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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

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gordon H. Clark: Do We Know Enough or Obey Enough?



A similar difficulty arises here. If we wish to distinguish a valid assurance from a false assurance, how can we know that we have a sufficient theological knowledge and a sufficient degree of obedience to have met the requirements? Do we love deeply enough?  -- Gordon H. Clark


At last an honest theologian!   While Gordon H. Clark does believe that we must do something to participate in sanctification, he also acknowledges that it is God who causes us to do whatever we do.  He does distinguish between regeneration and sanctification because there is no participation at all in regeneration since regeneration precedes anything we do.  Clark criticizes J. C. Ryle for not realizing that in modern times lots of nominal Christians have a false assurance of salvation.  Most everyone today claims to be saved while never darkening the door of a church or reading Scripture or praying.  Temporary faith or apostasy is another problem.  But there is also a problem with the Lordship Salvation view.  And it is one which I have noticed myself:
Perhaps someone will say that it is wrong to seek for a method of achieving assurance. It is a gift of God, we cannot earn it; there is nothing for us to do except to hope that God favors us. Well, it is true that assurance, like faith, is a gift of God, but though regeneration and faith can have no preparation on our part, assurance or at least sanctification requires certain actions by us. Perhaps method is not the proper term, but John tells us that “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” The usual exegesis of “these things” that John wrote is that faith, love, and obedience, while they do not automatically produce assurance, are nonetheless requirements for being a candidate, so to speak, to receive it. Actually love is one form of obedience, since it is commanded, and hence belief and overt obedience are the two prerequisites.

There is, however, a difficulty. It is the same one Luther struggled with before he discovered the doctrine of justification. In Romanism he was supposed to earn his salvation by good works, penance, flagellation, and various monkish practices. But, being very sincere, he was troubled because he could never be sure that he had done enough. A similar difficulty arises here. If we wish to distinguish a valid assurance from a false assurance, how can we know that we have a sufficient theological knowledge and a sufficient degree of obedience to have met the requirements? Do we love deeply enough? Have we satisfied John’s criteria? Is there any devotional writer who has forthrightly faced this problem? It is hard to believe that none of them has thought of it. If as previously stated, Louis Berkhof’s temporary faith can last a lifetime, how can the true be identified in contrast with the false?

Gordon H. Clark (2013-03-04T05:00:00+00:00). What Is The Christian Life? (Kindle Locations 754-768). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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