Conditional Election - Where does FV differ from Historical Reformed Usage?

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
There was a good exchange between Rev. Winzer and Wayne Wylie in the thread about Wilkins' Presbytery exam. I'll quote it below because I want to have some interaction with a thought.

I'm trying to determine the difference between what Rev. Winzer is quoting as a historic Reformed usage of conditional election from the way the FV camp is using it. I've been engaging in some dialogue with some FV supporters lately. It's a bit difficult breaking through the crust honestly because, for all the charges that they're being unfairly treated, many tend to be very prickly when you're trying to interact with them on a concern.

If I'm reading them correctly, however, they seem to be claiming that all they're doing is arguing for a concept of conditional election as Rev Winzer does. Here is Rev Winzer's first post:
Friends, when did the reformed church insist that the exact terms must be found in Scripture? The idea of conditional election to temporary benefits is clearly revealed in holy writ. Our Lord has provided a parable which specifically teaches that the reprobate are partakers in the kingdom of God temporarily -- the parable of the wheat and tares. At the judgment, "the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all things that offend, and them which do iniquity," Matt. 13:41. The visible church enjoys special "privileges" bestowed by God, which the world does not receive, Westminster Larger Catechism, answer 63. To be in the visible church is to enjoy these benefits. If any are made partakers of these benefits it is because God chose them to it (temporary election).

The term "temporary election" is used in reformed theology in the same way as "common grace." Although Scripture uses "election" and "grace" only in relation to the members of the invisible church, there is a theological analogy which makes it appropriate to apply the terms to the members of the visible church in a common way, in virtue of the fact that the visible church is the temporal manifestation of the invisible church.

Consider the words of John Owen (Works, 4:430):

As Owen goes on to note, the term election finds specific support in connection with the choice of Judas to the apostleship, John 6:70. That this was temporary is indicated by the fact that our Lord specifically says in chap. 13:18, I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen." Now if this is true of Judas, who was given an extraordinary office in the church, and equipped with miraculous gifts, it must also be true of ordinary officers and members of the church, who are given the ordinary gifts to administer and receive the Word and sacraments.

The problem with the FV formulation of the teaching is that it supposes "saving graces" are communicated by virtue of this temporal election, contrary to what John Owen teaches above. It is at this point that justified criticism can be levelled at the FV. By denying the traditional reformed teaching of temporal election in order to oppose the FV, you make yourself equally chargeable with a departure from the reformed faith.
Now one of the FV champions actually found the whole post edifying but then really couldn't understand how they could be charged with the last part.

Anyhow, Wayne responded with this:
The Standards have a better term than "conditional election" or "temporary election" and that is the "general calling". The definition in Chapt 10 on Effectual Calling is as follows:

IV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,[15] and may have some common operations of the Spirit,[16] yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:[17] much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess.[18] And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.[19]

Proofs:

[15] MAT 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

[16] MAT 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. HEB 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.

[17] JOH 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

[18] ACT 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. JOH 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. EPH 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. JOH 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

[19] 2JO 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 1CO 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. GAL 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

One of the problems with the FV are the use of terms. Using "temporary election" only causes further confusion despite the fact that some theologian at some time used the term.
To which Rev. Winzer responded:
This call can be heard from Joe Blogs standing on a soap box in the centre of town.

Traditional Presbyterianism taught that Jehovah God manifests His gracious presence and acts according to His special providence for the good of the visible church. This privileged position is acknowledge by historic writers as an election, which distinguishes the members of the visible church from the world. To call it anything less is to detract from the significance of the church as an institution of divine appointment.

The Confession considers the visible church to be nothing less than "the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation" (chap. 25, sect. 2). Besides the special benefits of the sacraments, which apply only to the elect, the Confession states they are also instituted " to put a visible difference between those that belong to the church, and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word" (Chap. 27, sect. 1).

It appears to me that the confusion arises because inexperienced theologians do not understand the adjectives "absolute," "unconditional" or "eternal," as being relative to the election which pertains to eternal life, and that such adjectives are stated for the express purpose of distinguishing this election from an election to temporal privileges.

I specifically chose the quotation of John Owen because he particularly refers to Christ's election of Judas to temporal privileges. Judas was chosen, being a devil; yet in terms of inward, spiritual blessings, he was not chosen. One is not at liberty to deny what the Bible so plainly teaches. The responsible thing to do is to explain the difference between these two elections, which is what historic reformed theology has done.
As I argued elsewhere, this ought not to be a debate over semantics or the definitions of words but over the doctrinal meaning. I don't see anything contentious about the idea of conditional election given the way that Rev. Winzer described it.

