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    Open Letter to Michael Horton Pyromaniacs

    Wow, even the Baptists are getting the issue about what the gospel is in my estimation. We have had a few threads and discussions about the law and gospel recently. I believe it is a worth while discussion. I do believe this is important. It has challenged me in the last few years. Especially in my reading of the Puritans.

    Pyromaniacs: Open Letter to Michael Horton

    Now: why bring it up? I actually have three reasons.

    The first is a general complaint: I think you fellows have taken the right-minded theological distinction "Law and Gospel" too far; you have made all of human life and God's interactions with man into either an imperative or an indicative — missing the point that some things in life (especially in the Christian life, and in Christian theological anthropology) fall under the subjunctive mood...

    ...

    There is much to be gained from the Law/Gospel, imperative/indicative distinction in Scripture, but not everything is resolved by it. And one of the things which is not resolved by it is what manner of people the Gospel makes us - which is actually part and parcel of the Good News.

    This brings me to my second concern: while you are right that Christ died objectively, the declaration that Christ died for us is actually the Gospel. In that, consider Heb 10 that after the writer extolls the finished work of Christ he says

    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water
    For this writer, the Gospel results in something more than just a declaration of righteousness: it results in the advantages of declared righteousness. Because in the imperative/indicative view we are either doing what we must or receiving what we are given, you miss that we are also changed in affections and inclinations. That leads to a Gospel which sees fruit as optional.

    Anyways, Read the whole blog. It is done in a gracious spirit I believe.

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    As a side note I have a deep appreciation for much of Dr. Horton's work and echo Frank Turk's admiration for Dr. Horton and WHI.

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    Didnt we put this to rest once before? It seemed to me we clarified that Horton wasnt actually saying what he was espoused to have been saying. He affirms the third use of the law in everything I have ever read of his. It must be bash Horton month I suppose.

    I should state for the record I am really not trying to be dismissive of your concerns Randy as I appreciate the points from our last conversation on this topic.
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    jogri17 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    Is it bash Horton month? Wow, I didn't get the emails! When did Bash R. Scott Clark month end? (I'M JK!!!! I deeply appreciate Brother Clark!... though I have suspicions that Daryl Hart is the antichrist! How dare he criticize revivalism, the Banner of Truth, MLJ, Evangelicalism, etc...!!!)

    All kidding aside, I jsut finished ''a secular faith'' and I'm working on ''deconstructing evangelicalism''.
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    The "cliquish" nature of much of the Reformed world (I am of WSC! I am of WTS! I am of BoT!) is becoming readily apparent in these discussions. In the blogosphere the same 5 people argue (two of whom I can't imagine actually have the time to spend in these threads) in nearly every Law/Gospel, R2K, SOTC, etc. discussion on the same 3 blogs and are producing about zero light and a million suns worth of heat.
    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
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    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

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    Dr. Horton is a public teacher of Christianity and is therefore accountable for what he teaches. Critique is not "bashing." Please try to reflect a mature outlook and represent things in a biblically spiritual light rather than as adolescent melodrama. Your world is not going to end just because someone undertakes to expose the error of one of your "favourites."
    Yours sincerely,
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    jogri17 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    I was not intending to bash anyone I just find it silly that some people get so worked up over it (though I used to be one in all fairness). I prefer stupid immature jokes as a way of pointing out some valid points (à la John Stewart). I am placing my order for Horton's tome as well as Bavinck's A reasonable Faith with cbd either tomorrow or Friday. Then after wards, presuming I have money left over, I'm buying my epilepsy meds!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    The "cliquish" nature of much of the Reformed world (I am of WSC! I am of WTS! I am of BoT!) is becoming readily apparent in these discussions. In the blogosphere the same 5 people argue (two of whom I can't imagine actually have the time to spend in these threads) in nearly every Law/Gospel, R2K, SOTC, etc. discussion on the same 3 blogs and are producing about zero light and a million suns worth of heat.
    I disagree with the last statement. I am learning a lot and seeing some major differences in terminology. And I am not so sure it is a cliquish nature situation for all. I have appreciation for WCal and all of the others who are Reformed. A lot of this discussion stems from adherence to Meredith Kline's views vs. the other Reformers of the past. That is what I am learning. There are sharp statements being made on both sides probably. I see distinctions coming out from the Klinian teaching that seem to be less Reformed than the Past.

