Piper- solas- "Shepherdism"?

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by lynnie, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    I found this distinction to be helpful in understanding Piper and others who are defending him:

    I have added in italics the emphasis on the fact that these goods works are a part of our sanctification. Correct me if I am wrong but, as I understand it, each step in the "ordo salutis" both necessitates the next "step". Thus, those whom he predestines will be effectually called, and those whom he justifies will be sanctified, etc. One cannot be justified without first being effectually called. In a similar manner, one cannot be glorified without first being predestined, called, justified, and sanctified - and sanctification includes Spirit wrought good works that flow from the justified person who has already been united to Christ and stand's before God as judicially righteous.

    This is what I understand Piper's point to be. In one sense, the elect were guaranteed eternal life before the foundations of the world - they were predestined to it. In another sense, the elect were guaranteed eternal life at the moment when, in history, they were justified by faith before God and were counted as righteous.

    God uses "means" to carry out our Christian life that leads to eternal life with him in the New Heavens and New Earth. One of those means is justification. Another is sanctified, which includes good works. Theoretically, if the fall would not have occurred than technically none of the elect would need to be justified in the sense that we understand it - forgiveness of sins, imputed righteousness of Christ, etc.. However, the fall did occur according to God's plan and his plan also includes that the way we get "back to the Eden" is by means of justification. It is also, however, by means of sanctification, and sanctification includes the good works that he has prepared for us before the creation of the world.

    Thus, yes, in order to experience "final salvation," meaning glorification, we have to have Spirit wrought good works produced within us. This is, again, the simple assertion that those who have been justified must be sanctified in order to be one day glorified. Even the thief dying on the cross next to Jesus produced some sort of good works between his justification and glorification. These good works, however, are not the grounds for our salvation, eternal life, glorification, etc. The grounds is the predestinating grace of God, the work of Christ, and the application of the Holy Spirit in imputing to us the righteousness of Christ by faith. But if we are to one day experience eternal life, both in the temporal heavenly state and in the future new heavens and new earth, we must be sanctified in this life.

    Someone please correct me if I am saying anything stupid.

    Another point of confusion: it seems to me that some are missing the point of glorification. Correct me if I am wrong but, Scripturally and confessionally, when we die our souls are made entirely perfect, and in the resurrection we receive entirely new and spotless bodies - both body and soul without blemish. Thus, when we stand before Christ on judgment day we do so as predestinated, called, justified, sanctified, and already glorified men and women. The good works that were produced in our sanctification are vindication for God that the work that God started in our predestination all the way through our glorification actually occurred. There is a check mark next to sanctification, if you will.

    But, back to my point about glorification, it is not as if we will be spiritually "standing" before Christ after death with sinful souls needing to have enough good works to tip the scales. God completes the work he started, thus we "stand" before Christ justified, sanctified, and having souls that have already been glorified (made perfect). Likewise, in our resurrected bodies we will stand before Christ with our perfect souls joined together with our new and perfect bodies. We stand before Christ in judgment as glorified men and women who have also been justified and sanctified.

    The moral of the story is that God completes what he starts in eternity past and in history. Those who are going to be glorified must be sanctified.

    Am I understanding correctly?

    Edit: I haven't read the most recent Piper article that was just posted above.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  2. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    tanglewood....that post was only 2 days ago. Get out the popcorn, I doubt the show is over on that one. If there isn't a blog backlash I will be surprised.
  3. tangleword

    tangleword Puritan Board Freshman

    Zach, I understand what Jones is saying (though he is one who also straddles the FV line too close for comfort, speaking at the their seminary) but especially the recent post on DG, seem to say differently from their charitable read, and especially different from a protestant non-FV understanding of salvation. Saying "If you have a pet sin, you must renounce it at once. Your salvation depends on it." makes our salvation conditional on our actions, and implies that our justification can be nullified by our lack of action. It contradicts point 2 they make above, that it can never be revoked. Here it says that your salvation is dependent on this work, not that this work will be part of the path towards glorification, and is a necessary part of your salvation, but that you have to choose to do something in order to be saved, this is a real issue, and is very FV.
  4. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    Did Piper or anyone else (Mark Jones, etc.) say that if you don't kill your sin your justification will be revoked? Or do they mean that if you are not renouncing your sin (being sanctified) than you should doubt whether or not you were ever called and justified in the first place? Thus, your salvation (glorification) depends on it in some sense.

