53 comments on “Westminster Standards vs. Federal Vision: Merit (via Wes White)

  1. Wes Said

    “Again, the JFVP says explicitly, “We deny that Adam had to earn or merit righteousness, life, glorification, or anything else.” This is also false. Man would have had to live righteously in order to be righteous, and He would only merit or deserve God’s justifying verdict by his own obedience. It is contrary to God’s character to declare anyone righteous who does not deserve it (i.e., merit such a judgment).”

    Aaron replied,
    “Adam already was righteous; he wasn’t in some sort of forensically neutral condition. Adam was required to obey to maintain it. The Standards neither affirm nor deny merit with regard to Adam; they simply accommodate merit theology but do not use merit terminology:”
    I have to agree with Aaron here. True Adam would have earned a justification through his obedience but righteousness? He was already righteous. I can see clearly why some eastern christians think the reformed view to be pelagian.

    Aaron said,
    “I personally get the impression that Reformational polemics took place still too much on Rome’s terms (medieval merit schemes). I’d humbly suggest this is something that still needs reforming; it doesn’t seem like the most natural category to Scripture.”

    What needs to be dealt with is whether it is created or uncreated. Scripturalism teaches a direct relationship between man and God. I see no room for created grace.

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  2. I wrote an article here : http://eternalpropositions.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/turretin-and-calvin-on-christ%E2%80%99s-meriting-righteousness-for-the-elect-the-covenant-of-works-and-created-grace-by-drake-shelton/

    On the issue of created and uncreated grace and the reformed view. Christ’s righteousness is not created and in turretin and calvin’s words his righteousness was infinite and not added to in his earthly life so his acts of obedience could not add to his righteousness and so cannot be created.

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  3. Calvin basically equates merit with righteousness.
    Calvin, Inst. 2.17.3

    “3. That Christ, by his obedience, truly purchased and merited grace for us with the Father, is accurately inferred from several passages of Scripture. I take it for granted, that if Christ satisfied for our sins, if he paid the penalty due by us, if he appeased God by his obedience; in fine, if he suffered the just for the unjust, salvation was obtained for us by his righteousness; which is just equivalent to meriting. Now, Paul’s testimony is, that we were reconciled, and received reconciliation through his death (Rom. 5:11). But there is no room for reconciliation unless where offence”

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  4. Wes never dealt with the pelagian issue and he never dealt with the created or uncreated issues which tells me he has not studied as much on the issue as he thinks.

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  5. I agree with Aaron that Adam was created righteous, and not morally neutral. I don’t think Wes denied this. I also agree with Wes that Adam was required to maintain this righteousness by his works. I disagree with Aaron (and the FV) that prelapsarian Adam lived by faith alone.

    “Calvin basically equates merit with righteousness.”
    No, he equates ‘obtaining’ with ‘meriting.

    Pastor White’s whole point is that there was a Covenant of Works made with Adam, contra the Federal Vision which wants to erase it and say that Adam’s covenant was just another Grace-through-Faith-Alone covenant, effectively destroying the law-gospel distinction. Now, on this issue (the one Wes is writing about) do you agree with Wes & the Westminster Standards, or Aaron and the Federal Vision?

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  6. Wes said,
    “Man would have had to live righteously in order to be righteous”

    You said,
    “I also agree with Wes that Adam was required to maintain this righteousness by his works”

    I agree with you but what Wes is saying and others have said sounds more like a gaining than a maintaining. Hodges uses the word “secured”, as Adam’s works secured that righteous states. In that I agree with you and Hodge but Wes sounds like there was some created righteousness gained by Adam by his works.

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  7. ““Calvin basically equates merit with righteousness.”
    No, he equates ‘obtaining’ with ‘meriting.”

    Ok I see that. My concern is that we not assert that Jesus was more righteous at age 33 than at age 1. It seems the clearest to me that the uncreated and eternal righteousness of the Logos was worked out in a human nature through his perfect obedience. He did not earn more righteousness points to his person

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  8. “Pastor White’s whole point is that there was a Covenant of Works made with Adam, contra the Federal Vision which wants to erase it and say that Adam’s covenant was just another Grace-through-Faith-Alone covenant, effectively destroying the law-gospel distinction. Now, on this issue (the one Wes is writing about) do you agree with Wes & the Westminster Standards, or Aaron and the Federal Vision?”I have had a conversation with Bill Smith the FV guru here in Louisville on this issue and I must say that the FV guys

    are aware of some issues that Eastern Orthodox people bring up and issues that I also am aware of through reading Eastern authors that many Reformed authors do not speak on and need to speak on to clarify. It is a fubdamental argument used by the east that the Reformed COG is pelagian. Pelagius posited a COW where Adam worked to attain righteousness and it was fundamental to his system. Adam was not born righteous he had to attain it through works. So his grace or righteousness was created. That is the Pelagian system.

    So, I believe that Adam was in a works covenant where he had to work to MAINTAIN or SECURE, not to gain righteousness. And at the end of this probationary period he would have been eternally secured in his ORIGINAL RIGHTEOUS STATE. There was some grace in this covenant in that as Rutherford says, for his penny of obedianece God promised eternal life and everlasting righteousness. But the justification he would have received required works. It was not a grace through faith alone covenant.

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  9. So what Adam is working to attain is a justification and security in his original righteousness not more righteousness to add to his original righteousness.

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  10. No. I don’t spend much time with Wes. He doesn’t explain his views as they are couched in a complete theory and will not deal with the metaphysics of his theology. I simply do not have time for that.

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  11. Just like I don’t have the time to nitpick a good article on the Federal Vision’s differences from the WCF, looking for something that’s not even mentioned with someone who has not even confirmed his suspicions with the original author.

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  12. The article concerned the defintion of merit. Question, is it created or uncreated? Ok Pat I will post my question on Wes’ blog, watch it ignored or deleted and then I will report back to you.

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  13. Ok, So Wes admitted that the righteousness that the elect participate in is not the righteousness of God but a created righteousness. This completely contradicts 2 Cor 5:21. He wants to make my arguments into some twilight zone that he cannot understand as if they were some unconnected ideas that I thought up on top of my head. I simply read Palamas and Florovsky who are Eastern Theologians and said what they said. He is simply confirming the ignorance that I told you about.

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  14. The issue is, those were not my ideas. They were the critiques of Western Christianity that have been laid down by Eastern Theologians such as Palamas, Florovsky, and Lossky. Wes wants you to believe that half of the history of Christianity has been wrong about everything. He is so confident that they are wrong HE DOESN’T EVEN READ WHAT THEY SAY! Interesting. He does not care to understand what is being said all he cares about is his beuracracy.

    Actually a number of people care and understand what I am saying. I could refer you to many of them. The issue is, they usually convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. My Scripturalism has shielded me from such a fatal mistake.

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  15. Isn’t righteousness a verdict from God anyway? God is essentially righteous because He is God. Man is righteous by God judging him and imputing that verdict upon him. For post-fall man to be judged righteous, a Man had to live a righteous life as Federal Head of the elect. Which is why the Incarnation was necessary. Thus Christ lived a righteous life. This wasn’t some created-righteousness buildup like a charge of electricity or filling up of a tank, but it was a meriting of a judgment of “This Man is righteous in My sight” from God. This verdict was imputed to the elect, while the verdict of “guilty” was imputed to Him who knew no sin.