    Read the blog. The statements quoted are from their podcasts and can be heard. I listen to the WHI podcast. It is a good discussion. Read the blog.

    What surprised me is that the Baptists are seeing some problems also. This is from a totally different angle and perspective. It is worth while to look into it. How we define the gospel is important. How the Reformers and Puritan's defined the gospel is important. We ought to strive to understand it in its full measure. If we don't we will be stunted. Partial truth leads to Partial orthopraxy and decline in generations to come.

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    These are the quotes Frank Turk is responding to. Maybe I should have posted them earlier.

    The following is a transcript of the podcast from 01 Jan 2011:
    [Starting 25:35]
    Mike Horton (MH): The Gospel can't be lived. It's the Law that's lived. We obey the commands that we find in Scripture, we do not—the Gospel is not anything for us to do. The Gospel is an announcement for us to take to the world, and on the basis of that Gospel we do live differently in the world, but that isn't itself the content of the Gospel: it is the effect of the Gospel.

    Kim Riddlebarger (KR): I think you made a brilliant point. I know there will be a number of people who will hear us, who are familiar with us, and they'll say to themselves, "well, there they go, they've been on the air two minutes talking about the Great Commission, and they're back to Law and Gospel again!" But your point is absolutely spot-on: we believe the Gospel, we obey the Law—and if you are not clear about that, then you're going to go off on a mission and as you risk, as Jesus warned, making people more fit for Hell than they were before. If you're telling people that the Gospel is doing certain things, acting certain way, behaving in a certain way, then you're just accelerating their demise and decline.

    Ken Jones (KJ): One of the Dangers associated with that is, if you talk about "living the Gospel," I think most evangelicals would acknowledge their own short-comings in various areas, so therefore their failure becomes a failure of the Gospel. It becomes the Gospel's failure. What they mean is we live in light of the Gospel, we live because of the Gospel . . .

    MH: Rooted and grounded.

    KR: . . . but they have to start saying that.

    KJ: Yes, they do—they do. And the confusion is that, so that even when my life doesn't match up (which it seldom does—this is the on-going process of sanctification) that's no reflection on the Gospel.

    MH: In fact, the Gospel is so great that it is the announcement of the perfect work of Christ which isn't diminished by my fails. It is exactly what I need in my failures, even my failures to live out the implications in response to the Gospel. It even covers my failures to do that! And as longs you have a Gospel that is perfect and complete, because it's about someone else, you can always get back up again after you fall and embrace that Gospel. It puts wind in your sails so that you can take it to the ends of the world even though you are a miserable sinner yourself.
    Here's another excerpt from a previous podcast 18 Dec 2010:
    [Starts about 20:25]
    KR: All I can say is, Lord have mercy upon that person who looks to me to be the Gospel.

    Rod Rosenblatt (RR): Right!

    MH: You know, I have to say, no matter how you answer, if you're asked the sort of textbook doctrine question, "do you believe you are saved by works or by grace," of course: saved by grace—once you get out of the realm, and you have phrases like, "be the Gospel," "live the Gospel," you have to realize that the very phrase "be the Gospel" or "live the Gospel" is equivalent to "we are saved by works."
    And last of all, from that same podcast:
    [Starts about 22:00]
    MH: Think about the criteria Paul lays out in the pastorals for ministers. I've never seen "relational" in there—and now of course, this is going to sound like "typical" . . .

    RR: . . . Reformed and Lutheran . . .

    MH: . . . yeah-yeah: you just . . .

    RR: . . . don't get it.

    MH: 'cause you guys really are the least-relational group we've ever seen on the planet. Now: we have problems in that area, and there are passages in Scripture that talk about hospitality, generosity, and all sorts of things that we need to work on in our traditions. But if you don't have hospitality, and you don't have generosity, and you don't have relationally (whatever that means) you don't have kindness, gentleness, humility—all of those qualities that are so important for inter-personal relationships, you're not healthy, and you don't have a healthy church. If you don't have the preaching of the Gospel, you don't have a church.

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    Who is Frank Turk anyhow? I would assume he is associated to MacArthur somehow? Is he reformed?

    Just asking so I can understand his Christian worldview

    I really have no favorites. I like who I like and try to remain charitable to those whom I might otherwise disagree with. This is something I learned in my lack of charity to the likes of Driscoll through the years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Doyle View Post
    Who is Frank Turk anyhow? I would assume he is associated to MacArthur somehow? Is he reformed?

