Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Saturday, February 09, 2008

J.C. Responds

J.C. has crafted a response to my first article defending eternal security.

He's the fellow who was the catalyst for me writing in defense of eternal security in the first place.

What Jeffrey Nachimson is for Ruckman-style KJV-onlyism (see here and here), J.C. is for anti-Calvinism. What he lacks in flair and flamboyant bombast that was exhibited in Jeffrey's smackdowns, however, he more than makes up for with voluminous writings, as self-congratulatory and ponderous as they are. He even has created a cute little graphic mocking Grace to You ministries where I work.

(And just so that there is no confusion, I never have, nor I never will assume to speak on behalf of "Grace to You." My blog and my comments are my own and in no way reflect their opinions, though many of my opinions are certainly in line with their's). But I digress...

I am not going to give a blow-by-blow response to J.C.'s. I don't have the time or the desire. I will say there are at least three foundational problems with his overall polemic against mine:

1) He doesn't believe regeneration does anything specific to change a sinner's heart.

He writes

Sin proceeds from the heart (Matthew 15:19), and just as good works are the outworking of faith, so sin is the result of a heart turning away from God

However, the biblical evidence, as I noted, tells how a sinner's heart is so entirely changed that his desires are now only to please the Lord (see my article). He will never turn away from God, because his heart has been created anew. Just as we didn't have the desire to come to God without the divine work of the new birth, after the new birth, we don't have the desire to turn from Him. J.C. doesn't interact with any of the information I presented. He just waves his hand and pronounces me an idiot of sorts.

J.C. attempts to argue for a prevenient grace view of regeneration, that we have to believe in faith and with obedience to the gospel message in order to be regenerated. I will leave the discussion of why that is such a pagan concept for a later time, but those interested in getting a fuller treatment on the error of prevenient grace can review these two articles:

Does the Bible teach prevenient grace in the Wesleyan/Arminian sense?

Arminians and prevenient grace

2) His view teaches works salvation. In spite of J.C.'s scornful protests to the contrary, his view of salvation is most certainly works oriented. He writes,

Ah ah ah, no one said God couldn't save anyone without their cooperation, simply that scripture indicates that He requires it.

What? If God requires that we cooperate with His plan of salvation as J.C. so adamantly claims the Bible teaches, then how is this NOT works? The sinner has to do something in order to cooperate, correct? Believe the gospel with his faith, be obedient, produce good works, keep pursuing God or risk having sin so over take his heart he forfeits salvation, etc. What is the difference between J.C.'s view of salvation and say, the Muslim's? Or maybe the Mormon's? Or even the Roman Catholic's schtick? How exactly am I mis-understanding, mis-representing?

He continues,

"Works oriented?" Sorry, faith in Christ is not a 'work,' and remaining in the faith of Christ is not a 'work.' If that's the crux of his argument for condemning conditional security as blasphemy, he lost before he started.

But J.C., don't you have to exercise faith in order to cooperate with God as the Bible requires? You just wrote that a person did. Don't you have to remain in the faith of Christ by producing good fruit and guarding your heart from being over taken by sin in order to prevent forfeiting salvation? How exactly is this NOT works? Either J.C. is severely muddled, or he is re-defining words to fit his conclusions, Or both.


3) J.C. equates the terms and stipulations of the Mosaic covenant with the New Covenant.

This is probably the most blunderous aspect to J.C.'s entire worldview. He thinks the promises and curses that governed the nation of Israel when they occupied the land are as equally applied to Christians. Thus, just as God stated He would bring cursings upon Israel if they refused to heed the covenant He made with them at Sinai, like giving them over to foreign enemies to punish them if the people worshiped false gods, or even completely cutting them off; so too a Christian is under the same curse of being cut off and experiencing eternal damnation if he doesn't fulfill his requirements of partaking in the covenant.

The Mosaic covenant that governed Israel as a people was certainly conditional. That is because it was meant to function as a temporary covenant governing a temporary theocratic nation. The Mosaic covenant was meant to be replaced by fulfillment with the New Covenant. The New Covenant expanded beyond the borders of the land of Israel to encompass the entire world. Where as the New Covenant is described as being eternal, the Mosaic wasn't. It never was meant to be. Thus, for J.C. to apply the same stipulations of blessing and cursings that governed the Mosaic covenant to the New Covenant is an embarrassing error.

Consider the promise of the New Covenant as outlined in Jeremiah 31:33, 34:

33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my My people.
34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying "know the LORD," for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

The language of this covenant is also reiterated by Ezekiel in chapters 36 and 37 of his prophecy, and the entire book of Hebrews is a treatise describing how this New Covenant, with Christ as its mediator, is superior to, and replaces the Old Covenant that was ratified at Sinai. The writer of Hebrews even quotes Jeremiah's passage in both chapter 8:8-12 and 10:16, 17 to emphasize this fact.

In addition to the New Covenant replacing the temporary Mosaic covenant, it also brought about an internal change with the participants. Where as Israel had to obey external stipulations in order to maintain terms and conditions of the Mosaic covenant, the New Covenant is applied by God's Spirit in the hearts of the people so that the people obey willingly. Thus, obedience is the outworking of a heart changed by God as a result of the New Covenant.

J.C. mocks that I don't provide any examples of how the new birth, or regeneration, is permanent in the believer so that its affects can never be undone. Note the key phrases in Jeremiah's prophecy of the New Covenant that is also cited in Hebrews,

I will put My law in their minds...
I will write it on their hearts...
I will be their God...
They shall be my people...

There is a divine work that takes place in this covenant that will change the participants. In this case, a divine heart change that will make them godly. Obedience is now a result of an internal motivation created by God. Ezekiel also uses similar language in his description of the New Covenant when he writes in 36:26, 27,

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

How can this be any clearer? God says He will cause them to walk and they will in return keep His judgments and do them. They won't fall away into sin because there remains no longer a heart desirous of sin. The principle of sin that enslaved us has been made inoperative as Paul describes in Romans 6:6, because the heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh that has God's laws written on them. That is the promise of the New Covenant, and its promises of bringing its participants to eternal life is so certain that the sun and moon will cease functioning as God has ordained them before that promise is broken (Jeremiah 31:35, 36).



Blogger thomas4881 said...

Interesting how J.C. is so confused. I think it's according to where the scriptures state that the ungodly twist scriptures to their own destruction. It would be to the distruction of a man to preach something that rejects them being born again. What an error to say anything that would take away our new birth in Christ. J.C. must be confused, decieved, and misguided. But the scriptures say that God shall teach them that are called to Christ. Does J.C. understand his calling was not of man?

J.C. did not know he was born again. How can he be born again at all? A leopord can not change its spots. J.C. cannot change his either. I think God is going to bring retribution for those who teach lies without repenance. Mercy is to the obedient.

8:25 PM, February 09, 2008  

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