    I don’t really see how this is that difficult. You write about righteousness like it’s a tangible thing that is created and grows inside someone.

    I’m sure you’ve got it all worked out in your mind, because I know you wouldn’t overlook a detail like this, but considering your view, I can’t see a reason necessitating the Incarnation.

    Regarding 2 Cor 5:21, is your rigid interpretation really the only possible one you see? Our righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, and Christ is the God-Man, ergo Righteousness of God. Otherwise why didn’t God just create a perfect man to be our substitute? Perhaps Paul’s meaning was not quite as specifically targeted as you are taking it.

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  16. I actually got my view from Tim Phillips here in Louisville, Ky at Midlane Park Pres. I mentioned to him that the merit system seems silly to me. One day Jesus does some good works and scores a few merit points he didn’t have the day before. Years pass and now at the age of 30 he is the all time high scorer of merit. At the age 33 1/2 he performs perfectly in the ultimate merit Bonus Round of the atonement.

    Pastor Phillps agreed with me and said he saw it as the eternal righteousness of the Logos “worked out” in a human nature. So what is gained in the incarnation is more experiences not more righteousness. So Christ’s life is what it looks like when the uncreated righteousness of God is performed in a human nature.

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  17. To be our mediator Christ had to be tempted in all points in a human nature to be our just substitute. Christ was under the law for us, no doubt but to say that he earned new righteousness through this seems silly. Does he then have 2 righteousnesses? Righteousness is an attribute of God. This cannot be some created righteousness. 2 Cor 5:21 clearly says, δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ.

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  18. The reason the merit system as you described it (racking up points) sounds silly to you is because it *is* silly. I don’t think you’re understanding what it meant for Christ (or Adam) to merit something. I’ll quote myself,

    “Thus Christ lived a righteous life. This wasn’t some created-righteousness buildup like a charge of electricity or filling up of a tank [like the way you’re describing the “merit system”], but it was a meriting -a deserving, an earning – of a judgment of “This Man is righteous in My sight” from God.”

    For someone who continually complains that people ignore his arguments, you didn’t even touch my point about righteousness being a judgment of God.

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  19. I just said that righteousness is an attribute of God, though i did not explicitly say it is not a judgment, that is what i meant. I am not an expert on the justfication issue but I was under the impression that the judgment-forensic aspect was called justification not righteousness.

    So what you just quoted seems fine to me. Where do you see in there any warrant to speak of a different righteousness than the righteousness of God.

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  20. This has probably been brought up elsewhere, but the late Meredith Kline wrote ‘Covenant Theology Under Attack,’ attacking N. Shepherd, D. Fuller and J. Murray for their affirmation of pre-fall grace for Adam. (The OPC’s mag ‘New Horizons’ omitted the reference(s) to Murray & Shepherd.)

    Kline prophectically sounded the alarm and connected the dots from Murray to Fuller & to Shepherd, and today we have the descendents of the former in J. Piper, the latter in the Visionary Federalista.

    ‘Murray did at least affirm the possibility of meritorious human work, with obedience receiving a just reward, but he limited this to a situation where the reward would perfectly balance the value of the work. (For Murray that meant an obedient Adam must remain in his original state without advancement.) This qualification restricted the possibility to a theoretical moment at the beginning before the covenant was superimposed on this primal state of nature, since on Murray’s (mistaken) definition of covenant, “grace” came with covenant, and that spelled the end of any momentary hypothetical administration of simple justice.

    ‘The door left ajar by Murray was thrown wide open to Fuller’s theology by Murray’s successor. Norman Shepherd rightly rejected Murray’s notion of a state of nature. (Such a pre-covenant situation never existed; the world was created a covenantal order from the outset.) However, this meant that for Shepherd, who adopted Murray’s equation of covenant and “grace,” there was no place at all left for a covenant of works or meritorious human obedience or simple justice. Though the ensuing controversy over Shepherd’s views led to his departure, his teaching was not officially renounced by ecclesiastical or seminary arms of our movement, and key elements of the Fuller-Shepherd theology continue to be advocated among us.’

    The original (w/ link to OPC version): http://www.fpcjackson.org/resources/apologetics/covenant%20theology%20&%20justification/kline.htm

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  21. Luther had it (mostly) right:

    ‘Two Kinds of Righteousness’ By Martin Luther
    http://www.mcm.edu/~eppleyd/luther.html

    Brethren, “have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of god, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” [Phil. 2:5-6]

    [1] There are two kinds of Christian righteousness, just as man’s sin is of two kinds. The first is alien righteousness, that is the righteousness of another, instilled from without. This is the righteousness of Christ by which he justifies though faith, as it is written in I Cor. 1:30: “whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

    …This righteousness, then, is given to men in baptism {{Oops~ maybe Meyers has more in common w/ Luther than he thinks!}} and whenever they are truly repentant. Therefore a man can with confidence boast in Christ and say: “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, his suffering and dying, mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, suffered, and died as he did.”…

    [2] This inexpressible grace and blessing was long ago promised to Abraham in Gen. 12:3; “And in thy seed (that is in Christ) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” “To us,” it says, because he is entirely ours with all his benefits if we believe in him, as we read in Rom. 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” Therefore everything which Christ has is ours, graciously bestowed on us unworthy men out of God’s sheer mercy, although we have rather deserved wrath and condemnation, and hell also…

    [3] Through faith in Christ, therefore, Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has becomes ours; rather, he himself becomes ours. Therefore the Apostle calls it “the righteousness of God” in Rom. 1:17… This is an infinite righteousness, and one that swallows up all sins in a moment, for it is impossible that sin should exist in Christ. On the contrary, he who trusts in Christ exists in Christ; he is one with Christ, having the same righteousness as he. It is therefore impossible that sin should remain in him. This righteousness is primary; it is the basis, the cause, the source of all our own actual righteousness. For this is the righteousness given in place of the original righteousness lost in Adam. It accomplishes the same as that original righteousness would have accomplished; rather, it accomplishes more.

    [4] It is in this sense that we are to understand the prayer in Psalm 30: “in thee, O Lord, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me!” It does not say “in my” but “in thy righteousness,” that is, in the righteousness of Christ my God which becomes ours through faith and by the grace and mercy of god. …The Apostle therefore dares to say in Gal. 2:20, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”…

    [5] Therefore this alien righteousness, instilled in us without our works by grace alone—while the Father, to be sure, inwardly draws us to Christ—is set opposite original sin, likewise alien, which we acquire without our works by birth alone. Christ daily drives out the old Adam more and more in accordance with the extent to which faith and knowledge of Christ grow. For alien righteousness is not instilled all at once, but it begins, makes progress, and is finally perfected at the end through death.