    Just asking so I can understand his Christian worldview

    I really have no favorites. I like who I like and try to remain charitable to those whom I might otherwise disagree with. This is something I learned in my lack of charity to the likes of Driscoll through the years.

    Deal with the content. Please? Let's not let this be a personality issue.

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    Sorry to have created a ruckus. I will desist and move on. No disrespect intended.
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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the Pyromaniacs dispensationalists?

    The reason I ask is because if that is so, it just adds another layer to the law/gospel critique, and as such is not really a Reformed critique of the position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrow Man View Post
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the Pyromaniacs dispensationalists?

    The reason I ask is because if that is so, it just adds another layer to the law/gospel critique, and as such is not really a Reformed critique of the position.
    I am not sure Tim. Tim Challies has interviewed him as he does others. As far as I know, if this was about dispensationalism it would tend to lean more toward Dr. Horton's view. I don't see that happening here.

    As far as I am concerned this post and blog has to do with a definition of the Gospel and he seems to have a fuller more biblical view of the gospel. As I stated up above...

    What surprised me is that the Baptists are seeing some problems also. This is from a totally different angle and perspective. It is worth while to look into it. How we define the gospel is important. How the Reformers and Puritan's defined the gospel is important. We ought to strive to understand it in its full measure. If we don't we will be stunted. Partial truth leads to Partial orthopraxy and decline in generations to come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Doyle View Post
    Sorry to have created a ruckus. I will desist and move on. No disrespect intended.
    You didn't cause a ruckus. I am not feeling any disrespect. Sorry if I came across harshly. I just would rather keep the thread on topic. I can rabbit trail and see why you would ask the question you did. I probe to understand why people think the way they do also. I do believe this topic is about what the Gospel is. I fear that others might be taking away from the gospel message. And from what I saw in the blog this man has some credible critique a better understanding in some areas. I was also surprised by the source. I am most willing to bet this man isn't a Covenant Theologian nor a Paedo Baptist. Of course I am not a Paedo Baptist but I do hold strongly to Covenant Theology.

    You didn't cause a ruckus. You are actually helping me to try to keep this on tract most likely. LOL

    Anyways, I apologize if I seemed harsh.

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    No harm and thanks brother for your most charitable response
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    No problem Mike. Be Encouraged.

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    The Pyromaniacs post is standard MacArthur. Really saved people will bear fruit. Look at these people's lives and the bad things they do. They must not be saved.

    That's decent theology turned in an ugly direction. MacArthur, and moreso his zealous followers, represent a degenerate Calvinism that has little pastoral advice to people who are sinning or who have flaws other than, "You must not be saved." It's ridiculous to blame internet personalities, of whom Turk cannot possibly have any thorough knowledge, on the teachings of White Horse Inn. Turk must not be saved (if I followed his logic).
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    The Pyromaniacs post is standard MacArthur. Really saved people will bear fruit. Look at these people's lives and the bad things they do. They must not be saved.

    That's decent theology turned in an ugly direction. MacArthur, and moreso his zealous followers, represent a degenerate Calvinism that has little pastoral advice to people who are sinning or who have flaws other than, "You must not be saved." It's ridiculous to blame internet personalities, of whom Turk cannot possibly have any thorough knowledge, on the teachings of White Horse Inn. Turk must not be saved (if I followed his logic).
    Please...

    Okay, Enough with the Character assassinations. You are implying and assuming Charlie. And your conclusion is so incorrect about his logic. If you truly follow what he said you would see some of the same concerns and things being said by good old Puritans and Reformers that we have discussed in the other threads just below this topic in the 'Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace' threads. I earlier asked that we deal with the topic instead of the personalities. Now please do that.

    This sorta boundaries on ad hominem. Don't you think? Maybe not.