Thus, what is the substantive difference between what he has described and what the FV have written?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich, I would suggest the problem with the FV formulation is to be found in their saying that temporal election includes being partakers of "saving" benefits, from which the temporarily elect person may fall away.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Rich, I would suggest the problem with the FV formulation is to be found in their saying that temporal election includes being partakers of "saving" benefits, from which the temporarily elect person may fall away.
Are you speaking "covenantally" or "decretively". To the FV supporters, it makes all the difference. In fact this is the exact point Wilkins makes.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Rich, I would suggest the problem with the FV formulation is to be found in their saying that temporal election includes being partakers of "saving" benefits, from which the temporarily elect person may fall away.
This is exactly correct. And they use (historically Reformed) language such as Rev. Winzer quoted from Owen that has reference to temporary gifts as having reference to saving benefits.


Excellent point, Rev. Winzer.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Are you speaking "covenantally" or "decretively". To the FV supporters, it makes all the difference. In fact this is the exact point Wilkins makes.
It is the distinction itself which is in error. The covenant of grace is decreed so far as its spiritual and eternal benefits are concerned, and it is the exclusive privilege of those given to Christ before the foundation of the world to be in covenant with God. The external administration of the covenant in time to the visible church does not confer spiritual benefits, but only provides the means by which grace is administered. The means belong to all in the visible church. The grace belongs to the elect alone.
 

turmeric

Megerator
I didn't like the term "conditional election" at first, but Judas is a good example of exactly that, he was chosen to be one of the twelve who were closest to Jesus in His earthly life, and apparently chosen to carry the moneybag. Esau might be another example, not sure about that though.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Thank you Reverends Greco and Winzer. I think this helps draw out the distinction.

This discussion gets very frustrating when you try to peel back the onion. I think too many are not willing to get past the chaff of words and get to the heart of the issue.

In my open letter to the Federal Vision I posed this basic question: is what you are fighting for worth disturbing the Church?

After discussing this with some FV guys at length, they won't really answer the "what's different?" question but simply refrain "We're not what you accuse us of...." Seriously, is the expectation that we just keep saying: "Well you mean this..." and they say "No, that's not it..." until somebody gets it right?

Further, when the correct meaning of what they write is ascertained, is their expectation that we are in the same place doctrinally? If that is the case then I have to think that God would be very displeased over a 5 year wrangling over identical terms.

Seriously, whether I had a name to give what Owen writes, I've always understood that as being the Reformed position even when I was relatively naive in Reformed Theology. I don't have a problem calling it conditional election and retract a previous statement that it is not Reformed to use that terminology.

I think, then, we have discovered one very basic difference is uncovered very obviously. It doesn't take the writing of tomes to state either:

From Rev Winzer
I would suggest the problem with the FV formulation is to be found in their saying that temporal election includes being partakers of "saving" benefits, from which the temporarily elect person may fall away.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
It is the distinction itself which is in error. The covenant of grace is decreed so far as its spiritual and eternal benefits are concerned, and it is the exclusive privilege of those given to Christ before the foundation of the world to be in covenant with God. The external administration of the covenant in time to the visible church does not confer spiritual benefits, but only provides the means by which grace is administered. The means belong to all in the visible church. The grace belongs to the elect alone.
No doubt that you are absolutely right. But when the FV folks talk about any saving benefits they are speaking covenantally because that is the way they believe Scripture is speaking. That is why in another post I said that Wilkins wants it both ways.

To me it starts with their distorted view of covenant as being synonomous with "relationship", per Steve Wilkins in his oral exam before the LA Presbytery.

FYI, the purpose of my response to Mr. Winzer in the above post was not to say he was wrong. I was just showing how the concept he was describing is reflected in the Standards, which has a clear definition that hopefully we can agree with.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I didn't like the term "conditional election" at first, but Judas is a good example of exactly that, he was chosen to be one of the twelve who were closest to Jesus in His earthly life, and apparently chosen to carry the moneybag. Esau might be another example, not sure about that though.
One terrifying example is given to us in the NT: "remember Lot's wife." She was physically separated from the world lying in wickedness by virtue of her visible connection with the household of Abraham and its promises, but her last look proved where her heart really was. Subsequently she was made a singular example of the judgment of God against those who hold the truth in unrighteousness. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
FYI, the purpose of my response to Mr. Winzer in the above post was not to say he was wrong. I was just showing how the concept he was describing is reflected in the Standards, which has a clear definition that hopefully we can agree with.
Agreed! I apologise if my matter of fact way of speaking gives the impression I am disagreeing. I'm only trying to accurately express what I mean.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Perhaps it would be better to post in this thread.

