2 Timothy 2:24-25
If he means temporal benefits by "saving benefits," though, then it is a problem of terms, right? He needs to use clearer language?
I think if all he meant was temporal benefits, in the same sense that we began this thread with (i.e. Owen) then nobody would be batting an eyelash even if he called them saving benefits. I don't think the language is important.
Note carefully what he says:
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?
That's completely different than the temporal benefits that Owen is speaking of. Pastor Wilkins is assuming that:
-because Paul's called the Church the elect of God, holy and beloved
-beause Paul has spoken of the inheritance of the saints
-because Paul spoke of the forgiveness of sins
-and addressed a Church body that he knew consisted of elect and reprobate
-it is true fully of the absolute, sovereignly elected
-it must be also true partially (somehow not sure how exactly but true) of the ultimately reprobate
But he does is what his critics are saying because he applies benefits that are only given to those who are absolute, sovereignly predestinated to the reprobate on the basis of a form of address.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.
Now, one might argue that Owen and the WCF and Presbyterianism in general are all wet on this subject.
What you cannot do with that statement, however, is just say "Well, it's exactly the same thing as what Owen wrote."