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 Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Well Meant Offer

Dr. R. Scott Clark comments on the well meant offer and the controversy over the three points of common grace here.  While I cannot comment on the article as a whole since I have not read it yet, I must say that the distinction made by Clark between the archetypal and ectypal source of theology is a bit of an oversimplification.  Hoeksema goes to great lengths in volume one of his Dogmatics to lay out the doctrine of God and his utter transcendence above His creatures.  Hoeksema most certainly would not insist that man may know God's mind in any exhaustive or omniscient sense.  Rather Hoeksema would insist that we know propositional truth because we are created in the image and likeness of God.  The distinction between general and special revelation also would not escape Hoeksema.

The problem with the ectypal emphasis is that it is essentially anthropocentric in its approach to theology.  Hoeksema does not use reason to dispute common grace and the three points derived from that doctrine.  Rather, Hoeksema and the other Protestant Reformed theologians appeal directly to Scripture to dispute the three points of common grace and the well meant offer.

If anything the proponents of common grace appeal to reason and to general revelation in order to justify their emphasis on ecumenical concerns, political concerns, and the humanities and sciences.  In fact, if one listens to the debate between Richard Mouw and David Engelsma it is Mouw who comes across as appealing to reason rather than revelation.

When Hoeksema said, “If we want to make separation between revelation and Himself, there is no knowledge of God,”  (Well Meant Offer) he meant that revelation in Holy Scripture conveys actual knowledge of God's mind and intentions.  If there is no knowledge about God revealed in special revelation, then Hoeksema's thesis stands.  Why read the Bible if we can know nothing of God's decrees or plans from the inspired Scriptures?

We must decide whether our approach to theology is going to be theocentric and christocentric or is it going to be anthropocentric?  If the latter then we should all become Arminians or liberals.  It is not simply a matter of distinguishing between what God knows and what we know but between what God has revealed and what we can justly conclude from a proper exegetical approach to the text. 

What is ironic is that Clark accuses Hoeksema of confusing the Creator/creature distinction but in fact it is the common grace position which does that.  Scripture plainly says that God does not will for all sinners to be saved.  Yet the common grace doctrine tries to soften the severity of a supralapsarian theology by appealing to our ignorance of God's election before creation.  Simply because we do not know who is elect and who is reprobate is no reason to read our sensibilities back into God.  That would be idolatry at worst and anthropomorphism at best.

Lastly, Dr. Clark fails to recognize that an anthropocentric approach to theology, including the "well meant offer", contributes to the modernist attack against the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.  If theology is merely ectypal the implication is that there is no distinction between general and special revelation.  Scripture becomes simply another human book to be dissected and deconstructed rather than venerated as the very oracles of God.  No, it is the three points of common grace that fails to keep the focus on God and Christ as they are revealed in Holy Scripture, not the classical Calvinism preceding Kuyper and Bavinck.  Classical Calvinism begins with God and then proceeds to revelation.  It does not begin with man and proceed to God.


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