Bahnsen Quote For Discussion

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, Mar 25, 2008.

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  1. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    We are not supposed to ask?

    I did not question his ability.

    But do we need any sanctification in order to achieve salvation? Do we require any infusion of grace to be saved? Bahnsen said "... salvation is not exhaustively circumscribed by God's pardon of, and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to, the sinner". But it seems to me that our salvation is based on "the imputation of Christ's righteousness" alone. Nothing more is needed for salvation.
  2. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Brother, some questions are just not worth asking, especially speculative ones. You were asking a bunch of "what if's": Are deathbed conversions possible? Can one receive saving faith and yet die before the Spirit starts the process? etc.

    It's a lot like asking what God would do if he created a rock too big to move. It's speculative and not supported by scripture--so, no, it is not worth asking.

    My point about the Spirit's ability directly address the hypotheticals you presented. Question: What if you die before the Spirit sanctifies you? Answer: Those whom Christ justifies will be sanctified by the Spirit. The "what if" is precluded by the promise.

    I really don't have anything else to say about this. Your systematic seeks to transcend the information provided by Scripture. I find it an odd position for you to take.
  3. Stephen

    Stephen Puritan Board Junior

    Brother, I am not presenting error here but the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity, which you agreed to when you joined the Puritan Board.
  4. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not seeing what was said that is contrary (not in conformity) to the WSF or the TFU. I hardly see a difference in the statements that are supposed to be correcting each other. Are you all maybe talking past each other? (There are also three or more people in this particular thread so that's confusing. :))
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Isn't saying that sanctification is optional the same as the old Dallas teaching which makes sanctification optional and is essentially a Keswickian second blessing scheme that gives us the "carnal Christian" etc?
  6. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    This discussion has not been about whether sanctification is optional, but rather should sanctification be 'circumscribed' with justification as part of the definition of the word 'salvation'.
  7. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not familiar with the "Keswickian second blessing scheme".

    But I would not say sanctification is optional, rather I would say sanctification is not necessary for salvation. Only justification is necessary for salvation. Now, sanctification necessarily follows temporally after justification, but that is not the same as saying it follows logically.
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    This appears to me to be a distinction without a difference. What is the difference between "optional" and "not necessary?"

    The Dallas Seminary teaching made an unbiblical distinction between believers and disciples, that disciples made Jesus Lord but that one could believe the facts about the gospel and be saved without having Jesus as Lord i.e. sanctification. Apparently your mentor John Robbins is in large agreement with them since he has been published twice in the journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, which is one of the more extreme groups (Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin) promoting this teaching or some variation.
  9. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member


    Chris, I appreciate the point you made about the distinction without a difference, but let's not derail the thread. JR isn't posting here and we don't need this to turn into another thread discussing his views or the views of DTS on yet another issue.
  10. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The Catechism says "all other saving graces" and "holy obedience" are "evidence of the truth of their faith" and "the way which he hath appointed them to salvation."
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Hebrews 12:14

    and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
  12. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Surely this verse isn't meant to be interpreted to be referring to a subjective, individual level of growth in personal holiness. "Sanctification" can be used in other ways.
  13. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Actually, I think it does. Read the context (I'm using the AV, but, the Greek word for holiness, as I'm sure you know, is often translated into sanctification too):

    Sounds like he is directing persons to increase in personal holiness, to me.

    But I think we've come full circle. The first sentence of the original quote by Bahnsen tells us it is God's doing anyway:

    "To be sanctified is to be "set apart" by and unto God, so that the Christian is recreated after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness and empowered by the Holy Spirit to die progressively unto sin and live more and more in conformity with God's will."
  14. Red Beetle

    Red Beetle Puritan Board Freshman

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    When Clark mentions salvation in the first paragraph is he implying the same form of salvation in all three instances? Are all three forms of I am saved, I am being saved, I will be saved to imply justification before the throne of God?

