The Carpenter Emails

This past Sunday I received an email from Chris Duncan, Marc Carpenter’s disciple.  An email or two later, I received one from Carpenter himself.  What you are about to read is the email exchange that occurred between myself and Mr. Carpenter.  I publish as is, with no editing except to highlight Marc’s words to make it easier to differentiate between his words and mine.

MARCH 30, 2014

David,
This is Chris Duncan’s number two man, Marc Carpenter.

Would you like to engage in a discussion about your accusation of me that I am a modern-day Galatian Judaizer?

To God alone be the glory,
Marc

MARCH 30, 2014

David, you sent the same message to me as to Chris Duncan (with the additional first 7 words to me that I don’t understand, because you didn’t ask me a question in the first place). Please hit “Reply to all” when you are responding.

I’m assuming that you believe this: Since I am using law to judge a person’s righteousness, I am a modern-day Galatian Judaizer.

Let’s look at the first part of the accusation, which is that I am using law to judge a person’s righteousness. I want to make sure I know what you mean by this. I do not use someone’s law-keeping to judge a person to be saved. There are many people who are outwardly moral who are not saved; in fact, most people who are outwardly moral are not saved. Paul said in Philippians 3:1 that before he was saved he was “according to righteousness in Law, being blameless,” yet he was a God-hater while being blameless according to righteousness in Law. When God saved Paul, the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ was imputed to Paul, and Paul was declared righteous based on this imputed righteousness alone, with no consideration of Paul’s character and conduct in any way to any degree. The only ground of Paul’s salvation, and any believer’s salvation, is the work of Jesus Christ alone. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, including Paul and every other believer. A believer’s standing before God or entitlement to heaven has NOTHING to do with his own character and conduct. None of a believer’s salvation, from regeneration all the way to final glory, has anything to do with his own works, his own conduct, his own character. I do not judge my brothers to be saved based on their deeds of the law. I judge my brothers to be saved based on their belief of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, which shows that they have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

To God alone be the glory,
Marc

 

MARCH 30, 2014

Correction of typo: It’s Philippians 3:6, not Philippians 3:1.
Also a question for you: What is your definition of self-righteousness?



MARCH 30, 2014

Marc, you write the following:

“A believer’s standing before God or entitlement to heaven has NOTHING to do with his own character and conduct. None of a believer’s salvation, from regeneration all the way to final glory, has anything to do with his own works, his own conduct, his own character. I do not judge my brothers to be saved based on their deeds of the law. I judge my brothers to be saved based on their belief of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, which shows that they have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

This is untrue, Marc. You do not teach this without consistent contradiction. In your essay on marriage and the law, all you do is base a believer’s salvation, from regeneration all the way to final glory, upon his own works, his own conduct, his own character. You do indeed judge people saved based on their deeds of the law.

You also wrote:

. . . They had to equate it somehow with some kind of death of a spouse, because they knew that the Bible says that the death of a spouse was the only way that a marriage bond is dissolved! (The Bible, of course, was not talking about an imaginary or hypothetical death; it was talking about a real death.) What a clever yet damnable way to justify adultery and to call adulterers their brothers and sisters in Christ! 

. . . and you wrote . . .

There is a difference between a one-time act of adultery and being called an ‘adulterer’ or an ‘adulteress.’ One who is an ‘adulterer’ or an ‘adulteress’ is a person whose life is characterized by the sin of repeated adultery. Romans 7:1-3 says that someone who is in an ongoing marital relationship with someone other than his/her original spouse while the original spouse is still alive is someone whose life is characterized by the sin of repeated adultery (called an ‘adulteress’ in the case of a woman). And 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that such people are unregenerate. Thus, everyone whose life is characterized by the sin of a marital relationship with someone other than the original spouse while the original spouse is still alive is unregenerate.  What should people do who have become Christians after engaging in such damnable behavior that is indicative of lostness?

. . . and then you gave me some scenarios . . .

Scenario 1: Man A and Woman A are unregenerate and are in a marital relationship. Woman A then commits adultery with Man B. Woman A then divorces Man A and marries Man B. Woman A is then regenerated. What is Woman A to do? She is to cease from all marital relations with Man B. She is not to return to a marital relationship with Man A. She is to remain celibate.

Scenario 2: Man A and Woman A are unregenerate and are in a marital relationship. Man A and Woman A then divorce. Man A then marries Woman B. Man A and Woman B are then regenerated. What are Man A and Woman B to do? They are both to cease from all marital relations with each other. Man A is not to return to a marital relationship with Woman A. Man A and Woman B are to remain celibate.

Scenario 3: Man A and Woman A are unregenerate and are in a marital relationship. Man A and Woman A then divorce. Woman A then marries Man B. Man B and Woman A then divorce, and Woman A returns to Man A (her original spouse), and they have a marital relationship. Woman A is then regenerated. What is Woman A to do? She is to cease from all marital relations with Man A. She is to remain celibate. If both Man A and Woman A are regenerated, then they are to cease all marital relations with each other and remain celibate.

Scenario 4: Man A and Woman A are unregenerate and are in a marital relationship. (This is assuming that Man A and Man B were never married to anyone before this; i.e., they were virgins.) Man A and Woman A then divorce but do not remarry anyone else. Woman A is then regenerated. What is Woman A to do? She has the choice to either remain divorced or be reconciled to Man A and engage in marital relations with Man A. She may not marry anyone other than her original spouse.

Houston, we have a problem. How can it be true that you don’t judge by the law when at the same time you judge regeneration by one’s obedience to the law?!

You refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, but fail to refer to the very next verse!

1 Corinthians 6:11-12 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11-12 does not say, but you decided to obey the law. No! It says but you were justified. Even though you were an adulterer, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Christ and by the Spirit.

Upon what basis do you think these people were justified, Marc, by the propitiating death of Christ alone, or by their obedience to law? You very clearly believe it was by their obedience to law, because in answer to your question, “What should people do who have become Christians after engaging in such damnable behavior that is indicative of lostness?”, YOU ANSWER WITH LAW!!!

What kind of behavior is indicative of lostness, Marc? IT IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH OR MAINTAIN ASSURANCE BY OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW!

Hebrews 6:1-6
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

MARCH 31, 2014

David,
You wrote:

“In your essay on marriage and the law, all you do is base a believer’s salvation, from regeneration all the way to final glory, upon his own works, his own conduct, his own character. You do indeed judge people saved based on their deeds of the law.”

Absolutely not. You will not find anywhere in that article or anywhere else that I judge a person who keeps the law to be saved based on his law-keeping. You’re reading into the article what is not there. What I did say is that the Bible says that people whose lives are characterized by certain sins are unregenerate. Very big difference.

Now let’s see if you agree. Suppose you encounter a serial child rapist. This serial child rapist says that he continues to engage in serial child rape. This serial child rapist professes to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Do you call him your brother in Christ based on his profession? Why or why not?

The following is an excerpt of a post I wrote:

==Let’s now go to the issue of a person who claims to believe the true gospel but who is an immoral person. I’ll use the extreme example of a homosexual. Suppose a person answers all my questions correctly yet is a homosexual. Would you say he is saved? Of course not. Although he professes to believe the true gospel, his lifestyle shows that he does not believe the true gospel. This is what the Confession means when it says, “Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel.”

Now let’s go to the issue of a person to whom we have never spoken who is an immoral person. Again, I’ll use the extreme example of a homosexual. Do I need to personally go to that person to see what gospel he confesses before I judge him lost? No. The fact that he is a homosexual is enough to judge him lost. Again, “Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel.” This is a “short-cut,” if you will, to judge that some people do not believe the gospel.

Notice in the last two paragraphs that I am still judging ultimately by the gospel — the person’s immoral lifestyle shows me that he does not believe the gospel. We must make judgments as to whether or not a person believes the gospel. When I see a homosexual, I make a judgment that he does not believe the gospel.

Now let’s go to #4. We’ve already seen the first part of it. Let’s look at it in its entirety:

“Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel, but no one can demonstrate by his law-keeping that he believes the gospel; for there are many whose lives appear to conform to the law of God who are yet unregenerate. Therefore, let no man be judged by his reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, or any other standard but the gospel.”

The first part shows that a lawless way of life is an indication of not believing the gospel. Thus, all immoral people are unregenerate. Yet the second part shows that, just because someone is a moral person, this does not necessarily mean that he is regenerate. Thus, not all moral people are regenerate. This is what the second part talks about. It is talking about judging moral people by their reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, etc. We cannot judge a person to be a Christian just because he is moral. We need to find out what gospel he believes. In contrast with the homosexual (where we do not need to know what he confesses), in the case of the moral person, we do need to know what he confesses in order to make a judgment. Do you see the difference?

#5 states that those who refuse to judge by what this moral person confesses but instead judge by that person’s outward appearance/morality or by a false gospel, show themselves to be unregenerate.

We are still judging by the standard of the gospel in all cases. But in certain cases, we need to know what the person confesses, while in other cases, we can tell by the person’s lifestyle.

Here’s something that I hope will simplify it:

All Christians are moral.
Not all who are moral are Christians.
All immoral people are not Christians.
Thus, since all Christians believe the gospel:
All who believe the gospel are moral.
Not all who are moral believe the gospel.
All immoral people do not believe the gospel.
So, when it comes to making judgments:
Among those who are moral, we need to know what gospel they believe by finding out what gospel they confess.
Among immoral people, we already know that they believe a false gospel.==
Do you get the distinction? It is a distinction that is vital.

To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter


MARCH 31, 2014

Quote: Absolutely not. You will not find anywhere in that article or anywhere else that I judge a person who keeps the law to be saved based on his law-keeping. You’re reading into the article what is not there. What I did say is that the Bible says that people whose lives are characterized by certain sins are unregenerate. Very big difference.

No, Marc. There is no difference. Sin is a violation of God’s law. You are arguing that people whose lives are characterized by certain violations of God’s law are lost. You say grace to people at the front door, then you sneak law into through the back door once they’re inside.

1 Corinthians 6:11-12 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11-12 does not say, and such were some of you, but you decided to obey the law. No! It says but you were justified. Even though you were an adulterer, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Christ and by the Spirit.

Upon what basis do you think these people were justified, Marc, by the propitiating death of Christ alone, or by their obedience to law? UPON WHAT BASIS DO YOU THINK THEY GET TO KEEP THEIR JUSTIFICATION? BY THE CROSS ALONE? OR BY LAW KEEPING?

April 1, 2014

While you’re mulling over the scenario about the serial child rapist, I have another scenario for you involving a serial child rapist.

Suppose there is an unregenerate serial child rapist. Suppose he then hears the gospel from you and tells you he has been regenerated. He confesses belief in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. He also says that he is going to continue being a child rapist. Do you call him your brother in Christ based on his profession? Why or why not?

Now let’s go to some scenarios in which there is not criminal activity. Let’s use the example of a homosexual couple.

A homosexual couple has been together practicing homosexuality for 15 years. They visit your assembly and tell you that they have been saved for the past ten years and agree with you on all essential gospel doctrine and would like to worship with you and become a part of your assembly. They tell you that they are going to continue to be together as a homosexual couple when they join your assembly. Do you worship with them as your brothers in Christ based on their profession? Why or why not?

Now this one: Suppose there is an unregenerate man who has been in a homosexual relationship for 15 years. Suppose he then hears the gospel from you and tells you he has been regenerated. He confesses belief in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. He also says that he is going to continue in the homosexual relationship, since God does not count him righteous or not based on his works but solely on the imputed righteousness of Christ. He uses 1 Corinthians 6:11 to say that he can continue in this relationship because he has been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. Do you call him your brother in Christ based on his profession? Why or why not?


April 1, 2014

I’m not mulling over child rape and homosexuality. I don’t sit around trying to come up with scenarios to prove the Bible doesn’t mean what it says.

People who think they can use the law to keep their justification are no different than people who think they can use the law to get justified in the first place.

Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those who believe.

APRIL 1, 2014

We do not believe that law-keeping keeps one’s justification in any way to any degree.  The only way that justification is kept is the same way it is obtained – by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

So you would judge the serial child rapist and the homosexuals to be saved based on their profession of belief in the true gospel because they have been washed, sanctified, and justified?  You would welcome them into your assembly?  If not, why not?  These questions are simple to those who believe the gospel.  Answer the simple questions, David.  Or are you afraid of something?

April 2, 2014

Nonsense. You do indeed believe that law keeping keeps one’s justification.

Quote: “. . . They had to equate it somehow with some kind of death of a spouse, because they knew that the Bible says that the death of a spouse was the only way that a marriage bond is dissolved! (The Bible, of course, was not talking about an imaginary or hypothetical death; it was talking about a real death.) What a clever yet damnable way to justify adultery and to call adulterers their brothers and sisters in Christ!”

Quote: There is a difference between a one-time act of adultery and being called an “adulterer” or an “adulteress.” One who is an “adulterer” or an “adulteress” is a person whose life is characterized by the sin of repeated adultery. Romans 7:1-3 says that someone who is in an ongoing marital relationship with someone other than his/her original spouse while the original spouse is still alive is someone whose life is characterized by the sin of repeated adultery (called an “adulteress” in the case of a woman). And 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that such people are unregenerate. Thus, everyone whose life is characterized by the sin of a marital relationship with someone other than the original spouse while the original spouse is still alive is unregenerate.

Quote: What should people do who have become Christians after engaging in such damnable behavior that is indicative of lostness?

That’s why you keep referring to the category of regenerate/unregenerate rather than justified/condemned.

April 2, 2014

Oh, I see.  Why didn’t I see that before?  Regenerate/unregenerate vs. justified/condemned!  What a revelation.  (Wow – Scott really has an idiot on his hands.  I feel sorry for him.)

Keep slandering me – even some of the unregenerate (umm … oops … I mean “condemned”) can see through the obvious lie.

I predicted to Chris Duncan that you wouldn’t answer my questions.  Your mouth has been stopped.  You have no answer.  You know you’d be seen as a hypocrite if you answered.  Point proven.  Case closed.

April 2, 2014

No, I am not going to entertain your pornographic thoughts.

Now, in closing I inform you that these emails will be published.  I may not have as large a readership as you, but make no mistake, those who do read me are going to learn what you are really about.

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110 Responses to The Carpenter Emails

  1. David Bishop says:

    Carpenter writes: “This is what the Confession means when it says, Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel.”

    What confession is he talking about? He’s talking about his own confession, of course!

    http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfv.htm

    This man comes up with his own confession, then expects others to abide by it.

    Scripture does not teach the garbage he is pushing. Carpenter cannot back his argument about lawless living with competent, exegetical examples. He works by quoting partial passages and eisogeting his own perversion into the text. Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel? WHAT IS THIS BUT AN ARGUMENT FOR JUDGING BY LAW OBEDIENCE?!

    Not only is Carpenter a legalist, but he is also the new Fred Phelps.

  2. David Bishop says:

    What should we do with believers who engage in a consistently sinful behavior?

    1. We should counsel them, one to one, brother to brother.
    2. If they continue in the behavior, then we should bring the behavior to the awareness of the local church we attend. The believer should be warned not to continue in the behavior.
    3. If the believer continues in the behavior still, then they should be disciplined, up to and including being put out of the church. At no time, however, are we to threaten them with eternal condemnation.

    Many of the Corinthian believers were sleeping with prostitutes. What would Carpenter have told them? Carpenter would have told them they are damned. He literally would have told them they are damned. What did Paul say though? Don’t you know your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Big, big difference between Carpenter and Paul. Big difference. Not so much with Carpenter and the Galatians.