    [6] The second kind of righteousness is our proper righteousness, not because we alone work it, but because we work with that first and alien righteousness. This is that manner of life spent profitably in good works, in the first place, in slaying the flesh and crucifying the desires with respect to the self, of which we read in Gal. 5:24, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” In the second place, this righteousness consists in love to one’s neighbor, and in the third place, in meekness and fear towards God…

    [7] This righteousness is the product of the righteousness of the first type, actually its fruit and consequence, for we read in Gal. 5:22, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” For because the works mentioned are works of men, it is obvious that in this passage a spiritual man is called “spirit.” …

    ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

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  22. Ok Hugh that was not to the point of what Pat and I were talkign about. I completely understand that there is a righteousness of God in justifications imputed to me, an alien righteousness and another righteousness in sanctification that I perform that is the effect of the alien righteousness. Not the point. i want to see tqo kinds of God’s righteousness. Pat, Shaw, and Wes White seem to want to say that there is a righteousness of GOD repeat GOD that is essential amnd another that is performed by Christ in a human nature. I am guessing that you are going to say that the righteousness that we perform in sanctification is analogous to the righteousness that Christ performed in human nature, but the point of impalement that I don’t see you escaping is that this passage 2 Cor 5:21 and 2 Peter 1:3-5 teach clearly participation in an uncreated reality. I completely understand your quotation from the confession on Wes’ blog that we were created in righteousness and I don’t see the problem calling that a created rightousness. If Adam had fulfilled the COW he would have been justified in a created righteousness, but methinks this is where the whole final cause of Christianity explodes in full luminescence. God permitted evil so that we could be raised to a higher reality. Evil and Sin give the opportunity for humanity to be raised from a possible created righteousness to participation in uncreated light and uncreated righteousness.

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  23. So then on the western scholastic view God decides to subject humanity to unspeakable suffering and pain, and most of humanity to this pain for all of eternity so that he could accomplish nothing more in Christ [created righteousness] than in the COW with Adam [created righteousness]. That is plain stupid and if that is your God I feel sorry for you. I will now accept your resignation from Scholasticism.

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  24. Look i believe in Reformed Soteriology, i.e. the doctrines of grace. I have read every argument possible against it and it is so evident from scripture by God’s grace I will never deny it. However, you guys seriously need to step back in the history of the world and really ask yourself: has half of Christianity,i.e. the eatsern church really been wrong on every category of theology, triadology, christology, soteriology, sanctification, etc.? Do you seriously think that the Reformers thought of everything while the eastern theologians were thousands of miles away? Most of the best books written by the Reformers were constructed while answering the objections from the Romansists. The roman theologians acted as a whetstone of sorts. Yet the Reformers had no Eastern theolgians to debate with. Owen is the only reformed theologian I know who even had copies of Palamas’ works and I know of no books he wrote on the issue.

    I consider myself a Cyril Lucarian of sorts, that is someone coming to reformed theology whose fundamental structures have not been wielded in the fires of medieval scholasticism. Methinks that is the key to the unity of Christianity Eph 4:13.

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  25. Pingback: For Anyone Following the Wes White Thing « Uncreated Light

  26. Read AA Hodge’s section on the Atonement in his Outlines of Theology and his criticisms of the Greek view of the Atonement, then read Gustaf Aulen’s book on the Atonement, Christus Victor and ask yourself, did Hodge have a clue what he was talking about? Methinks he didn’t. The West has not dealt with the East competently and the Refomred groups in particular are not prepared for these conversations, and it shows.

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  27. Drake, I don’t WANT to read Hodge (his systemaitc is buried somewhere in the garage, anyway).

    Next, I am not much interested in whomever Aulen was, nor his putatively victorious Christ.

    The East cannot get justification straight, an issue you admit to being less-than-well-versed in. (“I am not an expert on the justfication issue…”)

    It’s actually kind of important (I’m sure you’ve heard of the Reformation). And since you delight in going around Reformed blogs bashing us for being at best uneducated or heretical at worst, you might want to get a bit more up to speed on it.

    Luther called it the church’s stand-or-fall issue, and Calvin, religion’s principal hinge; both gave it considerable weight.

    The East miserably & completely blows it here, opting instead to tout its grotesquely alluring syncretistic theosis. They fail, repeat FAIL on soteriology, justification, sanctification (definitive and progressive), and on Christology (his work is equally important as his person).

    These are fatal flaws. Their occasional good stuff is far outweighed by their consistent skubula. I read them occasionally for historical perspective, not to be edified in God’s truth, the Bible alone. Oh yeah, their tradition-olatry is another example of their serious & deadly confused perversion of Christianity.

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  28. Drake again,
    “I don’t see you escaping is that this passage 2 Cor 5:21 and 2 Peter 1:3-5 teach clearly participation in an uncreated reality. I completely understand your quotation from the confession on Wes’ blog that we were created in righteousness and I don’t see the problem calling that a created rightousness.”
    >>OK, fine.

    “If Adam had fulfilled the COW…”
    >>But of course, being supralapsarians, we needn’t needlessly conjecture about the impossible!

    “…he would have been justified in a created righteousness, but methinks this is where the whole final cause of Christianity explodes in full luminescence. God permitted evil so that we could be raised to a higher reality. Evil and Sin give the opportunity for humanity to be raised from a possible created righteousness to participation in uncreated light and uncreated righteousness.”
    >>Yikes!
    (1) OUR “luminescence”?!
    (2) “could be”?! “opportunity”?! Nay, ’tain’t no such things for us supras.
    (3) You’re sounding dangerously theotically-minded here! Beware of your Orthodox wirters!

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  29. Lastly, Mr Shelton,

    So then on the western scholastic view
    >>Don’t know; I never joined; see below.

    God decides to subject humanity to unspeakable suffering and pain,
    >>YES, Jesus & his apostle John say so.

    and most of humanity to this pain for all of eternity
    >>YES, strait & narrow is the path to eternal life, and FEW there be that find it (him).

    so that he could accomplish nothing more in Christ [created righteousness] than in the COW with Adam [created righteousness].
    >>”Could”? NO, chose not to. Beware of pretending that Adam could have stayed unfallen. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. That may seem trivial to you, but it isn’t.

    That is plain stupid and if that is your God I feel sorry for you. I will now accept your resignation from Scholasticism.
    >>I never sent in my application, anyawy, so it’s all good. 😉

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  30. Hugh “Next, I am not much interested in whomever Aulen was, nor his putatively victorious Christ.”

    >>1 Tim 3:15 says that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. I am a Protestant, but when I want to know what the bible says, I first consult the history of the church and its major theologians. Then comparing them with scripture I make a private judgment. Your position and most American “Reformed” people I know sound more Anabaptist or at least bureaucratic.

    Hugh, “It’s actually kind of important (I’m sure you’ve heard of the Reformation). And since you delight in going around Reformed blogs bashing us for being at best uneducated or heretical at worst, you might want to get a bit more up to speed on it.”

    >>Well that is Lutheran and nominally Protestant not Puritanical.

