Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Here & hereafter

“When you are regenerated you are NOW in the heavenlies with Christ as well.”

The allusion to Paul’s inaugurated eschatology in Ephesians doesn’t alter the fact that in Pauline theology, there is still a significant difference between the mortal state, the intermediate state (2 Cor 5:1-10; Phil 1:21-23), and the Parousia (1 Cor 15; 1 Thes 4:13-18).

“You sound like an atheist, frankly, on this subject”

And you sound like a Gnostic or preterist, frankly, on this subject.

“demanding sensual evidence”

I made no appeal to sensual “evidence.” The issue at hand has nothing to do with the assurance of salvation.

“and being outer-directed solely.”

A straw man argument.

“Forgive me for assuming too much on a blog that just recently has stated it is default Calvinist.”

An otherworldly piety is not a Reformed distinctive. Rather, it’s a hangover from medieval mysticism and monasticism.

“I guess it's Calvinist until 'all it holds dear' is challenged. “

The default Calvinism of Triablogue is always open to a good exegetical challenge.

“Also, this is what happens when you allow the devil to delete things like references to fasting out of your Bible. “

You’re tipping your hand, c.t., and your claws are showing.

“This world is the Kingdom of Satan, like it or not. The illusions and temptations and false idols that you've yet to recognize are part and parcel of the devil's kingdom.”

This isn’t Calvinism. Rather, that’s classic Anabaptism.

“Once you begin to see it you enter a new stage of the faith, Steve.”

As in the advanced stage of faith that you have reached? That’s a stage of faith I’ll do my very best to drive around, thank you.

“The Holy Spirit is not as limited as you currently think Him to be.”

That’s because I’m a Calvinist, not a Montanist.

“He guides one into knowledge and practice and goals once one sees the world for what it is. In fact, what is a Christian's life? Sanctification is not a terrible overall answer. ”

In my pneumatology, regeneration and sanctification make a Christian receptive to the truth of Scripture, but the truth of Scripture must still be ascertained by sound principles of exegesis. The Holy Spirit isn’t whispering the right interpretation in our ear.

“I wasn't making any reference to what Buddhists call 'detachment', not that most people know, or most Buddhists know, that that term means or refers to. “

It’s all of a piece with an essentially Eastern philosophy and hermeneutical grid—whether Gnosticism or Buddhism.

“Lloyd-Jones described the average Christian in his litany of types, and you didn't like what you read. It struck home. It stung. So you accused him of really being of the mystical (etc.) type. “

Nice try, but as a middle-aged bachelor, I have no family life: hence, I’m not writing for my own benefit.

Your exercise in armchair psychiatry misses the mark.

And now c.t., under your current K7 alias, this would be an opportune time for you to exit Triablogue before I need to hit the delete button.


  1. Calvinist? Jean Cauvin? Wasn't he that guy who studied ancient pagan literature, then told people not to study ancient pagan literature?

    Erasmus studied ancient pagan literature, too. He recommended it. It's good literature. The only fault of Erasmus (besides his love affaire with the latin tongue), was his assertion that ancient pagan literature should be credited to Christ. In reality, Christ should be credited to ancient pagan thought.

    One of our students observed that Jesus was a pagan philosopher. A fundamentalist retorted, "No, he's not!"

    The student said, "Then what was he doing, teaching pagan philosophy? Do you mean to imply that he was a charlatan?"

  2. Since you're invoking the Dave Armstrong defense I'll just respond to this before I leave you to your friendly chorus and atheist barrel fish (it's interesting though that you react so negatively to a person who questions what you've written and who isn't an atheist or other easy opponent; yes the justifications are many when you want to delete, but in this exchange your threat of deleting is based solely on your having been confronted on a subject you don't have a comfortable level of understanding regarding):

    You write:
    "This isn’t Calvinism. Rather, that’s classic Anabaptism."

    If the world is an OK place for you you're in conformity with it. This is what you miss. Read Calvin in Book 3, chapter 9. Read the entire chapter. Don't be like the neo-orthodox or Reformed Catholics and only read portions that make your point. Calvin even goes so far as to state the whole world no longer belongs to God in 3.22.7. Calvin the anabaptist.

    I find that when intellectual Calvinists are confronted by aspects of the faith that have to do with being on the Way they will renounce Calvin, renounce the Puritans, renounce anything that threatens their comfortable view of the faith.

    Carry on, I guess.

  3. Steve,

    Funny, I would have guessed that you were married. From this post, and other posts, you seem to have a lot of good insight into the nature of spousal relationships.

    I think I would agree with the thrust of your posts here. But I take it you aren't too sympathetic with John Piper's views on the affections?