  3. libertyblogger101 says:

    Quote from Marc:

    I judge my brothers to be saved based on their belief of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, which shows that they have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    End quote:

    This is a lie. Their interpretation of 2 John 7-11 proves this is a lie. Many so called “tolerant calvinists” would agree with this 100% and yet Marc considers these people unregenerate. Thus, he’s being a hypocrite. Admittedly, I am somewhat curious if he would say that these “Tolerant calvinists” speaking peace to Arminians is in and of itself the reason they are not regenerate, or if he would say such peace speaking is always a symptom of something else.

    That said, I would say that I mostly agree with Marc (for once) with regards to this debate. If someone says he is radically saved by grace alone and yet he’s a serial child rapist, I’d conclude that this person was lying about what he believes. I would consider his engaging in serial child raping a symptom of his unbelief in the gospel.

    I’m not sure Paul’s interaction with the Corinthians is comparable. I don’t think if someone is confronted with sin that this in and of itself proves that they are lost. I do think, per 1 Corinthians 5:11 and Matthew 18, that if someone continues to live in sin after being confronted they should be treated as and assumed to be unbelievers. Could our judgments be wrong? Yes, we’re imperfect. Even still, the Bible does teach that those who live unrepentently in certain lifestyles is proving that they are not saved ,as Carpenter correctly points out.

    And I would ask David Bishop, if saying that believers will live a moral life after God saves them is putting a condition on their salvation, is saying that believers will immediately believe the gospel when God saves them making belief in the gospel a condition on salvation?

    Why was Marc calling himself “Chris Duncan’s #2 man?” That just struck me as bizarre,

  4. Tom says:

    “You refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, but fail to refer to the very next verse!

    1 Corinthians 6:11-12 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    1 Corinthians 6:11-12 does not say, but you decided to obey the law. No! It says but you were justified. Even though you were an adulterer, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Christ and by the Spirit.

    Upon what basis do you think these people were justified, Marc, by the propitiating death of Christ alone, or by their obedience to law? You very clearly believe it was by their obedience to law, because in answer to your question, “What should people do who have become Christians after engaging in such damnable behavior that is indicative of lostness?”, YOU ANSWER WITH LAW!!!”

    This is actually a really good argument, but there are other passages that give me problems that don’t have such an obvious out. Such as Galations 5:19-21

    “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. ”

    I really don’t know how to answer this one. It says immediatley prior that if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law, but then it gives this list as the works of the flesh, seemingly indicating that those who do such things are not led by the Spirit, and will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I grew up in a Free Grace, eternal security Baptist church. When I went to college I got into a probationist view because of passages like these. The constant yo-yoing between saved and unsaved that is necessitated by taking the probationist position SERIOUSLY(and not just as a way to look down on others) is incredibly stressful, as well as ridiculous to most reasonable people. The probationist position has some serious problems with logic when it comes to claiming NOT to be based on works, even when works seem to be a condition of salvation. But then passages like these still seem to have the same “flaw”. “You aren’t under the law, but under grace, as long as you don’t do anything on this list”. What is that even supposed to mean? The relationship between sin and salvation in scripture is anything but clear to me.

    • David Bishop says:

      It’s not as difficult as you think, Tom. You have to take the entire passage into account though, rather than just a piece of it. The passage does not end with verse 21. Just like the 1 Corinthians passage mentioned above, the passage continues into the next verse, and even then on some. It is actually a rather long passage.

      4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

      The first thing he says is you who would be justified by law, you have fallen from grace. Right away then, we know that whatever we take the rest of this passage to mean, it absolutely cannot mean men are justified by their efforts to obey the law. Furthermore, he says neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything. A little later he reiterates this in the question, if I still preach circumcision, then why am I being persecuted? Circumcision/uncircumcision. This has to do with obedience to the commandments God gave to Moses and the Israelites. In fact, if you cross reference this with Acts 15, you will see that particular passage beginning with the Pharisees coming down from Judea to tell the brothers they must be circumcised, and then ending with these same guys insisting that the Gentile brothers must obey the law in order to be saved. So when we talk about circumcision, we are talking about the entirety of God’s law. Neither obedience nor disobedience to the law counts for anything. Do you really understand that?

      Christ has in time space history, 2000 years ago, atoned for His people’s sins by offering His body to God at the cross as a sacrifice for their sins. His death, offered to God on their behalf, really did propitiate God’s wrath for their sins. Therefore, in light of this, NOT ONE OF GOD’S ELECT SHALL EVER BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR SINS. Why? Because Christ has already been punished for them. And when I say sins, I mean all their sins – past, present and future – because when Christ died 2000 years ago, all my sins were future sins. Therefore, sins that I commit today, they account for nothing! NOTHING! Any obedience I offer today, it too counts for nothing. FOR NOTHING! Why? Because Christ’s obedience has already been accounted for on my behalf.

      I am free, you see. I am free from the threat of punishment, free from the promise of death for my sins, free, gloriously, free. ONLY DO NOT USE YOUR FREEDOM AS AN OPPORTUNITY . . .

      Verse 21, those who do such things . . .
      Verse 25, those who belong to Christ Jesus HAVE CRUCIFIED THE FLESH with its passions and desires.

      Of course they have. What was the desire of the flesh? “You shall be as God.” (Genesis 3). In other words, the flesh’s desire is to establish its own righteousness! The very thing which the Galatians are attempting to do through circumcision! The serpent’s promise to the woman. By taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall be able to establish your own righteousness just as God has, and you will do it by doing the good that you will come to know about after eating from the tree, rather than the bad which you will come to know about after eating from the tree. It is this that those in Christ Jesus have put to death.

      • Tom says:

        You are probably correct, and that was an interpretation that I was leaning toward. But the probationists and Lordship guys have a very forceful argument. They interpret all of those “not justified by the law” passages as referring only to the ceremonial law, not the moral law. And surveying such passages does seem consistent with that interpretation, since the specific laws mentioned are pretty much always things like circumcision, dietary requirements, and holy days. But then the problem arises, how well must you keep the moral law? And what happens when a believer breaks it? On that list there are multiple sins that it is hard to believe that everyone doesn’t commit from time to time “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,” So wut do? My own interpretation is that none of these things actually disqualifies one from salvation, but that the Church has a right to exercise discipline regarding them, and to disfellowship those who don’t conform. And also, that our works are judged as regards to particular rewards that we receive IN Christ in the resurrection, just as the works of non-believers determine the severity of their punishment in Hell. I think that this is pretty much the same view that every eternal security proponent espouses, but why couldn’t Paul and the other Apostles just say this plainly? The possibilites of variant interpretations of the teachings of the Apostles and Jesus is becoming maddening to me. I feel that I could successfully argue, from scripture, an OSAS position against a probationist, and a probationary position against an OSAS proponent with little difficulty.

      • David Bishop says:

        No, the passages are not at all consistent with the Lordship interpretation, Tom. Not at all.

        Galatians 3:10-12 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident tat no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather, “The one who does them shall live by them.”

        The text does not say “work”. It says “works” (plural). It even clarifies further, defining works as everything that is written in the law. Everything! Not just ceremonial stuff, not just moral stuff. Everything.

        Paul does not suddenly switch his entire meaning once he reaches the end of his epistle. No, he has been building his argument this entire time. When he gets to chapter 5, everything he has just built stands tall as his foundation. He has been absolutely clear about everything he has said. Don’t go and accuse of him being unclear now after isolating one part of his letter, and failing to consider it within the entirety of his argument. He has been clear. The Word of God is very clear here.

        I encourage you to read my 8-part critique of Lordship Salvation (see the button “Categories” to find them quickly). Lordship is a heresy, Tom. It is works-for-salvation heresy, absolutely no doubt about that. And they are extremely adept at taking verses out of context. I prove it with a series of MacArthur verse citations taken directly from his book, The Gospel According to the Apostles.

        Lordship proponents try to disguise the fact they are arguing works-for-salvation by redefining faith. Lordship proponents argue for a Kierkegaardian view of knowledge in which knowledge is divided into two components – propositional and experiential. This leads guys like MacArthur to say some of the most ridiculous things; like for instance, that demons have orthodox faith.

        As for Carpenter, my complaint with him is not so much with his view of marriage, but rather his view of grace. I think some of his arguments concerning just causes of divorce are unbiblical, but I am not going to waste one iota of time on contending with him about this. Why? Because his real problem is not with marriage or divorce, but rather with the notion that faith is to be judged by obedience to the law. Guess what that makes him? It makes him Lordship!

      • Tom says:

        I would also add that Carpenter’s position highlights another problem, even if we leave aside the issue of justification and regeneration in regards to living a moral lifetstyle. The Church still must hold a position in regards to morality, and the issues of divorce and remarriage that he covers are very problematic in this regard. We should be able to ascertain the moral status of such a relationship from scripture, but I confess that I find it almost impossible with this issue.

      • Tom says:

        “I encourage you to read my 8-part critique of Lordship Salvation (see the button “Categories” to find them quickly).”

        Read it. It was one of the best critiques of LS that I have seen. It is how I found this page in the first place.

        “Lordship is a heresy, Tom. It is works-for-salvation heresy, absolutely no doubt about that. And they are extremely adept at taking verses out of context. I prove it with a series of MacArthur verse citations taken directly from his book, The Gospel According to the Apostles.”

        Yeah, the number of verses that they obviously twist makes their position look really, really bad. But then there are the ones like these, that are not so obviously twisted by them, and where it seems like the problem is with the text itself, in that it is unclear. I am not saying that your interpretation is wrong, I’m just saying that it can be challenged. I’m kinda going thru a crisis regarding the intelligibility of scripture on major points of doctrine. Like I said, I feel that I can argue both sides of the lordship controversy from scripture, also both sides of the Calvinism/Arminianism debate, both sides of the divorce and remarriage debate, probably both sides of the Baptismal regeneration debate as well. It seems that the only points that are decideable from scripture are the claims that it makes regarding historical fact.

      • David Bishop says:

        But they do obviously twist these verses, Tom, and I have just demonstrated that twice.  You are not listening.  THEY PLUCK A FEW VERSES FROM A LARGER PASSAGE, ISOLATE THEM AND THEREBY SEPARATE THEM FROM THEIR CONTEXT.

        You THINK you can argue from both sides, yet here in your comments YOU HAVE FAILED TO DO THIS.  Twice I have demonstrated, twice, that you are not considering these verses in view of their contextual passages.  Don’t blame the Bible, man, for your refusal to consider its words in view of their context.  The Bible is very clear WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE ENTIRE CONTEXT.

        When I study the Bible, Tom, I do not do it a chapter at a time.  Rather, I read an entire book from beginning to ending in one sitting without stopping.  Why?  Because that’s how a letter and a book is supposed to be read!   When someone sends you an email, you don’t sit down to read it in chunks of a paragraph a day, do you?  No, because by the time you finish, you will have forgotten what the email had to say towards the beginning.  You would be considering the latter parts apart from the context of the beginning.

    • Alien Pebble says:

      Here’s my 2 cents, inspired by David’s view.

      Paul is NOT defining “works of flesh” and “fruits of Spirit” through the examples he gives. If you do not already know what “works of flesh” and “fruits of Spirit” are, the examples will not give you the correct definition of “works of flesh” and “fruits of Spirit”. For instance, Paul says “love” is a fruit of Spirit, but if you do not know what “fruit of Spirit” is, then knowing “love” is a “fruit of Spirit” tells you nothing about what “fruit of Spirit” is. Worse yet, you might be like the liberals and use a preconceived false notion of “love” to arrive by induction at what “fruit of Spirit” means.

      Instead, Paul presupposes the knowledge of “works of flesh” and “fruit of Spirit” and use the examples to reinforce a point: the Jewish legalists are not of the Spirit, but of flesh. What are “works of flesh”? Works done to justify oneself before God. What is “fruit of Spirit”? Works done out of assurance in Christ’s finished work on the cross.

      The Jewish legalists did not bear fruits of Spirit, because they are still striving in the works of flesh. Thus, they do not have true “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”, but rather bring “enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying” into the church. This phenomenon is unique to the Jewish legalists alone, but also to the gentile pagans, who engage in “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, carousing.”

      The legalist believes he can justify himself before God, because he can keep the Law. The pagan believes he can justify himself before God, because God is not just. Both are unrighteous, bringing forth works of flesh. The Christian believes he cannot justify himself before the just God, but God has justified him for Christ’s work alone. The Christian alone can bear fruit of Spirit, because the Spirit has brought them to this faith.

      That is not to say, the Christian is perfect or even close to perfect. In the next chapter Paul says Christian can still commit some of the sins listed above, but never because he believes in the premise of legalism or paganism.

    • Tom says:

      “But they do obviously twist these verses, Tom, and I have just demonstrated that twice. You are not listening. THEY PLUCK A FEW VERSES FROM A LARGER PASSAGE, ISOLATE THEM AND THEREBY SEPARATE THEM FROM THEIR CONTEXT.”

      No, I get it. I’ve seen them do it multiple times. I’ve seen a lot of people do it in fact (especially Christian Zionists), and I’ve tried to adjust my own interpretive methods to avoid this. But there are people out there that are trying to promote a works gospel as a comprehensive whole, such as:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Perspective_on_Paul

      (It’s kinda ironic that John Piper is listed as one of the opponents of this view. Ain’t he a Lordship guy?)

      “You THINK you can argue from both sides, yet here in your comments YOU HAVE FAILED TO DO THIS.”

      I haven’t actually tried to here, just listed some possible rebuttals. In part, because, as I’ve said before, I don’t actually agree with the Lordship guys, or probabtion in general. But this has more to do with internal problems in the logic, than it has to do with the text itself. I just think that there needs to be a more thorough approach to the problem texts, and the arguments that probationists build around them. I think some of the things you’ve pointed out here are a step in the right direction, but they don’t go far enough. And also, yes I get pretty irritated that Paul and the other apostles didn’t clearly spell out the OSAS position as it is currently understood. I feel like they left too much of a foothold for the probationists. But if I’m irritating you, I’ll back off.

      • legoman says:

        Don’t get irritated at what The Holy Sprit through the apostles orchestrated in the Scriptures. These difficult things are written in such a way so that the ignorant and unlearned would twist to their own destruction.

        I would argue that there are plenty of passages that endorse eternal security, but they’re often obscured from people because they don’t have spiritual eyes for such things, things which are discerned spiritually.

        1Jn 5:13    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

        Php 1:29    For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

        Joh 10:27    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
        Joh 10:28    I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
        Joh 10:29    My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand

        1Th 5:9    For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

        Heb 10:10    And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

        Heb 10:14    For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

        The carnal mind tends to view all of Scripture as a body of imperatives which is the very kind of error that causes doubt by the realization of out failure to perform the imparatives. View the Word as indicatives, something that indicates a truth and states facts. If you still have concerns and possible doubt then you must reevaluate if you agree with the passages above and if so, why? Because Christ’s death demands His peoples salvation? Then doubt should flee because that’s what faith and looking outside of you to Christ means. If you still feel irritated then your mind isn’t accepting His work as accomplished redemption and is still inclined to soothe out passages which it interprets as imparatives. I was a victim of the same struggle.

      • David Bishop says:

        @legoman

        Amen!

      • David Bishop says:

        I agree, there must be a thorough approach to the texts, but that is not the text’s fault.  You can do this to any written material; isolate one or two paragraphs from their context, then claim the material says something it doesn’t.   It’s called misrepresentation. 