    “If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence among us and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz. a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained.” John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church. pg. 13 (ed. H. Beveridge [Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1844])

    The things of God come before the things of men. The order of importance that I see from scripture is 1. Knowledge 2. God 3. Christ 4. Worship. It has taken me a number of years to figure out what I believe about these things. Maybe you don’t understand that because you do not understand what you believe about these things. Hugh, have you read the debate between Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria? Can you give me a scriptural defense of the idea of divine simplicity that is that God has no real distinctions within himself ad intra? How do you get real distinctions between the Father Son and Spirit if you believe in divine simplicity as it has been constructed in the scholastic west and adopted by the confession in [Chapt 2.1 speaking of parts]? Can you show me scriptural support for a dual procession of the Spirit. John 15 is all you have and it posits only a procession from the Father. If you ever took the time to read the Eastern Church, the same complaints that Dr Clark was mentioning about scholastic philosophy and the Scholastic view God and of the Trinity, [and Van Til was not the first to say that God was one person and three persons, that was Augustine’s view as well. That was Western Tradition that Van Til was following] were the same. It took me a couple years or so to figure that Dr Clark was systematically departing from the Western Scholastic tradition. How do you Hugh, I ask, refuse Van Til’s view of the Trinity without taking the Eastern Cappadocian view of the Monarchy of the Father? I contacted Crampton and Tom J about these things and the responses that I got were completely empty. It was as if they never even read a single paragraph on these issues. I am assuming the same with you. And if that is so you have business spending your time debating an issue like justification that you have no foundation to put it on. It’s like wanting to build a house and starting with the roof. I don’t care what Luther called it. He also said that the book of James was not canonical. It took me a year and a half to figure out what I believed about the hypostatic union and another couple years to figure out what I believed about worship and the regulative principle. I can speak about God without speaking about the salvation of men, but I cannot speak about the salvation of men without knowing what I believe about God.

    There are logical relationships between the two no doubt but everything else in Christianity is built upon the 4 points I have posited.

    Hugh ““If Adam had fulfilled the COW…”
    But of course, being supralapsarians, we needn’t needlessly conjecture about the impossible!”

    >>Well I do not think I am as deterministic as you are. My studies in monothelitism and the impossibility of the divine will of God compelling the human will of Christ [which I am sure is another issue you will refuse to speak on] have calmed me down on any radical view of determinism. I liked the supralapsarian construction of Robert Reymond and I have endorsed it publicly here: http://olivianus.thekingsparlor.com/predestination/lapsarianism-by-drake

    I believe he operated off of Dr Clark’s construction in the Festschreft. If you feel the need to show any differences I have with you, you can refute me on my blog.

    Hugh,
    >>Yikes!
    (1) OUR “luminescence”?!
    (2) “could be”?! “opportunity”?! Nay, ’tain’t no such things for us supras.
    (3) You’re sounding dangerously theotically-minded here! Beware of your Orthodox wirters!

    >>The luminescence comment was simply to say that this issue makes the purpose of God’s creation clear. What are you talking about Hugh?
    Could be opportunity? What? Are you suggesting that Christ could atone for men without taking their nature? That all things are possible regardless of second agency? Is that the way God works? The nominalism of hyper Calvinists comes out their pores. God really doesn’t have a nature does he Hugh? Beware of your nominalism. God’s will is directed by his nature and he has a rational source to his will and actions. Owen in Dissertation on Divine Justice should have settled that for you Hugh.

    Hugh, “so that he could accomplish nothing more in Christ [created righteousness] than in the COW with Adam [created righteousness].
    >>”Could”? NO, chose not to. Beware of pretending that Adam could have stayed unfallen. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. That may seem trivial to you, but it isn’t.”

    >>Here we have another object lesson in how theology proper governs the rest of your subsequent theology. I use the terms necessity and certainty. Necessity concerns something that God must do, i.e. generate the Son, Spirate the Spirit. It is essential to him. And recognize by God we are strictly referring to the Father (Monarch), another object lesson in Triadology. By certainty I am referring to the fact that God’s will is eternal and immutable. So God is free to create, he did not have to, but it is certain that he would. So in this sense it was certain that Adam fall but not necessary. And moreover, it was a permissive decree not efficacious. It was a preterition, not an active compelling of God upon Adam. That’s a big point. You hypercalvinists sound very monothelite on that point. I do not hold to all of Dr. Clark’s solutions to the problem of evil. The Westminster Confession is very Orthodox on its view of the will and clearly posits permissive decrees WCF 6.1. So if you mean by “Beware of pretending that Adam could have stayed unfallen” that the fall was an efficacious decree you are a monothelite and outside the sphere of Christianity. Robert Reymond was very clear in his use of the Preterition so you can save me the Supralapsarian speech.

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  31. DRAKE,

    Hugh “Next, I am not much interested in whomever Aulen was, nor his putatively victorious Christ.”
    >>1 Tim 3:15 says that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. I am a Protestant, but when I want to know what the bible says, I first consult the history of the church and its major theologians. Then comparing them with scripture I make a private judgment. Your position and most American “Reformed” people I know sound more Anabaptist or at least bureaucratic.
    + I first consult Scripture. Call me nutty, but it’s the go-to place for me.

    Hugh, “It’s actually kind of important (I’m sure you’ve heard of the Reformation). And since you delight in going around Reformed blogs bashing us for being at best uneducated or heretical at worst, you might want to get a bit more up to speed on it.”
    >>Well that is Lutheran and nominally Protestant not Puritanical.
    + ‘Kay. I don’t love it when you call me names, but I know you like it. Ignore the doctrine of justification and denigrate sola scriptura to your own peril.

    “If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence among us and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz. a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained.” John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church. pg. 13 (ed. H. Beveridge [Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1844])
    + Neat quote. But, his opinion. Show me from Scripture. Isn’t the worship mode the same as the source of salvation, Christ alone?

    The things of God come before the things of men. The order of importance that I see from scripture is 1. Knowledge 2. God 3. Christ 4. Worship. It has taken me a number of years to figure out what I believe about these things. Maybe you don’t understand that because you do not understand what you believe about these things.
    + Knowledge of what (or better, Whom)? We believe in order to understand.

    Hugh, have you read the debate between Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria?
    + Can’t say that (1) I have, or (2) that it’s on my to-do list, but (3) I’ll trade you my Gregory the Great and St Isaac the Syrian cards for your Palamas Barlaam of Calabria cards.

    Can you give me a scriptural defense of the idea of divine simplicity that is that God has no real distinctions within himself ad intra?
    + I am forgetting how Peter put it. Oh yeah, he DOESN’T say half of your mouthful in I:3:15 ~ “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” He forgot to include the divine simplicity no real distinctions ad intra qua qua qua qua.*

    How do you get real distinctions between the Father Son and Spirit if you believe in divine simplicity as it has been constructed in the scholastic west and adopted by the confession in [Chapt 2.1 speaking of parts]?
    + Haven’t wrestled much with that one lately. Sorry.

    Can you show me scriptural support for a dual procession of the Spirit.
    + No. Should I be able to?

    John 15 is all you have and it posits only a procession from the Father.
    + THAT I’ve read!

    If you ever took the time to read the Eastern Church, the same complaints that Dr Clark was mentioning about scholastic philosophy and the Scholastic view God and of the Trinity, [and Van Til was not the first to say that God was one person and three persons, that was Augustine’s view as well. That was Western Tradition that Van Til was following] were the same. It took me a couple years or so to figure that Dr Clark was systematically departing from the Western Scholastic tradition.
    + Neat.

    How do you Hugh, I ask, refuse Van Til’s view of the Trinity without taking the Eastern Cappadocian view of the Monarchy of the Father?
    + Haven’t lost much sleep over Augie, Cornie, or EC view of the M of the F….

    I contacted Crampton and Tom J about these things and the responses that I got were completely empty.
    + Mine’s funnier!

