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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 beseech 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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Union with Christ - ReformedForum.org

Lane Tipton sneaks in renovation through the back door. He says that "union with Christ" is "primary", implying that it is both logically and temporally first in the Reformed ordo salutis.


Oddly enough Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin said that election is first in the ordo salutis. That is, election is unconditionally given! Therefore, salvation itself is rooted in God's sovereignty, mercy, and justification as a declared righteousness. Salvation is not dependent on union with Christ as a union of sanctification and renovation with justification. Justification by faith alone points to what is outside of the believer, namely the cross of Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:14-16 clearly says that our basis for assurance is the cross.

I would also point out that Tipton conflates several traditions in the Lutheran tradition and overgeneralizes all Lutherans as sneaking in renovation through the back door. The Wisconsin Synod resists the false pietism of Spener and the semi-Armininianism of Melanchthon. (See The Pietism of the New Evangelicals: A Confusion of
Justification and Sanctification
Ironically, Tipton himself is sneaking transformation in the back door. Instead of basing our salvation on justification as an imputed righteousness Tipton links salvation to Christ as a "person" as the "cause of our justification". Unfortunately, this is mysticism and not the propositional truths of the Bible! Who is Christ? What did Christ teach? One cannot accept the person of Christ while at the same time rejecting the body of teachings/doctrines which Christ taught in Scripture. And by way of inference that would include the doctrines of the Pauline epistles, which are revealed to the Apostle Paul by Christ himself. So Tipton's clever sidestep is itself an emphasis on transformation/renovation rather than on the objective fact of God's election, the cross of Christ, and the resurrection. Either salvation is a gift of God or it is merited by our transformation and renovation. There can be no mixture of these contradictory positions. Tipton's theology of paradox has him confused and self-contradictory. Progress in sanctification is the basis of our justification? Say it ain't so! To confuse temporal categories with logical necessity is unconscionable.

To make justification and sanctification simultaneous temporally does not trump the fact that logically our justification is now and forever a forensic declaration. To make justification and sanctification "inseparable" in a temporal sense negates the logical necessity of justification as absolutely forensic and not transformative. While sanctification does follow justification, sanctification does not contribute to justification whatsoever! That's clear in Articles XI and XII of the Thirty-nine Articles:

Article XI
Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.




Article XII
Of Good Works

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.


Tipton's assertion that Lutherans are semi-pelagian is a broad brush that cannot be substantiated for "all" Lutherans. And ironically, Tipton's own premise that the "simultaneous" temporal linking of justification with sanctification at regeneration and conversion is semi-pelagian. Definitive sanctification is declared, not progressive! Thus, definitive sanctification is an aspect of forensic justification. We are set apart to Christ by the cross and baptism! But progressive sanctification is transformative and for that reason alone can never be a basis for our union with Christ. Our union with Christ is based on faith alone! Believing is all that is necessary for salvation! Any other contention is in essence semi-pelagianism and conditional election! (Romans 10:9-11). See also: R C Sproul on Saving Faith, by John Robbins.

Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey are hopelessly confused here.  On the one hand they say we are justified by faith alone and salvation does not depend on renovation.  They then say that our ground for salvation is based on union with Christ and that salvation is based on BOTH justification AND sanctification.  This is nothing short of the Roman Catholic position that justification is infused.  Tipton also says that Arminians and Remonstrandts are saved and that the Reformed have never said other wise.  "Remonstrandt Arminians go to heaven....  Wesleyan Arminians go to heaven."  One can never say this and uphold the Gospel.  "You cannot say that if you get justification wrong you cannot do so without divesting Arminians of salvation," Tipton says.  So for Tipton the Gospel is NOT necessary for salvation.  Tipton does not want to choose between the Gospel and neo-nomianism.   He wants both to be true--which it goes without saying IS IMPOSSIBLE!

Tipton's contention that Mike Horton's view is more Lutheran than Calvinist provoked a huge belly laugh on my part.  Tipton truly is amusing.


To hear the discussion at Reformed Forum click here: Union with Christ - ReformedForum.org


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