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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, May 19, 2013

Gordon H. Clark: What Is the Christian Life? Sanctification and Perseverance



Perseverance does not mean uninterrupted progress at the same or an ever increasing rate. In ordinary affairs we speak of a man persevering who falls, blunders, receives set-backs, but who recovers and struggles on. This is why Calvinists use and prefer the term perseverance rather than the Arminian deceptive phrase “eternal security.” The latter in itself gives no hint of struggle; the former does.  -- Gordon H. Clark





The following is a comment I sent by e-mail to an online friend.  I highly recommend Gordon H. Clark's book, What Is the Christian Life?  In this book he discusses the reasons why there is a tendency for giving people false assurance based on walking an aisle or making a one time "decision."  He also discusses the eternal insecurity of the Arminian view, which really can give no assurance.  Clark also devastates the idea proposed by the late Louis Berkhof that someone can have a "temporary" faith that lasts a lifetime.  Clark further repudiates Berkhof's view in his book, What Is Saving Faith?

I particularly find Paul Washer's semi-Pentecostal style of preaching offensive to the Gospel, since Washer's chief approach is the Charles Finney, Billy Sunday style of emotionally manipulating crowds, rather than preaching the propositional truths revealed rationally and logically in the plenary-verbally inspired holy writings we call the Scriptures.  (See:  Paul Washer on YouTube).  The Lordship view of saving faith is essentially another way of undermining the doctrines of assurance and perseverance as they are outlined in Scripture and in the Westminster Confession.  (See:  Chapter XVII, Of the Perseverance of the Saints, and Chapter XVIII, Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation).

Here is the e-mail I sent to my friend:

I recommend that you read the e-book, What Is the Christian Life, by Gordon H. Clark.  I got my copy for $5.00.  Clark is not an advocate of "easy believism."  That's the idea that Baptists have about their view of eternal security where a person walks the aisle and shakes the minister's hand and makes a decision.  That one "work" makes that person eternally secure no matter what else they do?  I don't think so.  But on the other hand, Paul Washer and the Lordship people are really teaching eternal insecurity like the Arminians.  How do you know if you know enough of the Bible or obey the moral law enough to be saved?  That is the issue.  Clark definitely teaches that our assurance is grounded in justification by faith alone.  He does, however, advocate obedience as "contributing" to our assurance since that appears to be what 1 John is about.

Here's his view of the doctrine of perseverance:

Perseverance does not mean uninterrupted progress at the same or an ever increasing rate. In ordinary affairs we speak of a man persevering who falls, blunders, receives set-backs, but who recovers and struggles on. This is why Calvinists use and prefer the term perseverance rather than the Arminian deceptive phrase “eternal security.” The latter in itself gives no hint of struggle; the former does.

If the Old Testament is so clear on this matter, it is really not necessary to quote the New Testament also. But as such an omission would surely be misunderstood by the Arminians, and since in any case we wish to know what the New Testament says, here are some verses.

John 10:28, 29: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

It must be a most elementary student and immature Christian who is unfamiliar with John 10:28-29. And it must be a most confused mentality that cannot understand it correctly. “They shall never perish.” Could anything be easier or plainer? Who are the “they”? They are Christ’s sheep; Christ knows them all by name; he gives them eternal life, a life that is everlasting. Clearly a life that lasts only a year or two is not eternal. “They shall never perish” is written with a double negative, and double negatives in Greek do not make an affirmative, but an emphatic negative. As if that were not enough Christ adds, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Relative to this phrase I either read or heard an Arminian say that although no man can pluck a Christian out of God’s hand, the word man means “no other man;” but the man himself can pluck himself out of God’s hand. I have no documentation for this, and it may not be typical of all Wesleyans. But at any rate, the word in the New Testament is tis, anyone, including the man himself as well as Satan. Then to pile emphasis upon emphasis Jesus continues, “My Father is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

To escape such utterly unambiguous verses the Arminians are forced to invent utterly ridiculous misinterpretations, for otherwise they would have to repudiate their beloved free will and become Calvinists – a disaster not to be contemplated.

Gordon H. Clark (2013-03-04T05:00:00+00:00). What Is The Christian Life? (Kindle Locations 818-838). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition.

Paul Washer is closer to Arminianism and Pentecostalism than anything else.  Gordon H. Clark utterly rejected emotionalism as a way to persuade people to be saved.  Emotions have no logical or propositional content.  Without knowledge of the information recorded in the Bible there is no possibility of salvation.  Working the crowd into a lather means absolutely nothing.   The Bible makes it clear:

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (Acts 16:29-34 KJV)

Clark's book,   What Is the Christian Life? (E-Book), is well worth the $5.00 investment.  Believe me.  I'm posting an edited version of this on the blog, too. 

Sincerely in Christ,

Charlie




Addendum:  The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion also teach the doctrines of unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, and assurance of salvation in Article XVII:



Article XVII


Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.


Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.


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