Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | May 27, 2008

Theonomy and Cultural Transformation

As we take an opportunity for a post outside of our normal rotation we would like to refer to some interesting reading that we encountered over the weekend.

First, over at The Reformed Oasis some interesting thoughts on Transforming the Culture were posted over the weekend. This has some insightful observations about the tendency this view has in losing sight of the Gospel.    

Second, there is an article linked on the sidebar by Meredith Kline reviewing Greg Bahnsen’s work on Theonomy.  It seemed to point out some major weaknesses in this view.  Check out the article, which was found on here: Kline_on_Theonomy.

This is certainly an interesting subject that tends to induce rigorous debate amongst advocates on either side.  For more on this subject there has definitely been a lot of ink spilled over it at Rube’s site (More on Theonomy).

Thirdly, we happened to stumble upon another blogger from the UK who upholds our view of Christ as the consummation of special revelation.  Here is the link to the site: (Christ the Truth).

On another note, the final post on the examination of John 6:35-47 is scheduled to occur on June 2.  Upon the completion of this brief interlude, we will resume our examination of the Gospel of John picking up with Lesson 6.




  1. Hey thanks, I had heard of this infamous Kline review of Bahnsen, but never read it. Maybe some time this year…

  2. Rube,

    It’s only about 7 pages when it is printed out, so it did not take to long to read.

    Some of the interesting points are as follows:

    1. He concedes the WCF may be vulnerable to Bahnsen’s position. Especially Chapter 19 in its original and current form.
    2. His comments on typology were very insightful.
    3. He points out that Bahnsen’s post-millenial position on eschatology introduces inconsistencies with his theonomic view of politics.
    4. Finally, he addresses the appeals made to Van Til and states that he goes way beyond his original intentions.

    I’m interested to know if any theonomists have responded to this critique. I have heard from some that no respone to Bahnsen’s work has been provided.


  3. I knew Greg back in the early 90’s…before he died. (Though I am Irish born and English educated, my younger brother..also irish born lives in S. Cal.) I have however moved away from both hard Reformed and theonomy, for the dialog and fully Trinitarian doctrine of the Orthodox Church.

  4. Welcome Irishanglican to Standing Solus Christus,

    What does “hard Reformed” mean?

    Kline would argue that Theonomy is unbiblical, thus not Reformed either.

    Also does “fully Trinitarian” mean you embrace the Pactum Salutus or Covenant of Redemption?


  5. Hey there S2C… Hard Reformed, was just my own way of saying I am no longer a “hard-core” Reformed person. I still value Calvin and Luther, but they do not hold the same place in my Christian understanding. The Reformation is part of the western church history, but its principle of always “reforming” must be seen in the recovery also of the ancient church and their Fathers, etc.

    I am an Anglican priest over 20 years now.

    My biblical and theological positions are much more patristic now also, and as I mentioned I follow the E. Orthodox in many of their places. Their doctrine of the Trinity, and Incarnation…following the Ecumenical Councils are simply the place of the Apsotolic Church and Truth. Yes, I have at least one foot in Orthodoxy. Also the place of a Christian mystical theology is very Pauline and Johannine.

    There are some biblical and spiritual ideas in covenant theology, but I cannot follow the whole corpus.

    Fr. Robert

  6. *Apostolic

  7. Father Robert,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and taking time to visit this site. I respect your opinions and am share that you spent numerous hours through study and reflection in ascertaining your views.

    My impression of the patristics’, however, is that they are largely moralistic in their teachings and positions. Analogous to how some characterize the theonomic position, which I am presuming you classify as “hard-core” Reformed. Unfortunately, this is not the religion that I find in the New Testament nor did Luther and Calvin, which is much more Gospel-centered.

    Moreover, my impression of mystical religious pursuits is also moralistic and devoid of a proper understanding of the Gospel. The Gospel is something we take very seriously on this site. I wonder if you would be kind enough to summarize your understanding of the Gospel and how essential or non-essential it is to the Christian faith?


  8. S2C, The Gospel, if you are talking about just some position in evangelicalism? I will only say this, which is much more inclusive. But first, let me say this, I have had my own quote: Augustinian conversion over 40 years ago. I am into my 50’s mate. But still 150lbs at 5’11. Once a Royal Marine..always a Marine! Yeah us proud Irish! lol But the grace of God indeed does change nature, but it is very slow with us Irish! lol Forgive the side-trip.