judgment of charity.
So then, my question is, what is "wrong," Biblically speaking, with referring to Christians as elect and forgiven, and so forth? Especially consider Reformed liturgies where the Pastor declares the congregation's sins are forgiven after the prayer of confession! Of course, the Pastor is not saying that those who in the congregation that are not REALLY elect are forgiven, but it is given as a general declaration, based upon Scriptural truth. We can't lift up people's skirts to see if they're REALLY elect, so I think, with Paul, this is the best we can do. That doesn't make one wrong, does it? Or a liar? I am having a hard time seeing how.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Gabe you moved your post!!! So I'll also post my comment over here.

Would you agree with Steve Wilkins and the AAPC Session that the Standards are speaking "Decretively" and the Scriptures are speaking "Covenantally"? And would you say that this would be the general position of most of the advocates of the FV position?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So then, my question is, what is "wrong," Biblically speaking, with referring to Christians as elect and forgiven, and so forth? Especially consider Reformed liturgies where the Pastor declares the congregation's sins are forgiven after the prayer of confession! Of course, the Pastor is not saying that those who in the congregation that are not REALLY elect are forgiven, but it is given as a general declaration, based upon Scriptural truth. We can't lift up people's skirts to see if they're REALLY elect, so I think, with Paul, this is the best we can do. That doesn't make one wrong, does it? Or a liar? I am having a hard time seeing how.
I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all; but can you see that you have introduced a different distinction? Whereas temporal election is real, to genuine visible church privileges, you have felt the need to distinguish between those who are REALLY elect and those who are not with respect to spiritual benefits. Hence you acknowledge that those who fall away only "appeared," phenomenologically, to be elect for the present, whereas in reality, noumenally, they are not elect. This is different from an election to temporal benefits, which is a real election, visibly distinguishing persons from the world.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Gabe,

I'll let Pastor Winzer express it more eloquently than I. I think many sympathetic to the FV are guilty of their own mischaracterization by assuming that if you uphold the distinction that you are not able to use a general term of address. As I noted in the other thread, Christ treated Judas like any other Apostle even knowing he never believed. How much more ought we to treat all members of God's Church with equity not having infallible knowledge?

Consider Hebrew 6. The writer warns, in the most extreme terms, of the danger of rejecting the faith. But he then writes:

[KJV]Hebrews 6:9[/KJV]
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

Does the author really know that none of those addressed will fall away or does the author assume that he's only writing to the truly elect and that none are in danger of the judgment spoken of? I don't think either answer is correct.

The Biblical pattern in exhortation then differs from a didactic understanding of who is and isn't elect. Terms of address and encouragement and reminders of election to a general audience do not a doctrine form.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe you moved your post!!! So I'll also post my comment over here.

Would you agree with Steve Wilkins and the AAPC Session that the Standards are speaking "Decretively" and the Scriptures are speaking "Covenantally"? And would you say that this would be the general position of most of the advocates of the FV position?
I would disagree that this is what Steve Wilkins is saying.

I think he's saying the Scriptures are speaking in BOTH ways, and in harmony (like the paradoxical tension between free will and divine sovereignty).

I think the Scriptures speak in BOTH ways, as well.

If it turns out he does NOT, and thinks they only speak Covenantally, I would disagree with him. However, I do not think this is the case at this time...
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Gabe,

Check out the AAPC web site and the Sessions statement on what they believe.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Indeed, the Standards have very little to say about the spiritual experience of the non-elect who are members of the visible church. WCF 10.4 is perhaps the clearest and fullest statement. This section refers to those who are members of the church but who apostatize (those who received the “common operations of the Spirit”). The Confession makes clear that these who fall away “never truly come to Christ.”

But, the WCF does affirm that the Spirit works in some way in those who are not elect (it mentions the “common operations of the Spirit”). What are some of these “common operations of the Spirit”? The proof-texts give us some indication of what the writers of the Confession were thinking:

– Matt. 7:22 – the Spirit enables some to prophesy, cast out demons, and work miracles;
– Matt. 13:20,21 – Some receive the word with joy but only believe for a while;
– Heb. 6:4-5 – the Spirit enlightens, enables them to “taste of the heavenly gift; they become partakers of the Holy Spirit, taste the good word of God and the powers of the age to come; (and so on, the other proof texts are John 6:37, 64-66; 8:44; 13:18; cf. 17:12)
The other major text in the WCF that is relevant to the non-elect is WCF 25.2. Here we find the assertion that all members of the visible church are members of the kingdom of Christ and the house and family of God (at least in some sense). Since the visible church contains some who are non-elect, the WCF thus implies that some adults and their children are citizens of the kingdom and members of God’s family, and yet still do not inherit the fullness of redemption and eternal life. Given the fact that earlier chapters of the Confession restrict these blessings to the elect alone, we are given some sense that the writers are sensitive to the claims made for the members of the visible church in the Scriptures.

