Friday, April 09, 2010

Some talk on assurance and sola fide - 2

My first answer to David Bryan on this topic.
His most recent response.

Here's my response:

Re: 1 Jn 5.13: I quoted, somewhere in previous comments, St. Paul's psg of not having attained it, but pressing on towards i

It's common for EOx and RCs to play the CounterQuote game, and that's what I see here.
I can harmonise each verse just fine in my position - 1 Jn 5:13 refers to a certain (though certainly not infallible) level of assurance, whereas this psg:
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

Note Paul's already AND not yet - the "I haven't yet become perfect" in v 12 and then "as many as are perfect" in v 15.
Note that Christ already "laid hold" of Paul - yet more assurance talk.  And what is the "upward call" that is his goal?  Since it's UPward, there is little doubt that he refers to the final phase of one's salvation, glorification, the entry into Heaven, and accompanying glorification, perfect sanctification when God finishes the job (irresistible grace, BTW).
So of course he hasn't attained perfect sanctification yet; he hasn't died yet.
OK, now instead of playing CounterQuote, as if the Scr is contradictory, please provide your own exegesis of each so as to harmonise them under the EO position.

"He perfects the partially-unwilling human at death," as you said.

I pause to note that this is irresistible grace.  The human is resisting perfect sanctification thru his fallen will all his life, else why say "partially-unwilling"?  And yet God finishes the job, on the EO position.  Your position holds to irresistible grace, but you're for some reason allergic to countenancing it with respect to the conversion of the sinner.  What is clear is that your allergy is arbitrary.  

Right, but those are consequences for choices freely made, not an interference with the actual choice itself.

True, but I was talking about the other, future choices - they'd prefer to GO BACK into the Garden.  They'd choose non-thorny ground and non-pain in childbirth over thorny ground and pain in childbirth.  But those choices are refused.

Would God take someone, kicking and screaming, into heaven completely contrarily to his express, consistent will as borne out by his own life?

The Reformed wouldn't say that exactly either, not the last "as borne out by his own life".  God not only saves the kicking and screaming sinner, but also transforms him at the same time.  But there can be no doubt that fallen man is God's enemy, who wants nothing to do with Him.  There's not some halfway point in Scripture where the enemy of God becomes merely a sort-of-standoffish near-friend.

Yes indeed, but what’s the nature of that law? What are its consequences, and how are they meted out?

The curse for breaking the law is found in Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”

The consequence is eternal death and curse from God, unless you can keep all the law.  Which you can't.

We begin the process of the reversal of that condemnation by being united to Him in a death like His (baptism, Rom 6.3) so that we might share in Christ’s resurrected life.

How long before what % of your sins are forgiven?  How good do you have to be?
Part of your answer I anticipate will be: "Let's not talk of the minimum, but rather of how much we can be in God", yet that doesn't answer the question.  If it's progressive, and since you'll never be 100% fully in accord, in mind, thought, will, desire, and action, with God, so talking of "how much" you can be in God is irrelevant - you can't be as good as God.  So not even getting to assurance, why would anyone conclude that they're doing OK when they're not achieving to the fullest level of holiness?  I don't see why you wouldn't be reduced to utter despair (if you're consistent).

You'd said:
I get it that the main priority for Calvinists is the maintaining of God's sovereignty (and, in that, causality) over all things, whether or not we're made privy to how all that plays out on an individual level. I just don’t see how that ends up meaning anything.

Now you respond:
God’s sovereignty is an established dogma of (little and big “o”-orthodox) Christianity. So, of course, it matters that this be taught and believed by the faithful. What I’m wondering about here is whether or not the Reformed view of sovereignty means much without a way to objectively apply it to actual people who are now the elect, and actual people who are now damned.

Well, there's the objective teaching of it, and the subjective "how does this apply to me?" question is precisely what we're talking about here - assurance.

such a teaching seems to be little more than a hypothetical system

Much like the Incarnation, the Trinity.  Many other things.  They are abstract, yet they are utterly real, but it requires jumping the gap from objective to subjective in order to drive it home to the guy in the pew.

We also believe that the chaff is very much with the wheat in the Church militant, so really not all who are in the Church militant are actually in the Church militant.

So to almost quote you:  Theosis covers the “Saved by works” part very well, but leaves no way to tell if the “you've done/you're doing enough works” part doesn’t “work out”...

I'd said:
This is not the first time I've been justified in accusing EOdox of humanistic reasoning.

You applied a human example to God - in a pinch, *I* might use a Ming vase for dishonorable purposes, so obviously God would too.

But first--this “One True Church” polemic is rather tired

I'd stop using it if I saw some reason to think that this isn't your position.  Sorry.

as such a label is horribly ill-defined

I've talked to a lot of EOx over some yrs now and have not yet seen a reason to think the term doesn't fit.  Again, sorry, but I have pleaded with you to turn aside from your error.

This has no answer, and man cannot really call God into account because of it.

Sure it has an answer.  But such talk is not really available to the EO.  One reason I'm glad I don't have to shake my head at suffering and say, "Your suffering is meaningless, and God didn't plan to bring sthg for His glory and your good out of it".
Now, that might be a bit rough around the edges, but you said "this has no answer".  Perhaps I've jogged your memory so you can give a better account on this question.

Romans 5.6 calls them “weak,” though

I assume this is the word, right?
To be honest, I'm not sure how the context:
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

really gets you anywhere.
We're "ungodly", "not righteous", "sinners", due for the "wrath of God" (there's your punishment for breaking the law of God again), "enemies" needing "reconciliation", which cost Jesus His life.  Alot of bad stuff.
You really think that such ppl as these would stop to ask themselves that question - "I would say that the lack of questioning God seems to be over why you seem to be going through every conceivable struggle known to man in order to be saved, not why you had been created, irreversibly, for the sole purpose of eternal damnation."  Do enemies of God, sinners, have holy thoughts such as "wow, I sure hope I'm not created for eternal damnation"?  If they did, why wouldn't they (tautologically) be repentant?

1 comment:

John said...

"I pause to note that this is irresistible grace"

Nonsense. I put before you now a little red button that can make you 100% sanctified. Will you press it? If so, then it was hardly contrary to your will.