    Now back to your question. The primary principle for the Christian will always be God in His own self-disclosure to the soul. And this can come in many ways, internal witness of the Spirit through the Word of God (Rom. 8:16..etc.), but can come through other ways also…Sermon, song, Christian books and ministry, etc. And it can come through again, just the soul alone before God. Who has been drawn by God. But the Spirit of God will also always give His indication, which is always finally to and in the revelation to Jesus Christ. Here the Spirit will give and effect illumination. To my mind, this is very often the NT sense of the mystical. Certainly in both Pauline and Johannine realities! (Gal.2:20 / 1 John 3:24) Yes indeed, the Christian life is always simply but profoundly spiritual and mystical. (1 Cor. 2:9-16)

    But, the it grows and unfolds it also helps the Christian in word and sacrament, and for the Orthodox the beauty and mystery of the Icon comes to play in the Christian life also. The icon is like a little window to heaven. Of course this is thus a reflection of the Incarnation, and represents a presence, the reality of the image. We should see this as a kind of epiphany which unfolds before the soul enlighted by faith also. So the icon reaches beyond the natural sense of the human spirit and opens its meaning in contemplation. This in the rich sense of scripture and all the beauty that the Spirit can bring in the face of Christ is the mystical sense I see myself. (2 Cor. 4:6)

    Well mate, this is just a bit more of both myself, and the grace of God as I have touched it. I will close with this quote from Fr. Seguis Bulgakov: “Orthodoxy does not persuade or try to compel; it charms and attracts.”

    That sacred name Christ Jesus,
    Fr. Robert

  9. Father Robert,

    Wow! I had the read that statement twice and I am still a little “mystified”. My apologies, because I don’t think you quite answered the question and it was probably due to my unclarity.

    Let me define what I mean by the use of the term Gospel. The term goes back to the Greek word euangelion, which simply means the good news.

    The good news is that, although I am condemned before God due to the failure of Adam, Christ has saved me from that miserable perdicament. Christ has saved me through His active obedience to God’s law that is now imputed to me and has paid the debt that owe to God’s justice for my sins nailing it to the cross (Col 2:13-15). Now through this substitionary vicarious atonement, which includes this double imputation I am no longer at enmity with God but have peace with Him through faith in Christ.

    This good news, this Gospel, this work of Christ, is essential to the Christian faith and should be the central focus of the Church and its preaching.

    Hopefully, that clarifies what I am after and again I apologize for the confusion.


  10. S2C, first thanks again for your very irenic spirit. This is sadly rare with bloggers, even Christian ones. We need to take note of yours…Christian humility, is never weakness!

    Concerning the theological idea of Christ’s active obedience imputed to the Christian, this sounds nice, but it is part of a legal and forensic model that is pressed out of the law of God. I would not follow this. The work of Christ on the Cross is not just legal and penal, but the defeat of the “principalities and powers” (Col.2:14-15). And indeed the way of atonement and the redemptive reality of the Christian is still a way of conflict. Christ and His cross is always the place where sin is dealt with…Rom. 3:25. Therefore, for the Christian, the Cross is a spirituality of redemptive suffering. (2 Cor.4:10-11)


  11. Irish,

    I agree there are definitely a lot of faults within the world of blogs, and I at many times have contributed to that bad image. Nonetheless I digress…yes the Christus victus view of the atonement is an important attribute of our Savior’s accomplishments in redemption. However, relative to the big picture concerning the scope and content of the biblical witness, it is an ancillary accomplishment not to detract from the primary emphasis.

    There is a consistent plot or theme that characterizes the warp and woof of special revelation that I’d argue is essentially the drama of redemption best articulated in the Gospel as defined above. Beginning in Genesis 3:15 and progressively revealed through the subsequent dealings that God has with His people, the profile of this Savior is further developed. This central profile of this Savior is that He will condescend in order to accomplish the will of the Father (John 6:36-44) in order to redeem a people who are in a state of sin and misery (John 17; Rom 5; Isa 53).

    Therefore, it would be my conviction with this being the central emphasis of the Scripture it should likewise occupy the primary role of Christian preaching and teaching. I gather from your prior comment that you would not find this argument compelling and I’d like to here your rationale for its rejection if you feel so inclined to continue the conversation.


  12. S2C, I would not say that I would place the metaphors used for our Lord’s Atonement, as one above the other, but they are all needed and seek to express the total truth and reality of the Death of Christ. As you quote Gen. 3:15, it is a salvation history!