Again, the proof texts used in WCF 25.2 help us to see some of the things that were in the minds of the members of the Assembly. They refer to Colossians 1:13 to prove that the visible Church is “the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But this text illustrates the very concerns that I have raised in my teaching and writing. In the verse preceding (1:12) he includes them among the number of those who have been qualified “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Further, he goes on in the verses that follow to describe what has happened to the members of the Church in Colossae. They have not only been “delivered from the power of darkness” and “conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love” but also, in Christ, they “have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (1:13-14). In Col. 3:12 Paul calls the members of the church in Colossae, “the elect of God” and does not qualify this appellation at all, and calls upon them to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven them (3:13).

Does Paul mean that each and every member of this congregation is “elect” in the Westminster Confession sense? I don’t think so but that leaves the question of how exactly he does understand them to be “elect of God, holy and beloved.” And further, how exactly do they partake of “the inheritance of the saints”? And, though I am quite certain that only the elect will finally be redeemed through the blood of Jesus and only the elect will receive the forgiveness of sins (and I’m sure Paul would agree) how can Paul state that this reality was true of the members of the church in Colossae? These are the sorts of questions I’m seeking to address and to do so in a way that does no harm in the least to God’s absolute, sovereign, predestination.

In showing that the visible Church is the house and family of God, the Assembly points us to Ephesians 2:19 where we are told that the members of the church in Ephesus “are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” The passage goes on to say that they “also are being built together [in Christ] for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Since Paul doesn’t exclude those members who might not be among those chosen for eternal salvation from before the foundation of the world, this apparently is true also of them (at least in some sense) as members of the Church. Now the question is “How is this true of the non-elect?” I have proposed a possible answer for this and it does not involve a rejection of anything the Confession says in chapters 10-18.

These are the sorts of questions that I’ve been concerned to understand. If we think that calling members of the visible church citizens of the kingdom, sons in the family, and members of the house of God requires us to reject what the Confession says about “the elect” in chapters 10-18, we are pitting the Confession against itself.
These are the sections that I'm most interested in, and where I think Rev. Wilkins is making the best points on this topic. Thoughts?
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
I moved Rev Winzer's response over here to follow Gabe's question. This is a good discussion.
I'll say that the two current threads have been most beneficial to me helping me understand what's going on. Thanks everyone for taking the time to sort this out for everyone.:handshake:
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
These are the sections that I'm most interested in, and where I think Rev. Wilkins is making the best points on this topic. Thoughts?
Gabe,

That quote is a perfect illustration of what I just wrote. Pastor Wilkins assumes this:

1. Paul makes reference to a whole church and calls them "elect", "partakers of the son", etc.
2. Paul knows that some of the members are not elect
3. Therefore, Paul must mean that there is a sense in which "saving benefits" confer on even the ultimately unsaved.

Don't you see that 3 is not a conclusion that has to be drawn necessarily? Notice in all of those passages, Paul does not say "...including those among the Church that are actually reprobate...." If he said that, then we would have to conclude that the benefits are for everyone.

Further, the problem that Pastor Wilkins has, even if we have to grant that this general form of address creates a necessary inference, Paul doesn't go on to spell out the differences in the benefits. Here's the rub. There is no didactic teaching that tells us where to draw the line on how those saving benefits differ. Pastor Wilkins and others are left to form that part with no Scriptural teaching except a vague notion that they have some forgiveness of sins. Well what forgiveness of sins do they receive? Some kind for sure because they're in the room when Paul talks to the Church and calls them elect.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think he's saying the Scriptures are speaking in BOTH ways, and in harmony (like the paradoxical tension between free will and divine sovereignty).
Paradox, that old charley horse between the ears, or as we say in Australia, a brain strain. Who can prove anything to be in error if paradoxical tension exists? On this basis we can say that God both elects and does not elect; saints will persevere and they will not persevere. And thus Satan succeeds in destroying that "comfort of the Scriptures" whereby the saints "might have hope."
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

That quote is a perfect illustration of what I just wrote. Pastor Wilkins assumes this:

1. Paul makes reference to a whole church and calls them "elect", "partakers of the son", etc.
2. Paul knows that some of the members are not elect
3. Therefore, Paul must mean that there is a sense in which "saving benefits" confer on even the ultimately unsaved.

