Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we bessech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's Wrong with the Federal Vision?

The following is an excerpt from an excellent Reformed critique of the Federal Vision error.  There are numerous websites out there that claims that the Federal Vision is difficult to understand.  They muddy the waters by saying not all the FV proponents teach the same things and that it is not the same thing as the New Perspective on Paul, etc.  But none of that is true.  Although there are divergences and varieties of the FV, they are all in disagreement with the Reformed view as taught by the Scriptures and the Reformed confessional standards.   --  Charlie

First, the clear emphasis of the Federal Vision is on covenant—not on Christ. The Federal Vision teaches that we are saved by the covenant, whereas the Reformed faith (in line with the Bible) teaches that we are saved by Christ. The Federal Vision teaches that the covenant itself conveys a relationship of peace and favour with God; the Reformed faith (again, in line with the Bible) teaches that Christ is the only Mediator, the only Redeemer of God’s elect, and that the covenant offers salvation only by faith in Him. Richard D. Phillips observes,

“The most stunning feature of the Federal Vision writings is the way Jesus Christ, in His person and work, recedes into the background. I am astonished that in the great mass of Federal Vision material dealing with God’s covenant and salvation, our Savior is almost completely ignored” (The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros and Cons: Debating the Federal Vision, p. 84).
The Federal Vision
A New Perspective—an Old Heresy
By Rev. T. Aicken

Frank Turek Affirms Free Will and Uses Rationalist Arguments to Prove God's Existence

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture . . .  Westminster Confession of Faith

Frank Turek, the avid "Calvinist" Baptist, is up to his old tricks again. Some people wonder why I think the word "Baptist" and "Reformed" do not go together. This is why.  In the past Frank Turek has been an open supporter of Doug Wilson, the Federal Vision heretic.   In this video, Turek affirms free will, which in the Calvinist theology does not exist.  Even Martin Luther denied libertarian free will because if God knows the future then there are no contingencies in God's mind.  Whatsoever God foreknows is absolutely certain to happen.  Therefore, free will did not exist even before the fall of Adam.  That's because the fall was foreordained and predetermined to happen.

Secondly, Turek does not think Scripture is the source of all knowledge or the foundation for a Christian epistemology.  When the atheist student asks questions to do with the design of God's being or aseity, Turek completely misses the point and goes off into a rationalistic justification of God's existence.  This is normally called the cosmological argument.  It's based on Aristotle's prime mover or uncaused first cause.  One problem with this approach is that David Hume totally devastated the idea that there is an infinite regress of cause and effect that would go back to a first cause.   This is because such a regress is not empirically observable.  This poses a problem for empirical science as well as for the Christian rationalist. 

The problem for the empiricist is that sensation does not produce knowledge.  Without a mind the sensations are impressed on a blank.  Further, the senses can be fooled and the mind can perceive things that are not necessarily true.  Another problem is induction.  Just because we can observe one cause and effect does not mean this is a universal law.  Induction cannot produce universal laws precisely because it would require omniscience to know that there are no exceptions to the law in question.

The problem for Turek, however, is that even if the cosmological argument or the teleological argument could prove the existence of a god, which god would it be?  Without Scripture there can be no knowledge of God.  However, the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments all fail miserably.

Dr. Gordon H. Clark pointed out that all branches of human knowledge begin with indemonstrable axioms that cannot be proven by empirical science.  Even geometry begins with axioms that are then demonstrated to be logically consistent through theorems.   Why then would the atheist or the rationalist object to the Christian axiom of Scripture.  According to Dr. Clark, all knowledge is deduced from Scripture.  Logic is embedded in Scripture and God is Logic (John 1:1, 9). 

Frank Turek's approach is the same approach that could have been taken by any Arminian.  Yet, Turek "professes" to be a Calvinist.  Turek's arguments in this video are not Scriptural nor are they Calvinist or Reformed arguments.  The Scriptures alone are the Word of God and God's Word alone is the basis for all knowledge or a sound and absolute epistemology.  Absolute truth is revealed through Scripture alone.   (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Isaiah 8:20).

Even more disappointing is Turek's approval of the Arminian view that irresistible grace is somehow God's forcing people to believe.  Free will cannot be true because there are no undetermined choices.  God's effectual call does not violate man's will or force man to choose God or reject God.  Yet God causes both election and reprobation.  The Bible teaches this (Proverbs 21:1).

