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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.]

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

John Robbins Versus Dr. Gordon H. Clark: Justification and Sanctification



10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:10-11 NKJV

12 "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.
 13 "But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images
 14 `(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
 15 "lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,
 16 "and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.
 (Exodus 34:12-16 NKJV)

Question 97
What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, (Rom. 6:14, Rom. 7:4,6, Gal. 4:4–5) so as thereby they are neither justified (Rom. 3:20) nor condemned; (Gal. 5:23, Rom. 8:1) yet, besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; (Rom. 7:24–25, Gal. 3:13–14, Rom. 8:3–4) and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, (Luke 1:68–69,74–75, Col. 1:12–14) and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule to their obedience. (Rom. 7:22, Rom. 12:2, Tit. 2:11–14).
  7.      Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; (Gal. 3:21) the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done. (Ezek. 36:27, Heb. 8:10, Jer. 31:33)



Personally, I do not like theological disputations because those who oppose the biblical view as summarized in the Westminster Standards are slippery eels who refuse to see the entire system of doctrine as one whole system from Genesis to Revelation.  When I quote Dr. Gordon H. Clark in context and directly from his books, the opponent goes to John Robbins instead.  I am beginning to see that Dr. Robbins was not in agreement with Dr. Clark on a whole host of issues, most especially the essential necessity of the whole ordo salutis, not just the initiation of the Christian life through regeneration and justification.  There must be a resulting cooperation in believing the Gospel and a resulting cooperation in a life of sanctification.  If there is no sanctification there is no regeneration and by implication there never was any justification applied through a true and living faith.  Dr. Clark was very clear on this.  Essentially, most of the Robbins proselytes today are teaching one doctrine to the detriment of the whole system, namely justification by belief.  Justification is objective because it was accomplished on the cross.  But to receive the benefits of the atonement and justification accomplished and completed on the cross, one must first be unconditionally elected prior to creation, regenerated supernaturally by God the Holy Spirit in a monergistic resurrection, and then caused to cooperate in believing the Gospel.   (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; John 3:3-8; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 8:28-36 NKJV).

One cannot believe the Gospel without a supernatural and monergistic act of God whereby the elect person is enabled to believe the preached word of God in the effectual call.  And at that point in time the justification of the cross is imputed to the elect person's account by means of belief and belief alone.  However, the Robbins proselytes want to dead stop everything at justification by faith or belief and that is it.  This is also how they can push for the oxymoronic view of Reformed libertarianism, which is really nothing more than secular libertarianism with a contradictory adjective tacked on the term libertarian.  Dr. Clark did not believe in imposing Calvinism on the entire nation.  What he did propose was that the Judeo-Christian worldview is not a religion and that the nation could legitimately impose the 10 axioms of the moral law or the Ten Commandments as the basis for religious freedom in our nation.  If the unbeliever wants to make stealing a crime, is that not taught in the Decalogue?  Likewise, Sunday should be a day that businesses give time off for everyone so they can go to the place of worship of their choice.  Instead what we see today is  libertarians and Marxists and secular humanists imposing work days on all seven days of the week.  As a result we are seeing the breakdown of the traditional family where both parents must work and the children end up as latchkey kids.  Worse, children today are being indoctrinated in public education and state universities with materialistic atheism, secular humanism, a biased and socialist view of American history, and a view of empirical science that more closely resembles a materialistic or pantheistic religion than an operationalist view of science.

In reading the Old Testament we can easily deduce that God intended for nations to worship Him and follow His ordinances.   Of course, in the Old Testament the only nation God selected was Israel.  We are told today that there is no chosen nation because the theocratic nation of Israel passed away with that nation.  That is true and it is taught in the Westminster Confession as such:

Chapter XIX  Of the Law of God
4.      To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require. (Exod. 21, Exod. 22:1–29, Gen. 49:10, 1 Pet. 2:13–14, Matt. 5:17, 38–39, 1 Cor. 9:8–10).
The Westminster Confession of Faith. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996. Print.
But what the Robbins proselytes neglect to see is that God requires obedience of the moral law by all nations and individuals and Romans 1:18-32 proves that libertarianism is just another manifestation of the lawlessness and wickedness of the nations of this world.  The Christian has a moral obligation to stand for the whole teaching of the Bible, not just for the doctrine of justification by means of faith alone.  (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Matthew 28:18-20).  All Scripture is profitable for doctrine and there is no dialectical contradiction between the moral law and the Gospel.  In fact, the Westminster Confession of Faith specifically states that the moral law has a purpose for both unbelievers and believers:


Question 96
What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate men?
The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from wrath to come, (1 Tim. 1:9–10) and to drive them to Christ; (Gal. 3:24) or, inexcusable, (Rom. 1:20, Rom. 2:15) and under the curse thereof. (Gal. 3:10)



Question 97
What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, (Rom. 6:14, Rom. 7:4,6, Gal. 4:4–5) so as thereby they are neither justified (Rom. 3:20) nor condemned; (Gal. 5:23, Rom. 8:1) yet, besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; (Rom. 7:24–25, Gal. 3:13–14, Rom. 8:3–4) and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, (Luke 1:68–69,74–75, Col. 1:12–14) and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule to their obedience. (Rom. 7:22, Rom. 12:2, Tit. 2:11–14)


Question 98
Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon Mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone; (Deut. 10:4, Exod. 34:1–4) and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus.  The four first commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man. (Matt. 22:37–40)

The Westminster Larger Catechism: With Scripture Proofs. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996. Print.

