>

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, January 30, 2016

Gordon H. Clark: Saving Faith Results in Loving God and Obeying God



By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, . . . and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.  WCF 14:2

Here is the key to the paradoxes, the seeming contradictions, that arise from this chapter:  love or obedience is a good work that is inseparably connected with faith and regeneration.  It is neither the basis nor the means of justification; but a faith or an alleged faith that does not evidence itself in love or good works is not saving faith.  --Dr. Gordon H. Clark


. . . Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.  Article VII, Thirty-nine Articles of Religion  --Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.
 

In several Facebook discussion groups and other places on the internet I have encountered those who claim to follow the Scripturalism of Dr. Gordon H. Clark or that they are Calvinists but who also deny that sanctification is a process that follows after conversion.  But all the parts of Scripture are related to all the other parts and none of the Scriptures can be broken off from the whole of the Bible.  John 10:35.  Some hold that justification by faith means that the Christian is not under the law whatsoever.   But the truth is that Christians are not free from the moral law.  They are free from the penalty of the law and the requirements of the covenant of works as a means of justification.  No one could possibly meet the conditions to fulfull all the moral law as a covenant of works.  This is why justification is an objective and finished work of Christ on the cross as well as an eternal decree.

There are others who try to isolate Dr. Gordon H. Clark's explanation and definition of saving faith as knowledge plus intellectual assent from the rest of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  As I said in an earlier post, this would be a mistake since Dr. Clark viewed propositions as a part of a larger logical system.  Scripture can be summarized in a logical system and that logical system is the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Saving faith is not alone but is instead a part of the entire system of theological and biblical truth summarized in several of the Reformed confessions.

But just to be clear, Dr. Clark also said that love is not an emotion. He viewed love as obedience to the commands of Christ and the moral law of God.  Love cannot tell someone whether to side with the Russians or ISIS.  Love cannot tell someone right from wrong.  The only way to give the word love any meaning is to relate it to the commandments of God.  The following quote from Dr. Clark removes any confusion about justification by faith, what saving faith is, and what love is:

As a preliminary step in specifying the meaning of love, one may cite John 14:15, 21, and John 15:10, 14, where love, if not formally defined as obedience, is so closely connected with it that there seems to be no room for anything else.  1 John 2:3-5 supports this, and 1 John 5:2 says, "By this we know that we love (agapomen) the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments."  It would seem therefore that the visible characteristic of love is obedience, and love itself is a desire to obey.  Is there any reason to suppose that Paul disagreed with John's concept of love?
"And if I have prophecy and know all the secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to change the position of the mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
Again, Paul uses subjunctives in present general conditions, nothing implied:  a person without love, one who habitually refuses to obey the commandments, does not have knowledge and faith.  Surely Paul would not write a chapter to deny justification by faith alone and assert justification by obedience.  Here is the key to the paradoxes, the seeming contradictions, that arise from this chapter:  love or obedience is a good work that is inseparably connected with faith and regeneration.  It is neither the basis nor the means of justification; but a faith or an alleged faith that does not evidence itself in love or good works is not saving faith.   (Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13:1-2).

Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  First Corinthians:  A Contemporary Commentary.  (Jefferson:  Trinity Foundation, 1975).  P. 208

So for all those hyper-Calvinists and antinomians out there who deny that Christians have an obligation to obey God, it would seem that Scripture and the Westminster Confession disagrees.  (Romans 6:1-2).  Saving faith results in a changed life, not a life that habitually and deliberately turns the grace of God into lasciviousness and disobedience.  (Jude 1:3-4; 1 John 3:4-6).  This is not to say that Christians reach sinless perfection.  They do not.  But ironically the antinomians believe they are sinless because they are no longer under the law and it is the law alone that can reveal that Christians and everyone else sins (Romans 3:19-20; 7:7).  Christians are not under the law as a covenant of works.  But they are under the law as their duty to live and love by faith in obedience to Christ and His Gospel.  (Romans 10:16; Isaiah 53:1; John 12:38; Romans 3:3).

Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter 14  Of Saving Faith

2.      By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; (John 4:42, 1 Thess. 2:13, 1 John 5:10, Acts 24:14) and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, (Rom. 16:26) trembling at the threatenings, (Isa. 66:2) and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. (Heb. 11:13, 1 Tim. 4:8) But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. (John 1:12, Acts 16:31, Gal. 2:20, Acts 15:11)

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

Even Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who was the English Reformer who was burned at the stake by Bloody Mary or Mary Tudor, said the following in the revised Articles of Religion:


VII. Of the Old Testament.
THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore there are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.  
Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

20 comments:

Coleen Sharp said...

I've been running into that sort of thing also, people claiming Gordon Clark,but denying sanctification. Even recently ran into someone who loves to quote Clark, but at the same time criticizes the Westminster Standards,especially on sanctification.