    It was as if they never even read a single paragraph on these issues. I am assuming the same with you.
    + BINGO! You’e like so clairvoyant!

    And if that is so you have business spending your time debating an issue like justification that you have no foundation to put it on.
    + Scripture says otherwise, crypto-ortho. 2 Tim 3:15-17 and 2 Peter 1:3.

    It’s like wanting to build a house and starting with the roof. I don’t care what Luther called it. He also said that the book of James was not canonical. It took me a year and a half to figure out what I believed about the hypostatic union and another couple years to figure out what I believed about worship and the regulative principle.
    + And I’m supposed to be you TODAY – with all my i’s properly dotted & t’s well-crossed. Shut up, Shelton.**

    I can speak about God without speaking about the salvation of men, but I cannot speak about the salvation of men without knowing what I believe about God.
    + Great.

    There are logical relationships between the two no doubt but everything else in Christianity is built upon the 4 points I have posited.
    Hugh ““If Adam had fulfilled the COW…”
    But of course, being supralapsarians, we needn’t needlessly conjecture about the impossible!”
    >>Well I do not think I am as deterministic as you are. My studies in monothelitism and the impossibility of the divine will of God compelling the human will of Christ [which I am sure is another issue you will refuse to speak on] have calmed me down on any radical view of determinism. I liked the supralapsarian construction of Robert Reymond and I have endorsed it publicly here: http://olivianus.thekingsparlor.com/predestination/lapsarianism-by-drake
    I believe he operated off of Dr Clark’s construction in the Festschreft. If you feel the need to show any differences I have with you, you can refute me on my blog.
    + No, I have neither the interest nor the time.

    >>The luminescence comment was simply to say that this issue makes the purpose of God’s creation clear. What are you talking about Hugh?
    + I thought I smelled crypto-theosis… I prefer 2 Cor 4:6 ~ the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Could be opportunity? What? Are you suggesting that Christ could atone for men without taking their nature?
    + No, I am saying that you sounded like there were other possibilities that what God hath decreed.

    That all things are possible regardless of second agency? Is that the way God works? The nominalism of hyper Calvinists comes out their pores. God really doesn’t have a nature does he Hugh? Beware of your nominalism. God’s will is directed by his nature and he has a rational source to his will and actions.
    + And they all are eternally unchangeable and in sync. Beware of imagining a nature in God that is to your liking, and not Scriptural. Your last sentence doesn’t refute my position. I can agree with it. How can you say that his will and his nature are not one? And no quoting Lossky!

    Owen in Dissertation on Divine Justice should have settled that for you Hugh.
    + He didn’t send me a copy…

    Hugh, “so that he could accomplish nothing more in Christ [created righteousness] than in the COW with Adam [created righteousness].
    >>”Could”? NO, chose not to. Beware of pretending that Adam could have stayed unfallen. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. That may seem trivial to you, but it isn’t.”
    >>Here we have another object lesson in how theology proper governs the rest of your subsequent theology. I use the terms necessity and certainty. Necessity concerns something that God must do, i.e. generate the Son, Spirate the Spirit. It is essential to him. And recognize by God we are strictly referring to the Father (Monarch), another object lesson in Triadology. By certainty I am referring to the fact that God’s will is eternal and immutable.
    + Tracking and agreeing – hey, this is nice!

    So God is free to create, he did not have to, but it is certain that he would. So in this sense it was certain that Adam fall but not necessary. And moreover, it was a permissive decree not efficacious. It was a preterition, not an active compelling of God upon Adam. That’s a big point.
    + And moreover, it’s YOUR opinion. Being God, he could no other than that he hath done. He is necessarily who he is, and necessarily, certainly, whatever, does all his will in heaven and in earth. I reject your theory that didn’t HAVE to create, etc. He is the LORD, and he changes not. Go reread Clark and repent, you pompous windbag. You’re wrong. Your distinction is incipient Arminianism. And absurd. Nothing is certain if it’s not necessary. There are no “permissive” decrees coming from the throne of the God of Scripture (though maybe from the god of the East). Not a preterition, either, though Satan (God’s dog) was the immediate cause. But the LORD is the ultimate and necessary cause, and his decree is as necessary as his character, essence, eternality, you name it.

    You hypercalvinists sound very monothelite on that point.
    + Thank you. (What’s a monothelite? Is that like a troglodyte?)
    + I do wish I had some multi-syllabic pejorative for you, but alas, I am too illiterate!

    I do not hold to all of Dr. Clark’s solutions to the problem of evil.
    + Too bad. You’re wrong.

    The Westminster Confession is very Orthodox on its view of the will and clearly posits permissive decrees WCF 6.1.
    + They had their share of pikers!

    So if you mean by “Beware of pretending that Adam could have stayed unfallen” that the fall was an efficacious decree you are a monothelite and outside the sphere of Christianity.
    + Hee hee, I KNEW you’d smell me out and out me! Well done, Watson! (What’s a monothelite? Is that the opposite of a stalactite?)

    Robert Reymond was very clear in his use of the Preterition so you can save me the Supralapsarian speech.
    + And the trouble typing! THANKS! G’night.

    * Finally found your literary counterpart: Lucky (esp in his big speech) from ‘Waiting For Godot’!
    ** Your arrogant autonomy will be your undoing, per Prov 18:1f. You cannot find a priest or pastor or brother whom you must not bash and smash like a bug b/c he’s not up to your level of expertise, pedantry, and supposed learning. We have so not learned Christ as you display in your writings.

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  32. Hugh

    If you think that your goofy responses, and I grant you are probably a fun guy to drink a beer a beer and smoke a cigar with, are more pious than my audacious arrogance in my over-education, then you go ahead and believe that.

    Hugh + ‘Kay. I don’t love it when you call me names, but I know you like it. Ignore the doctrine of justification and denigrate sola scriptura to your own peril.”

    I am not ignoring the issue. I read most of James Buchanan’s book on the issue a bunch of systematics and I am currently reading Clark’s book on Saving Faith.

    Hugh, + Neat quote. But, his opinion. Show me from Scripture. Isn’t the worship mode the same as the source of salvation, Christ alone?

    This is reformed theology 101 here. The first table of the law concerns theology proper and worship. The second table concerns the things of men. So the first is more important than the second. This is what Jesus summarizes by saying that the first greatest commandment is to love God and then the second is love men.

    Hugh, + Knowledge of what (or better, Whom)? We believe in order to understand.

    I am a Scripturalist. The first step of any religious theory is its theory of knowledge. That is all I meant. Revelation is the only source of knowledge. An uncreated light impressed upon men immediately.
    Hugh“Can you show me scriptural support for a dual procession of the Spirit.

    + No. Should I be able to?

    Yes because the Baptist Confession says that there are two processions in Chapter 2.3. Prove it from the scripture! The original Nicean creed read only one procession and the second procession came with a papal decree that the Western protestants have fallen for hook line and sinker.I was deceived by this for a number of years but in the last 6 months everything has come together for me on what exactly Clark was criticizing about Van Til: The starting point of the Western view of the trinity in toto.

    Your assertion that God had to create is blatant Origenist Heresy, and I am utterly ashamed you asserted it.

    Monothelitism is a heresy that the whole 6th council was organized to refute. That Christ had one will. The council judged 2 wills and I agree. If you do not understand this issue I don’t see how you think yourself an Orthodox Christian. You have basically told me here that you have not even read the 6th ecumenical council.