    This does not make killing your sin the grounds for your right standing before God, nor does it say that your justification will be revoked in some way (as in some FV teaching). It simple means that if you are not being sanctified than your salvation (glorification) is at stake because you may have never been saved (justified) in the first place.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  5. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Lynnie, the quotations I gave were from Shepherd's book published in 2009. I don't think he has changed his position for the better.
  6. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Lane- I looked up the Clowney paper. 1981.

    Ok, thanks for clarifying. I am sorry to hear it.

    I'm waiting for some sort of retraction or adjusting and clarifying type of response from Desiring God about that blog post. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-train-your-dragons)

    Depending on what it is, my original question wondering where Piper is at will be answered. I seriously don't think he would support that entry at DG as stated...but if I am wrong, he has gone FV. Make that Rome.
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Since he is a Baptist I am sure we can rule out FV, at least on church authority and sacraments.
  8. tangleword

    tangleword Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe not on church authority, he does love CJ and SGM, and often spoke of how he loved their churches and they were the best run churches. (somewhat tongue in cheek, though he did often commend their churches).
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    And neither of those guys are FV, and they probably have a Zwinglian view of the sacraments.
  10. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Dropping a public declaration, "Your salvation depends on it," is either
    a) wrong simply put, or
    b) sloppy to the point of malpractice.​

    If it should be argued: "Hey, it's twitter; it's an attention-getter, provocative, that sort of thing," then it's still (b), it's just intentional, so we're supposed to feel bad that we didn't catch the wink.

    At some point, certain men, "pillars" by reputation (Gal.2:9, if you will), have to function consistently as such. Or else, abandon that standing and take up the court-jester post. Then, everyone expects them to wink and spout provocation, and once in a while pause and drop a profundity that's "out of character" and gets people's attention. That's what the great comics on tour do. But no one confuses them for philosophers.
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  11. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

  12. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Excellent analysis.

    I much prefer what I heard a few years back from Dr. Derek Thomas. I heard an illustration about Dr. Thomas dealing with a young believer who was caught in a known sin that he didn't want to put aside. Dr. Thomas told him, "Son, if you don't repent of this and break from this sin, you'll never know for sure if you're saved."
  13. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Nothing I've read on this discussion from the Mark Jones side (Piper is kind of irrelevant now to the discussion since it is moved to a question of Federal Vision, which is kind of moot for a Baptist, especially one who is not a Federalist of any stripe) tells me that he is saying anything different than what WCF 16.2 says:

    Part of the problem is also one of personality.

    Mark Jones obviously enjoys the tussle. He gets energized by it. He also has a cadre of fans who encourage this behavior. The initial foray into this particular disagreement was because Mark Jones posts at the Desiring God blog.

    Scott Clark sees himself as a valiant defender of the Reformed and Reformational understanding of Justification by Faith Alone. Anyone who has watched on him on the internet, especially on Twitter, has seen this strident desire to be understood as such. One also sees his massive dumping of links to the Heidelblog, subtweeting Mark Jones (who is no longer on Twitter) on Twitter, over the past several years on this and other related subjects. Scott Clark without question has and does see Mark Jones as "FV-curious" if not a silent defender of them because he has spoken at New Saint Andrews and at times had articles published on The Calvinist International (run by Steven Wedgeworth, who though himself not FV, is a minister in the CREC). Scott Clark also has his own supporters on Twitter (especially) who also likewise encourage his (in my opinion) poor behavior on that medium.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Social media is the ground zero of the proxy war between Jones and Clark.
  15. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    The WCF quote is helpful.

