesn’t neccessarily mean our religion is pure and undefiled.”

    … you have the nerve to classify yourself and the CREC as reformed … problem is … the reformed faith is defiled and impure by your arminian and semi pelagian rants and practices … for all your zealous claims to faith … it’s but works righteousness … for your idea of faith is synomonous with the free will of man.

    “Christ will judge us, based upon what we have done–Matt. 25:31-46. I hope we all take the time to notice that we won’t be judged on whether we passed the right presbytery exam.”

    … oh Christ will judge alright … and those who have the imputed righteousness of Christ will be judged righteous … for they alone are sanctified by Christ. Pesky FV’er’s who wish to stand before Christ with all there claims of works … will receive the left boot of fellowship.

    Best keep that in mind as you attend so called worship services next Lord’s Day.

  39. ray kikkert Says:

    …taken from a quoted section by Brandon…

    “In all cases Christian baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the covenant family of God, the church visible. It does not guarantee salvation for all who receive the sign. The fruits of justification (and regeneration which precedes justification) are manifested in converted lives – lives evidencing true repentance, faith and obedience. Here we must distinguish properly the benefits of the Covenant of Redemption to the elect and the wider (common grace) benefits of the Covenant of Grace to the unregenerate who find themselves included within the covenant family in its historical formulation.”

    If Karlberg it was … that stated this … his idea of grace does not square with either Scripture or the Confessions. Grace is not common especially in light of the Lord’s Covenant of Grace. The unregenerate do not have the grace of God upon them.


  40. Hi, Ray:

    I sincerely hope we’ll meet in the New Heavens and New Earth and be able to admit how near-sighted we both were 🙂

    Those who have the imputed righteousness of Christ are the ones who bear fruit (read Matt. 25 again). I just think our tradition focuses so much on getting our doctrines right, that we forget some important things that our Savior said. What good is a justifying faith that no one can see? Are Truly Reformed churches at the fore-front of evangelism, mercy ministry, or are we all busy attacking other Christians on the web? (And I don’t want to totally exempt anyone in the CREC from this charge either.)

    Now, I’m off to read a story to my 2-yr. old!

  41. drake Says:

    “will receive the left boot of fellowship.”
    lol

  42. H Gordon Says:

    An excerpt from John Newton you might find pertains to this discussion (http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=217)

    “And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry, contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which are at most but of a secondary value. This shows, that if the service is honorable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made? …

    If we act in a wrong spirit, we shall bring little glory to God, do little good to our fellow creatures, and procure neither honor nor comfort to ourselves.”


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