  4. Calvin even goes so far as to state the whole world no longer belongs to God in 3.22.7.

    Really? What is Calvin discussing here, K7?

    Answer: Election and Mediation of Christ.

    He is not saying the world does not belong to God. On the contrary, the giving of the elect presumes that they belong to God to give. They are not his by nature. By nature, they are children of wrath and under the power of the evil one. With respect to the latter, the world does not belong to its creator, except insofar as grace rescues. This is quite clearly a result of God's condemnation of sin, which presumes that the world belongs to God so that He might condemn it.

    Now, let the supreme Judge and Master decide on the whole case. Seeing such obduracy in his hearers, that his words fell upon the multitude almost without fruit, he to remove this stumbling-block exclaims, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” “And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing,” (John 6:37, 39). Observe that the donation of the Father is the first step in our delivery into the charge and protection of Christ. Some one, perhaps, will here turn round and object, that those only peculiarly belong to the Father who make a voluntary surrender by faith. But the only thing which Christ maintains is that though the defections of vast multitudes should shake the world, yet the counsel of God would stand firm, more stable than heaven itself, that his election would never fail. The elect are said to have belonged to the Father before he bestowed them on his only begotten Son. It is asked if they were his by nature? Nay, they were aliens, but he makes them his by delivering them. The words of Christ are too clear to be rendered obscure by any of the mists of caviling. “No man can come to me except the Father which has sent me draw him.” “Every man, therefore, that has heard and learned of the Father comes unto me,” (John 6:44, 45). Did all promiscuously bend the knee to Christ, election would be common; whereas now in the small number of believers a manifest diversity appears. Accordingly our Savior, shortly after declaring that the disciples who were given to him were the common property of the Father, adds, “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine,” (John 17:9). Hence it is that the whole world no longer belongs to its Creator, except in so far as grace rescues from malediction, divine wrath, and eternal death, some, not many, who would otherwise perish, while he leaves the world to the destruction to which it is doomed.

    Read Calvin in Book 3, chapter 9.

    Okay, let's do that.

    And we find words like this:

    If heaven is our country, what can the earth be but a place of exile? If departure from the world is entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulchre, and what is residence in it but immersion in death? If to be freed from the body is to gain full possession of freedom, what is the body but a prison? If it is the very summit of happiness to enjoy the presence of God, is it not miserable to want it? But “whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord,” (2 Cor. 5:6). Thus when the earthly is compared with the heavenly life, it may undoubtedly be despised and trampled under foot. We ought never, indeed, to regard it with hatred, except in so far as it
    keeps us subject to sin; and even this hatred ought not to be directed against life itself. At all events, we must stand so affected towards it in regard to weariness or hatred as, while longing for its termination, to be ready at the Lord’s will to continue in it, keeping far from everything like murmuring and impatience.

    This is a far cry from your neo-Gnostic version that emphasizes 3.9.2 at the expense of 3.9.4 According to the very outline of that chapter what is said in 2 is to be tempered by 4.

  5. I cautioned Steve (and you by proxy now) to do what? to read the entire chapter. To read it in context. To not isolate parts that say what you want to hear, like the neo-orthodox and Reformed Catholics (all three of them now) do.

    Now you respond as if I don't understand context (and anybody who actually read that entire chapter will see Calvin saying exactly what I wrote that he said). Why do you solely-intellectual Calvinists turn into Roman Catholic apologists in your tactics once you are challenged in areas your understanding is, let us say, not as strong?

    The 3.22.7 quote is very relevant to the general subject matter of the post by Steve and comments following. "Hence it is that the whole world no longer belongs to its Creator, except in so far as grace rescues from malediction, divine wrath, and eternal death, some, not many, who would otherwise perish, while he leaves the world to the destruction to which it is doomed."

    Common grace is no argument for the goodness of the Kingdom of Satan. Common grace is a necessary stage for the playing out of salvation. Once a person is effectually called that world they resided in is then seen for what it is. This is Calvin's very strong teaching, and it is biblical.

  6. I would also caution against thinking you've got Calvin by merely reading an outline. The Institutes defy attempts at outlining in any other than the most surface degree. As most who are interested in Calvin I have the very well-done Battles outline (Analysis), yet one doesn't have to use it for very long before you see its rather extreme limitations. Get the real thing. Calvin is special. Read the entire Book 3, chapter 9. Get the full impact of what Calvin is saying regarding the world and the believer's relationship to the world. Sophists and liberals and RCs love to quote Calvin because one can find so easily isolated sentences and passages to say what they want Calvin to say. Calvin was a comprehensive and honest writer. To get the full impact of what he writes about the world you have to read his words fully and complete.