    But in some profound sense, it is the uniqueness of the person who died, Jesus Christ, that gives value to the Atonement. In this sense, the incarnation is the salvation. But as Moberly said, “The life exhibits much of the significance of the death. Sorry, more later..on the fly here.


  13. Irish,

    I think if I read your statement correctly… we are in agreement. I would view the Gospel, not only as Christ substitutionary death, but also His substitutionary life.

    This is the good news that Christ has fulfilled the demands of the law through a perfectly righteous life. This righteousness is now credited to me through faith. Moreover, Christ has fulfilled the demands of God’s justice for my rebellion and disobedience by dying in my place. My sin and curse was paid for by Christ on the tree. This awful and unbearable debt is no longer mine to pay. This is what I was referring to previously as double imputation.

    Now to really get to the issue at hand, would you affirm that this is an indispensable truth for the Christian faith that should gain preeminence in the Church? Or as Luther would characterize it, does the Church stand or fall on this essential truth?


  14. S2C, My brother I would not use the law in any place as to “in loco justificationis”. As St. Paul says about the nature of “tutors and governors” and this includes the law, “God sent forth His Son, made of a women, made under the law, To redeem them under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal.4:1-5)

    Quite literally St. Paul is speaking about the interim character of the law. But indeed full salvific intervention comes only from God, and full human freedom in Christ…Gal. 4:5-6 / Chapter 5: 1.

    See also Gal. 6:15-16-17

    “From now on let no one cause me trouble, [in heaven or earth] for I bear (carry) on (in) my body the marks (brand marks-stigma) of Jesus.” (Verse 17)

    Here is where each Christian stands or falls personally. For St. Paul this was both physical and spiritual, for us mostly it will be a spiritual reality. But the none the less real! (2 Cor.4:10-11)

    Thus our theological position becomes our ontological reality in “in spirit and truth”. It is all of grace and glory! But it is now, a “synergy” – Phil. 2:12-13.


  15. Irish,

    My apologies, but I don’t think I follow…are you saying that after Christ there is nobody under the curse of the law?

    If not please elaborate on your last comment. I cannot respond intelligibly until I understand what you are saying.


  16. S2C,

    No mate, as I said, I don’t believe the law has a place in our Justification, nor in our Sanctification. As the Hebrew writer stated:
    “Who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life…”For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect… bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Heb. 7:16;18-20)
    “But we know the Law is good, if one uses it it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is NOT MADE FOR A RIGHTEOUS PERSON, but for those who are lawless and rebelious..” (1 Tim.8-9)
    “But the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath (of God, Heb. 6:17-18), which came after Law, appoints a Son, made forever.” (Heb.7:28)

    These texts speak very plainly I feel.

    Fr. Robert

  17. Fr. Robert,

    I say amen to that as well with the apostle:

    16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified (Gal 2:16).

    I am a little unclear how that relates with my original question. Unless you are saying that Jesus of Nazereth did not fulfill the law?


  18. Of course Christ was the perfection of the law, but I don’t believe the law is as in Protestant theology, needed in the – in loco justificationis for the Christian. Justifying faith is the efficacy of Christ’s work for me, and in me. See 1 Cor.6:11


  19. See also G. Vos’s book: The Pauline Eschatology. A quite good book!

  20. Vos is great I have read his Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Haven’t gotten to Pauline Eschatology yet, but plan to in the future.

    Isn’t it true that Eastern Orthodoxy does not affirm salvation through faith in Christ alone?

  21. Luther was the first to insert the “alone” clause. Perhaps at the time this was needed? But as we can see from the whole of even St. Paul’s texts, this was not the case in the complete theological sense – Eph.2:8,9 & 10 are really one piece. Christian works are always the verity of a justified life! (Verse 10)

    Note, the book: The Justification Reader, by Thomas Oden shows the ancient Fathers taught the classic view of the grace of God here: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox.

    “Righty believed [Justification], it consecrates all other energies of the redeemed person and community.” (Oden)


  22. The law is made to preserve and save life – Part 29 – 32 of the series in



  23. Eyes,

    Welcome back. There are essentially three types of law the moral, ceremonial and civil revealed in the Old Testament. I am assumsing that you are referring to the moral law (i.e. ten commandments)

    The moral law reveals God’s will for our lives. Essentially what he expects from us.