        No, you’re not bothering me.  I just want you to understand that your argument with the text is unfounded.  Do you blame Shakespeare every time someone misrepresents one of his plays?  I hope not.  Blame the person doing the misrepresenting instead. 

        If, on the other hand, you are asking why God ordains this, then I have news for you, twisting the text is one of God’s means He uses to keep the non elect under condemnation.  Peter states this:

        2 Peter 3:15-17

        15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

      • legoman says:

        1Pe 2:8    And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
        1Pe 2:9    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

        We must always remember the contrast the Scripture portrays of God’s merciful council toward His elect and as many implications of that as our minds can memorize. With His council for the reprobate, also with all of their implications. If one fails to do this, they become subject to place themselves into the verses that are reserved for the reprobate, and thus get distressed, by stumbling at the Word.

      • Tom says:

        “I would argue that there are plenty of passages that endorse eternal security, but they’re often obscured from people because they don’t have spiritual eyes for such things, things which are discerned spiritually.”

        And those who deny eternal security say the same things about their doctrine. I find most of their arguments far weaker tho.

        “If you still have concerns and possible doubt then you must reevaluate if you agree with the passages above and if so, why? Because Christ’s death demands His peoples salvation? Then doubt should flee because that’s what faith and looking outside of you to Christ means.”

        A person can most definitely hold that Christ’s death demands His people’s salvation, and still have the same problem of assurance. Because the key issue in this debate is not so much what Christ accomplished, but who actually ARE his people. Both sides agree that not all who profess are actually among his people. The question is how do you tell the real ones from the fakes or the deluded? Lordship guys and hard probationists will say you have to look at the works, and they have their passages to back that up. Eternal security people will say that anyone who is looking at their works is not a true believer, and they have their passages to back it up. Now the eternal security crowd can explain the passages that seem to ground assurance on works, but the probationists can also explain the passages that seem to say “faith alone”, by saying that “faith” is properly understood as “faithfulness”, for instance.

        My problem with the probationist view was that I found it impossible when I held it. In part because I have fairly bad OCD, so no matter how well I “cleaned myself up” I always found new sin. Even mundane everyday things could be sin for me because I questioned my intentions constantly. On top of that, the yo-yo salvation that results from the fact that people still sin after they believe, in at least 99% of cases, is insane. Its a toss of the coin whether a person might die in sin, and thus go to hell, even tho he is a believer. Now you’re saved, now you’re not. Maybe you’ll get saved again tomorrow. Lol.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        “A person can most definitely hold that Christ’s death demands His people’s salvation, and still have the same problem of assurance. Because the key issue in this debate is not so much what Christ accomplished, but who actually ARE his people.”

        Actually, the key issue is WHAT Christ accomplished. The Lordship people are essentially saying that Christ has accomplished so that his people will not only believe, but also show significant moral improvement.

        The reason this is false is because then it is no longer justification by faith, but by works.

      • legoman says:

        That’s right. The only way to determine if you are among those for whom He died is to see if you believe in what He has done. The Spirit would testify and the elect would be assured that he stands among that number. The Spirit would testify by causing the sinner to believe in His work. Not all who claim to believe in His work really believe, they especially don’t believe it’s the only difference for them between heaven and hell. He wouldn’t be sure of election because of his track record of works, or his casting out demons, or prophesying, or anything he has done. Only because the death of Christ demands his salvation, which as I mentioned, The Spirit will testify. If The Spirit isn’t testifying, then the man cannot believe and is not believing. Therefore he must recognize and repent of believing in falsehood and believe in the accomplished redemption of Christ. But only by The Spirit of God he would be able to.

        Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

        Php 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

        Tom, are you certain of your sonship? If the answer is not ‘yes, because Christ’s propitiatory death demands it’ then your assurance is short-lived by something other than Christ.

        The Lordship guys cannot possibly be believing in that, since the way they determine is by looking to their works. Excuse me, how shall a man be certain of his salvation by looking to his works? Shall we call the Corinthians reprobate then? Though Paul says they were sanctified and called to be saints:

        1Co 1:2 ‘Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:’

        Sanctified how? By the blood of Christ!

        In recent months I have ceased saying ‘justified by faith’ and go straight to saying ‘justified by His blood’. This is because many wolves also say justified by faith (and it’s a Biblical phrase, Rom 5:1) but they don’t mean it how the Scriptures do. They are those who turn faith into a work. So I have found it most helpful to cut the sinner entirely out of the equation by focusing only on the blood of Christ that justifies. Our faith doesn’t justify. He justifies. His blood justifies. But if a person believes His blood justifies when someone believes, that means the person doesn’t believe His blood justifies by itself. It’s like saying “Jesus, you are the Christ, because I believe that, if I didn’t believe that you wouldn’t be the Christ.” It leaves room for the possibility to believe in faith instead of Christ Who justifies, that’s basically what I’m trying to say. Faith is the rays of the Sun, Christ is analogous to the Sun (The Source). The rays don’t illumine, but the Sun through the rays illumine, by the light. Faith doesn’t justify, but Christ justifies through faith, by His blood. Only because of His blood.

        Rom 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
        Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

        It’s a pleasure to correspond with you, Tom and Alien Pebble.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        “My problem with the probationist view was that I found it impossible when I held it. ”

        That’s true. Only the deluded will be satisfied with the probationist view.

        If the gospel cannot assure you, neither can your works, which are so much inferior compared to what Christ accomplished on the cross. The Lordship salvationist shows his empiricist mindset when he suggests you to look at your works to see if you really believe, as if “looking at works” is more certain than your belief!

        As cliche as it sounds, the gospel is “already but not yet”. “Lordship” calvinists err on the side of “already”, neglecting “but not yet”, wanting to see with their eyes transformation here and now, rather than patiently waiting for the resurrection verdict on the last day. (“Eternal security” arminians commit the opposite error.)

        The strong urge to “do something” accounts for a lot of this nonsense.

      • Tom says:

        “The Lordship salvationist shows his empiricist mindset when he suggests you to look at your works to see if you really believe, as if “looking at works” is more certain than your belief!”

        Good point. Judging your works would be dependent on a belief framework itself.

        “As cliche as it sounds, the gospel is “already but not yet”. “Lordship” calvinists err on the side of “already”, neglecting “but not yet”, wanting to see with their eyes transformation here and now, rather than patiently waiting for the resurrection verdict on the last day. (“Eternal security” arminians commit the opposite error.)”

        Can you elaborate on the ES arminian thing? Because I don’t really see much difference between the ES Calvinist and ES Arminian on this particular issue, except metaphysics. Most ES Arminians that I’ve seen emphasize that we are already saved, but we won’t be transformed till the resurrection.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        No, ES arminians do not have the “already”, because they deny Christ secured the redemption of his people on the cross. They instead say man’s decision to believe is what secures his redemption.

        The gospel does not teach eternal security for man’s one-time decision to believe. That’s just human hubris. The gospel teaches eternal security for Christ’s one-time vicarious satisfaction of the law.

        The first and the second advent of Christ are the only truly decisive events, not human “willing or running” in the interim. Jesus said, “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” But their generation will pass.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        You seem to think the difference is only a matter of “metaphysics”. I disagree. Sure, when you ask about it, the ES arminian says Jesus is the only reason he is saved, even denying he can lose salvation due to sin. But that simply is a LIE. The quickest test is asking him why not all people are saved. He will say not all people accept the free gift of salvation in Christ.

        The difference is HUGE. The ES arminian has established a righteousness for himself, namely accepting the free gift of salvation and thereby securing his redemption. He achieved what his “Jesus” could not even achieve!

        The ES arminian thinking boils down to this gross perversion: Jesus came to glorify men, not God. His death abolished the law, so that God is no longer man’s judge, but man is God’s judge – you choose to accept his gift or not.

        “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”

        ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

        (I’m not saying he is an ES arminian, but he is an arminian.)

      • Tom says:

        Alien Pebble,
        What you’re saying is exactly what I mean by metaphysics. The ESA still says it was God’s sovereign choice to save, and the choice of whom to save is still certain, grounded in God’s perfect foreknowledge. You may not care for that particular metaphysic, but a metaphysic it remains, and it changes nothing that I can see concerning eternal security. How is it different as regards a works vs. faith gospel? I can’t really see it. If you are saying that faith must be produced as a result of God’s election or otherwise it would be a work, then the Lorship guys can say their works are also a result of irresistable grace, and thus not really their works. So appealing to predestination or irresistable grace in order to make the distinction between grace and works just obliterates any sort of intelligible distinction between the two. I really don’t care to debate Cal/Arm tho. As far as I’m concerned they’re both wrong, and their logic can easily be followed to the point of pure gibberish. Of course, that probably makes me a reprobate in your eyes, but that isn’t really of consequence to me.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        Where did you get the idea that I will call you “reprobate”? If you do not believe the gospel, you have not been justified, but that’s not to say you are reprobate.

        “The ESA still says it was God’s sovereign choice to save, and the choice of whom to save is still certain, grounded in God’s perfect foreknowledge. You may not care for that particular metaphysic, but a metaphysic it remains, and it changes nothing that I can see concerning eternal security. How is it different as regards a works vs. faith gospel? I can’t really see it.”

        Arminians cannot say faith is the result of atonement, because they make faith a condition for the efficacy of atonement. Even if they affirm a limited atonement to believers, the faith itself cannot be a result of that atonement, but a condition in man for God to choose for whom Christ will die – “the sort of people” who God will rescue.

        “If you are saying that faith must be produced as a result of God’s election or otherwise it would be a work, then the Lordship guys can say their works are also a result of irresistable grace, and thus not really their works.”

        The Lordship salvationists say “good works are necessary evidence of salvation”.

        I agree with this statement, if “good works” mean faith in the gospel (and thus repentance from dead works and false gospels).

        But the Lordship salvationists want “more than merely this”. Whatever “more than merely this” is, it is no something immediate upon regeneration, i.e. faith in the gospel. It has to be progressive.

        So if I am a new believer, I can have assurance in the gospel alone. But as time goes on, if I do not have “more than merely this”, I should lose my assurance?

        If so, then I don’t have assurance in the gospel alone to begin with. I will also need to have assurance in what the Spirit is going to do in me. My faith is then not in Christ’s one-time death, but in Spirit’s progressive work in me.

        But this is totally wrong. Our faith is not in Spirit’s progressive work, but in Christ’s death. Any Spirit that does not point us to Christ’s death, but point us to some uncertain internal condition is not His Spirit. We inherit the Spirit when we are placed into Christ’s death. He will assure us and discipline us, but never condemn us, because we are justified.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        I suggest that you read the articles on “Lordship” here, if you haven’t read them:
        http://sovereigngracesociety.wordpress.com/articles/

        The battle is over the definition of “justification by faith”. The Arminian believes faith is a cause of justification. The Lordship believes faith is more than belief.

        I believe faith is not a cause of justification as the Arminian says, but its evidence, and I also believe faith is the well-defined belief in the true gospel, not some nebulous umbrella for works or “attitude” toward works as the Lordship says.

        When Paul condemned the Galatian Judaizers for adding works to faith, he does not mean they added works to faith as a cause of justification. That would be the Arminian reading, which may be termed “faith alone”, but it is not a faith in Christ alone. He condemned them because they added works to faith as the evidence of justification.

      • Tom says:

        “What is your soteriology?”

        Well, my working understanding of the atonement and salvation is as follows.
        1. God creates man in His own image, inasmuch as man was always thought as God’s self expression through creation.
        2. Man falls, and death comes upon mankind as a result.
        3. God determines to redeem his image through the incarnation, living a perfect human life, and dying the same death that we die. Jesus’ death was not substitutionary, but was representative. Jesus shared in our death so that we could share in his resrurrection. Thus, through Jesus acting as a prefect representative of the human race, man as a kind is vindicated, and the resurrection is secured to all men.
        4. All men are resurrected as a consequence of Christ’s atoning work, but only those whom he knows will spend eternity with him, and who these are is revealed in the final judgment.

        There is more that I could say about it, and arguments I can give in favor of this view, but that’s it in a nutshell.

    • Julien says:

      “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. ”

      Some food for thought on The Kingdom of God. Understanding what The Kingdom of God is seems to be essential here. I’m sure there are some here who know more than I do but this is what The Spirit has taught me (though there may be more.
      The Bible teaches us that The Kingdom if God is within us. Now we know that a kingdom is where a King rules, those who are there are subject to the will of the King. In the “Lord’s Prayer” Jesus taught us that after praising the Name of God to ask that His Kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. This can only be done in us, it is where His Kingdom is. So, if we are walking in the flesh we are not subject to the will of God and His Kingdom is not established in our heart. That does not say that we lose our eternal security, it does say that we will live miserable unhappy lives because as Paul describes in Romans we do not those things we want to do and we do what we don’t want to do.. who shall deliver us from this body of death.. He says it is no longer us that sins but sin in us. So.. in that case we are not inheriting The Kingdom of God which as sons we should have as an inheritance NOW. How miserable we can be when we walk in the flesh. I do think that there is a difference between “inheriting The Kingdom of God” and eternal life. Also when this earthly body dies, indwelling, original sin is finally gone from us and we have no hindrance from being subjects in The Kingdom of God. Besides that, we cannot inherit what we already have and according to the gospel, we are called, justified, sanctified, glorified, and our life is hid with God in Christ NOW. We are as spotless and without blemish as we will ever be, in Christ and in Christ is the ONLY way we will ever be spotless, without wrinkle or blemish, the pure and perfect bride of Christ.
      Now, when I pray the “Lord’s Prayer” I meditate on His will being done and His Kingdom coming in ME. Our daily bread… I meditate on The Holy Spirit teaching me about Jesus. Forgive us our debts or trespasses (into His Kingdom… as a subject not doing the will of the King). It never translates as sins. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil or the evil one. I am thinking that is a prayer to be led by The Spirit.
      Anyway, I thin that we inherit The Kingdom of God (or not) now, in this life in our heart and by degrees, hence forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.
      I’d love to see what David or someone else thinks about this as I have no formal training in theology… I am working on “informal training” though!

  5. David Bishop says:

    My previous comment was not directed towards Marc. My previous comment was for Tom.

  6. Tom says:

    http://www.outsidethecamp.org/marriage.htm

    Their marriage doctrines are apparently even more strict than those addressed in this article. I myself have wondered about this issue before, and its yet another reason why it bothers me that the Bible doesn’t just come out and tell us what is right or wrong in these cases. While they make a somewhat plausible case that sexual intercourse constitutes marriage, why is there no command that people who have had multiple partners remain celibate, as this article suggests? Why did Paul say that a man who has sex with a prostitute becomes one flesh with her? How would such a position not qualify as a defacto prohibition on marriage for 90% of Christians in the western world (and probably a majority elsewhere). Even leaving aside the question of salvation, surely the Church still has some doctrine of ethics. So what is that doctrine when it comes to sex and marriage?

    • Alien Pebble says:

      I noticed two problems in this article. First, there is no mention of Jesus’ words about “adultery in his heart”. Unless OTC wants to make a distinction between “adultery in heart” and actual adultery, their rule would outlaw practically everybody from marriage.

      Second, the inference that a man must divorce his wife if she commits fornication from Jesus’ “except for fornication” is implausible. This turns an exception clause into a command.