    ""These good works . . . are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers . . . strengthen their assurance . . . glorify God whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life."
  16. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

  17. Ron Henzel

    Ron Henzel Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a topic I care deeply and passionately about. I have been following the debate as closely as possible (which has been a bit of a challenge for me given the number of web sites covering it) and scrupulously clipping every pertinent blog post I find to my Microsoft OneNote files. But I have to admit, sometimes I feel a bit like Tevye in one of the early scenes from Fiddler on the Roof.

    Townsperson: Why should I break my head about the outside world? Let the outside world break its own head!
    Tevye: He is right. As the Good Book says, if you spit in the air, it lands in your face.
    Perchik: Nonsense. You can’t close your eyes to what’s happening in the world.
    Tevye: He’s right.
    Rabbi’s pupil: He’s right, and he’s right. They can’t both be right!
    Tevye: (Pause). You know, you are also right.

    Scroll to 2:20 to see it here:

    But as I see it, in the final analysis, to write, as Piper did, "In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has borne, and we are saved through that fruit and that faith," is different from simply saying we are saved through faith that is not alone. It is good that he wrote, "faith is confirmed." It is not so good that we wrote, "we are saved through that fruit and that faith." I think his wording was, at best, imprudent.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  18. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

  19. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Senior

    Turretin writes in Topic 17 Question 3,

    "XIV. Works can be considered in three ways: either with reference to justification or sanctification or glorification. They are related to justification not antecedently, efficiently and meritouriously, but consequently and declaratively. They are related to sanctification constitutively because they constitute and promote it. They are related to glorification antecedently and ordinatively because they are related to it as the means to the end; yea, as the beginning to the complement because grace is glory begun, as glory is grace consummated....

    XV. ....Good works are required not for living according to the law, but because we live by the gospel; not as the causes on account of which life is given to us, but as effects which testify that life has been given to us."

    Dr. Clark has already quoted the other relevant sections in his analysis of Turretin. I personally do not find Turretin at his clearest here and do not find "right" and "possession" helpful to my understanding ("means" and "end" need clarification to my mind too; I think he is saying that without good works we are not holy, so good works are the means to the end of holiness, of which glorification is the consummation and perfection; or maybe he is confining the terms strictly to the order of things: sanctification must occur in order for glorification to occur and is not and end in itself but the means toward the end of glorification, for we must be sanctified before being glorified; he denies good works have a causal relationship). However, I think the above two paragraphs show Turretin at his clearest in this section, and it is clear that, unlike the offending phrase, he connects eternal life with now. Rev. Winzer in a linked thread pointed out the problem with the terminology as suggesting that justification and eternal life are obtained in two different ways, but in reality those who are justified have passed into life from death.

    Turretin states that he spoke of the necessity of good works somewhat already in Question 1 of this Topic. I quote below some of the helpful things he says in relation to the necessity of good works and sanctification.**

    I think John Colquhoun also has some much useful and careful discussion. See the discussion starting on p. 317, and especially consider what he says in the section labeled 5 that begins towards the bottom of p. 326. He has a lengthy section beginning on p. 342 that explicitly discusses the necessity of good works for "salvation," but his preceding discussion beginning on p. 341 is useful for understanding his discussion there. He dislikes saying that good works are necessary to procure or obtain eternal life (unlike Turretin; don't know if he had Turretin's views in mind specifically).

    "Come to the Lord Jesus, and, upon the warrant afforded you, by the unlimited offers and calls of his glorious gospel, place the confidence of your heart in Him for that holiness, which is the beginning, and the very essence, of salvation by him; which, instead of being the proper condition of salvation, is salvation itself." p.346

    I find Thomas Watson to also be helpful (From his Body of Divinity: http://www.apuritansmind.com/wp-content/uploads/FREEEBOOKS/ABodyofDivinity-ThomasWatson.pdf).