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    A painful read. Why must commentators tell us what we are reading? JUST MAKE YOUR COUNTERPOINT.
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    Charlie, I think you have severely mis-characterized John MacArthur. His writing in regard to this is an effort to correct a wrong. Just as a Calvinist focuses on God's sovereignty when responding to the teaching of Arminianism, MacArthur focuses on the fact that from a good tree will come good fruit in light of easy believism and the false-gospel that has lead so many astray. It is true that many have become "zealous followers" to the detriment of their own souls and those they minister to. Of course, the same could be said for hyper-Calvinists, but we don't blame Calvin.
    I would submit that you do not know John MacArthur. I expect you have never sat and talked with him. It appears you have never seen him actually ministering to anyone. And I would also surmise that you are not familiar with his shepherding efforts and experiences. I would further propose that if you had done any of these that you would be humbled by a man who cares deeply for souls and is incredibly charitable and compassionate for those who struggle with sin. In fact, his compassion for such people lead to a case where he was sued when someone he was ministering to committed suicide.
    It's easy to cast stones at men in what seems to be ivory towers. But often those towers were not constructed, desired and are not maintained by them. And often they are not ivory at all. Perhaps when MacArthur departs from the interview in order to address Chad Allen on a personal level some will see that even on national television he displays a compassionate and humble heart toward a sinner. A friend of mine knows Chad to some degree. He once told me Chad told him of MacArthur, "Regardless of what people think of Christians, he's the real deal."



    ---------- Post added at 11:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:25 PM ----------

    Addendum,

    I'm sorry Randy, I was working on this when you posted. Please feel free to remove it if it's unhelpful.
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    It's not a character assassination. It's relevant. This goes back decades. John MacArthur published a book, The Gospel According to Jesus. That book received heavy criticism, some from Dispensationalists like Charles Ryrie and Zane Hodges, who disliked the Reformed theology and really are to some extent antinomian. It also received criticism from Reformed authors, including Michael Horton, who edited a book entitled Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation. Horton and the others argued that at several crucial points, MacArthur himself had misunderstood Reformed theology. So, there's been disagreement here for almost 20 years.

    Baptist fundamentalism/conservative-evangelicalism ate up MacArthur's work. For fundamentalists, who believed primarily in "eternal security," MacArthur's nominally Reformed position gave them a new weapon. They couldn't claim that you lost your salvation, but they could tell their people, "If you don't live like X, you never were saved." In dozens if not hundreds of churches, the stakes were raised on every issue. Disagree with the pastor? You must not be saved. Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.

    That's what the Turk is saying. Listen to him:

    What I am talking about is the avalanche of people who populate the internet via discussion boards, blogs, and social media who frequently demonstrate all the love and real compassion of a rock through one's window. They are people who, on paper, make a sound confession of faith, down to the mint and the cumin, and wouldn't know what to do if their Hindu neighbor invited them to a birthday party on Sunday morning — or how to turn the other cheek in order to make a foothold for the opportunity to share the Gospel. They usually don't attend church because they can't find one which is up to their doctrine snuff, and the reason is that they have made themselves into a private magisterium. They have never said or written anything for which they would apologize or reconsider because they have never been wrong.

    You have seen some of them, I am sure. The reason I am suggesting that they are somehow an effect you ought to own a little is that they speak in the theological idioms of the White Horse Inn. They are very keen on the Law/Gospel distinction to a fault; they are very keen on needing a new reformation; an obsession with the "5 Solas". Because they are bad emulations of your good example, I suggest you should speak to them for a while to help them come around.
    So, the Turk invents these bad, bad people. How does he know, really, what these bloggers would say to their Hindu neighbors? How does he know they don't attend church? Does he actually know them? He's building a stereotype. And it's not just a few. It's an "avalanche." That's the first absurdity.

    The second absurdity is when he concludes that they aren't saved. I've bolded some portions to emphasize:

    See: in that last excerpt, when you say that it's only "unhealthy" to have none of the fruit of the Spirit if you have a pure Gospel, you give this sort of "christianity" a free pass. You give this kind of faith the endorsement James only gives to the faith which saves — a faith which matures under trial rather than hunkering down and bunkering up, and which turns a brother away from sin rather than branding him a heretic on the first pass.

    It is the open belief that one can be an "unhealthy Christian," when one is in fact flying in the face of 1 John 4:11-12 (among other passages), that is evident among the listeners to WHI: as long as I have a comprehensive understanding of Christ's transaction for sinners which leaves the sinner with nothing but grace, I'm a decent disciple. I can humbly count myself saved (passive voice, indicative mood). And they learned it from 4 very bright and winsome men who also, to some extent, believe it.
    You see, the Turk concludes that this "avalanche" of bloggers aren't saved; they merely have a "comprehensive understanding." That's the fundamentalist scare tactic: if you behave badly, immediately jump to the conclusion that the person is unsaved. If they were saved, they wouldn't act in a way that makes me upset. All these anonymous 5 solas bloggers are actually people who have a faith that James wouldn't recognize. How dare he. How dare he.