      In support of this interpretation, OTC quotes the OT rule that if a man divorces his wife, and his wife marries a second man, and that second man divorces her or dies, the first man should not remarry the woman.

      But it is a mistake to read the “one flesh till death” principle into this rule, since this rule itself allows for divorce and remarriage, and forbids the first man from remarrying the woman even if the second man died.

      • Tom says:

        Yeah, there’s a lot of problems with their view, and I’ve been breaking it down with a detailed rebuttal. Not sure if I’ll end up sending it to them tho, because, the more I look into it, the more ignorant I think they are. The main sticking point is Paul’s statement that a man becomes one flesh with a prostitute. That’s a tough one. In a sense, sex and marriage ARE morally intertwined in God’s eyes. In other words sex only SHOULD occur within a marriage commitment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it always does, or that sex always creates a marriage in God’s eyes. The issue is the classic is/ought problem. We live in a world where sex is not confined to marriage, and we ought to reject this norm. But what does this mean? What does the “ought” imply for a Christian? Would Paul exclude the Corinthian fornicators from marrying? If so, why didn’t he say that?

        “Second, the inference that a man must divorce his wife if she commits fornication from Jesus’ “except for fornication” is implausible. This turns an exception clause into a command.

        In support of this interpretation, OTC quotes the OT rule that if a man divorces his wife, and his wife marries a second man, and that second man divorces her or dies, the first man should not remarry the woman.”

        These people also hold that even if your wife is RAPED by some other guy, then you must cease all sexual relations with her for as long as she lives. This is a borderline insane extrapolation of commandments.

        But the nagging questions are still there. What does constitute marriage in the Bible? We know that there was generally consent involved, and most of the time some sort of financial transaction and public acknowledgement. And the whole issue of divorce and remarriage is so vaguely dealt with that both sides of the debate are forced to extrapolate. Is a person in a second marriage obligated to divorce? We have no such commandment. Are they to stay together? Again, no commandment explicitly dealing with this scenario. Even though we know from history that divorce and remarriage were common among both Jews and Gentiles in the NT era. So surely there must have been converts to Christianity who were on their second or third marriages.

        Then you have the issue of polygyny. The thing is, nowhere is this practice forbidden or explicitly described as immoral anywhere in the Bible. And furthermore, adultery is only explicitly defined as a woman cheating on her husband, or a man sleeping with another man’s wife. The idea of a man “cheating” on his wife is simply not addressed in the Bible. It wasn’t even a logical category of adultery, and bizarre as this sounds to our modern sensibilities. It might be fornication, but not adultery.

        One could object that Jesus’ words on divorce and remarriage make sexual infidelity on the man’s part adultery, but this is not obvious at all. When he says that a man who divorces and remarries commits adultery against his first wife, he had a good reason from the Law of Moses for saying this, that had nothing to do with an obligation of sexual fidelity. A man was required, under the law, to not diminish any of the material provisions that he gave his wife if he decided to take another. A man who divorces his wife and takes another violates this rule.

        But Jesus doesn’t specify in what way the man is being unfaithful, so we are left to guess. But the idea that he is being sexually unfaithful rests on the assumption of an obligation of sexual fidelity that is to be found nowhere in scripture, so it has to be imported into the text.

        And I could go on and on. But it is quite frustrating that the Bible speaks so vehemently against fornication and adultery, and yet doesn’t clearly define which kinds of sex are included in these categories, and which kind aren’t.

  7. Alien Pebble says:

    I question the theory that justified elect will necessarily lead a life of “characteristic obedience”, so that “characteristic obedience” becomes a necessary mark of the regenerate. First, this takes away the assurance in the past death of Christ and puts the focus on what Spirit enables the elect to do now. Second, this takes the hope off the future resurrection to glory and puts the focus on what Spirit enables the elect to become now. In short, you cannot mix works with promises.

    Is this antinomianism? I submit that “characteristic obedience” theory is the real antinomianism, since it lowered the standard of God’s law. It really reminds me of some cultists who said that keeping seventh-day Sabbath is the mark of the elect – when reminded they cannot really keep the seventh-day Sabbath in its true form, they reply that they are “sincerely trying to keep it”, which proves they are “circumcised in Spirit”. In the end, what matters is not what God’s law demands, but what man tries best to do. This is the religion of Cain.

    Is it possible for a Christian to lack “characteristic obedience”? Let’s consider some scripture in light of effectual atonement.

    1 Corinthians 8:10-11 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.

    – Unless Paul speaks of an impossibility here, ruin (sin of idolatry) is possible to a Christian.

    2 Peter 1:8-9 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

    – Unless Peter speaks of an impossibility here, unfruitfulness is possible to a Christian.

    1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

    – “Cover a multitude of sins” cannot mean eternal salvation from wrath. It probably means temporal salvation from chastisement of sins.

    James 5:19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

    – Ditto.

    All Christians have the same foundation and final destination. But all Christians are not equally fruitful in this life. One’s standard of “characteristic obedience” might be a yoke/burden for someone else, and licentiousness/compromise for yet another.

    • libertyblogger101 says:

      I certainly agree that every Christian has a different level of growth in this life. I also reject the fact that my view (or Carpenter’s… I mostly agree with him on this one issue even though I disagree with most of the other controversial things he says) “lowers the standards of the law.” A Christian’s works are an overflow of gratitude for the grace he has received, not an attempt to maintain one’s salvation. (i’m not going to play the name calling game and call you an antinomian, I see that as being just as silly as the hyper-calvinist and tolerant calvinist and hypo-calvinist accusations that people throw around all the time. I disagree with you on scriptural grounds not because of a label.)

      I wish David Bishop had directly answered Marc’s question about the serial child rapist who says he believes the gospel (though he did indirectly answer it, and I know what his answer is, he should have answered it directly rather than pretending it was a pornographic thought). It seems like David Bishop, and I assume you as well, would refuse to fellowship with this man but would nonetheless have to call him a brother, since the only evidence of justification is belief. I would disagree, and I think your interpretation metaphorically tears James 2 out of the Bible.

      Does this mean every Christian is going to be a George Muller or Charles Spurgeon or George Whitefield? Does it mean that every Christian will essentially be Mother Theresa (minus the damnably heretical doctrine)? No. Of course not. Does it mean that a Christian will inevitably give at least some effort to glorify God? Yes, it does. Does this effort save him? Absolutely not. Does this effort come from the believer? No, it comes directly from God himself. Sanctification is 100% monergistic. But it is a process that will inevitably happen (at different speeds.) There is no such thing as a Christian who just says “yeah, God saved me, so I’ll just do what I want and not worry about it.” Just like there’s no Christian who confesses “there is no God.” Wait… you guys agreed with me that a believer won’t deny God’s existence, are you now saying salvation is by works? Of course not.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        You missed the point of my last reply. I was not using the perfect standard of God’s law to belittle Christian obedience, but using it to condemn the man-made standards of “characteristic obedience”.

        The man-made standards of “characteristic obedience” certainly lowered the standard of God’s law. Take OTC as an example, they redefine “adulterers, thieves, idolaters” etc as the sort of people living a life “characterized” by these sins, rather than anyone who committed these sins. This “person-work” distinction allows them to lessen the force of certain passages condemning “adulterers, thieves, idolaters” etc and turn them into a standard of “characteristic obedience” for the regenerate. Upon this they boldly condemn “adulterers, thieves, idolaters” etc as unregenerate without condemning themselves. What a self-serving maneuver, just like the Pharisees of the old!

        Now let’s look at the burning question of all “characteristic obedience” proponents: but what about someone who says he believes the gospel but live a life “characterized” by heinous sins, even worse than pagans?

        If someone makes the gospel a license to sin, then he does not believe in the gospel, just like those who make the gospel a new law to obey. The real question is not “how serious/frequent are your sins”, but “what do you think the gospel is”. True believers fall into sin, feel sorrow for it when pointed out to him, and rest on God’s forgiveness in Christ’s blood.

        Note, however, not all those living a life “characterized” by “heinous” sins make the gospel a license to sin, and not all those making the gospel a license to sin lives a life “characterized” by “heinous” sins. Basically, “characterized” and “heinous” are unhelpful descriptions that distract from the real issue.

        Let me give you two examples. Lot had lived among the Sodomites for a long time (just to be clear, he was not born there but gradually moved to the city), even not wanting to leave when the angels told him so. He surely sinned in all this. But he did not make the gospel a license to sin, but felt sorrow over the lawlessness of Sodomites. For this reason, God saved him from the impending doom.

        On the other hand, many tolerant Calvinists believe that God saves Arminians in their Arminianism, which shows the “grace” of God.

      • libertyblogger101 says:

        @alien pebble- OK, the person who sins, is confronted when he sins, and repents, is not the person I had in mind with regards to my post. I doubt that this is what Marc Carpenter had in mind either (I just have to be clear here lest I be misrepresented, I am not defending him or his ministry at all, just what I think his position is on this one issue.) If you look at Matthew 18 with regards to church discipline, first you’re supposed to confront your brother with his sin. If he repents, you’ve won him back. If he doesn’t, you bring one or two brothers with you and confront him again. If he repents, you’ve won him back, if not the entire church is informed. If he STILL doesn’t repent, then you cast him out of the church and treat him as an unbeliever. You assume that he’s an unbeliever and that he doesn’t believe the gospel. Could we be wrong? Yeah, I guess so. But we’re not called to worry about that, once it gets to that point you throw them out of the church and turn them over to Satan. Period.

        Look at the example that Marc Carpenter was presenting. A man approaches your church and confesses he believes the gospel of free and sovereign grace, and answers every doctrinal question to your satisfaction. He also tells you that he’s a child rapist, and that he has no intentions of ceasing this sin (remember, this is the example that Marc actually presented). I would say that based on the fact that he is proud and unrepentant of his sin even though he knows its a sin, his claim that he believes the gospel is a lie. I’m not saying he’s unsaved because he doesn’t stop sinning. He’s not saved because the blood of Christ has yet to be applied to his account (if Christ died for him it ultimately will be, otherwise not). But his unrepentant sin is PROOF that the blood of Christ has not been applied to his account.

        Contrast with a recovering alcoholic. He tells you that he believes in the gospel of free and sovereign grace. He strives to overcome his sin with the help of the Holy Spirit. He’s not proud of it and he is sorrowful before God for his sin. Yet, he still continues to fall into it regularly, because he’s addicted. He is in a cycle: he falls, he repents, he falls, he repents, on and on. Is this man necessarily lost? No. And this is the type of person you seem to be discussing in your post. But its the first guy in the above paragraph that Carpenter is talking about.

        As for your last comment, I’ll assume that by “tolerant calvinist” you mean a Calvinist who believes at least some Arminians are saved (if you have a different definition, please clarify.) I don’t see how this viewpoint as such either shows or fails to show God’s grace. Its a completely irrelevant diversion. Think about it, God is gracious in that he chose to save a people for himself based solely on his work on the cross, received and imputed through faith. Whether we say this applies to some Arminians or not (My answer to this would depend on how “Arminian” is defined, I’ve upset some Calvinists by seriously questioning the salvation of most Arminians, but to make an absolute statement that “all Arminians are unsaved” I’d probably have to define Arminianism more tightly than I’m guessing you would) is irrelevant to how gracious God is. I’m not seeing the relevance. God saves who he wants to save, and that is grace. The real question is, what does scripture say those who are saved will believe at the bare minimum? That’s the real issue.

        “Tolerant Calvinism” is such a silly term anyway. Its really broad and refers to way too many different people with a broad brush. Its also a completely unnecessary category of people. If you believe someone doesn’t have saving faith on the sole basis that they don’t believe all Arminians are unregenerate, you are defining things way too tightly. The way to life is narrow, yes. But the narrow path is wide enough to include great multitudes (Revelation 7.) Although a small portion compared to the entire world, the elect are nonetheless a large number in relative terms. Yet, I’ve never seen someone off the internet who has rolled with the whole peace speaking chain concept…. ever (By the rapid peace speaking chain concept I mean this whole thing where you go “You think this person’s saved, and that person thinks that Arminian is saved, so obviously you aren’t really saved.” I once saw Marc Carpenter tell someone they weren’t really saved on the grounds that they thought tolerant calvinists could be saved even though they didn’t think Arminians could. Basically, his reasoning went, this obscure hyper-calvinist blogger (He actually was a hyper, by his own definition) thinks John Robbins was saved and thus believed the same gospel as John Robbins, and John Robbins thought some universal atonement advocates were saved and so he believed the same gospel as them, and thus this blogger believed the same gospel as the universal atonement advocate. I don’t think the average Christian could comprehend the reasoning, and heaven forbid you try to preach the gospel to an atheist. It just gets sillier and sillier. I keep things simple. Christ died to redeem all those who trust in him alone to save them, and only for those who trust in him alone for their salvation. If asked I will go into more detail about election and explain that logically the penal substituonary death of Christ makes no sense without also saying that Christ died ONLY for his people (Which Jesus implies, though does not outright state, in John 10:15.) I’m not going to pound people over the head and make sure they understand every logical conclusion of sola gratia at the moment of conversion. Of course, if the person actually disbelieves in sola gratia (baptismal regenerationists are a good and easy example) I will call them unregenerate. I’m not going to make sure someone agrees with me on that before I call them saved (and if I were to do so, I would then have to decide if I’m going to say that everyone who doesn’t call the person who tolerates the baptismal regenerationist unsaved is also unsaved, and the person who tolerates that guy, and it just keeps going and getting more ridiculous.)

      • Alien Pebble says:

        I said somewhere: if someone makes the gospel a license to sin, then he does not believe in the gospel. In particular, if someone knows he is sinning and is not ashamed of it, then he does not believe in the gospel, since he does not even believe in law.

        Arminian sympathizers (a better name than “tolerant Calvinists”) do not understand the gospel, which includes the truth of the work of Spirit in the justified elect bringing them to glorify in the cross alone.

  8. Tom says:

    “If someone makes the gospel a license to sin, then he does not believe in the gospel, just like those who make the gospel a new law to obey. The real question is not “how serious/frequent are your sins”, but “what do you think the gospel is”.”

    This is almost exactly the position I had come to before I started researching these views recently. And I am still inclined to think it, but now I have my doubts. We’ve got the “characteristic obedience” guys, and I agree, it seems like they’re playing games with the Law. But there are also probationists, and they are a bit more consistent in saying that any sin separates you from grace, so you have to constantly keep “repenting”. But then there is a more extreme view that takes John’s statement that he who is born of God “cannot sin” as an absolute. They think that if you are really born again, then you won’t sin ever again, and if you sin at all, then it is evidence that you have never been regenerated. And they’re serious. This, of course extremely limits the number of people who are true Christians, but that in itself doesn’t invalidate it. I mean, even you guys do the same thing when you conclude that Arminians and tolerant Calvinists are not regenerate. It seems that no matter what position I look at, the stongest adherents of that view will limit the regenerate to maybe a few thousand people worldwide, and believe that the overwhelming majority of professing Christians are actually unregenerate.

    • Alien Pebble says:

      Scripture says many will be saved, but scripture also says only a remnant will be saved. Therefore, numbers, whether few or many, are no indicators of truth.

      The “probationist” view does not differ much from the “characteristic obedience” view, as it may be called “characteristic repentance”. The question remains, how good is your repentance? Are you sure you repented enough?

      The problem with “characteristic obedience” or “characteristic repentance” is not striving to obey or repent, but making it into an exam for justification.