Charlie J. Ray said...

There are too many who are focusing on just one doctrine and ignoring the rest of the system. Thanks for your input, Miss Coleen.

Paul G said...

Hi Charlie, the Westminster Confession is not the Word of God, it is just men's interpretation.
A man must be taught of God and not by man (John 6:45 and Isa. 54:13) and must speak the very Word of God (1 Pet. 4:11).

Where in the Bible is everlasting life offered?
To me, everlasting life is a FREE gift of God lest any man may boast, a passage brother Thomas Cranmer must have overlooked.
Paul

Charlie J. Ray said...

The first chapter in the Westminster Confession of Faith defines the doctrine of Scripture. Perhaps you missed that? Secondly, the Puritan divines nowhere said the Westminster Confession is equal to Scripture. It is subordinate to Scripture. And finally, who made you the only one who can properly interpret Scripture?

Scripture is the God breathed Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 4:4. Since Scripture is propositional and logical revelation, it can be summarized in systematic form. All Scripture fits together into a harmonious whole that cannot be broken. John 10:35. There are no contradictions or errors in the Bible.

Charlie J. Ray said...

God does not "offer" anyone salvation. He elects certain men or chooses them in eternity before creation. It's called unconditional election. God does the choosing, not man. Ephesians 1:4-5, 11. Free grace and free will are opposites. Salvation is all of God's choosing, not man's choosing. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Charlie J. Ray said...

As for Thomas Cranmer, you should read the 39 Articles of Religion. Articles 9-18 deal with the doctrines of sovereign grace. Pay particular attention to Article 17.

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 feeling 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.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Also, since no one today is an apostle or prophet, no one today can write or speak the inspired word of God. The Bible alone is the Word of God. But then, you just contradicted yourself by quoting 1 Peter 4:11 improperly. The only oracles of God we have today are the Scriptures. The Westminster Confession is not inspired and neither are you.

Paul G said...

Thanks brother for your comments.
I agree with you on many points, but the problem we have in Christianity is that Catechisms, Creeds and Confessions are treated as equal or even better than the Word of God itself. If there is a debate about certain meanings of the Scriptures, those secondary writings become the final authority.

I certainly agree that all Scriptures is God-breathed, but sometimes not rightly interpreted.
There are no errors in the Word of God but only in the interpretation and I think especially in secondary writings like Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms etc.

I do not claim to be the only one who can properly interpret Scriptures, there are numerous other men of God who properly interpret the Scriptures.
Any man who is taught of God can and does properly interpret the Scriptures, just as I have said in my previous comment.

Your second comment.
I agree with you, apart from the word 'salvation', I was saying 'eternal life'.
You sound like a Calvinist brother :-)
Most people call me a Calvinist, perhaps that is because I fully understand the doctrine of predestination. But I don't call myself a Calvinist for the obvious reasons above.
Calvin's Institutes are also secondary writings and not all of it is true and without error, therefore, why believe and quote those secondary writings? Isn't the Bible good enough? There are 66 books to choose from.

Your third comment.
Yes again, I fully agree with brother Thomas Cranmer on election, I could not have said it better myself, excellent and amen!
All of us who understand and believe the election of God will agree with that statement. The problem only starts when he tries to justify his position with Scriptures and perhaps introduce other doctrines.

For hundreds of years we have debates between the Calvinist and the Arminian brothers and it seems to me that neither is willing to inquire of the Lord Jesus to solve that problem between brothers.

Your fourth comment.
Not true my friend, today ALL of us who are in Christ are prophets, priests and kings unto our God, and all of us ought to speak the very words of God (1 Peter 4:11). If it is not us, then who would speak the oracle of the Lord?
Today it is US! And I'm not ashamed to say that the Lord has also called me to to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, the kingdom of God.
As an ambassador, I think that it is my duty to know everything about the King I am representing and His Kingdom.

Charlie J. Ray said...

You are equivocating, Paul. If the creeds and confessions are not the inspired Word of God, neither is your opinion about what the Bible says. Therefore, you cannot speak the very oracles of God.

The Bible is propositional truth. It is objective and there is only one interpretation of Scripture that is correct. Also, those propositions can be organized into a systematic confession of faith. It is what we believe the Bible says. If there is no consensus about what the Bible objectively says then there can be no meaningful interpretation of Scripture and Scripture can mean anything. The Westminster Confession of Faith and other Reformed Confessions such as the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are useful and accurate summaries of what the Bible says. They are not the Word of God but they are subordinate and authoritative summaries of what the Bible says. The doctrine of the Trinity is non-negotiable biblical doctrine.

Paul G said...

Well brother, it is your duty before the Lord to judge whether I speak by the Spirit of the Lord and the oracles of God (1 Cor. 2:15).