    You responses here are extremely disappointing and if you are going to continue responding like this I’m done here. If the things that I have introduced you to do not bring up serious concerns for you Hugh then you are not someone I can speak to without getting really upset. If you are concerned about these things then I am willing to speak with you about them. You can send me a private email or we can talk on the phone. If epistemology, the doctrine of God, Triadology, Christology and Worship are not pressing issues for you, I really do not have anything left to say.

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  33. My turn:

    Hugh If you think that your goofy responses, and I grant you are probably a fun guy to drink a beer a beer and smoke a cigar with, are more pious than my audacious arrogance in my over-education, then you go ahead and believe that.
    => I never said my piety amounted to skubula.

    Hugh + ‘Kay. I don’t love it when you call me names, but I know you like it. Ignore the doctrine of justification and denigrate sola scriptura to your own peril.”

    I am not ignoring the issue. I read most of James Buchanan’s book on the issue a bunch of systematics and I am currently reading Clark’s book on Saving Faith.
    => Most encouraging thing I’ve read from you. Please read Luther & Calvin, as well. Just as you have your pet issues, so too did they, and thus we speak.

    Hugh, + Neat quote. But, his opinion. Show me from Scripture. Isn’t the worship mode the same as the source of salvation, Christ alone?
    This is reformed theology 101 here. The first table of the law concerns theology proper and worship. The second table concerns the things of men. So the first is more important than the second. This is what Jesus summarizes by saying that the first greatest commandment is to love God and then the second is love men.
    => OK. You missed my point about Christ and knowledge and worship and salvation. Dead end.

    Hugh, + Knowledge of what (or better, Whom)? We believe in order to understand.
    I am a Scripturalist. The first step of any religious theory is its theory of knowledge. That is all I meant. Revelation is the only source of knowledge. An uncreated light impressed upon men immediately.
    => Sehr gut!

    Hugh“Can you show me scriptural support for a dual procession of the Spirit.
    + No. Should I be able to?
    Yes because the Baptist Confession says that there are two processions in Chapter 2.3.
    => Authorities are important. Who cares what the BC (1689?) says? Or, desert fathers, or Augustine, or Origen (you name -dropper!), or Russia or Greece or Rome or Geneva. NONE of them have authority over us. Neither you nor I are answerable to any of them.

    Prove it from the scripture! The original Nicean creed read only one procession and the second procession came with a papal decree that the Western protestants have fallen for hook line and sinker. I was deceived by this for a number of years but in the last 6 months everything has come together for me on what exactly Clark was criticizing about Van Til: The starting point of the Western view of the trinity in toto.
    => How do you know you were deceived and are not now? Prove from Scripture whether we are to know or care whether the Ghost proceeds from only the Father?

    Your assertion that God had to create is blatant Origenist Heresy, and I am utterly ashamed you asserted it.
    => Read my lips: I… don’t… care… what… you… think… about… me. God had to create and grass had to be green, skies blue, Judas damned, ad infinitum. Nothing could be other than it is. Ooh, that’s good & biblical: Nothing could be other than it is. Straight-up, full-on, no apologies-forthcoming Christian determinism!

    Monothelitism is a heresy that the whole 6th council was organized to refute. That Christ had one will. The council judged 2 wills and I agree. If you do not understand this issue I don’t see how you think yourself an Orthodox Christian. You have basically told me here that you have not even read the 6th ecumenical council.
    => Not unless it was in last week’s TV Guide. Burp.
    => Christ in Gethsemane obviously had a (sinless) human will that he subordinated to the Father’s.

    You responses here are extremely disappointing and if you are going to continue responding like this I’m done here. If the things that I have introduced you to do not bring up serious concerns for you Hugh then you are not someone I can speak to without getting really upset.
    => To you they are important. Who defines important for you? Not Scripture alone, so why do you call yourself a Scripturalist?

    If you are concerned about these things then I am willing to speak with you about them.
    => Most of ’em, no. Never even heard of (much less brought up, much, much less wanted to discuss) “Triadology”!

    You can send me a private email or we can talk on the phone. If epistemology, the doctrine of God, Triadology, Christology and Worship are not pressing issues for you, I really do not have anything left to say.
    => OK. ‘Bye.
    =>Didn’t we do this dance already at God’s Hammer, where you wrote off us benighted Neanderthals as incorrigible?
    Ciao.

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  34. “If you do not understand this issue I don’t see how you think yourself an Orthodox Christian.”

    I never claimed to be an Orthodox Christian, but I am an orthodox Christian.

    You cassock is showing, dear.

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  35. Back to the future:

    Do the Westminster Standards teach Merit? YES
    More importantly, do the Scriptures teach Merit? YES
    What is Merit? WORTHINESS, EARNED CREDIT
    Did Christ merit anything by His work on earth? YES, OUR SALVATION
    Was Adam, in God’s original arrangement with him, justified by works, or through faith? NEITHER, HE FAILED

    Adam and Jesus were in strictly works-righteous/ merit-based convenants with God the Father.
    His elect are in a covenant strictly of free grace!

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  36. James Buchanan in his The Doctrine of Justification says, “righteousness is nothing else than conformity to the Law, while sin is any want of conformity to it.

    If we say as Shaw and Wes have alluded that the righteousness of Christ imputed to the elect is no different than the merit of Christ earned in his human nature in obedience to God’s law, then merit and righteousness are the same thing on their system. If this righteousness had to be earned, then by defintion Jesus was more righteous on his 33rd birthday than on his conception. So there has to be some kind of meritorious progression on their system. But can this seriously be said of the divine Logos? Surely the human nature of Christ grew in wisdom and knowledge and through suffering learned obedience. So then on their view it must be another than the Logos who is progressing and earning. I don’t want to say there are two persons here but it seems so. The orthodox doctrine is to say that the obedience of Christ is the obedience of the divine person of the Logos but that would mean that the divine person increases in righteousness. No way! Owen says in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, pg 115-116

    “To vindicate the truth from this objection, we observe: 1. The obedience of which we treat, was the obedience of Christ the mediator: but the obedience of Christ, as mediator, was the obedience of his person; for ” God redeemed the church with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28. It was performed in the human nature; but it was the person of Christ who performed it. As in the person of a man, some of his acts, as to the IMMEDIATE PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION, are acts of the body, and some are acls of the soul; yet, in their performance, they are the acts of the person: so the acts of Christ, in his mediation, as to their IMMEDIATE OPERATION, were the actings of his distinct natures; some of The divine, some of the human: but as to the PERFECTING EFFICACY of them, they they were the acts of his whole person: his acts, who was that person; and whose power of operation was a property of his person. Wherefore the obedience of Christ was the obedience of the Son of God, ******but the Son of God was never absolutely made under the law, nor could he be formally obliged thereby.******* He was indeed made so in his human nature, wherein he performed this obedience ; he was so far made under the law, as he was made of a woman *; for, in his person, he was Lord of the Sabbath , and therefore of the whole law. But the obedience itself, *****was the obedience of that person, who never was nor could be made under the law in his whole person************: for the divine nature cannot be subject to an outward work, of its own, such as the law is; nor can it have an authoritative power over it, as it must have, if it were under the law.”

    http://books.google.com/books?printsec=frontcover&dq=john+owen+justification+by+faith&ei=wKWzTYzBM9Gi0gG7vdHKDg&ct=result&pg=PA115&id=nOcOAAAAIAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    So taking Buchanan’s defintion of righteousness, there really is no such thing as the Righteousness of God ad intra, that is essential to God as God per se. The righteousness of God as in 2 Cor 5:21 is by its ****immediate operation**** referring to the acts of the human nature in a hypostatic union with the Logos from whom the human nature recieves the perfecting efficay, that is the source and power of operation.