    "(8.) Holiness leads to heaven. It is the King of heaven’s highway. ‘An highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness.’ Isa 35:5. At Rome there were temples of virtue and honour, and all were to go through the temple of virtue to the temple of honour; so we must go through the temple of holiness to the temple of heaven. Glory begins in virtue. ‘Who has called us to glory and virtue.’ 2 Pet 1:1. Happiness is nothing else but the quintessence of holiness; holiness is glory militant, and happiness holiness triumphant." (p. 67)

    "Sanctification and glory differ only in degree: sanctification is glory in the seed, and glory is sanctification in the flower. Holiness is the quintessence of happiness." (p. 174)

    "(4.) There is no going to heaven without sanctification. ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’ Heb 12:14. God is a holy God, and he will suffer no unholy creature to come near him. A king will not suffer a man with plague-sores to approach into his presence. Heaven is not like Noah’s ark, where the clean beasts and the unclean entered. No unclean beasts come into the heavenly ark; for though God suffer the wicked to live awhile on the earth, he will never suffer heaven to be pestered with such vermin. Are they fit to see God who wallow in wickedness? Will God ever lay such vipers in his bosom? ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’ It must be a clear eye that sees a bright object: only a holy heart can see God in his glory. Sinners may see God as an enemy, but not as a friend; may have an affrighting vision of him, but not a beatific vision; they may see the flaming sword, but not the mercy-seat. Oh then, what need is there of sanctification!" (p. 176)

    "(7.) Sanctification fits for heaven: ‘Who has called us to glory and virtue.’ 2 Pet 1:1. Glory is the throne, and sanctification is the step by which we ascend to it. As you first cleanse the vessel, and then pour in the wine; so God first cleanses us by sanctification, and then pours in the wine of glory. Solomon was first anointed with oil, and then was a king. I Kings 1:19. First God anoints us with the holy oil of his Spirit, and then sets the crown of happiness upon our head. Pureness of heart and seeing God are linked together. Matt 5:5." (p. 179)

    "But if God’s decree be unchangeable, and cannot be reversed, to what purpose should we use the means? Our endeavours towards salvation cannot alter his decree. The decree of God does not affect my endeavour; for he that decreed my salvation decreed it in the use of means, and if I neglect the means I reprobate myself. No man argues thus: God has decreed how long I shall live, therefore I will not use means to preserve my life, I will not eat and drink. God has decreed the time of my life in the use of means, so God has decreed my salvation in the use of the Word and of prayer. As a man who refuses food murders himself, so he that refuses to work out his salvation destroys himself. The vessels of mercy are said to be prepared unto glory. Rom 9:93. How are they prepared but by being sanctified? and that cannot be but in the use of means; therefore let not God’s decree take thee off from holy endeavours." (p. 55-56)

    **"I. As Christ was made to us of God righteousness and sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30)--not dividedly, but conjointly; not confusedly, but distinctly--so the benefit of sanctification immediately follows justification as inseparably connected with it, but yet really distinct from it."

    "II. ....[Sanctification] is used strictly for a real and internal renovation of man by which God deliveres the man planted in Christ by faith and justified (by the ministry of the word and the efficacy of the Spirit) more and more from his native depravity and transforms him into his own image. Thus with separation from the world and sin and consecration to the service of God, it implies a renovation of his nature.

    III. But because this real change of man is by various degrees, either by efficacious calling (which carries with it the donation of faith and of repentance by faith and a translation from a state of sin to a state of grace); or by regeneration (which bespeaks a renovation of the corrupt nature); or by the infusion and practice of holiness, hence sanctification is now extended widely to the whole state of the believer and embraces also calling itself. In this sense, Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, often designates believers by 'those who are sanctified' (tous hagiazomenous, Heb. 2:11; 10:14). It is also taken more strictly and properly for renovation after the image of God. This follows justification and is begun here in this life by renegeration and promoted by the exercise of holiness and of good works, until it shall be consummated in the other by glory...."