Don't you see that 3 is not a conclusion that has to be drawn necessarily? Notice in all of those passages, Paul does not say "...including those among the Church that are actually reprobate...." If he said that, then we would have to conclude that the benefits are for everyone.

Further, the problem that Pastor Wilkins has, even if we have to grant that this general form of address creates a necessary inference, Paul doesn't go on to spell out the differences in the benefits. Here's the rub. There is no didactic teaching that tells us where to draw the line on how those saving benefits differ. Pastor Wilkins and others are left to form that part with no Scriptural teaching except a vague notion that they have some forgiveness of sins. Well what forgiveness of sins do they receive? Some kind for sure because they're in the room when Paul talks to the Church and calls them elect.
Does Pastor Wilkins ever explicitly state #3, though? I don't read it that way. I dunno. *shrug*
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Paradox, that old charley horse between the ears, or as we say in Australia, a brain strain. Who can prove anything to be in error if paradoxical tension exists? On this basis we can say that God both elects and does not elect; saints will persevere and they will not persevere. And thus Satan succeeds in destroying that "comfort of the Scriptures" whereby the saints "might have hope."
Those are contradictions, a paradox is an apparent contradiction... :D
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Does Pastor Wilkins ever explicitly state #3, though? I don't read it that way. I dunno. *shrug*
Gabe,

Are you serious?

In showing that the visible Church is the house and family of God, the Assembly points us to Ephesians 2:19 where we are told that the members of the church in Ephesus “are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” The passage goes on to say that they “also are being built together [in Christ] for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Since Paul doesn’t exclude those members who might not be among those chosen for eternal salvation from before the foundation of the world, this apparently is true also of them (at least in some sense) as members of the Church. Now the question is “How is this true of the non-elect?” I have proposed a possible answer for this and it does not involve a rejection of anything the Confession says in chapters 10-18.
It's all over.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

Are you serious?


It's all over.
I'm still gonna have to give him the benefit of the doubt unless I read more. That can be taken in different ways. I'm not going to be so quick to pass judgment on this Elder. He demands my respect by virtue of the office in the Church and Christ's appointment of such an office.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Those are contradictions, a paradox is an apparent contradiction... :D
When the apparent contradiction is presented as a real problem (tension) it is a real contradiction. So when Wilkins presents the apparent elect as being real elect he is effectively saying that the reprobate are elect -- a real contradiction. ;)
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
When the apparent contradiction is presented as a real problem (tension) it is a real contradiction. So when Wilkins presents the apparent elect as being real elect he is effectively saying that the reprobate are elect -- a real contradiction. ;)
Yes, if he was saying that, it would be a problem.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Here's the rub. There is no didactic teaching that tells us where to draw the line on how those saving benefits differ. Pastor Wilkins and others are left to form that part with no Scriptural teaching except a vague notion that they have some forgiveness of sins. Well what forgiveness of sins do they receive? Some kind for sure because they're in the room when Paul talks to the Church and calls them elect.
For a point of clarification, what I've read in both Wilkins and Lusk (if memory serves me correctly), the difference comes down to the grace of perseverance. That seems to be the one saving grace uncommunicated to the temporarily elect.

DTK
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm still gonna have to give him the benefit of the doubt unless I read more. That can be taken in different ways. I'm not going to be so quick to pass judgment on this Elder. He demands my respect by virtue of the office in the Church and Christ's appointment of such an office.
Gabe,

I'm not passing judgment. I'm simply articulating what he says. The question for judgment, for the Courts to decide, is whether the idea that the reprobate participate in "saving benefits" is Confessional.

I've never seen them denying that the basic premise for their ideas flows out of the claim that because Paul addresses the Church with certain titles that he means to also be expressing something didactic about the use of the terms of address for the reprobate.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

I'm not passing judgment. I'm simply articulating what he says. The question for judgment, for the Courts to decide, is whether the idea that the reprobate participate in "saving benefits" is Confessional.

I've never seen them denying that the basic premise for their ideas flows out of the claim that because Paul addresses the Church with certain titles that he means to also be expressing something didactic about the use of the terms of address for the reprobate.
If he means temporal benefits by "saving benefits," though, then it is a problem of terms, right? He needs to use clearer language?
 
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