    On page 117 Owen says,

    “3. Setting aside the consideration of the grace and love of Christ, and the compact between the Father and the Son, as to his undertaking for us (which proves that all he did was for us, and not for himself;) ********the human nature of Christ, by virtue of its union with the person of the Son of God, had a right unto, and might immediately have, been admitted into the highest glory whereof it was capable, without any antecedent obedience to the law**************; [THIS RULES OUR ANY NESTORIANISM] for from the first instant of that union, the whole person of Christ, with our nature existing therein, was the object of divine worship from angels and men, wherein consists the highest exaltation of that nature.

    It is true, there was a peculiar glory that he was actually to possess, consequent to his obeying and suffering for us; but as to the right thereto, it was laid in the union of his person.”

    So methinks it is errant and confusing to distinguish between God’s inherent righteousness and the righteousness performed in Christ’s human nature because the word righteousness in the first means something totally different than righteousness in the second. So then I think Owen is right and clear. The righteousness that we partake of is created because the law is created and God per se cannot by defintion be subject to it.

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  37. As to the righteousness of Christ, it is created in reference to its immediate operation but as to its power of efficacy and source of operation it is the righteousness of the divine person of the Logos.

    So the immediate operation is created but the power of efficacy and source of operation is uncreated.

    Can you believe that Hugh and Pat? Can we meet there in the middle?

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  38. While I still don’t get your “created/uncreated” stuff, and I think that you’re still treating righteousness as if it were some sort of substance, I agree with Buchanan and Owen. Does that suffice?

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  39. Well if the law is created and righteousness is obedience to the law then righteousness is created. I still don’t get how Adam could be created originally righteous if he had no previous obedience to the law. I am not denying it I just don’t get it as yet. If the Logos’ obedience to the law was through a human nature then that nature’s operation is created.

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  40. Either Patrick or Drake:

    Per Pat’s ‘I still don’t get your “created/uncreated” stuff,’
    (1) amen, and,
    (2) why are we supposed to care?

    Oh, and being supras, we have little interest in conjectures about Adam earning eternal life or Christ’s human nature having a right to glory ‘by virtue of its union with the person of the Son of God.’ To the latter, sure, but so what?

    Jesus in his humanity gained glory the old fashioned way: He earned it, per Phil. 2:5ff ~

    ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

    ‘And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    ‘Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’

    Luke tells us, ‘the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him’ & ‘Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.’ (2:40, 52).

    Sounds like ch-ch-ch-ch changes… The perfect Jesus only got better.

    And in Hebrews 5:8 ~ ‘Though he were a [divine] Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.’

    And to tie in Adam-the-failure, ‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous’ (Romans 5:19).

    His humanity grew, obeyed, suffered, died, was raised & exalted, learned & earned, etc.

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  41. @Drake: My understanding is that Adam was created upright, in other words, he was deemed righteous because he had not yet broken the law. If we was not a lawbreaker, he must have been righteous. I don’t see any middle ground between righteous and unrighteous.

    @Hugh: Sounds good to me.

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  42. From James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, Part 1 Lecture 6, History of the Doctrine as a subject of Controversy among Protestants.

    “Among the peculiar opinions of individuals, which gave rise to controversy on this subject during the lifetime of the Reformers, the first place is due to that of A. OSIANDER, both because it indicated a tendency to revive the essential principle of the Romish doctrine, and also because it has been recently reproduced by Dr. Newman. It consisted in affirming, that the righteousness by which we are justified is the eternal righteousness of God the Father, which is imparted to us, or infused, through His Son Jesus Christ;—that it is not the meritorious work, or vicarious righteousness, of the Redeemer imputed to us, but an internal principle implanted. This is the radical principle of the doctrine of Trent; and, as such, it was at once denounced and rejected both by Calvin and Melancthon. Appendix 3

    Note 3. P. 155

    Dr. Newman, ‘Lectures on Justification,’ App. p. 436; Bishop Davenant, ‘Disputatio, etc.,’ by Allport, vol. i. pp. 161, 162; Scott’s ‘Continuation of Milner’s History,’ vol. i. 234, 2:116.

    ‘Since Osiander,’ says Calvin, ‘has introduced I know not what monstrous notion of essential righteousness, by which, though he had no intention to destroy Justification by grace, yet he has involved it in such obscurity as darkens pious minds, and deprives them of a weighty sense of the grace of Christ, it will be worth while to refute this idle notion.…Not being content with that righteousness which hath been procured for us by the obedience and sacrificial death of Christ, he imagines that we are substantially righteous in God, by the infusion of His essence as well as His character.…As this principle is like a cuttle—fish, which,
    by the emission of black and turbid blood, conceals its many tails, there is a necessity for a vigorous opposition to it, unless we mean to submit to be openly robbed of that righteousness, which alone affords us any confidence concerning our salvation. For throughout this discussion, the terms righteousness and justify are extended by him to two things: first, he understands that to be just fled denotes not only to be reconciled to God by a free pardon, but also to be made righteous; and that righteousness is not a gratuitous imputation, but a sanctity and integrity inspired by the divine essence which resides in us: secondly, he resolutely denies that Christ is our righteousness, as having, in the character of a Priest, expiated our sins and appeased the Father on our behalf, but in being ” the eternal God and everlasting life.” To prove the assertion that God justifies, not only by pardoning, but also by regenerating, he inquires whether God leaves those whom He justifies in their natural state without any reformation of their manners. The answer is very easy: As Christ cannot be divided, so these two blessings, which we receive together in Him, are also inseparable. Whomsoever, therefore, God receives into His favour, He likewise gives them the Spirit of adoption, by whose power He renews them in His own image. But if the brightness of the sun be inseparable from his heat, shall we therefore say, that the earth is warmed by his light, and illuminated by his heat?’—Institutes, translated by Allen, vol. i. pp. 579-592.

    Melancthon was equally explicit in testifying against Osiander’s doctrine. He conceived that it raised a question which was neither ‘verbal. nor trivial,’ but vital and important,—Are we reckoned righteous ‘from the indwelling of Christ in us, or by His obedience for us?’ and he gives his deliverance upon it. ‘Osiander holds that we are righteous by the Divinity dwelling in us.…We also acknowledge that God dwells in the regenerate, so as to produce not only virtuous emotions, but even the commencement of eternal life, to make us “partakers of a divine nature.” But then there exists a question of another kind,—How may man receive remission of sins and reconciliation with God? How may he have righteousness imputed, or reckoned, unto him? Is this from the indwelling of Christ in us, or by His obedience for us? Osiander in effect says, that we are justified by our renovation to holiness. We, on the other hand, while we admit the necessity of renovation, hold that the renewed man is justified, or accepted of God, for the sake of Christ’s obedience.’ He adds, ‘I regard Osiander’s dogma as no mere logomachy, or strife of words. He differs from our churches on a very essential point; and obscures, or rather destroys, the only consolation provided for distressed consciences, seeing he leads us not to the promise of mercy, through the obedience of the Mediator, but directs us to another object.’—Scott’s Continuation of Milner’s History, vol. 2:p. 116.”