    However, when we are honest with ourselves the moral law reveals our need for Christ. We are unable to obey it and are thus condemned by it. Thus, we flee to Christ in faith who has fulfilled the law on our behalf.

    I have to disagree with your comment, because the law does not save us (if this is truly what you mean). It is Christ who saves us. If the law could save us then Christ would not have had to die as the apostle Paul points out in Gal 2:16-22.

    This is also helpful reading:


  24. This is only a discussion and sharing of idea brother.

    It is Christ who saves us.

    Yes no question about that but why?

    Because Jesus Christ is the only one who knows or understand the will of the Father because he came from the Father.

    The will of the Father is the main law and his will is the expression of love.

    And our lord Jesus Christ reveal this;

    LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.

    On these two commandments HANG ALL THE LAW and the prophets

    ALL THE LAW brother which support the product of the expression of love.

    And life is the product Of love. – John 5:26 & John 15:9 combination

    Therefore, moral, ceremonial, civil, newtons law of motion, law of gravity, law of conservation, magnetism law, traffic law and etc.. etc..

    ALL THE LAW that we know, those things are part or support only to the main Law.

    And that is to preserve and save life which is the product of the expression of love of the Father in heaven.

    Yes that’s true we are not justified by the law of works because they understand it by means of sacrifice.

    The real understanding of the law is love, as love is to care life.

    And this is what our lord Jesus Christ teach us;

    Jn:15:17: These things I command you, that ye love one another.

    Because you can’t describe the works of love nor can you teach the right thing to do.

    The law of christ is love.

    and the weightier matter of this law are:


    If you have a pure faith in our lord Jesus Christ brother then I assume that you do the rest.

    Because faith will make impossible things to possible.


  25. S2C, I thought I answered your question about faith and E. Orthodoxy, but I don’t see the post? Did I send one?

    Fr. Robert

  26. S2C, there are some real things that keep me in the Anglican Church. One of these is the Judeo-Christian nature of the Incarnation, etc., i.e. the Jewish people. I see them as still under covenant…Rom. 11: 25-29. I have been even historic pre-mill, but I am not sure on that now? I like the Idealist position on the Book of Revelation very much. Beale’s book – NIGTC Revelation.


  27. Eyes,

    I see…yes the essence of the law is the love of God and our neighbor. Unfortunately, I fail miserably to do this, which is why I must flee to Christ for my salvation.


  28. Irish,

    I haven’t not seen the other post on E. Orthodoxy…

    How are the Jewish people related to the doctrine of the Incarnation?

    What covenant are you inferring that God still has with ethinic Israel? All mankind is under a covenant, namely the CoW or creation. So in a sense I would say so to, however the covenant of grace is no longer unique to the ethnic nation of Israel. The covenant of grace is now open to people of all nations, tongues, etc. The dividing wall between Jew and Gentile has been removed (i.e. Eph 2:1-20).


  29. S2C, I would see that the covenant of grace is and always has been “first” toward Israel. (Rom.1:16) Even St. Paul bears this out from Eph.1:12 / 3:6. Though the covenant of grace is open to all, it comes through the nation and people of Israel. As Our Lord said,”Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). And the dividing line wall is removed as to Jew and Gentile in salvation..”one new Man”, but this still does not change our ethnic quality (I will be Irish and a male still in heaven! lol). And my point to the Incarnation, is the the historic sense is that it came to and thru a Jewish woman. Mary is the Theotokos..God-bearer, always! Even the Belgic Reformed Creed article 9, gives Mary this place. As Cavin, and many if not most reformed pastors in the 16th and 17th century.
    Finally, the new Israel will come when the Jewish people rejoin the Gentiles in the Church (Rom.11:25-29) Vatican II declares: “Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the church of God (Num.20:4).

  30. S2C, This is another problem that I have with the Orthodox, their sense of losing the reality of the Jewish people, the chosen for the Incarnational and salvific fullness for all of humankind. The OT promises this also (Isa.60:21-22 / 66:8) Even Barth writes fully for the covenant renewal of Israel!


  31. sorry some typo’s, the Irishman is

  32. I am not pulling back on my love for much in Orthodoxy, but I am just letting you know that I am still an Anglican, and read and value also certain western theolog’s…Indeed, Vos’s biblical theology is very good. I love his book as I mentioned: The Pauline Eschatology! It includes the book: Eschatology Of The Psalter. And as I said, in spite of many problems and weakness, Barth is always worth the read.


  33. which is why I must flee to Christ for my salvation.