      1 Corinthians 4:3-4 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

      What about “absolutely not sinning”? That’s more consistent than either “characteristic obedience” or “characteristic repentance”. But like universalism, this consistent theory is decidedly overthrown by biblical data.

      All these views have one error in common: justification by works. Let me make this more clear. Good works (obedience or repentance) are “what I have done for Christ”. This can never be the decisive evidence that one is in Christ, because one must know one is in Christ before one can work for Christ. Now some people will say: although you cannot know you are in Christ by doing good works, you can know you are not in Christ by not doing good works. This is like the logic Arminians employ: you are be saved by your “yes”, but you are damned for your “no”. But there is no actual difference. One implies the other.

      The only way to know you are in Christ is to see if you believe the gospel, which is about Christ’s work alone and not about your works. This is justification by faith alone.

    • libertyblogger101 says:

      Speaking for myself, I don’t know for sure if Arminians are saved. If somebody really believes in Arminianism I don’t see how they could be. I mean, how could a Christian hear the absolute sovereignty of God presented to them and then insist that they had some part in their own salvation anyway? I’m willing to leave it at “I don’t see how that could happen” rather than saying it absolutely can’t happen. I know of Arminians who have stated in no uncertain terms that they cannot accept Calvinistic theology because “they just couldn’t worship that type of a God.” As far as I’m concerned these people are most likely not saved, but again, I’m willing to leave it there. I could be wrong about their spiritual state. I certainly wouldn’t recommend the ministry of such a person or give that person any kind of assurance. If asked I would tell that person that they are in idolatry and need to seriously and prayerfully examine their spiritual state. At that point, its in God’s hands.

      On the other hand, there are a lot of people who simply “default” to Arminian terminology but aren’t actually Arminians, rather, they really haven’t thought about the issue at all. These people aren’t refusing to submit to the sovereignty of God, they just don’t completely understand it. I’ve heard of people in this category who knew full well that they could not contribute anything to their own salvation, but didn’t understand how that connected into a system and so said they believed in free will at the same time. Are these people unsaved? I don’t think so. Again, these people aren’t refusing to submit to God’s sovereignty of making a God in their own image. They submit themselves to what scripture says about God, to the best of their own understanding.

      And… to say that someone is unsaved because they incorrectly judge someone else’s salvation is where it gets really ridiculous. Now, to be clear, I am not talking about people who deny that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Obviously people who deny that are denying the gospel. I’m talking about saying that in order to be considered saved you must be able to draw “the line” in exactly the right place. This is an absurd and unnecessary expectation. One need not have a precise understanding of which heresies are damnable in order to trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone to save them. To say they do is at least in some sense adding to the gospel.

      • Tom says:

        “Speaking for myself, I don’t know for sure if Arminians are saved. If somebody really believes in Arminianism I don’t see how they could be. I mean, how could a Christian hear the absolute sovereignty of God presented to them and then insist that they had some part in their own salvation anyway? I’m willing to leave it at “I don’t see how that could happen” rather than saying it absolutely can’t happen. I know of Arminians who have stated in no uncertain terms that they cannot accept Calvinistic theology because “they just couldn’t worship that type of a God.” As far as I’m concerned these people are most likely not saved, but again, I’m willing to leave it there.”

        The hardline Arminians that you reference here (as opposed to the niave “Arminian” that has never really thought about the issue) do have some good reasons for not accepting the Calvinist understand. As good, in my eyes, as the Calvinist’s reasons for rejecting Arminianism.

        The idea of limited atonement entails that election is logically prior to the atonement. Thus it implies that God is showing favoritism to sinners, which can be considered an attack on God’s holiness. Furthermore this favoritism itself would be the true ground of a believers salvation, not Christ’s sacrifice. So the Arminian will say that the atonment must have been applied to all men logically prior to God’s choosing of any.

        But then the Calvinist will object that the Arminian conditions his salvation on his own faith, and not on Christ’s death. So the Arminian accuses the Calvinist of grounding salvation in election, and the Calvinist accuses the Armininian of grounding it in his own choice, and both accuse each other of not not grounding it in the work of Christ alone. Are Arminans saved? Are Calvinists saved? I don’t know. The problem is intractable.

        I’m starting to think that both are arguing from a flawed theory of the nature of the atonement. The Penal Substitution theory just doesn’t make sense. If the penalty for our sin is the Lake of Fire, then Jesus didn’t pay that. He won’t be taking any sinner’s place in the lake of fire. What did Jesus suffer? Physical death, the separation of the soul from the body. Now his payment of that penalty for sin was not substitutionary, since his people still die physical deaths.

        So instead, it seems to me that the proper account of the atonement is that Christ shared in our death, even though he didn’t deserve it, so that we could share in his resurrection, even though we don’t deserve it. And inasmuch as all men, believers and unbelievers alike, will be resurrected, it seems that he has atoned for everyone. The main issue of salvation, then, is whether we will spend our eternal life with him, or separated from him, which is conditioned on our relationship to him.

        From what I understand, this kind of falls into the “Christus Victor” theory of the atonement. I have no doubt that many will say this is “damnable heresy”, but that’s just how it goes, I guess.

      • David Bishop says:

        Tom, the gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness (Rom 1:16). That is, the gospel reveals why God is righteous to save some people from the punishment of death for their sins, even while sentencing other people to die for their sins. Notice that. The gospel reveals election! It also reveals limited atonement! It reveals these things because these things are what makes God righteous to save some and punish others!

        A gospel that does not have election and limited atonement is a false, UNRIGHTEOUS gospel that CANNOT save you.

        Of course God shows favortism to His people. “Jacob I love, but Esau I have hated.” This does not in any way effect God’s holiness. God was perfectly just to set His love and hate upon anyone He pleased. Is He not the sovereign creator of the universe? Is this not His universe, and is He not just to run it exactly as how He sees fit to run it?

        Who are you to say to God, no, You cannot do things this way? Will the pot say to the potter, why did you make me like this?

        As long as He does not go back on His word and lie, then He is just to love and anyone He pleases. He has not lied about this, Tom. He has told us plainly in His Word that He chose to set His love only upon a certain people from before the foundation of the world, and to set His hate upon everyone else. He did not lie about this. He has not changed His mind. He is perfectly just to have done it like this in order to glorify His name.

        So you see, it sounds to me like you are the one who has a problem with God’s sovereignty.

      • David Bishop says:

        David Cooke (aka libertyblogger), nowhere does the text say “treat him like an unbeliever.” If you would stop presuming for once and instead actually quote the text, then you might have spotted that.

        1 Corinthians 5:4-5
        4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, SO THAT HIS SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED ON THE DAY OF THE LORD.

        The man is not an unbeliever! The church was not to treat him as an unbeliever. THEY WERE TO TREAT HIM AS A BROTHER WHOM THEY COULD NO LONGER FELLOWSHIP WITH ON THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY!

        I wish you would stop coming on here presuming rather than quoting. Your arguments are terrible, your references even worse. It is obvious you do not know the Scriptures. It is obvious you have presumed rather than studied for most, if not all, your life.

      • Tom says:

        “Tom, the gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness (Rom 1:16). That is, the gospel reveals why God is righteous to save some people from the punishment of death for their sins, even while sentencing other people to die for their sins. Notice that. The gospel reveals election! It also reveals limited atonement! It reveals these things because these things are what makes God righteous to save some and punish others!”

        How in the world is that supposed to make sense? The gospel reveals why God is righteous to save some and damn others, by proclaiming that he saves some and damns others? You’re just talking in circles. Romans 1:16-17 claim that the gospel reveals God’s righteousness in consistently saving by faith. It does not ground this righteousness in his arbitrary sovereign choice. That wouldn’t be righteousness at all. It may not be unrighteous either tho. It would just be a neutral statement of fact.

        “Who are you to say to God, no, You cannot do things this way? Will the pot say to the potter, why did you make me like this?”

        If the potter makes it say that, then yeah it will. Innit?

        “As long as He does not go back on His word and lie, then He is just to love and anyone He pleases. He has not lied about this, Tom. He has told us plainly in His Word that He chose to set His love only upon a certain people from before the foundation of the world, and to set His hate upon everyone else. He did not lie about this. He has not changed His mind. He is perfectly just to have done it like this in order to glorify His name.”

        Yeah, but the thing is, God has told us the condition that defines those people upon whom he sets his love, and it is faith. And all those passages about God’s sovereign choice are arguing that He is righteous in this choice because He has consistently chosen according to the same rule or pattern. Calvinists, on the other hand, will take those passages, just like you’ve done with Romans 1:16-17, and try to make them say something they don’t, namely that it was perfectly arbitrary.

        Now, the Calvinist doctrine of Eternal Justification can explain this to some extent, by claiming that faith is nothing more than the evidence, to the individual, that God has justified them in eternity. And this makes some sense, but it raises more problems, and apparently it is a point of contention even among Calvinists.

        But even so, how is an election grounded Calvinistic atonement any more Christ centered than a faith grounded atonement in Arminianism? It isn’t. In both ontologies Jesus just makes salvation possible, while some other condition must actualize it.

        And then on top of that, if we hold that Christ’s sacrifice was NECESSARY to make sinners acceptable to God, then an election prior to atonement is impossible. Conversely, an election prior to atonemnt means that Christ’s sacrifice was not a necessary condition of the acceptability of sinners. More of a necessary consequence of the fact that God has accepted them.

        Is this wrong? Not necessarily, but it has consequences for the way that Calvinists must speak about the atonement, and I don’t think they are at all consistent.

      • David Bishop says:

        No, faith is not the condition. Election and atonement is the condition. You are reading Romans 1 as if there is no Romans 9 and 10. You are ignoring the fact that Christ is not priestly mediator for the entire world. Hebrews 9 and 10 are clear about this. Again, your problem is with the fact God is sovereign. I stand by what I said; the gospel reveals God’s righteousness through election and limited atonement. Faith is the means by which God justify, but it is not the cause. Hebrews 10:1-3 explains why faith cannot be the cause and condition. It is something you must do continually, therefore making it no better than the Old Testament sacrifices

      • Alien Pebble says:

        – The righteousness revealed in the gospel is the death of Christ to the law for the elect, which now DEMANDS the salvation of all for whom Christ died. This is GOOD NEWS!

        The righteousness revealed in the gospel is NOT faith in the gospel. THAT would be talking in circles.

        – Us putting election before atonement? Are you trying to pit the Son against the Father? The Son redeemed all those given by the Father. He finished this work and was resurrected to glory, sitting at the right hand of the Father now administering the fruit of his labor.

        Atonement reveals election. The Son reveals the Father.

      • libertyblogger101 says:

        @David Bishop- If the man in question were already saved, Paul would not have said to turn him over to Satan SO THAT his Spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord. If this person were already saved, Paul would not say this. Paul is saying to excommunicate this person in the hope that they may repent and be saved. He is not saying that this person is a brother.

      • Tom says:

        “You are reading Romans 1 as if there is no Romans 9 and 10.”

        Not true at all, but if you’d like, we can go thru Romans 9 and 10 and see if your interpretation holds water. From past experience, I can almost guarantee that its full of holes.

        “You are ignoring the fact that Christ is not priestly mediator for the entire world.”

        That depends on what you mean by “preistly mediator”. But it is by no means an obvious fact.

        “Hebrews 9 and 10 are clear about this. Again, your problem is with the fact God is sovereign.”

        No, my problem is with your understanding of “sovereignty”, as well as a few other attributes. See, that’s the issue Calvinists never concede. The debate is about their concept of god, and whether it conforms to the way he is portrayed in scripture. But in every debate they always act like their opponent has some problem with the way that God obviously “is”. They are quick to accuse their opponents of constructing an imaginary concept of god, but they will never, not even for a second, even entertain arguments that their idea of God is imaginary. They never even engage in the debate that they say they want.

        “I stand by what I said; the gospel reveals God’s righteousness through election and limited atonement.”

        Stand by it all you want, but you are apparently incapable of explaining it without running around in circles. Enter Euthyphro.

      • Tom says:

        “The righteousness revealed in the gospel is NOT faith in the gospel. THAT would be talking in circles.”

        Good thing I didn’t say that then.

        “Us putting election before atonement?”

        Yes, that much is simply undeniable. Unless you are a four point Calvinist.

        “Are you trying to pit the Son against the Father?”

        No, if you’ll look at my earlier post, I don’t even believe in substitutionary atonement, which is pretty much the basis of pitting the Son against the Father. Yiou guys do believe in it tho, so I am just requesting some consistency here. Do you deny that election is logically prior to atonement? If so, then you must necessarily accept a universal atonement. But if not, then election is your ground of salvation, the efficient cause of it, and the atonement is simply the process whereby it is achieved. And then you have the problem with maintaining God’s holiness. One the one hand you want to claim that the atonement is necessary for God to accept or show favor to sinners, but on the other hand, you believe that God does this prior (logically) to the atonement.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        Election is God’s love. God elects Christ first to glorify him as the Redeemer of sinners, and then elects some sinners in Christ to be saved by him. The rest of creation serves this ultimate purpose of redemption, including the reprobate humanity.

        The ground of salvation is God’s love which is revealed in the cross. Even while the elect were enemies of God, God loved them and sent His Son to die for them. However, God’s wrath is only removed when God places the elect into legal union with the Son, which results in justification and regeneration.

        Atonement is not a condition of God’s love (election), but a result of that love. The origin of salvation is God’s love in Christ, the end of salvation is glory of Christ the Redeemer.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        Election determines atonement and atonement reveals election. This is simply the Father-Son relationship: the Father sent the Son to do his will and the Son reveals the Father. Limited atonement goes hand in hand with election. Neither undermines the significance of the other, contrary to your claim, but actually strengthens each other, for the Father and the Son are one.

        The gospel says both: Christ died to the law for the elect alone, so that now justice demands their salvation.

        The gospel says more of course, namely the work of Spirit in testifying Christ to the elect and glorifying Christ in their heart.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        I don’t think 1 Corinthians 5:5 speak of an unbeliever. It is an example of 2 Peter 1, someone who forgot he was purified from his sins.

        Notice that Paul did not say “so that he may be saved before death” but “in the Day of the Lord”. It is too late to be justified/born again on the Day of the Lord. Paul is not delivering his flesh to Satan so that he might be justified/born again, but delivering his flesh to Satan as a means of preservation.

      • Tom says:

        “Election determines atonement and atonement reveals election. This is simply the Father-Son relationship: the Father sent the Son to do his will and the Son reveals the Father. Limited atonement goes hand in hand with election. Neither undermines the significance of the other, contrary to your claim, but actually strengthens each other, for the Father and the Son are one.”

        OK, good, so I assume we can agree that election is logically prior to atonement in your understanding.
        So what exactly did Christ’s death accomplish? Was it merely a revelation of God’s favor for certain sinners? And if so, why was it necessary for Christ to die to reveal this?

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom:

        Is this your question: why is atonement necessary, if God already loves the elect?

        I am bewildered by this question. For the elect sinners, atonement is necessary to take away their sins, so they could one day pass from death to life.

        If this is your question, you seem to be falling into the same trap that Eternal Justification crowd falls into. I can ask back, “why is resurrection necessary, if God already loves the elect?”

        Perhaps you are asking why God decreed the state of affairs so that atonement is necessary. I’ve addressed previously. The reason is for the glory of Christ in the redemption of the elect. The elect are made as vessels of mercy to glorify Christ.

      • Tom says:

        “For the elect sinners, atonement is necessary to take away their sins, so they could one day pass from death to life.”