    "IX. .... Sanctification must be carefully distinguished from justification.... [A]lthough they agree in their author (God), in the meritorious cause (to wit, the righteousness of Christ, which purchased for us both these benefits, when he came with water and blood, 1 Jn. 5:6), in the general design (God's glory and our salvation), in the instrumental cause (to wit, faith by the reception of the one and by the production of the other), it is certain that in many respects they differ.... "

    "XI. Although Paul does not make express mention of sanctification in the chain of salvation, it does not follow that it is included in the word justification, as if it were identical with it. It is far more fitly included either under calling (which is the beginning of sanctification) or, what we think is truer, under glorification (which is its consummation and complement--as sanctification is the beginning of glory). Hence it is frequently designated by the word 'glory' (Rom. 3:23; 2 Cor. 3:18)."

    "XV. Although we think that these two benefits [justification and sanctification] should be distinguished and never confounded, still they are so connected from the order of God and nature of the thing that they should never be torn asunder...."

    "XVI ....God joined these two benefits [justification and sanctification] in the covenant of grace.... Nor does the nature of God suffer this to be done otherwise. For since by justification we have a right to life (nor can anyone be admitted to communion with God without sanctification), it is necessary that he whom God justifies is also sanctified by him so as to be made fit for the possession of glory. Nay, he does not take away guilt by justification except to renew his own image in us by sanctification because holiness is the end of the covenant and of all its blessings."

    "XIX. The very faith by which we are justified demands this. For as it is the instrument of justification by receiving the righteousness of Christ, so it is the root and principle of sanctification, while it purges the heart and works through love.... [J]ustification stands related to sanctification as the means to the end. And to this tends the whole economy of grace, which for no other reason has dawned upon us, unless 'that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly.' (Tit. 2:12)."

    Turretin also claims he explains some of these matters in his section on the perseverance of the saints. Topic 15, Question 16. Here is one useful paragraph in the section.

    "XLV. It is one thing to fall from a state of grace, inasmuch as it denotes a blessing of God or the condition of children and a right to life (which God bestows upon them by efficacious calling and adoption); another, inasmuch as it denotes the duty of man or the aptitude and disposition to the kingdom of heaven by the practice of faith and the exercise of repentance, by which the believer is placed in that state that dying in it he will necessarily be saved.... We do not deny that in this latter sense the believer by his sins and especially his most heinous sins falls from a state of grace, inasmuch as he loses his disposition for the kingdom of heaven (for nothing impure can enter there) and enters into a state of condemnation according to the most just judgment of God, by which the unjust, robbers, fornicators, adulterers are kept out of the kingdom of heaven and handed over to eternal punishment. But in the former sense, it is rightly said that the believer does not fall from a state of grace because the right of sons once given to him is never taken away on God's part (although its use and sense can be interrupted for a time) and the seeds of grace and of virtue are never taken away from him."
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  20. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I think your post highlights one of the greatest difficulties of the systematician: a precise choice of words. There are many important words which can be used in a variety of ways.

    Sanctification is a good example of word that must be handled with care. Here are some possible (and legitimate, even) uses:
    1. We are sanctified in our justification, in that we are made legally holy before God.
    2. We are sanctified in our regeneration, in that the principle of holiness is infused into our nature.
    3. We are sanctified in the course of our Christian life, in that we make progress in actual holiness.
    4. We are sanctified at our glorification, in that we are made finally holy, and have no principle of sin remaining in us.
    If we get sloppy, and fail to distinguish between the uses, at best, we will sound confusing. At worst, we will sound heretical.
  21. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I did a poor job tying my post back in with the rest of the thread. I meant to imply that words like justification and condition are important words in the current discussion that have various meanings and have to be defined carefully.
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