    That’s true brother we must submit our being to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ and they will do rest.

    Faith is the answer.

    what you feel is what I feel also.

    I ask to the lord why I can’t do love all the time sometimes we are greedy and think of our life only.

    But our lord is already answer that in Matthew 17:20

    We should build first the strong foundation of Faith to God and to our lord Jesus Christ.

    Faith stimulates love.

    Faith is submission.

    Faith is hope.

    Hope is patience and obedience.

    The end of hope is miracle.

    Greater things will do because of faith and I believe on it.


  34. Irish,

    I think I understand what you are saying about ethinc Israel, but it does not seem to be compatible with other biblical passages:

    The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his “seed”…not to “seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is Christ. (Gal 3:16).

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).

    How do you reconcile these passages with your view?


  35. Eyes,

    I believe the three Christian virtues of faith, hope and love (1 Cor 13:13 and 1 Thess 5:8 ) are very important. However, I would rather define faith more narrowly as knowledge, assent and trust. The following article provides a good exposition on this definition:


  36. S2C, I am not saying that the doctrine of the grace of God is not one in the sense of the covenant of grace, I am saying that God does not take away personal individuality, nor finally the Jewish people. Men are men, women are women, each and every individual. As St. Paul talked about his ministry and his stewardship, (but still back to his people Israel..Acts 26:6-7) so is the application of grace given as God sees to His purpose and pleasure. And when we speak of the Jewish people, coming back into their “olive tree”…”how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Rom.11:24) This will be as individuals, but also as the people who once knew Him as a race, but now know Him (again) by grace in the Church, but as also the promise and mystery.. “not ignorant of this mystery” (Rom.11:25) And note the covenant of grace again in Rom.11:27 into verse 28. Based on “election” and “beloved for the fathers sake” (v. 28). All this is still both individual grace, but also God’s will and purpose. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (v.29) St. Paul’s so called problem with both Israel and individuals is real. See, Rom. 10:1 /11:5 Barth saw that Israel as a redeemed people (individuals) would come back into grace and covenant. But in and by God’s choice and grace.
    Make sense? I do grapple with the Jewish people, and this not a “dispensational” thing at all. Just God and St. Paul.


  37. See also Rom.11:30-31..we must be honest with the Text…always!

  38. One of the good example of faith in action brother is between you and your father in flesh.

    When you are still at young;

    You never think of what food you eat or your shelter because you have faith that your father in flesh will provide you.

    nor you sad because you don’t have money to pay the school tution fee because you have faith that your father in flesh will provide you.

    And that’s the point of our lord Jesus Christ brother in Matthew 6:25-30

    Total submission like a little child brother.

    “O ye of little faith?” – Matthew 6:30

    And you will never leave already because of your work or your own strive brother.

    But because of mercy and care of God.

  39. Irish,

    I am not suggesting that we lose our personal individuality…I am just grappling with what appears to be a favoritism based on something inherent within the individual (i.e. ethnicity). You cite Romans 11, which is certainly a prominent passage in this discussion.

    I also understand that this view is not unique to dispensational theology, since many respected “amillenarian” Reformed theologians also hold this view as well. I am just trying sort out this view with other passages like those I cited above and those that suggest that those that are of faith are children of Abraham (Gal 3:29).


  40. S2C,
    First, I really appreciate your balance and desire on this subject. I have found few Reformed who have not been able to go but negative one way or the other. Be that as it may.

    Indeed, why did St. Paul still even when he wrote Romans, say as concerns the gospel: “to the Jew first”? I believe it is because though He has but one covenant of grace, He still sees both “the twelve tribes” as St. James says (James 1:1), and the Church of God, coming together as One Redeemed Family! This seems to be the thought even back in Acts 15:13-18, for both James and Peter.

    The texts of Gal.3:28-29, seem to be talking not about the absolute separation of Jew and Gentile, or male and female. But there aspect as to how one is saved by faith. There, in that place..with Christ there is but One people, One faith, One salvation. (Eph.4:4-5) And, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (verse 6)

    Indeed, this is a profound subject, and should cause us some great humility and wonder! (Rom. 11:33-36)

    This subject and issue, is really the thing that has kept me from a full position and going with the Orthodox. As much truth as they have, and it is much and also profound. They are lacking on this subject, in my opinion. So I guess I still have, like Barth, some kind of Reformed presupposition? lol Our God is great and wonderful!