        Can you elaborate on this? In what sense does the atonement take away their sins? Why is this necessary? What do you mean by “pass from death to life”?

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        Christ was imputed with the sins of the elect, became guilty for these sins, and died under the law, which satisfied the justice of God in dealing with the sins of the elect.

        However, justification does not happen at the cross or in eternity. Individual elect are born in sin like everybody else, but in time, the Father will baptize the elect sinner into the death of Christ, i.e. put the elect into legal union with Christ, so that the death of Christ is now counted as the death of the elect sinner. This imputation of Christ’s death to the elect sinner results in justification (legal life) and regeneration (Spiritual life).

        Do you still wonder why the atonement is necessary?

      • Tom says:

        “Christ was imputed with the sins of the elect, became guilty for these sins, and died under the law, which satisfied the justice of God in dealing with the sins of the elect.”

        OK, so how did it satisfy the justice of God, and why was this necessary? Preumably the elect sinners stood in some definite relationship to God’s justice prior to their justification. What was it? Was it the same as that of non-elect sinners?

        “However, justification does not happen at the cross or in eternity. Individual elect are born in sin like everybody else, but in time, the Father will baptize the elect sinner into the death of Christ, i.e. put the elect into legal union with Christ, so that the death of Christ is now counted as the death of the elect sinner. This imputation of Christ’s death to the elect sinner results in justification (legal life) and regeneration (Spiritual life).”

        So what exaclty is the status of the elect sinner before this legal union? Is he under the wrath of God, or not? Does God hate him, as he hates all workers of iniquity? If so, how can he show favor to him? And what does it mean to put the elect in “legal union with Christ”? Is the substitionary atonement a sort of divine legal fiction? And how exactly does Christ’s death pay the penalty for the sins of the elect, if their penalty is actually the Lake of Fire?

        “Do you still wonder why the atonement is necessary?”

        No, I still wonder why you think it was necessary, because I can’t see how it is in your soteriology.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        The elect sinner was also under wrath of God prior to justification, just like the non-elect sinner.

        By “favor of God” to the ungodly elect, I assume you mean one (or more) of the following things
        (1) Election
        (2) Atonement
        (3) Imputation

        (3) God imputes the death of Christ to the elect sinner out of obligation to Christ, because Christ has died for that elect sinner to save him.

        (2) Christ took the sins of the elect and died in place of the elect for these sins, because God has given the elect sinners to him.

        (1) God elected some sinners in Christ, because God wanted to glorify Christ as the redeemer of some sinners.

        So none of these things depend on the elect, who is indeed indistinguishable from the non-elect, but only the glory of God. You will probably consider (1) the most “arbitrary”. Why some sinners, not other sinners? Well, you can expect my answer, it is the “good pleasure” (sovereignty) of God.

        If you consider this “legal fiction”, I will remind you again that God is not only just but also sovereign in his justice. He has the power to create legal solidarity between Christ and the elect, just as he has the power to create legal solidarity between Adam and his posterity. If you deny imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the elect, you probably also deny imputation of Adam’s guilt to his posterity. If so, it is time for me to stop talking, as our starting point is too different.

      • Tom says:

        “The elect sinner was also under wrath of God prior to justification, just like the non-elect sinner.”

        In what sense? Did God intend to damn him?

        “By “favor of God” to the ungodly elect, I assume you mean one (or more) of the following things
        (1) Election
        (2) Atonement
        (3) Imputation”

        Election, inasmuch as you place it prior to atonement.

        “(3) God imputes the death of Christ to the elect sinner out of obligation to Christ, because Christ has died for that elect sinner to save him.”

        And we come back to the question, why did Christ have to die for the elect to save him? Save him from what? God’s wrath?

        “(2) Christ took the sins of the elect and died in place of the elect for these sins, because God has given the elect sinners to him.”

        In what sense did Christ die “in place” of the elect? If you believe that means that he substituted for us, then you have a problem, since people (including the elect) still die. If, on the other hand, you are claiming that his physical death was a substitution for our punishment in hell, then you need God to sovereignly declare these two punishments equivalent, even though they are entirely different kinds of things. So you need God to both declare that the elect are legally united with Christ (in some unspecified and mysterious way) and that his sacrifice was equivalent to our penalty (in some other mysterious way). Now if God’s sovereignty entails that he can just declare things to be satisfied in such a way that it isn’t in conformity to any known principle, then why was Christ’s sacrifice necessary at all? Why couldn’t Jesus have just gotten a splinter or something, and the Father would have called it good?

        “(1) God elected some sinners in Christ, because God wanted to glorify Christ as the redeemer of some sinners.”

        An election that is logically prior to the atonement is hardly an election “in Christ”. In fact the claim that God elects in Christ seems to explicitly reverse that logical order.

        “So none of these things depend on the elect, who is indeed indistinguishable from the non-elect, but only the glory of God. You will probably consider (1) the most “arbitrary”. Why some sinners, not other sinners? Well, you can expect my answer, it is the “good pleasure” (sovereignty) of God.”

        That’s a non-answer tho. I have no doubt that the election pleases God, but the question is, why is He pleased to elect some sinners and damn others? And how does this glorify God any more than any other course of action that He could have taken? If God had chosen to damn everyone, or save everyone, would he be any less glorified?

        “If you consider this “legal fiction”, I will remind you again that God is not only just but also sovereign in his justice. He has the power to create legal solidarity between Christ and the elect, just as he has the power to create legal solidarity between Adam and his posterity.”

        “Sovereign justice”, as the Calvinist uses the concept, is practically meaningless. It is just the idea that whatever God does is necessarily just, because He is God. It is a vacuous appeal, and a retreat into mysticism. That’s one of the biggest problems with trying to have a discussion with a Calvinist. When you trace his logic beyond his ability to make an intelligible claim, it becomes all about mystery and paradox. Calvinism is immune to reductio ad absurdum.

        But that raises the question of what the imputation of sin in Adam actually is, and I certainly don’t think that it is any sort of legal solidarity “created” by God. Nor do I think you could give any solid scriptural argument that this is the nature of original sin. Now you might be tempted to start quoting scriptures that portray the condemnation in Adam and the justification in Christ as being somewhat parallel. But that would beg the question if you think it demonstrates that God creates a legal union with Adam.

        “If you deny imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the elect, you probably also deny imputation of Adam’s guilt to his posterity. If so, it is time for me to stop talking, as our starting point is too different.”

        No, I do not deny original sin, in fact it is essential to my understanding of the atonement.

      • David Bishop says:

        In what sense? In a forensic sense. “The soul who sins shall die”, “in the day you eat of it you shall die.” God has wrath for the sinner.

        Did He intend to damn them? Irrelevant question. Stick to the subject, please.

        The elect do still die, and yet they alone shall be raised to immortality. You equivocate. You treat death as something permanent in one part of your comment, then treat it as temporary in another. You are dishonest.

        I have already answered your question of God’s justice in election. You pretend as if I hadn’t simply because you didn’t like it. Quit being dishonest and then calling your dishonesty a good argument. It’s not. It’s just you being dishonest. Address the answer I gave rather than repeating the question. You come across sounding like a spoiled child.

        God’s actions are just, because He is just. Explain how this is vacuous and mystical. And you had better address this or I will start deleting your comments. I want you to explain just how precisely this Scriptural proposition is vacuous and mystical. Obviously you have a problem not only with God’s sovereignty, but also His holiness.

        Election precedes atonement, both in time and in decree. Even the most lopsided, lapsarian ignorant semi palagean agrees with this. It’s the palagean who doesn’t, and that because he thinks his will is unaffected by sin. God decreed to elect, God decreed to save those He elected by sending His Son to die on a cross. Both infralapsarians and supralapsarians agree with this order, because it is taught by Scripture. You don’t like this. I don’t care. Address the argument and quit making baseless assertions. Every time you open your mouth to say something about Calvinism, every Calvinist within earshot rolls their eyes, because they know you have never bothered to actually studied the Calvinist arguments. You just repeat what you’ve heard other people say. Do you even know what lapsarianism is? I bet you’ll have to Google it.

        Romans 5 explains exactly what original sin is. And it explains exactly how and why everyone is born a sinner. There is no condemnation without law. NEVERTHELESS, everyone from Adam to Moses was condemned to death even though their sinning was not like Adam’s – the disobedience of a direct command. How then could they be condemned if there was no law in effect? Ah, but there was a law in effect. Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But that command was given to Adam alone. Exactly! And yet everyone from Adam to Moses died for his disobedience. God imputed the guilt of Adam’s disobedience to them. But that’s not fair. You know what else is not fair? God imputing someone’s righteousness to a bunch of guilty people. That’s right, God condemns the same way He saves – by imputation! God is not fair. I am thankful He’s not

      • Tom says:

        “In what sense? In a forensic sense. “The soul who sins shall die”, “in the day you eat of it you shall die.” God has wrath for the sinner.

        Did He intend to damn them? Irrelevant question. Stick to the subject, please.”

        How is that an irrelevant question? I am asking what the wrath of God is. Is it his intent to damn?

        “The elect do still die, and yet they alone shall be raised to immortality. You equivocate. You treat death as something permanent in one part of your comment, then treat it as temporary in another. You are dishonest.”

        I’m not sure which parts of my comments you are referring to, but I can assure you that is not the case. I am dealing with two different ideas about the penalty for sin, and I thought I made that clear. Most Christians effectively say “the wages of sin is hell”, when the Bible says that the wages of sin is death. They will even quote that passage, but then say “‘death’ means ‘hell’ here”, when there is no textual evidence for this. Physical death, the separation of the soul from the body, is the result of Adam’s sin. But I deal with the idea that the penalty is the lake of fire also (which I think is incorrect).

        “I have already answered your question of God’s justice in election. You pretend as if I hadn’t simply because you didn’t like it. Quit being dishonest and then calling your dishonesty a good argument. It’s not. It’s just you being dishonest. Address the answer I gave rather than repeating the question. You come across sounding like a spoiled child.”

        I skimmed back thru your comments, and I’m not sure which answer you are talking about. You seem to simply claim that God is just in election, not explain how. Perhaps I missed something tho.

        “God’s actions are just, because He is just. Explain how this is vacuous and mystical. And you had better address this or I will start deleting your comments. I want you to explain just how precisely this Scriptural proposition is vacuous and mystical. Obviously you have a problem not only with God’s sovereignty, but also His holiness.”

        If God decided to create a person, and decreed that he would never sin, nor even want to, but then tortured him for eternity just because, would that be justice? I ask, because the issue is God’s sovereign justice, which is apparently the idea that whatever God does is automatically just, simply because it is God doing it. If that is the nature of God’s justice, then the Bible isn’t really saying anything when it says “the righteousness of God is revealed”. It might as well be saying “what God does is revealed” or “God does what he does”. That is why I say that sovereign justice is vacuous, because it makes no sense to predicate “justice” of any of God’s actions. It tells us nothing about God.

        “Election precedes atonement, both in time and in decree. Even the most lopsided, lapsarian ignorant semi palagean agrees with this.”

        I’m not sure that a semi-pelagian would place the election before atonement.

        “It’s the palagean who doesn’t, and that because he thinks his will is unaffected by sin. God decreed to elect, God decreed to save those He elected by sending His Son to die on a cross. Both infralapsarians and supralapsarians agree with this order, because it is taught by Scripture. You don’t like this. I don’t care. Address the argument and quit making baseless assertions. Every time you open your mouth to say something about Calvinism, every Calvinist within earshot rolls their eyes, because they know you have never bothered to actually studied the Calvinist arguments. You just repeat what you’ve heard other people say. Do you even know what lapsarianism is? I bet you’ll have to Google it.”

        I know what infra and supra lapsarianism are without having to google them, because I googled them a long time ago. Believe it or not, I have studied these issue. And the fact that you place election prior to atonement is a problem if you want to also claim that atonement was necessary to appease God’s wrath, and make the elect acceptable to him.

        “Romans 5 explains exactly what original sin is. And it explains exactly how and why everyone is born a sinner. There is no condemnation without law. NEVERTHELESS, everyone from Adam to Moses was condemned to death even though their sinning was not like Adam’s – the disobedience of a direct command. How then could they be condemned if there was no law in effect? Ah, but there was a law in effect. Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But that command was given to Adam alone. Exactly! And yet everyone from Adam to Moses died for his disobedience. God imputed the guilt of Adam’s disobedience to them. But that’s not fair. You know what else is not fair? God imputing someone’s righteousness to a bunch of guilty people. That’s right, God condemns the same way He saves – by imputation! God is not fair. I am thankful He’s not”

        I disagree with your perspective here on one key point, but I don’t have time to explain my position right now. I’ll try to get back to it later, if you haven’t banned me by then

      • David Bishop says:

        Let’s make this simple, Tom. Let’s address a text specifically, rather than with hypotheticals. Romans 5:12-14 is one of the texts that concerns the law and original sin.

        12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

        Law is clearly here, is it not? Does this text not shoe that Adam was under law?

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        I see you denied original guilt, but you do not deny “original sin”. What do you mean by that? Depravity? I believe depravity is a result of guilt, just as regeneration is a result of righteousness.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        The wages of sin is death. The Bible refers to hell/lake of fire as the second death. Saying “wages of sin is hell/lake of fire” is not wrong.

        The “in place of” refers to legal death. Legal is not fictional, but what God declares, which has “tangible” consequences (cf. Genesis 1). Note that when Christians die, they are said to “sleep” in distinction from “perish”, because they have entered the new creation in the legal/declarative sense. Thus, this world and its death (not just the death of his individual body, but also the final destruction of the entire old earth) is but an interim for the Christian, who is remembered by God. The same cannot be said to the unbeliever, who belongs to this world and perishes as it perishes.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        Christ is elected first, all the other elect (the Church) are chosen for his sake, namely revealing his glory in redemption. As for the non-elect, there are two reasons. First, they serve to reveal the Christ’s glory in judgment. (The cross already revealed God’s glory in judgment, but it was Father’s judgment, and the scripture says Christ was given the power of judgment after the cross.) Second, they serve as a means of gathering the Church through opposition.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        Even if you put atonement before election, you still put creation and fall before atonement. If you want to put atonement at the very first, you end up with an atonement that is not even for humanity, which is absurd.

      • Tom says:

        “I see you denied original guilt, but you do not deny “original sin”. What do you mean by that? Depravity? I believe depravity is a result of guilt, just as regeneration is a result of righteousness.”

        Where did I deny original guilt? I guess that depends on what you mean by guilt. Which kinda goes back to the point that I said I would address earlier. I don’t think that Adam and Eve were under a law, as such. What God told them was the necessary consequences of their actions, and warned them not to do it. It seems like many Christians think that he gave some sort of arbitrary command, and assigned the punishment of death to it. So it could have been any tree that he prohibitted, and the result would have been the same. I think this is incorrect. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and EVIL. And they got it. Both intellectual and experiential knowledge (death). The law came pursuant to their new nature and the entrance of death into the world. In that sense, while the law was a consequence of their sin, they were a priori guilty under it.

        “The wages of sin is death. The Bible refers to hell/lake of fire as the second death. Saying “wages of sin is hell/lake of fire” is not wrong.”

        It is wrong, because death and the second death are two different things. Adam received physical death as a result of his sin. “To dust shall you return”. The second death is something that falls upon a resurrected person.

        “The “in place of” refers to legal death. Legal is not fictional, but what God declares, which has “tangible” consequences (cf. Genesis 1).”