The short of it is that those who emphasize only one portion of Scripture to the exclusion of all the rest are in fact teaching heresy and that is true whether the heresy is pelagianism or antinomianism in their manifold forms today.  We are not under the law as a covenant of works or to be justified.  But the Christian has a moral duty to obey Christ because love is obedience.  Without sanctification and the process of becoming more and more Christlike there is no true and living belief or any change of habits.  These are things that Dr. Clark said.  Now if Sean Gerety and the Trinity Foundation disagree with Dr. Clark they should say so openly instead of playing games of equivocation and dissimulation.  The Federal Visionists are good at double speak but apparently so are some of those who claim to follow the apologetics of the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  

The Westminster Larger Catechism clearly says that justifying faith has the other graces accompanying it, namely repentance and sanctification as well as a desire to attend church, study the Bible, pray, etc.




Question 73
How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, (Gal. 3:11, Rom. 3:28) nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; (Rom. 4:5, Rom. 10:10) but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness. (John 1:12, Phil. 3:9, Gal. 2:16).

And the nail in the coffin of the antinomians is that assurance requires obedience as well.  There is an entire chapter on the assurance of salvation in the WCF.  And the WLC says:





Question 77
Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, (1 Cor. 6:11, 1 Cor. 1:30) yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; (Rom. 4:6 ,8) in sanctification of his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; (Ezek. 36:27) in the former, sin is pardoned; (Rom. 3:24–25) in the other, it is subdued: (Rom. 6:6,14) the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation (Rom. 8:33–34) the other is neither equal in all, (1 John 2:12–14, Heb. 5:12–14) nor in this life perfect in any, (1 John 1:8,10) but growing up to perfection. (2 Cor. 7:1, Phil. 3:12–14).

Justification always results in a life of progressive submission to the Holy Spirit by way of the cooperation of the will.  (Proverbs 21:1). That process is always imperfect but without sanctification there can be no assurance of salvation.  None.  That is what Dr. Clark said as well.   Click on the links to the proof texts to the Catechism above.

In regards to nations, the Confession clearly says they have an obligation to obey the general equity of the moral law as summarized by the Decalogue:

Chapter XIX Of the Law of God

  5.      The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; (Rom. 13:8, 9, Eph. 6:2, 1 John 2:3–4, 7–8) and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. (James 2:10, 11) Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation. (Matt. 5:17–19, James 2:8, Rom. 3:31)
  6.      Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; (Rom. 6:14, Gal. 2:16, Gal. 3:13, Gal. 4:4–5, Acts 13:39, Rom. 8:1) yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; (Rom. 7:12, 22, 25, Ps. 119:4–6, 1 Cor. 7:19, Gal. 5:14, 16, 18–23) discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives; (Rom. 7:7, Rom. 3:20) so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, (James 1:23–25, Rom. 7:9, 14, 24) together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience. (Gal. 3:24, Rom. 7:24, Rom. 8:3–4) It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: (James 2:11, Ps. 119:101, 104, 128) and the threatenings of it serve to shew what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. (Ezra 9:13–14, Ps. 89:30–34) The promises of it, in like manner, shew them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: (Lev. 26:1–14, 2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 6:2–3, Ps. 37:11, Matt. 5:5, Ps. 19:11) although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. (Gal. 2:16, Luke 17:10) So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and not under grace. (Rom. 6:12, 14, 1 Pet. 3:8–12, Ps. 34:12–16, Heb. 12:28–29)
  7.      Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; (Gal. 3:21) the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done. (Ezek. 36:27, Heb. 8:10, Jer. 31:33)

The Westminster Confession of Faith. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996. Print.
I follow the confessional standards of Scripture and the Westminster Standards which summarize the teaching of the Bible.  I learned from reading Dr. Clark that he did not agree with libertarianism or with any view of grace that divorces justification from sanctification.   And here is a hint.  If the blogs you read never quote Scripture and the confessional standards to support their views, that is a giant red flag.  2 Timothy 3:15 teaches that the Old Testament Scriptures revealed the Gospel sufficiently to point to Christ and His ministry because when the apostle Paul wrote the second epistle to Timothy the New Testament had not yet been written nor had it been canonized into the Bible as the 66 books we know today.  There are 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.

See:  John Robbins Quick Quote.  God's Hammer Blog





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