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  43. “by His obedience for us”!!!!!

    Luther biffed it in the quotes I culled above, with his prattle of the instilling of righteousness — it sounds too much like Osiander!

    Gotta hand this one to Drake – thank you for the clarification of J.B., Calvin & Scott!

    Luther’s stumbles (from above):

    “the righteousness of another, instilled from without”
    “This righteousness, then, is given to men in baptism”
    “Therefore this alien righteousness, instilled in us without our works by grace alone”
    “For alien righteousness is not instilled all at once, but it begins, makes progress, and is finally perfected at the end through death”

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  44. “James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, Part 2, LECTURE XII, JUSTIFICATION; ITS IMMEDIATE AND ONLY GROUND, THE IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, Proposition 16

    “But why is it called ‘the righteousness of God?’… Suppose that ‘the righteousness of God’ might mean ‘God’s method of justifying sinners’ when it is said ‘to be manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets,’ can it possibly be understood in that vague sense, when Christ is said to be ‘made of God righteousness to us,’ or when we are said to be ‘made the righteousness of God in Him?’ It means a righteousness by which, and not merely a method in which, we are justified.

    If we would understand the reason why it is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ we must bear in mind that there was a twofold manifestation of righteousness in the Cross of Christ: there was first a manifestation of the righteousness of God the Father, in requiring a satisfaction to His justice,—and inflicting the punishment that was due to sin; and to this the Apostle refers when he says, that ‘God set forth Christ to be a propitiation’—’to declare His righteousness, that He might be just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;’ there was, secondly, a work of righteousness by God the Son,—His vicarious righteousness as the Redeemer of His people, when He ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross,’ and thus became ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ But these two-God’s righteousness which was declared, and Christ’s righteousness which was wrought out, on the Cross—although they may be distinguished, cannot be separated, from one another; for they were indissolubly united in one and the same propitiation; and while the righteousness which is revealed for our Justification may be called ‘the righteousness of God’ with some reference to both, it properly consists in the merit of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and perfect obedience, for these were offered by Him as our substitute and representative.

    The same righteousness which is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ is also called ‘the righteousness of Christ.’ We obtain ‘precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,’ or, as it might be rendered, ‘through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ;’ 6 ‘This is the name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.’ 7 He is so called on account of the righteousness which He wrought out by His obedience unto death; for this righteousness is expressly connected with His Mediatorial work. ‘The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law and make it honourable.’ 8 By His vicarious sufferings and obedience, He fulfilled the Law both in its precept and its penalty; and is now said to be ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,’ 9 while His righteousness is identified with ‘the righteousness of God,’ to which the unbelieving Jews refused to ‘submit themselves,’ and contrasted with ‘their own righteousness’ which they ‘went about to establish,’ ‘as it were by the works of the law.’

    In like manner, this righteousness is called ‘the righteousness of One,’ and ‘the obedience of One;’ 10—expressions which serve at once to connect it with the work of Christ, and to exclude from it the personal obedience of the many who are justified. It is called ‘the free gift unto justification of life,’ and ‘the gift of righteousness,’ 11 to show that it is bestowed gratuitously by divine grace, and not acquired by our own obedience. It is called ‘the righteousness which is of faith,’ or ‘the righteousness which is by faith,’ both to distinguish it from faith itself, and also to contrast it with another righteousness which is not received by faith, but ‘sought for as it were by the works of the law.’ 12 It is called ‘the righteousness of God without the law,‘ 13 to intimate that, while it was ‘witnessed by the law and the prophets,’ 14 and while, as ‘a righteousness,’ it must have some relation to the unchangeable rule of rectitude, it was above and beyond what the law could provide, since it depends, not on personal, but on vicarious obedience. And it is called the righteousness ‘which God imputes without works,’ to show that it is ‘reckoned of grace,’ and not ‘of debt,’—that ‘God justifies the ungodly’ 15 by placing this righteousness to their account,—and that He makes it theirs, because it was wrought out for them by Him, ‘who was delivered for their offences, and rose again for their Justification.’ All these expressions relate to one and the same righteousness—the only righteousness which God has revealed for the Justification of sinners,—they are all applicable to the vicarious righteousness of Christ,—and they serve, by their very diversity, to exhibit it in all its various aspects and relations, and to exclude every other righteousness from the ground of our pardon and acceptance, since there is no other to which all these terms can possibly be applied.”

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  45. The statements that really stick out to me are:

    1, “f we would understand the reason why it is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ we must bear in mind that there was a twofold manifestation of righteousness in the Cross of Christ: there was first a manifestation of the righteousness of God the Father, in requiring a satisfaction to His justice,—and inflicting the punishment that was due to sin” [UNCREATED]

    2. “secondly, a work of righteousness by God the Son,[CREATED]—His vicarious righteousness as the Redeemer of His people, when He ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross,’ and thus became ‘the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ But these two-God’s righteousness which was declared,[UNCREATED] and Christ’s righteousness which was wrought out, on the Cross[CREATED]—********although they may be distinguished, cannot be separated, from one another; for they were indissolubly united in one and the same propitiation;********* and while the righteousness which is revealed for our Justification may be called ‘the righteousness of God’ ********with some reference to both, it properly consists in the merit of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and perfect obedience,******** for these were offered by Him as our substitute and representative”

    So these are clear answers to my questions. These satisfy me and I am a fairly uneasy person to satisfy so if you ever come across an Eastern Orthodox apologist and he is talking about how reformed justification is Pelagian and posits created grace and how this contradicts 2 Cor 5:21 you can take him to the shed.

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  46. Drake, Thanks for those great quotes from Buchanan, Calvin, Melancthon, and Scott. I couldn’t have said it better.

    As for Luther, well, I’m glad he was coming out of Romanism, rather than heading into it.

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  47. Why would an Orthodox apologist give any credence to a 19th Century Scottish Calvinist?

    The latter’s affirmations (e.g., “If we would understand the reason why it is called ‘the righteousness of God,’ we must bear in mind that there was a twofold manifestation of righteousness in the Cross of Christ”), while perhaps wonderful to us, aren’t going to carry much weight with those elevating their “Fathers.”

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but however much we may revel in our guys, their saying it’s so don’t make it so.

    Secondly, the word gives life. I prefer bringing more basic, biblical gospel arguments to the Orthodox. But then, I am dealing for the most part with converted-as-adults laity.

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  48. Hugh

    The point that the EO makes is that the reformed cannot explain 2 cor 5:21. We just showed we can.

    I just finished a rather long debate with some romanists and eastern guys over monergism and monothelitism at called to communion and I quoted Robert shaw for the most part and had little trouble.

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  49. I am not saying reformed is true because Buchanan and shaw say so but when someone asks me to explain an ambiguity in my own system these writers come in handy. It is showing internal coherence and consistency. As a scripturalist I would think you could appreciate that.

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