        So now we have a legal union with a legal death that is legally equivalent to the legal penalty for sin. All this legalism, and still you have not explained why the cross was necessary. If God’s sovereignty works the way you claim it does, then he could have declared anything to be sufficient payment for the forgiveness of sins.

        “Note that when Christians die, they are said to “sleep” in distinction from “perish”, because they have entered the new creation in the legal/declarative sense. Thus, this world and its death (not just the death of his individual body, but also the final destruction of the entire old earth) is but an interim for the Christian, who is remembered by God. The same cannot be said to the unbeliever, who belongs to this world and perishes as it perishes.”

        No, I’m pretty sure the same goes for unbelievers also, since they too will be raised on the Day of Judgment. Unless you’re one of those people that think that unbeleivers just die and then that’s it for them.

        “Christ is elected first, all the other elect (the Church) are chosen for his sake, namely revealing his glory in redemption. As for the non-elect, there are two reasons. First, they serve to reveal the Christ’s glory in judgment. (The cross already revealed God’s glory in judgment, but it was Father’s judgment, and the scripture says Christ was given the power of judgment after the cross.) Second, they serve as a means of gathering the Church through opposition.”

        Your parenthetical is quite significant. One of the main objections that I hear against universal atonement is the idea that if Christ died for all, then it would be unjust for any to be punished. The analogy is usually, if I owe Bob $100, and you pay it, then Bob can no longer collect money from me. While its true that I no longer owe Bob, now I owe you. You have bought my debt from Bob. So, under the assumption that Christ paid our debt to the Father, it is not true at all that we no longer owe it. Now we owe it to Christ, and he can either forgive it or hold it against us.

        “Even if you put atonement before election, you still put creation and fall before atonement. If you want to put atonement at the very first, you end up with an atonement that is not even for humanity, which is absurd.”

        Why would I put atonement at the very first? That WOULD be absurd.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        1. I guess our disagreement is even more fundamental then, since I think Adam was under law, but you think it’s some ontological/epistemological issue.

        2. Second death is the consummation of death, just as resurrection is the consummation of eternal life. Second death does not fall on a resurrected person, whose body is transformed, but falls on someone raised to judgment, whose body is not transformed. The transformation and judgment were only delayed for eschatological purpose – some in the future might be transformed while alive or cast into lake of fire while alive.

        3. “Legal death” is the “legal penalty for sin”, without needing any equivalence. The guilt of the elect was laid on Christ, and Christ was punished for that guilt in his death. God baptizes the elect into that death, which justifies the elect.

        4. The Day of Judgment is the end of the world, “the pay day”, not after the end of the world. See 2.

        5. No, your analogy does not work in penal substitution theory, thought it might work in Anselmian satisfaction theory. One’s guilt was either already laid on Christ and taken away by his death, or already not.

        6. Supralapsarianism puts atonement before fall and creation. You put atonement after creation and fall. Therefore, I do not think your view gives more priority to atonement. In fact, any infralapsarian theory, such as yours, demotes atonement into an afterthought, a reaction, a fix, while supralapsarianism says it is the purpose of creation.

      • Tom says:

        “1. I guess our disagreement is even more fundamental then, since I think Adam was under law, but you think it’s some ontological/epistemological issue.”

        Yeah, pretty much.

        “2. Second death is the consummation of death, just as resurrection is the consummation of eternal life.”

        People who die the second death are resurrected as well.

        “Second death does not fall on a resurrected person, whose body is transformed, but falls on someone raised to judgment, whose body is not transformed.”

        This claim is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

        “The transformation and judgment were only delayed for eschatological purpose – some in the future might be transformed while alive or cast into lake of fire while alive.”

        What happens to a person who is cast into the lake of fire without being transformed?

        “3. “Legal death” is the “legal penalty for sin”, without needing any equivalence.”

        I’m not sure what you mean here. If this is a response to something that I said, it would be easier to understand if you quoted me.

        “The guilt of the elect was laid on Christ, and Christ was punished for that guilt in his death. God baptizes the elect into that death, which justifies the elect.”

        1. Is that two separate decrees in your view or one?
        2. How is Christ’s death necessary in this scenario, if the satisfaction/atonemnt/ justification is all a matter of God’s delcaration? Like I asked before, why couldn’t he have just declared Christ’s getting a splinter an atonement, and decreed faith in this event for his elect?

        “4. The Day of Judgment is the end of the world, “the pay day”, not after the end of the world. See 2.”

        Ok. Not sure what this is in reference to, but I don’t see any disagreement.

        “5. No, your analogy does not work in penal substitution theory, thought it might work in Anselmian satisfaction theory.”

        That may be because penal substitution is an incoherent extension of satisfaction theory (which itself is problematic). All this “legal equivalence”, “legal substitution”, and “legal union” stuff is neither scriptural nor consistent with human systems of law. So I guess you can get whatever results you want out of it, and preclude any consequences that aren’t convenient for your position.

        “One’s guilt was either already laid on Christ and taken away by his death, or already not.”

        One’s guilt before WHOM? You’ve already said that some sort of transfer of judgment from the Father to the Son occured with the atonement.

        “6. Supralapsarianism puts atonement before fall and creation.”

        An atonement that is logically prior to the fall(men being declared sinners) is not an atonement at all, as there is nothing to atone for.

        “You put atonement after creation and fall.”

        In terms of the logical order, yes, absolutely. The alternative is not even intelligible. But I guess that’s another example of the Calvinist God being “incomprehensible” to the human mind, innit?

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        2. Are you saying those who die the second death also has transformed body?

        3.1 Atonement and Imputation are separate in time, since many are imputed with the righteousness of Christ’s death long before and long after the event of atonement.

        3.2 God declares based on his justice. In order to save the elect, his justice necessitates the atonement and imputation. I’m tired of your “why is … necessary” question. Necessary according to what? Your real objection is you disagree with the penal substitution framework.

        5.1 If you think legal union is unscriptural, it’s just that you have a different interpretation of certain key texts. Some people read baptismal regeneration out of Romans 6, but I came to agree with this website that Romans 6 is talking about legal union. Since I assume we are both protestants, we will just have to leave it there, as we do not have infallible magisterium to appeal to.

        5.2 Obviously, the guilt is ALWAYS before God. You are reading too much out of my parenthetical. The Father gave the power of judgment to the Son, but that only means the Son judges for the Father. There are no two kinds of guilt, one before Father, one before Son. The Son even died for sins of the elect denying the Son.

        6. You confuse fall with “men are sinners”. The fall is a decree to actualize the state that men are sinners. Supralapsarianism in a nutshell is “what comes last is what purposed first”, so God is not reacting to anything, but bringing things to happen.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        What is your soteriology?

      • Tom says:

        “Law is clearly here, is it not? Does this text not shoe that Adam was under law?”

        I would say verse 13 would imply that he was not. And yet there was still sin. Law follows from sin, not the other way around.

      • David Bishop says:

        No, law does not follow from sin. That would be a logical absurdity, because as the text indicates, sin is not counted where there is no law. You are eisogeting into the text. Law can never proceed sin, because without the law sin is not counted. How can you say someone has violated the law if there is no law for him to violate? The text also indicates that death is the punishment for sin; “death spread to all men because all sinned.” Notice also the text states that Adam transgressed. How can you transgress if there is no law? Obviously, there had to a law in place, because sin is not counted where there is no law. Adam’s sin was counted not only against him, but also against the entirety of his race, for they died as he did even though they had not sinned like he did.

        12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

      • Tom says:

        (I posted this in the wrong thread before. Sorry)

        “What is your soteriology?”

        Well, my working understanding of the atonement and salvation is as follows.
        1. God creates man in His own image, inasmuch as man was always thought as God’s self expression through creation.
        2. Man falls, and death comes upon mankind as a result.
        3. God determines to redeem his image through the incarnation, living a perfect human life, and dying the same death that we die. Jesus’ death was not substitutionary, but was representative. Jesus shared in our death so that we could share in his resrurrection. Thus, through Jesus acting as a prefect representative of the human race, man as a kind is vindicated, and the resurrection is secured to all men.
        4. All men are resurrected as a consequence of Christ’s atoning work, but only those whom he knows will spend eternity with him, and who these are is revealed in the final judgment.

        There is more that I could say about it, and arguments I can give in favor of this view, but that’s it in a nutshell.

      • Tom says:

        “2. Are you saying those who die the second death also has transformed body?”

        Yes. A resurrected body is a transformed body.

        “3.1 Atonement and Imputation are separate in time, since many are imputed with the righteousness of Christ’s death long before and long after the event of atonement.”

        I’m talking about the decrees, not the temporal events. Are you saying these are separate decrees, or the same one?

        “3.2 God declares based on his justice. In order to save the elect, his justice necessitates the atonement and imputation. I’m tired of your “why is … necessary” question. Necessary according to what? Your real objection is you disagree with the penal substitution framework.”

        Well, yes I do disagree, since Christ did not act as a substitute for men in physical death, and he certainly won’t substitute for them in Hell. But I am asking why it is necessary that he did what he did, and not something else. If it is all a matter of God’s arbitrary judgement of equivalence and satisfaction, then there is no necessity in the particular event of Christ’s death. God could have declared anything to be a satisfactory atonement. I believe that Christ’s death followed from certain fundamental principles regarding the nature of man and his relationship to God.

        “5.2 Obviously, the guilt is ALWAYS before God. You are reading too much out of my parenthetical. The Father gave the power of judgment to the Son, but that only means the Son judges for the Father. There are no two kinds of guilt, one before Father, one before Son. The Son even died for sins of the elect denying the Son.”

        I did not say there are two kinds of guilt. There is one kind of guilt which can be owed to two different persons, which have different kinds of relationships to us. Our relationship to God the Father was one in which he was unnapproachable in our weakness and sin. Our relationship to the Son is to a brother according to the flesh. So the Father cannot/will-not forgive our debt of sin, but can allow the Son to buy it from him, and he can forgive. (So to speak, by way of analogy). Why else would God transfer judgment to the Son? Under a satisfaction theory of the atonement, this transfer follows naturally from the actual nature of the atonement. Are you saying that the transfer of judgment is a separate, unrelated decree?

        “6. You confuse fall with “men are sinners”. The fall is a decree to actualize the state that men are sinners. Supralapsarianism in a nutshell is “what comes last is what purposed first”, so God is not reacting to anything, but bringing things to happen.”

        It seems redundant to have a separate decree that men are sinners, and that men will fall. But I don’t see much actual error in it. So OK. As long as you aren’t putting the atonement before men declared sinners.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        Christ was raised for “our justification”, not for everybody’s being raised for final judgment. You think everybody’s body is transformed when they are raised on the last day? 1 Cor 15 says the transformed body is “honor, power, spiritual, imperishable, immortal”. Are you saying that those cast into the lake of fire also was given this kind of body as God’s universal favor due to universal atonement?

        This article probably articulates better than I could:
        http://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/no-more-judgment-after-the-resurrection-for-the-justified-elect/

        Your view sounds Barthian/Lutheran to me. God is in one sense objectively reconciled to everybody, but everybody must determine by themselves whether they are reconciled to God.

      • Tom says:

        “You think everybody’s body is transformed when they are raised on the last day?”

        “1 Cor 15 says the transformed body is “honor, power, spiritual, imperishable, immortal”. Are you saying that those cast into the lake of fire also was given this kind of body as God’s universal favor due to universal atonement?”

        Yes. That’s why they will most likely burn forever in the Lake of Fire. Unless that is an especially hot fire designed just for the purpose of destroying the incorruptible body. I guess one could make that argument since it was prepared for the Devil and his angels. But, either way, the resurrected body is definitely transformed, whether it is the body of the unbeleiver or the infidel.

        “Your view sounds Barthian/Lutheran to me. God is in one sense objectively reconciled to everybody, but everybody must determine by themselves whether they are reconciled to God.”

        Eh, kind of. I’m not sure whether I would say that the sinner determines it himself. But man as a kind is reconciled to God by the atonement, and released from the futility that came due to sin and death. This means that our lives have eternal consequences now. But whether a person is individually reconciled to God or not could well be a monergisitic act on God’s part, or a synergistic process as the Arminians claim. I am undecided at this point.

      • Tom says:

        Meant to say “whether it is the body of the believer or the infidel”

      • Tom says:

        And that article, while it makes a decent argument that the resurrection IS the judgment, does not in any way demonstrate that the resurrected unbelievers are not transformed. That not only does not follow, it doesn’t even make sense. If they are raised to some sort of eternal state of shame and contempt, then they would necessarily be transformed. But if he wants to push the idea that only the justified are resurrected to its most logical extreme, then he would have to conclude annihilation for the unjustified.

      • Tom says:

        “No, law does not follow from sin. That would be a logical absurdity, because as the text indicates, sin is not counted where there is no law. You are eisogeting into the text. Law can never proceed sin, because without the law sin is not counted. How can you say someone has violated the law if there is no law for him to violate?”

        I don’t know. How can he Bible say it? “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”

        Sin was in the world before the law was given. But it was not counted. So apparently sin is some kind of thing in itself, whether there is a law or not. The Law comes later and describes the sin that already exists, to demonstrate the guilt of the sinner.

        “That is exactly what he concludes. It is what I conclude, as well.”

        I don’t have time to read those right now. But, to clarify the issue, since this tends to be a tricky one, do you believe that the non-elect do not suffer conscious torment for eternity?

      • David Bishop says:

        No, which law is he talking about? Sin was in the world before the law was given. The law? What law? He’s been talking about what law for the last four chapters. The law of Moses! He even says “from Adam to Moses.” Why stop at Moses? Because Moses is when God gave the law Paul has been talking about for the last four chapters. Sin was in the world before the law of Moses was given. Sin is not counted where there is no law, yet death did indeed reign from Adam to Moses. How? There can only be one way. There had to be another law in effect.

        Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        Endless conscious torment is not incompatible with final destruction, if you allow a distinction between subjective experience of time and the objective time.

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        If we understand life/death in terms of honor/shame (I got this view from J. P. Holding), then Christ did take the proper punishment for sins, which is humiliation of the God-man culminating in his death on the cross, “cursed is everyone who hung on a tree.”

        This view is compatible either with eternal conscious torment or final destruction (or a combination as I suggested above), depending on which is the shame due to the unjustified sinner.

      • Tom says:

        “Endless conscious torment is not incompatible with final destruction, if you allow a distinction between subjective experience of time and the objective time.”

        And this is why I asked for clarification, since this is a tricky subject. Do you believe that they subjectively experience eternal torment, but objectively are destroyed in a finite time? Or vice versa? Or do you reject the whole endless torment stuff and believe that they are snuffed out of existence? (BTW, I haven’t completely ruled out annihilationism, so I’m not asking this as an attack. Just curious what you guys think.)

        “If we understand life/death in terms of honor/shame (I got this view from J. P. Holding), then Christ did take the proper punishment for sins, which is humiliation of the God-man culminating in his death on the cross, “cursed is everyone who hung on a tree.””

        That’s just more theoretical equivalence tho. I don’t buy it. If Christ’s death was necessary for the atonement, then it should be objectively connected to the penalty for sinners.

        “This view is compatible either with eternal conscious torment or final destruction (or a combination as I suggested above), depending on which is the shame due to the unjustified sinner.”

        Actually, annihilationism is compatible with pretty much every theory of the atonement, which is why I don’t rule it out.