    Or do we need different kinds of deliverance to which the three uses of salvation may be referring to?
  16. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    "Optional" is not the term the conveys the correct idea. I trying to make clear the logical necessity of justification for salvation. Since we are saved by "faith alone", then nothing that happens after we are saved by faith alone (i.e. sanctification) is necessary for our salvation.

    I really don't know much about GES. I believe GES simply republished a couple Trinity Review articles. Anyone can reprint most TR articles without prior permission. This is the statement found on most of their articles:
    I believe GES also quotes a lot of Calvin. I suppose we need to through him out also.
  17. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Do you mean the Anglican bishop Clark was quoting? That's a good question. I don't think we should use all three to refer to justification. Broadly speaking, "being saved" might refer to sanctification.
  18. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks RB! It is almost ironic, but Clark is very good about making it clear where things are not always clear. Rather than trying to conflate all the different senses of "salvation", Clark shows that the term itself can have different and even mutually exclusive meanings. Although salvation can mean justification or sanctification, justification can not mean sanctification. And salvation can not mean sanctification and justification at the same time.

    It is possible that Bahnsen was not trying to conflate the different meanings of salvation. But the quote of Bahnsen seemed to be doing just that. Maybe someone can provide additional Bahnsen quotes that make that clearer.

    P.S. Another Clark book I need to add to my library. :) I wonder if John Robbins has considered publishing them in ebook format?
  19. Stephen

    Stephen Puritan Board Junior

    I have a problem with the way you are stating that only justification is necessary for salvation, and sanctification temporarilly flows after justification. We certainly are declared righteous and blameless at justification, but the Westminster standards do not teach that sanctification is not necessary for salvation or is temporary. Justification leads to sanctification, which is an ongoing work that is not perfected or completed until we are glorified. Sanctification is a doctrine of soteriology just like justification. While we have been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin - justification, we are presently being saved from the power of sin - sanctification, but we will one day be saved from the very presence of sin - glorification. Salvation involves the deliverance of the whole person both soul and body. The Westminster shorter Catechism question and answer 37 states that believers are at their death made perfect in holiness. We are not made perfect until death, so our salvation has not yet been made complete. For the believer we have the guarantee of our complete salvation, but it is still future (Romans 8:28-30). It is certainly all of grace, but not complete until our glorification.
  20. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    They are quite antagonistic to Calvinism and articles attacking Calvinism have often been published there. But let's not hijack the thread any further and I should not have posted the references to GES and Robbins earlier because they really don't help the discussion since the ultimate issue is what the Bible teaches.
  21. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    If you're so clear in your simplicity, Anthony, then,it seems to me you should have been able to post once. Why does it take a long thread of qualifying yourself?

    The reason the Reformed confessions and thinkers have used the term salvation in a broad way is because Scripture uses the term in very broad ways.

    It uses it of God's purpose in the Covenant of Redemption:
    Speaks of it in reference to our calling and regeneration:
    In our justification:
    In our sanctification:
    Of our glorification:
    The term is even used of God's deliverance of men from calamity even more regularly. (perform a search for the term save and you'll be overwhelmed)

    I fundamentally disagree that the believer's growth in wisdom is served by narrowing the use of a term that God Himself has ordained to be broad for a very good reason. With respect to the Elect, maintaining the broader definition of the term helps us to see salvation as beginning in the CoR and revealed to us in the CoG. Our justification is certainly, for us, the motiviation from which other saving graces proceed but to understand that we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved because God is the author and finisher of salvation is of great importance.

    Yes, we need to sometimes look at the individual leaves and consider them in parts but we don't gain anything if, in our goal to simplify a part, we lose track of a whole.

    I state yet again that I don't find over-simplification helpful here and the fact that you have to keep explaining everything demonstrates the point. Reformed theology has a long pedigree of profound exegetes and systemeticians. I think you need to start picking up more of those older books as well.
  22. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I did not say it was temporary. I said it was temporal (over time). Sanctification is a process. But all that we need for justification is faith - ergo our salvation is by faith alone.