    The MacArthur connection is apparent in the term "unhealthy Christian." MacArthur bled thousands of words proving against his Dispensationalist opponents that there is no such thing as a "carnal Christian," a person who is justified but whose sanctification hasn't started yet, because they haven't had the proper dedication experience (see Charles Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life). The Turk thinks that Horton is teaching the "carnal Christian" theology, and that's the third absurdity. He has entirely misunderstood Horton, reading him against the background of Dispensational antinomians. The fourth absurdity is thinking that because someone listens to WHI, that Horton has some sort of personal responsibility for their actions. Does the Turk take responsibility for the jerks who link to Pyro articles?

    I get the Reformed discussion about law/gospel. I actually lean a bit toward the gospel imperative side. But this isn't really about that. This is about a degenerate fundamentalist Calvinism that uses the doctrine of perseverance of the saints as a bully club to beat struggling Christians.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    Baptist fundamentalism/conservative-evangelicalism ate up MacArthur's work. For fundamentalists, who believed primarily in "eternal security," MacArthur's nominally Reformed position gave them a new weapon. They couldn't claim that you lost your salvation, but they could tell their people, "If you don't live like X, you never were saved." In dozens if not hundreds of churches, the stakes were raised on every issue. Disagree with the pastor? You must not be saved. Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.

    That's what the Turk is saying. Listen to him:

    What I am talking about is the avalanche of people who populate the internet via discussion boards, blogs, and social media who frequently demonstrate all the love and real compassion of a rock through one's window. They are people who, on paper, make a sound confession of faith, down to the mint and the cumin, and wouldn't know what to do if their Hindu neighbor invited them to a birthday party on Sunday morning — or how to turn the other cheek in order to make a foothold for the opportunity to share the Gospel. They usually don't attend church because they can't find one which is up to their doctrine snuff, and the reason is that they have made themselves into a private magisterium. They have never said or written anything for which they would apologize or reconsider because they have never been wrong.

    You have seen some of them, I am sure. The reason I am suggesting that they are somehow an effect you ought to own a little is that they speak in the theological idioms of the White Horse Inn. They are very keen on the Law/Gospel distinction to a fault; they are very keen on needing a new reformation; an obsession with the "5 Solas". Because they are bad emulations of your good example, I suggest you should speak to them for a while to help them come around.
    So, the Turk invents these bad, bad people. How does he know, really, what these bloggers would say to their Hindu neighbors? How does he know they don't attend church? Does he actually know them? He's building a stereotype. And it's not just a few. It's an "avalanche." That's the first absurdity.
    It would be better read if you included the first part of the paragraph also Charlie. And yes, There are a lot of people on the bloggesphere and forums who do live as he is discussing. They do hide behind names and attack with no accountability. I have seen a lot of it. They usually are disconnected and just are not truly connected to an ecclesiastical body. The Puritanboard has its attacks from such people. I have seen it a lot. I have seen good men attacked by people like the supposed W*t*hman. Ever hear of that name? These people aren't mentioned on this forum because there is no need to expose people to this kind of rubbish. Believe me. I can rattle off an avalanche of Youtube stuff and other sites that do just what he is discussing. Some even claim to be Reformed and claim John Calvin is heterodox at best.


    Because you probably have never read anything by me before, let me lay all of this complaint out plainly so that you can grasp what I mean. What I am not talking about is people who are doing the legitimate work of elders who are accountable in their local churches, who are usually elders, and who display openness and transparency about their character and ministry by not hiding behind an alias or an internet nickname. What I am talking about is the avalanche of people who populate the internet via discussion boards, blogs, and social media who frequently demonstrate all the love and real compassion of a rock through one's window.
    He is correct in this assessment and this...
    "If you don't live like X, you never were saved." In dozens if not hundreds of churches, the stakes were raised on every issue. Disagree with the pastor? You must not be saved. Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.

    That's what the Turk is saying. Listen to him:
    ...doesn't sound like what he is saying.