  41. Irish,

    Whether or not Romans 11 supports the concept of a mass conversion of ethnic Israel at the end of the age, one thing is for certain. It is certain that will not be through the broken Sinaitic covenant, but through faith alone in Christ alone.

    Is it true that the E. Orthodox Church denies justification by faith alone?


  42. Eyes,

    I am not sure that I follow your point. I think your examples are slightly different than the nature of justifying faith.

    Would Hebrews 11 be a better example?


  43. S2C,
    Amen on the Sinaitic covenant being done! And as to the covenant people of ethnic Israel, God alone knows the details there, for Scripture alone does not reveal the how? Save by God’s power and grace!

    Faith alone is not an Orthodox statement or hermenutic. They would prefer the biblical, textual term, synergy. It can be proven I think that the term ‘faith alone’ was Luther’s on the text in Romans. And as you no doubt know, the Reformed do not have a easy faith alone position, but would press Eph.2:10 in the faith/works aspect.


  44. ahh it’s the same concept brother but St. Paul idea is too far from you.

    St. Paul is only giving you an example which you did not see, how can you relate it?

    But Master Lord Jesus Christ gives you an example which you can see in your own lifetime like a bird, the grass of the field and lilies.

    and now direct into your own house and door.


  45. Eyes, are you talking about a Christian mystical experience?

  46. Irish,

    What other than faith in Christ alone justifies?


  47. Eyes,

    Are you saying faith in God’s providential care justifies us?

    I think we need to be careful in defining the nature of justifying faith.


  48. S2C,
    Nothing but the grace of God, but we are drawn too into the faith experience. It is not faith and or plus, but “faith working love.” (Gal.5:6) As also (Gal.3:11)..”The just shall live by faith.” We are IN the faith!

    S2C, do you believe in theosis, or glorification?


  49. *”Faith working by/thru love”

  50. Faith alone sounds like we are passive, we are not passive but active thru faith. As Eph. 2:8 it is a gift, but a gift and faith that moves us..2:10. It does not come from or even within me, but it does cause me to “believe”!


  51. S2C,
    Repentance or “metanoia” is a gift also, but it is literally “a transformation of the mind”! Again, the work of grace.


  52. Irish,

    Yes, I believe in glorfication Rom 8:28-30. But not apotheosis as the Roman emperors did:

    Faith alone is just acknowledging that we contribute nothing to our salvation. It was completely earned and procured by Jesus Christ. If anything in addition to faith is required, any other condition that based on my cooperation with God, then Christ’s work was not sufficient (Gal 2:15-21):;&version=47;

    Is love our contribution in your understanding?


  53. S2C,
    My love is nothing as to my being made just before God, but my love back to Christ is as His life and light alive in me…1 Tim.1:5.

    And theosis, is the process in which God’s life fills and tranforms me, in the end, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.


  54. *transforms

  55. Irish,

    In Christ’s incarnation, death, burial and resurrection I have been saved completely. I have peace with God (Rom 5) and stand before God “holy and blameless” (Col 1:21-22) despite my continuation to sin. Thus, I have already objectively been “sanctified” (Heb 10:6). This is all granted to me when I beleive the Gospel (Rom 1:16-17).

    Since I am already justified, declared not guilty, my salvation has been guaranteed in Christ (John 10 and 17 – see also John 6:35-47)

    The process of sanctification and glorification technically completes the process of salvation. This as well is only made possible by grace alone, in a manner I guess it is Christ living in me, however can never add to or change that original declaration rendered when I first believed.

    So if your love means nothing in the equation, then aren’t you really saying faith alone?


  56. S2C,
    Sure, I would agree with what you have nicely stated. I would only add that I don’t see the forensic aspect to “our” salvation. Christ alone has removed that. And we (as I know you would agree) to use a Calvinist term, “persevere” in our God’s saving grace. I am convinced too that Calvin also believed in a high degree to a “theosis”, though of course he did not call it that. So the “alone” is really kind of a misnomer. Faith, full faith always being a gift, and active by and in God.


  57. S2C,
    In Thomas Oden’s, The Justification Reader, he seeks to show the true balance of the east on this great subject: “The leading biblical interpreter from the great school of Antioch, Theodoert of Cyrrhus, in his fourth-century commentary on the Epistles of Paul, reflected on Ephesians 2:8…”All we bring to grace is our faith. But even this in this faith, divine grace itself has become our enabler. For Paul adds, ‘And this is not of yourselves but it is a gift of God, not of works..etc. (Eph. 2:8-9).’ It is not of our own accord that we have believed, but we have come to belief after having been called; and even when we had come to believe, He did not require of us purity of life, but approving mere faith, God bestowed on us forgiveness of sins”. As Oden states this was: “A thousand years before Luther. (Page 44-45) And I won’t quote, but John Chrysostom says the same thing. Yes, indeed the East taught classic Justification also!


