Neonomianism and the offer of the gospel

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by MW, May 11, 2014.

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  1. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Salvation has been purposed by God from eternity, was accomplished in time by His Son, and is applied by the Holy Spirit in effectual calling. It is intrinsically bound up with the decretive will of God.

    When it is taught that "salvation" is to be considered apart from the decretive will of God, and is to be regarded in relation only to the preceptive will of God, salvation is turned into a duty to be obtained by man's obedience. This confounds law and gospel by making the gospel a new law to be fulfilled by man as a condition of being saved.

    Those who teach that God desires the salvation of all men with respect to His preceptive will are effectively saying that God desires the salvation of men apart from the sovereign purpose, accomplishment, and application of salvation to elect sinners. By teaching two contrary wills in God for the salvation of men the gospel is made to offer a new scheme of salvation. It is not the Reformed gospel in which God is pleased to save sinners by sovereign and particular grace. It is a modified gospel in which God merely desires for men to be saved as a work of their own.

    The error in this scheme is astutely detected by James Durham:

    Is salvation a work to be performed by man or a gift of sovereign grace? What gospel have you believed to the saving of your soul?
  2. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thank you for this. Your article Murray on the Free Offer: A Review by Matthew Winzer was instrumental in codifying my belief on what the bible teaches in Our Lord's "proper" will when His volition is be spoken of.

    Curious how long has this debate been in reformed circles for I have found in my experience that the other view is rampant.
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It emerges whenever ministers of the gospel presumptuously undertake to win men over with sentimentality as over against proclaiming the counsel of God with an humbling sense of dependence upon His sovereign good pleasure.
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    N.B. *Not "decreasing" as in the 2000 edition of Durham on Revelation; this from chapter two lecture six (page 266 in my edition but that will change as I eventually get back to Durham, D.V.).
  5. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    And yet the answer to the Philippian jailer's question "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" wasn't "Do? Absolutely nothing! It's all because of the sovereign will of God!"

    2 Cor. 5:20- "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God."

    I don't think that's dispassionate...

    Re: Durham- I found this quote from him elsewhere-
    "Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel" from Naphtali Press, page 86.

    He seems to uphold duty-faith here...
  6. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Astonishing all the same!! I never understood that there were Reformed men of such high stature who held to a bifurcated view of God's will until years after I became Reformed myself. Arminianism/Molinism/Catholicism are founded and defended by using these kinds of mental gymnastics. In Roman Catholicism this view is all that is accepted and Calvinism is seen as denying this. See Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in his work "Predestination" for a treatment of this.
  7. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Yes, they were. Sorry for the confusion! It seemed like Durham was denying duty-faith in the OP? My point was that the Philippian jailer, when he asked what he must do to be saved, was told to believe in Christ- he wasn't told he could do nothing (which, of course, as Reformed folk, we believe that it was God who initiated by giving the jailer the gift of faith and repentance).

    As for 1 Cor. 5:20, it was in response to armourbearer
    And yet I have no doubt that men in Murray's school of thought have a humbling sense of dependence upon God's sovereign good pleasure as they plead with the lost to be saved. I mean, the same man who wrote Romans 9 also said, "I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh" I don't think it's sentimentality over against the sovereignty of God.
  8. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Durham stated, "their duty of repenting is the immediate object of his revealed and preceptive will." He would include faith in the same category. At the same time, he denied "duty-salvation." Salvation is not a precept to be performed by man; it is the gift of God. Faith and repentance are not merely duties; they are also gifts of God. The warrant to believe is the revealed will of God, but the gift to believe is decreed by God.

    The failure to identify salvation as the object of the decretive will of God turns it into a duty to be performed by man, which makes the gospel a new law -- Neonomianism.
  9. PaulMc

    PaulMc Puritan Board Freshman

    John Owen (Of The Death Of Christ):

    "conditional satisfaction, or their suspending the fruits of the death of Christ upon conditions, as though the Lord should give him to die for us upon condition of such and such things, is a vain figment, contrary to the Scriptures, inconsistent in itself, and destructive of the true value and virtue of the death of Christ."
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