CHAPTER III—Of God’s Eternal Decree

  1.      God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph. 1:11, Rom. 11:33, Heb. 6:17, Rom. 9:15,18) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, (James 1:13,17, 1 John 1:5) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23, Matt. 17:12, Acts 4:27–28, John 19:11, Prov. 16:33)
  2.      Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, (Acts 15:18, 1 Sam. 23:11–12, Matt. 11:21, 23) yet hath He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions. (Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18)
  3.      By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels (1 Tim. 5:21, Matt. 25:41) are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death. (Rom. 9:22–23, Eph. 1:5–6, Prov. 16:4)
  4.      These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. (2 Tim. 2:19, John 13:18)

The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

All knowledge is deduced from Scripture:

6.      The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men. (2 Tim. 3:15–17, Gal. 1:8–9, 2 Thess. 2:2)

The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

 See also Dr. Gordon H. Clark's rebuttal to free will as a solution to the problem of evil:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sean Gerety: The Federal Vision Connection

Sean Gerety openly admits that he had not heard this lecture on the Justification Controversy and the Federal Vision until he was driving down to meet up with fellow libertarians.  [Actually there are five lectures under the section titled, The Justification Controversy.  I think Gerety is referring to the lecture, The Theology of Richard Gaffin and Norman Shepherd.]  Amazing that someone who purportedly knew John Robbins personally has never even heard this lecture before.  Gerety says,

While driving from Portales to Amarillo this past week for meetings, and with a little over two hours to kill, I had forgotten that I had put a John Robbins lecture on my Sansa Clip (the anti-iPod) dealing with the justification controversy.  This particular lecture, and one I hadn’t heard before, zeroes in on the aberrant and deadly theologies of Richard Gaffin and Norman Shepherd.   The Federal Vision Connection.

I have heard all of Dr. Clark's lectures and the audio book, What Presbyterians Believe, multiple times.  I have also been listening to Dr. John Robbins' lectures over and over for several years.  That's because, like Robbins, I want to understand difficult discussions and lectures.   I have found that what I might miss in one hearing I might learn something new or less focused upon in a second hearing.

I can tell you that in reading both Clark and Robbins neither would have endorsed Sean Gerety's compromise with libertarian political philosophy that advocates a divorce between the Bible and political philosophy.  All knowledge is to be deduced from Scripture and any political philosophy deduced from Scripture that results in the legislation of laws that are essentially in agreement with anarchy and antinomianism is not biblically deduced.  It is a contradiction.  Anyone reading Dr. Clark's book, What Is the Christian Life?  can immediately see that Clark would not approve of immorality.  Further, Clark's books on ethics nowhere endorse homosexual marriage, pornography or fornication.  Gerety has apparently gone off the deep end and does not know Robbins' or Clark's theology or presuppositionalism as well as he has pretended to know.  (See: Sean Gerety and Co-belligerency with Van Tilians, Libertarians, Secular Humanists and Atheists . See also:  Scripturalism, Libertarianism, Relativism and Sean Gerety).

That being said, I agree with what Gerety has said in regards to the Federal Vision controversy in the article linked above.  The fact of the matter is that the Presbyterian Church in America and most of the Reformed seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary (various campuses), Westminster Seminaries (PA and CA), Mid-America Reformed Seminary, and other so-called conservative Reformed denominations and seminaries/colleges, have bascially sold out the fundamentals for a neo-orthodoxy that has no propositional revelation left.

This morning I heard Dr. Don Sweeting, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida give a sermon surveying the Bible in 45 minutes.  Dr. Sweeting affirmed the Bible as meta-narrative and never once mentioned propositional or logical revelation, plenary verbal inspiration, or biblical inerrancy.  It was truly disappointing.  Further, Dr. Sweeting talked about the fall of Adam and the curse of sin as if they just happened out of the blue and had nothing to do with God's decrees.  The text read for the sermon was Ephesians 1:3-12.  That's a great passage but not once did Dr. Sweeting even mention the doctrine of predestination.  Any deist or Arminian could have preached the sermon I heard today at River Oaks Presbyterian Church, Lake Mary, Florida.

The problem is that biblical illiteracy is everywhere.  The post modernist de-emphasis on logic and rationality is part of the problem.  But Sean Gerety and Don Sweeting are just as bad because neither of them are consistent with the system of theology revealed in propositional form in the Holy Scriptures.  That is just my opinion.  But if Dr. Gordon H. Clark were around today, I think he would agree.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Gordon H. Clark: Quote of the Day

Without any diminution of the conclusive force of this consideration, there are other Scriptural themes that completely refute behaviorism. First, in Genesis, God fashioned a physical body, that could not think, then he breathed his spirit into the clay, and the combination made a living man. But before receiving the spirit, the physical brain could not think. --  Dr. Gordon H. Clark

This is an article in the Trinity Review but it is an excerpt from Dr. Clark's book, Behaviorism and Christianity.

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