  58. Eyes, are you talking about a Christian mystical experience?

    It’s up to you on how you concluded on it brother.

    The issue about faith is also a problem and trouble of the 12 Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ during His time.

    Lk:17:5: And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

    But Master Lord Jesus Christ did not directly answer on it brother He just only give an example.


    Because faith is like our freedom, it depend on us.

    There are some of the gentiles during the time of our lord Jesus Christ which has a strong faith although they are not Apostles.

    “… O woman, great is thy faith … ” – Mt:15:28

    But the lack of faith will justified through grace.

    a grace which is the product of your fear to God.

    This fear to God is not a works but rather your nature.

    A nature which is the product of the past.



  59. Eyes,

    But as St. Paul says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
    And we have really no “freedom” (in and from ourselves), but God does call us to repentance. We are responsible beings, made so by God.

    Nature? My own nature is sinful, thru and thru! Only God’s grace enables me to respond with a holy fear!
    “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared (reverance and awe!).” (Ps.130:4)

    Fr. Robert (Anglican priest)

  60. Irish,

    This is definitely a first for me…an agreement at the end of an exchange. Wow!

    Does the modern Eastern Church maintain the positions you quoted above? I have heard that they do not.


  61. Eyes,

    By nature we are at enmity with God and spiritually dead. We require the Holy Spirit to make us alive before we can have faith in Christ.;Romans%203:9-26;&version=47;


  62. S2C,
    I can only speak from my exprience with the Orthodox. But most of them have been well defined in their faith and statements. No one is perfect, and the Church is a pilgrim people. And as I said, right now I am an Anglican, and do not really see myself going to a full Orthodox position on everything. But I do really value their Trinitarian truth, amd much of their spirituality also.

    It has been nice my brother to have good and open dialog. Your spirit speaks Christ! Thank you!

    Fr. Robert

  63. Faith is the mature/product of believe.

    Grace is the product of faith.

    Lk:23:43: And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

    Grace is the product of the fear to God.

    Acts:10:22: And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that FEARETH God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

    Cornelius never heard the word of God before Peter came nor the gentile religion teach him to do good deeds.

    but still he is a just man to the eye of the Lord.

    his being just man is his nature.

    a nature which is the product of genetic, nurture in the past and environmental factor.

    in short, what you have this time as a being is the product of your past whether it is minute ago, an hour, a year and generation.

    Yes we are all save by grace or mercy of God.

    Grace is mercy.

    Our God is a God of fairness when he give mercy it means it is reasonable.

    We must remember the real purpose of the law is to save and preserve life which is the product of the expression of love of the Father in heaven.

    The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit is always there to save you but it’s the transgressor who lead away from life.

    “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his OWN soul: all they that HATE ME love DEATH.” – Proverb 8:36

  64. Eyes,

    I still don’t think you are quite comprehending the heart of the question nor the request to clarify your understanding of justifying faith.

    Maybe a good place to resolve this is to start with the catechism. Please review and let me know if you agree with this:


  65. S2C…Love that ESV! And the Belgic is one of my favorite Reformed confessions.

    Eyes, you seem very biblist and mystical to me. Many mystics don’t read much, save scripture. Is this true of you, do you read mostly scripture alone?

    Fr. Robert..or Irish

  66. I like certain Christian mysticism, but it should be tempered by both scripture and sound theology. The better Christian mystics are bound at least by scripture. And some do both scripture and theology. David C. Downing book: Into the Region of Awe – Mysticism in CS Lewis is very good I feel. And then there are sound mystics in both the R. Catholic and the Orthodox traditions, etc.

    S2C, do you have any thoughts here?



  67. Irish,

    Sorry, but I am with Luther in classifying mysticism as just another ladder that Christian’s use to climb up to God:

    Rather than pursuing God through mysticism, I think Scripture teaches us to pursue God through Christ who revealed the true mystery hidden in ages past in the Gospel:;%20Colossians%201:25-27;&version=47;

    Once this mystery was made known through the canon of Scripture all our pursuits of special revelation should be sought through that medium.