    I agree. But our justification does not depend on our sanctification.

    That is sanctification.

    But we have the perfect righteousness of Christ when we are justified. Our perfection does not save us.

    So it depends on what sense of "salvation" you are using. Please read the quotes RB posted from Clark. If you mean by salvation our justification before the throne of God, that is occurs when we are regenerate and believe in Christ as our Savior. At the moment, we have the imputed righteousness of Christ, and our salvation is complete. Nothing more needs to be added.

    However, if you mean by salvation, our ongoing deliverance from the bondage of sin through the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification, then indeed we are "being saved" every day.

    But "salvation" can not mean both "justification" and "sanctification" at the same time.
  23. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This is flat out, unconfessional and un-Biblical. Salvation is our election, calling, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

    I'm sick of these kinds of re-definitions.
  24. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    "For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed." (Rom. 13:11)

    In that context, the word salvation is not being used in reference to justification, therefore, salvation is more than justification.
  25. Red Beetle

    Red Beetle Puritan Board Freshman

    "In plain English, salvation is a broad term that includes regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. The present study concerns sanctification" (Sanctification, Introduction, page 1).

    Anthony, I don't know if were both reading Clark the same way.
    Clark is simply enumerating different members classed together under the term 'salvation.'
    By doing so, Clark is in complete agreement with the Westminster Standards and historical Reformed theology.
    Clark's plain English understanding of the term here is denotative, even though he leaves out election in the above quote from page 1 of Sanctification. But no Calvinist, especially Gordon H. Clark, would argue that election is not part of the "Golden Chain of Salvation" (consider his book "Predestination"). The soteric doctrines listed by Clark are logically connected, they are each essential to the plain English understanding of the term "salvation," but each member classed under the term 'salvation' is different, and not to be confused
  26. Stephen

    Stephen Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I agree with you brother. I like Clark's works and lean more toward him than VanTil (that is another thread). Clark did (he is in glory now) hold consistently to the Westminster Standards and believed that sanctification is part of salvation that one logically flows from the other. Paul's ordo salutus in Romans 8:29-30 shows a logical progression from justification to glorification, which all involves salvation. Clark certainly affirmed this.
  27. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I will agree when you provide one example of Scripture where the term salvation means "election, calling, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification" at the same time. When you do that, you have proven I am being unconfessional.
  28. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Exactly. I agree completely.

    My point is to show that salvation can not mean both justification and sanctification at the same time. In fact, there is not instance in Scripture where the term refers to both at the same time.

    While the term salvation can refer to any of election, sanctification, justification, glorification, etc., in Scripture it never refers to all at the same time and in the same sense.

    Justification is not sanctification.

    Sanctification is not justification.

    The salvation of justification is not the same salvation of sanctification.

    They both are a kind of salvation, but in categorically different senses. The salvation of justification refers specifically to the being saved from spiritual death and separation from the Father, to eternal life, and comes from the external righteousness of Christ imputed to us forensically. It refers to an event when we are declared righteous when we are saved through faith alone.

    The salvation of sanctification refers to being freed from the bondage of sin through the process of sanctification by an internal change over time to our nature, and infused rightousness by the Spirit. It begins when we are regenerate, but adds nothing at all to our justification.

    Our salvation by justification is perfect and complete. And no part of our sanctification adds anything to our salvation by justification. No part of our righteousness by sanctification earns us eternal life with the Father or saves us from damnation.

    While these ideas are logically interrelated, they are distinct and not to be confused. That is both confessional and biblical.
  29. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    If it does not refer to justification, then you can not say salvation is "more than justification". The more reasonable conclusion is the salvation is other than justification. But that is not correct either. Better to say that salvation refers to something other than justification in this instance.
  30. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I mean that the term "salvation" - when we consider all of its Biblical usages - has a broader meaning that simply "justification", in the instance cited it refers to our ultimate salvation and glorification.
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