    BTW, have you ever read 'The Almost Christian Discovered' by Matthew Mead? Ever Read the Banner of Truth booklet The Carnal Christian by Ernest Reisinger? I don't think they are going beyond anything St. Paul would encourage in 2 Corinthians 13:5. Do you?

    Again, BTW, I was very entrenched in that Lordship Controversy discussion. I read the books and was involved with discussion groups when that discussion was going on. Back then we had real life physical discussion groups. The internet was new and I was just trying to understand DOS. I didn't even have the internet. We checked the references in the books and found many wanting. I know the discussion. And I appreciated Dr. Horton's work.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    Baptist fundamentalism/conservative-evangelicalism ate up MacArthur's work. For fundamentalists, who believed primarily in "eternal security," MacArthur's nominally Reformed position gave them a new weapon. They couldn't claim that you lost your salvation, but they could tell their people, "If you don't live like X, you never were saved." In dozens if not hundreds of churches, the stakes were raised on every issue. Disagree with the pastor? You must not be saved. Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.
    You are making too simple of a statement here. And your characterizations are just that without the full substance. In other words there were also Reformed people working this out also. The Puritans had a lot to say on this topic also. And there is something to the claims of St. James about faith without works is dead. And what is incorrect about the stakes being raised on every issue?

    In dozens if not hundreds of churches, the stakes were raised on every issue. Disagree with the pastor? You must not be saved. Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.
    It kind of sounds like to me that you have some keen insight in the above statement. You have broad brushed dozens or maybe even hundreds of Churches just as you claim Mr. Turk has made a fallacious statement concerning the avalanche. Have you really experienced this stuff concerning this? I imagine you have. I have to some degree. We all do it a bit I bet. After all we are a confessional group who believes the confessions are important.

    BTW, this is for you.....

    The following "Question" was asked by a member of the congregation at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and "Answered" by their pastor, John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed by Brenda Rivera of Orlando, Florida from the tape, GC 1301-O, titled "Bible Questions and Answers Part 17." A copy of the tape can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412 or by dialing toll free 1-800-55-GRACE. ©1978. All Rights Reserved.

    Question

    I’d like to comment on your tape, I believe it’s “Prostitute in the Last Days.”Am I correct? It’s the apostates; you spoke about certain religions. But I have a question that I can’t answer being that I was raised a Catholic and my family are Catholic. You spoke that they [Catholics] "so call" themselves Christians. Do I take the position that you believe that they are not Christians?

    Answer

    Basically, I believe that there are Christians in the Catholic Church, but they are not Christians because of the Catholic Church.
    Does the above quote sound like your accusation here? "Disagree with arbitrary "personal standards"? Not saved.?"

    There is a lot in the article to be gleaned and seen as a concern. I liked the article and thought it had some good points. I still don't see your accusations being so stained by this movement as you seem to be saying. But then again I am too tired to deal with most of what I want to deal with in your post.

    Maybe I will pick up on this tomorrow.

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    Thank you, brother viking. I fully agree with the substance of your post and appreciate the balance it brought.

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    Perhaps we should reflect on what Turk cautioned about to see if any of it is true for us... no need to dismiss it right away and dismiss it as a whole... (unless something in it tweaked us [if you even read it] and we are just trying to avoid dealing with something in us that is wrong.)

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    Mr. Snyder, my reading in Augustine today began with this: "The student who fears God earnestly seeks his will in the holy scriptures. Holiness makes him gentle, so that he does not revel in controversies." So, I will hope to follow that in this brief reply.

    BTW, I apologize for any disrespect conveyed by my saying "the Turk." I really thought that was his nickname. Don't know where I picked that up.

    I think that the article had some potential, but went off the rails. The law/gospel distinction is a worthwhile subject. The point about the subjunctive mood is valid. What I find objectionable is the arbitrary creation of a large category of internet personalities, the strong implications that they are not really saved, and the direct blame placed upon WHI for giving them the impression that passive, intellectual understanding is all that's necessary for salvation. Wherever one falls on the issue of gospel imperatives, that's not anywhere close to justified. I found it interesting that he both critiques WHI's "Word and Sacrament" emphasis and blames WHI for all these bloggers that don't go to church. They must not be that faithful devotees, then, eh?