  68. S2C,
    I am speaking of a Pauline and Johannine type of both biblical and spiritual Christ mysticism. Luther never really understood this aspect in my opinion. Sadly he reacted to a certain poor and at time even false mystical strain. But when one reads men like St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was very much appreciated by both Calvin and even Luther. One can gain insight to this element. Even Augustine had something of this desire in both his life and writings. And sadly, many if not most Christians in the west are missing much of the eastern blessings here. Note CS Lewis had touched something here! This reality of the mystic way and spirit, is an objective spirituality. It is not mere quietism, though Fenelon has some rich things to say. However, he is not a classic quietist, though he has been labeled here. Unfairly as I can see.
    Even John Calvin said to know God, we must know ourselves. The great weakness of the modern Reformed Church and doctrine, has been not to follow this out. However, Mercersburg Theology with Schaff and Nevin began to go down this path, but they lost out to Hodge and the majority went with him, at least in America. The Dutch Reformed have had some great men also. But these are my opinions, and I know they are not yours. But I have had my time with the Anglican Reformed, which was sounder (again my opinion) than the classic hard-line Calvinists.

    The point is the Christian life and the reality of the Church of God. Question? Do you believe in some aspect and reality to the continue of the Incarnation above in Christ, and in His Church body below? Have you seen Gerrit Scott Dawson’s book: Jesus Ascended – the Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation?


  69. S2C,
    The concept of a “latter” to heaven and God, is certainly not a good mystical approach, in the best of both the east and west on this reality we may call Christian mysticism. But there is “Jacobs latter” Gen.32:24-30.


  70. Irish,

    To put it plainly we must seek God only through Christ. Christ has ascended into heaven, however, has preserved a witness of Himself in His Word or the Scriptures (and the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism). Any pursuit to seek God outside of these ordinary means…is off-limits.

    When you speak of mysticism, I am assuming it is seeking God outside of this paradigm.

    I have not read the author you referred to, but would comment that the incarnation is an accomplished aspect of redemption. Thus, I am not sure how we could affirm this without violating Chalcedon.


  71. The bible itself is mystical. It is a words spoken from eternity.

    so its understanding and meaning is for eternity also and only came from eternity will also who can understand it.

    So we ask him for understanding.

    “I am the WORD spoken by the Most High …” – Sirach 24:3

    “… I am Understanding” – Proverb 8:14

    And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. – John 1:14.

    As what I said start our faith through submission, from gradual to complete.

    And everything you do Master Lord Jesus Christ will guide you.

    Because you are no longer under the consciousness of the world but through the will and mercy of God.

    And Everything you do will justified by faith.

    And St. Paul will add your name on his listing on works justified by faith in Hebrews 11.


  72. S2C
    I can see that you are missing my understanding of mysticism and the mystical. In fact “eyes” first statement is right on: “The bible itself is mystical. It is words spoken from eternity.”

    And her texts: Sirach 24:3, Prov. 8:14, and John 1:14. These are all right on the money for the truth and idea of the Incarnation, and the incarnational!

    This does not subplant or challenge Chalcedon at all, it only spiritually enhances it. Both from the fact that Christ is still THE Incarnate One, at the Right Hand of the Father! (Heb. 9: 14). And in the Church or His body below (Acts 9:4 /1 Cor.15:9) Note, St. Paul says, as Jesus told him, when you persecute me (Acts 9:4) you persecute the Church of God/Christ! As we are “the Body of Christ”! This is much more than a metaphor!


  73. […] This was a timely read considering the current discussions:  See comments […]

  74. Irish and Eyes,

    I’d like to get your reaction to the latest post. And since we are way off topic here maybe we can continue the dialogue there.


  75. S2C,
    Sorry, I was the one that got off topic. The nature of the blog sometimes goes that way however.


  76. […] that is encountered when some seek to romanticize the patristic period is that it is significantly moralistic in its content.  Many of the works produced during this period lack the grace or gospel-centered […]

  77. Eyes,

    I responded to your comment in the other post…


    No problem, I also wanted to get your feedback on Warfield’s comment.


  78. S2C,
    Forgive me, that was not a good effort, I have read that before (have the books). I will read again, and give my thoughts at least.


  79. […] and take dominion over the created order until Christ returns.  An extreme form of this is seen in theonomy, which seeks to bring all of life (cult and culture) under the law of God as expressed in the […]

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