        “The Bible says, the wages of sin is death. You agree, and you also believe the second death is NOT death, then you necessarily believe that the second death is NOT the wages of sin. If so, in your scheme, how is the second death punishment for sins at all?”

        I’m not sure that it is. It is “punishment” for unbelief. Or rather, it is the consequence of rejecting eternal life with Christ.

      • David Bishop says:

        Tom, you do realize that the death of the wicked does not satisfy God’s wrath, right? God is eternal. His wrath is eternal. Therefore, His wrath can never be satisfied by the death of finite creatures. Only God can satisfy God, which is why Christ, the Son of God, had to die in the place of His elect.

        But that aside, I’m still waiting for a response concerning Romans 5. Do you now agree that Adam was indeed under law?

      • Alien Pebble says:

        @Tom

        I personally prefer the honor/shame scheme. Life is honor, death is shame. Whatever “hell” involves, it is eternal shame. Christ was stricken by God and brought to the shame of death (he was the prince of life) for bearing the guilt of the elect, so that the elect will not be brought to shame but raised to honor.

      • Tom says:

        “Tom, you do realize that the death of the wicked does not satisfy God’s wrath, right? God is eternal. His wrath is eternal. Therefore, His wrath can never be satisfied by the death of finite creatures. Only God can satisfy God, which is why Christ, the Son of God, had to die in the place of His elect.”

        I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. You’ll have to elaborate a little before I can decide whether I agree or not.

        “But that aside, I’m still waiting for a response concerning Romans 5. Do you now agree that Adam was indeed under law?”

        No. Not till he sinned. I don’t see how it would be possible for a being lacking the knowledge of good and evil to be under a law, since the law is precisely about the distinction between good and evil. But furthermore, your claim that only the law of Moses was in view in Romans 5 is problematic, since it says that sin was not imputed. Now, if sin was not imputed, this implies that there was NO law, not a different one. We know, however, that God gave a law to Noah when he got off the Ark well before Moses, and sin was indeed imputed under that law. So it seems that Paul is saying that there was a point when there was sin, but no law. And Paul’s statements about the law in Roman’s 7 also seem to be based on the idea that the law presupposes sin, and not the other way around.

        Now, perhaps there was already sin in Adam, and thus God’s instructions to him DO constitute a law, but that raises a whole bunch of other problems.

      • David Bishop says:

        The knowledge of good and evil is not a prerequisite to obedience. The knowledge of good and evil pertained to self righteousness. Satan promised Adam that he could establish his righteousness by obtaining the knowledge of good and evil, and thereby choosing good rather than evil. Now, back to the text, because you are still not dealing with the text, and I want you to deal with the text.

        12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

        “for sin indeed was in the world before THE LAW was given”. This is in direct reference to Moses’ law. Sin was in the world before Mount Sinai, but sin is not counted where there is no law. NEVERTHELESS, or yet, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. Why was their transgression not like the transgression of Adam? BECAUSE UNLIKE ADAM, THEY WERE NOT YET UNDER LAW! ADAM WAS!

        Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.

        Deal with the texts.

      • Tom says:

        “Deal with the texts.”

        I am. The text says 2 things.
        1. Sin was in the world before the law.
        2. Sin is not counted where there is no law.

        So for both to be true there would have to be a time when there was no law counting sin, but sin was still in the world. This cannot simply be the law of Moses that he is talking about, since God gave other laws that counted sin. And in another place Paul claims that the law was added because of transgressions. So it seems to me that Paul’s consistent theme is that sin comes before law.

      • David Bishop says:

        The text does not say sin was in the world before the law. The text says sin was in the world before the law WAS GIVEN.
        As I pointed out, the context demands that we interpret this to be referring to Moses’ law, because Moses’ law is precisely what Paul has been referencing for 5 1/2 chapters. The text which you reference concerning the law being added because of transgressions AGREES WITH ME!

        Galatians 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

        What law was put in place through angels by an intermediary? MOSES’ LAW!

        Acts 7:51-53 51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

        I also pointed out Hosea 6:7 which you also seem to be ignoring. One last time, please deal with the texts. That means prove your argument from Scripture. I do not want any more blanket assertions.

      • Tom says:

        “The text does not say sin was in the world before the law. The text says sin was in the world before the law WAS GIVEN.”

        On this I agree. There has always been a law, being the teleological intent in the creation of man. But that law was not given in the form of commandments until man transgressed the law.

        “As I pointed out, the context demands that we interpret this to be referring to Moses’ law, because Moses’ law is precisely what Paul has been referencing for 5 1/2 chapters. The text which you reference concerning the law being added because of transgressions AGREES WITH ME!”

        There I disagree. Paul may have been referring primarily to the law of Moses, but he was not ignorant of previous laws that were given, and it would make no sense for him to say that sin was not imputed before the law of Moses, since it most certainly was under the law of Noah, at the very least.

        “Galatians 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

        What law was put in place through angels by an intermediary? MOSES’ LAW!”

        You think this doesn’t apply to Noah’s law as well?

        “I also pointed out Hosea 6:7 which you also seem to be ignoring. One last time, please deal with the texts. That means prove your argument from Scripture. I do not want any more blanket”

        Hosea 6:7 is alternatley translated as “man”, because “Adam” is the Hebrew word for “man”. It does not support your case as clearly as your preferred translation makes it seem. But I really didn’t want to get into a debate over Hebrew-English translation, as I figured that would be over both of our heads. That’s why I ignored it.

      • David Bishop says:

        >>> On this I agree. There has always been a law, being the teleological intent in the creation of man. But that law was not given in the form of commandments until man transgressed the law.

        You’re a troll, Tom. I don’t want you posting any more comments to my blog. You are not welcome here.

    • Alien Pebble says:

      @Tom

      The Bible says, the wages of sin is death. You agree, and you also believe the second death is NOT death, then you necessarily believe that the second death is NOT the wages of sin. If so, in your scheme, how is the second death punishment for sins at all?

  9. Tom says:

    “What about “absolutely not sinning”? That’s more consistent than either “characteristic obedience” or “characteristic repentance”. But like universalism, this consistent theory is decidedly overthrown by biblical data.”

    I’m not entirely convinced that this is the case. There seems to be a growing number of people who take the statement in 1 John that “He who is born of God…cannot sin” quite literally. They believe that anyone who is actually born of God will never commit sin willfuly again. It sounds ridiculous until you see some of their arguments. Even then it still seems a bit implausible, but any less logical than the works-free views. Most people will take the “cannot sin” passage figuratively, and take the faith without works passages as absolute. But how do we decide which statements we take as absolute when we are looking at scriptures?

    • Alien Pebble says:

      Well, they did not take it literal enough. The statement did not say “He who is born of God…cannot sin willfully”, but “He who is not born of God…cannot sin”, period. In any case, what sins are not willful?

      I suppose these people also interpret the “go on sinning willfully” in Hebrews 10 to mean any kind of willful sin. However, in context, I think Hebrews 10 is talking about unbelief in the gospel of finished atonement.

      Reading 1 John, I cannot get the impression that the author is saying regenerate people are “absolutely not sinning (willfully) in any way”. The commandments of 1 John are (1) believe in Christ (rather than false Christs) (2) love fellow believers (rather than love the world). Those who are grafted into the Body of Christ will do these commandments.

      Of course, believers will grow both in true faith and true love, but there is an end and a beginning, a passing from death to life. The statement is not about perfection, but about separation.

      • Tom says:

        “Well, they did not take it literal enough. The statement did not say “He who is born of God…cannot sin willfully”, but “He who is not born of God…cannot sin”, period. In any case, what sins are not willful?”

        Sins of ignorance. Supposedly the difference is about the heart and intentions, and not about knowledge.

        This girl is probably about the most compelling advocate of the “stop sinning” message. She actually attacks most others in the perfectionist camp for claiming that it is a matter of disciplining the flesh. She says that if one is truly born again, they will have no such issues or even temptations to sin, and that to say otherwise is to deny that Jesus gives the believer rest.

        http://www.youtube.com/user/MissSallyAllen

        But she also paints the puzzling picture of herself as a believer who pursued the second birth for years(?!)

        “I suppose these people also interpret the “go on sinning willfully” in Hebrews 10 to mean any kind of willful sin. However, in context, I think Hebrews 10 is talking about unbelief in the gospel of finished atonement.”

        Yeah, Hebrews 10:26 is a problematic passage for me. I can see a lot of different views that could fit into it. I tend to think that it is all about making an analogy between wilful sin against the Old Covenant and rejecting Jesus in the new. But it also follows the passage about not forsaking the assembly. So I’m not sure.

        “Reading 1 John, I cannot get the impression that the author is saying regenerate people are “absolutely not sinning (willfully) in any way”. The commandments of 1 John are (1) believe in Christ (rather than false Christs) (2) love fellow believers (rather than love the world). Those who are grafted into the Body of Christ will do these commandments. ”

        Isn’t (2) a work though? Or at least inclusive of works.

    • Alien Pebble says:

      “Isn’t (2) a work though? Or at least inclusive of works.”

      Technically, yes, but only in the sense that “faith is a work”. Faith in the true gospel is inseparable from the love of truth. But the life-or-death significance of such faith or love lies not in the “quality” of faith or love itself, but the object of faith or love.

      Loving fellow believers is a work like repenting former religion. It is a mark of separation/grafting, significant only because of its inseparable relation to the gospel, not because of its own worthiness as an (imperfect) good work.

      These are certainly “inclusive of works”, like helping fellow believers in need or leaving one’s denomination. These are the sorts of works James was talking about.

  10. Julien says:

    I read the emails but I didn’t read the responses as time is at a premium. My thought was that Marc kept trying to set you up with a premise of his choosing rather than have an honest talk with you. People who try to set up a premise are almost always trying to set a trap. I think you handled it well. JWs use the same sort of thing with the cross. I had one ask me once, “if Jesus had been killed with a machine gun, would you wear a machine gun around your neck”? He had no concept of a Christian wearing a cross because we were crucified with Christ and it is a symbol of OUR death. You were careful and I respect you for that. I suspect you have learned it from experience… lol.
    I will say this. The Bible says it is a matter of life and death that WE put to death the deeds of the body, which I take to mean the works of the flesh though some put a difference between the body and the flesh (Owen considered them to be the same while Lloyd-Jones considered them to be different and Owen in error (I guess one of them must have been unregenerate.. OH wait, I forgot, they were both unregenerate according to Marc)), unreal. OH… I almost forgot, so WE put to death the deeds of the body BY THE SPIRIT. However, it says live or die. I think it means temporal life and death since we are secure in Christ. Sin can and will harm your body in this life sometimes it will kill your body but if we are saved by grace then we are saved by grace. One can walk in death though he is alive in Christ. Who would not say that a Christian sometimes sins, sometimes gets caught up in it and struggles but though we fall, we get back up. The Lord keeps us. I have come to see repentance much more as “to God” rather than “from sin” because repentance from sin just moves from one sin to another. Repentance to God leads us to holiness. As for the law, the torah, it is where sin gets it’s strength. I have a friend, gentile through and through who has joined a messianic Judaism movement or congregation. He has told me more than once to stop reading Paul and read the torah, that keeping the Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) is essential. He even told me that Paul was not an apostle, that Matthias was. I’m pretty sure from what he has told me, that he bases this on Paul being his own witness. I told him that I think he is fallen from grace or near thereto. These are strange times and Satan knows that his time is short. We were warned. Thank you, I am not as disturbed as I was.

  11. Crgl16 says:

    Is Marc carpenter right about marriage? I was not a virgin when married. Am I going to hell? Do I need to remain celibate? I can’t decide now. HELP!!

  12. I have to admit I am curious how you’d answer the question Marc Carpenter asked you. If you really would say such a person is regenerate, why couldn’t you just say so? And if you wouldn’t say such a person is regenerate, why not give comparison?

    • David Bishop says:

      To which questions are referring?

      Carpenter had crafted together a tautology. He wanted me to say no true Christian would ever commit adultery. When I disagreed, he then thought to prove me wrong by increasing the vulgarity of the sin. Well, what about child rape then? No true Christian could ever commit child rape, right? From here he just continued to increase the vulgarity of the sin. His intent was to finally hit upon a sin that I would eventually agree no true Christian would ever commit (blasphemy of the Spirit perhaps), so that he could then say, aha! no true Christian would ever commit these other sins either then, because there is no difference between breaking the law on one point and breaking it on another.

      • I think what Carpenter is saying is that there are certain sins a Christian will live a lifestyle in, not that they’ll never commit that sin. I’ve read some of their stuff and they’re pretty specific about this. Mind they do say that there are sins a true Christian could never commit (for example, saying there is no God [out of genuine belief not in a “gun to the head scenario”) but they wouldn’t say adultery is one of those. Or even child rape I’m guessing. So, can a truly regenerate Christian live a lifestyle of unrepentant homosexual sex? Of unrepentant child rape? I thought that was a good question. Or when God saves his people, does he change them such that they don’t live that way anymore? (even though they may on particular occasions commit heinous sins, as David did.)

        To be clear, I don’t agree with OTC’s theology in general, I just found this interesting and worth an answer.

      • David Bishop says:

        Then you might want to read his article on divorce, because he says any Christian who has gotten a divorce and is still with their second spouse is committing habitual adultery and is therefore not a true Christian

      • Leaving that example aside, let’s take something more clear cut. Is a practicing homosexual who doesn’t repent even until the point where he is excommunicated by the church (going through the full process) proving that he was not regenerated? Or is it possible that he could be regenerated? Is saying that he proves he is not regenerate (as distinct from saying that he is CAUSING himself to be not regenerate) law instead of grace?

      • David Bishop says:

        Why leave that example aside? And how is it less clear cut?

        I know many Christians who have gotten a divorce. Many of these have been asked to leave their church. Are they still Christian?

        Are the folks in the Presby churches who now ordain gay ministers and say homosexuality is not a sin still Christian? No. Because they do damage to gospel doctrine. But is a Christian who makes no effort to resist his homosexual desires lost even though he confesses along with Scripture that it is sin? How is he any different than the divorcee, the glutton, the reveler, etc?

      • Its less clear cut because there are different views about divorce and remarriage, and have been for a long time. Marc Carpenter’s view on such a matter is distinctive.

        That said this is interesting. It seems like you’re making the argument that someone can practice homosexuality and still enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6 seems to say otherwise) but they can’t confess the belief that it isn’t sin. Why that distinction?

        Can someone knowing they are guilty of a certain sin, still refuse to repent of it, even knowing its a sin, even unto the point of excommunication, and still be called a brother? What is your basis for saying so?

      • David Bishop says:

        Whatever number of views there may be about it is irrelevant, because we are not talking about something that is subjective. Even Carpenter would agree it’s not subjective. If it were subjective, then why are we still talking? You may call his view distinctive, but it’s not a view that he woild espouse as subjective. He believes his view is Scriptural. Like you he partially quotes 1 Corinthians 6. He neglects to mention the passage that immediately follows – “but you were washed, you were justified, you were sanctified . . .”

        Do you still sin? Do you still the same sin more than once? Are there any sins you have given up trying to resist because you keep falling into them? How many times must you commit the same sin before we call it habitual? When it comes to divorce Carpenter says only once.

        To say a sin is not a sin is something entirely different. You bet it is. This is what the Corinthians were doing. They were actually boasting about one of their members sleeping with his step mother.

      • I’m not asking about sinning more than once though, I’m asking about habitual known sin. Ie. never repented of. Do you view this as undefinable?

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