    I think this has more to do with repristinating aspects of the Lordship controversy than with what's really going on in Horton's/WHI's ministry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    BTW, I apologize for any disrespect conveyed by my saying "the Turk." I really thought that was his nickname. Don't know where I picked that up.
    An honest mistake. At least one of the other Pyromaniacs goes by a nickname (Centurion).
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    "There is something of a renewed controversy among the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement over whether all the emphasis on free grace is promoting antinomianism (lawlessness). At Pyromaniacs, Frank Turk has published an open letter to Mike Horton, apparently on the basis of a single episode of White Horse Inn, accusing the WHI guys of fostering antinomianism..." To continue this article, please follow the link below

    Jason Hood, Frank Turk, Dane Ortlund, Mike Horton, and Antinomianism
    Last edited by R. Scott Clark; 01-27-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Law and Gospel

    Last I checked John Frame was not emergent, nor Bridges or Piper or Keller or Mahaney and they all use the same terminology. See the link by Frame.
    No one to my knowledge has impugned those gentlemen by name. If you actually listen to the WHI show (perhaps you do), you would hear that it the Emergent/Social Gospel movement and leaders that are being addressed (e.g., Warren, McLaren, etc.).
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    For the sake of this conversation, Horton has responded to the antinomian charges here: the-fear-of-antinomianism from whitehorseinn.org - StumbleUpon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Doyle View Post
    For the sake of this conversation, Horton has responded to the antinomian charges here: the-fear-of-antinomianism from whitehorseinn.org - StumbleUpon
    Excellent! A repeated request that all read this reply from Horton.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Doyle View Post
    For the sake of this conversation, Horton has responded to the antinomian charges here: the-fear-of-antinomianism from whitehorseinn.org - StumbleUpon
    Excellent link! I think the reference to Lloyd-Jones quote is spot on.

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    Horton responded here:

    The Fear of Antinomianism - White Horse Inn Blog

    ...some of you are asking for a more specific response to Frank Turk. A number of charges were laid against WHI, all in the spirit of brotherly concern. We appreciate the time that Frank took to write his six page letter, the 300 comments that it generated, and the interest that you are taking in the ongoing dialogue. But none of the WHI hosts has ever said that the Bible only has indicatives and imperatives. And none of us has said that once you’ve said “Law & Gospel,” you’ve done your exegesis. Nor are we responsible for antinomian statements from people who listen to WHI (any more than Frank Turk is responsible for all the comments made after his blog post). We’re simply saying, with the Reformers and the confessional Reformed as well as Lutheran theologians through the ages, that Law and Gospel summarize the “two words” of that one Word that God has revealed to us. There is narrative, poetry, wisdom, instruction, dialogue, parable, and other genres, but the most basic distinction to make when reading and proclaiming God’s Word is the one between Law and Gospel. This is not only Luther, but Calvin, Bullinger, Ursinus, Perkins, Owen, Bavinck, Berkhof, Hodge and Murray. Just as preaching “Christ crucified” doesn’t mean simply repeating the phrase, “Christ crucified,” but interpreting the whole of Scripture in the light of Christ, bearing in mind the distinction between command and promise is not just a matter of parroting the words, but of making sure that we don’t turn promises into commands and commands into promises. There is a lot more that we have to bring to our study of Scripture, but when we get that wrong, everything is confused.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post
    I can honestly say, as a more general note, that these recent threads have grieved me, and have strongly turned me off from internet discussion boards as a fruitful medium of conversation.
    I fully agree and am bothered by the way this thread has led to a great deal of confusion. Every time this subject is raised it brings out the typical "bird dogging" that I am growing weary of.

    This thread was supposed to be about Frank Turk's Open Letter and the whole kitchen sink has been brought in. Whether or not the 3rd use of the Law is a relevant topic of discussion at large in the context of the 3FU or the Westminster Standards is irrelevant to Frank's argument. His open letter stands or falls on the basis of his confession, such as it is, and needs to be evaluated in that light.

    Marrow Man noted early on a thread of discussion that might have been fruitful when he asked how Frank Turk's specific form of dispensationalism viewed the Law and what a "3rd use" would look like in comparison.

    Now this thread has degenerated into a bunch of rabbit trails that have little or nothing to do with the subject at hand as the author of the Open Letter subscribes neither to the 3FU, Westminster Standards, nor the LBCF. There may be those that agree symptomatically with the Open Letter but the real topic of discussion would be getting behind the author's own understanding of the Law vis a vis Horton's.