Creeds and confessions are the words of mere men, mostly void of the Spirit of the living God Jesus Christ.
No man who is filled with the Spirit of God would ever preach and teach such a nonsensical doctrine as the trinity. That devilish doctrine is NOT contained in the Scriptures, but it is contained in every catechism, creed and confession.
If they teach such nonsense, what do you think is in the rest of their confessions and creeds?

Are they authoritative? Absolutely NOT! I wish they would read their Bibles properly and abandon those deceptive writings.
Yes there is only one interpretation that is correct, but the question is, which one.

And of course, in Satan's domain the doctrine of the trinity is not negotiable, but according to the Lord Jesus Christ whom I represent the doctrine of the trinity is an abomination.

Look brother, many good men of God have been held in bondage to that devilish doctrine the trinity, but the Lord Jesus Christ has set me free from it and He has equipped me to untie the fetters of that evil doctrine of the trinity.
If you are not completely sure and you still have some unanswered questions concerning the trinity, I would gladly help you along that rocky road.
The doctrine of God is the most important doctrine which is far above all other doctrines. If any man is wrong on that doctrine, he is most likely wrong on all other doctrines.
Therefore it is of great importance for you to re-evaluate the doctrine of God according to the Scriptures and the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Anyone who denies the Trinity is not a Christian. The word Trinity is not in the Bible. But the doctrine is logically deduced from the Bible. Just as we can deduce that the wine in the wine skins was fermenting because the wineskins expanded and burst during the fermentation process, we can also make other logical deductions from the text. And if you claim to speak under the same authority as the apostles and prophets who wrote Scripture, then you're just as lost as Joseph Smith who wrote the book of Mormon with the same false claims. Scripture alone IS the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 8:20.

Charlie J. Ray said...

And let's be clear. You are not a brother in Christ. Titus 3:9-11

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Bible is plain and the reason creeds and confessions are true is because the Bible is perspicuous, plain, and sufficient. There is no need for modern revelations to add to Scripture because Scripture speaks for itself. It is self authenticating and it claims to be the very Word of God. There are many false prophets today and it would appear that you are one of them.

Paul G said...

Yes I agree, the Scripture alone is the Word of God, and NO OTHER writings.

The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 10:30 "I and the Father are ONE"!
Every trinitarian without exception says contrary to the Lord Jesus Christ that Jesus and the Father are TWO.
The Spirit of the Lord and plain intelligence will tell you that, if Jesus is NOT the Father, then Jesus and the Father are TWO.

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 12:29 "God is ONE"!
Every trinitarian without exception says contrary to the Lord Jesus Christ that God is THREE.

Do trinitarians believe the Scriptures? Absolutely NOT.
Do trinitarians believe the Lord Jesus Christ? Absolutely NOT.
If Jesus and the Father is one, then Jesus IS the Father, but trinitarians call another one Father.
But to me and to every believer in Jesus Christ, there is but ONE God and that is the Father (1 Cor.8:6)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Paul G, if NO other writings are to be accepted, then you cannot tell me what you think the Bible says. Just quote the Scriptures and stop there. By logical implication none of your Oneness theology should be accepted by anyone. You are again sidestepping the real issue. The Bible teaches that God is one God and three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus is not just a man or just the son of man, or just the son of God as a manifestation of the Father. No. Jesus IS God. He is the eternal Son of God, the eternal Logos who was and is and is to come. He is fully God and equal in authority to both the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is truly man and truly God united in the man Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9; 2 Peter 1:1; John 1:1; John 1:18; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 28:18-20

Charlie J. Ray said...

If God the Father is in heaven, then the implication is that Oneness Pentecostals believe Jesus was only a man. Jesus is God the Son manifest in the flesh. 1 Timothy 3:16.

Charlie J. Ray said...

If Jesus is the Father, who was running the universe while Jesus was on earth? Also, if Jesus is only God and not a man, then He was not really a human being after all. Which is it, Paul?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Jesus and the Father are two persons. They are ONE God:) What part of ONE God (Deuteronomy 6:4) and THREE persons do you not get? (Matthew 28:20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 1:18; John 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Matthew 28:19

Charlie J. Ray said...

>>>>If Jesus and the Father is one, then Jesus IS the Father, but trinitarians call another one Father.<<<

Non sequitur. This does not logically follow since there is another logical deduction that can be made from this verse because all Scripture is God's Word, not just Deuteronomy 6:4. Jesus and the Father are ONE God. They share the same divine nature. But Jesus and the Father are NOT the same Person. There are three Persons in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Word was With God from the beginning. God is with God? Or is it that the divine Logos, Jesus Christ, is not the Father yet both are the same God? John 1:1; 1:18. The Holy Spirit is lied to (Acts 5:3) and He speaks through the prophets (Acts 28:25). He is not the Father. But there is only one God. Therefore, God is one God and three persons within the Godhead.

Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.