    I split out this thread to another discussion on Law and Gospel: Law and Gospel

    Please keep this focused on the OP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Marrow Man noted early on a thread of discussion that might have been fruitful when he asked how Frank Turk's specific form of dispensationalism viewed the Law and what a "3rd use" would look like in comparison.
    I would like someone to comment along these lines and see if we can pursue the discussion in this area.
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    A response to Turks open letter that might be beneficial...

    Daniel's Place - (Reformata et semper reformanda): A Response to Frank Turk's Open Letter
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  37. #37
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    The Frank Turk guy's main argument hinges on his "subjunctive" mood treatment, which he sees has been left out in the Horton Gang's emphasis on the imperative and the indicative. It's basically a straw man, since the indicative is precisely why the subjunctive fuels the implementation of the imperative. Turk would do well to heed a fellow, though much informed, Baptist, D.A. Carson: Underdog Theology: D.A. Carson on a Species of Perfectionism

    What does Calvin say about grounding the assurance of salvation on one's good works?

    "Now if we ask in what way the conscience can be made quiet before God, we shall find the only way to be that unmerited righteousness be conferred upon us as a gift of God. Let us ever bear in mind Solomon's question: "Who will say, 'I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin'?" [Prov. 20:9]. Surely there is no one who is not sunken in infinite filth! Let even the most perfect man descend into his conscience and call his deeds to account, what then will be the outcome for him? Will he sweetly rest as if all things were well composed between him and God and not, rather, be torn by dire torments, since if he judged by works, he will feel grounds for condemnation within himself? The conscience, if it looks to God, must either have sure peace with his judgment or be besieged by the terrors of hell. Therefore we profit nothing in discussing righteousness unless we establish a righteousness so steadfast that it can support our soul in the judgment of God....For no one can ever confidently trust in it [one's obedience—M.H.] because no one will ever come to be really convinced in his own mind that he has satisfied the law, as surely no one ever fully satisfied it through works....First, then, doubt would enter the minds of all men, and at length despair, while each one reckoned for himself how great a weight of debt still pressed upon him, and how far away he was from the condition laid down for him. See faith already oppressed and extinguished!...Therefore, on this point [assurance—M.H.] we must establish, and as it were, deeply fix all our hope, paying no regard to our works, to seek any help from them...For, as regards justification, faith is something merely passive, bringing nothing of ours [not even repentance and a determination of the will to obey—M.H.] to the recovering of God's favor but receiving from Christ that which we lack" (Institutes, 3.13.3—5, cited in Michael Horton, Christ the Lord, p. 52—53).
    A good question to ask Turk is: How much good works is enough to secure assurance of salvation?
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    I don't think you are reading Turk correctly Warren. He believes in justification by faith alone. Reread his blog.

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    PC,

    Turk may indeed believe that, but he adds the qualifier that the justified must necessarily bear fruit, so therefore the assurance of one's salvation, for him, must be buttressed by the presence of good works. I think this is the meat of his argument, for which he criticizes Horton, i.e. Horton and the Gang's lack of emphasis on "fruits." But then even Calvin (see quote above) sees the precarious nature of basing one's assurance of salvation on the presence of good works since the manifestation of good works is prone to ebb and flow (Romans 7).

    ---------- Post added at 02:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:03 PM ----------

    I think Turk's weakness is his appeal to an abstraction of what the justified must possess in terms of attributes and properties for the label to stick.

    Whereas, the Reformed consensus is that the "just shall live by faith," with faith defined as noticia + assensus + fiducia (no works there), Turk seems to prefer the following, "the just shall live by faith and prove their faith by good works." But then how much good works is enough to prove a state of justification?

    The soundness of the indicative + imperative paradigm is that the knowledge of who you are in Christ as founded upon His person and work (indicative) is precisely the gratitude-producing impetus to obedience (imperative).
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAWICRUZ View Post
    PC,

    Turk may indeed believe that, but he adds the qualifier that the justified must necessarily bear fruit, so therefore the assurance of one's salvation, for him, must be buttressed by the presence of good works. I think this is the meat of his argument, for which he criticizes Horton, i.e. Horton and the Gang's lack of emphasis on "fruits.".
    Warren,

    It appears Turk is thinking along the lines of our Reformed confession, i.e., Heidelberg Q&A 64 which tell us "it is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude" and Q&A 86 which tells us that "we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ."
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