Timothy Kauffman's Recent Critique of Brown, Tchividjian & Keller

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by The Sola System, Mar 14, 2012.

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  1. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry, my question regarding the term salvation was one where I was asking why salvation has come to mean, almost exclusively, an historical even instead of present reality (sanctification) and/or a future hope (glorification).

    With regards to sanctification I believe that we ought to be diligent to stir up the grace of God that is in us. Whether the label synergism is appropriate I leave to the scholars in academia decide.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  2. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    My Pastor, preaching out of Galations 4, said today that three words that are contrary to the gospel are the words "do your part". I think that sums up my position in this discussion pretty well.
  3. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    "Grace isn't opposed to effort, but to earning."
  4. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm buyin' what your pastor's sellin'.
  5. AlexanderHenderson1647

    AlexanderHenderson1647 Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm plagiarizing : ) Where is that quote from, Raekwon?
  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Faith is necessary on the sinner's part to receive the righteousness of Christ for justification. It is certainly the gift of God, but that does not negate the fact that believing in Christ is something which must be done on the sinner's part. And then we might ask, What has happened to repentance? "Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ" (WCF 15.1).
  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    Jesus said we had to pick up our Cross and follow Him. Is that not our part? I also had to receive Christ. But as many as received Him... Yes, these are responses as a child responds to a spank on the rear to get him to breath after he breaks the matrix. The Lord looks upon the heart for a reason. Why did God pick David over his brothers?

    This was a great passage to bring up as someone else did.
    Now our justification is not based upon any work of righteousness. But if we want to be delivered on this side from the daily ramifications of sin we need to obey Him.

    Why would God tell us the things he does in 1 Corinthians 10 that He does if we didn't have some responsibility to seek a daily salvation from the sin that so easily can beset us as Hebrews states.

    When the Church makes salvation and the Gospel just about justification they do the Church a great disservice.

    BTW, What is grace? I posted two blogs on this topic.


    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for the quote, brother. This is the vital distinction that is too often missed in this discussion. It's one that I find is particularly difficult to grasp on the part of those whose conception of Christianity prior to coming to some kind of Reformed view really was some kind of legalism, whether of the Romish, extreme fundamentalist or pentecostal variety.

    I agree with the OP that there are similarities to the older practical antinomianism here. While the doctrinal differences on a formal level are more clear, I also don't find it surprising that dispensationalists (especially of the DTS variety as opposed to MacArthur types) who are coming to an appreciation of the Doctrines of Grace are frequently gung ho for the teachings espoused by those criticized in the OP. On the other hand, they don't hesitate to deem real Puritanism to be legalism. They've usually never heard of the Third Use of the Law and when explained to them they usually recoil at it. OTOH, the "New Calvinists" who have to formally subscribe to the WCF will pay lip service to it but at noted on this site previously, they sometimes redefine it into something else.

    I am thankful for those who have been delivered from genuine legalism by the teachings of Brown, Tchidvidjan, et al. But Reformed teaching it ain't on this point.
  9. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I agree Chris. Even when it comes against the Roman Catholic Church. But at the same time a hero is hero. I can say the same thing against Wesley, Finney, and Keith Green. I will even say this in controversies that our Divines dealt with. They did it in our most Biblical Confessions. But a loose interpretation rendered many bad things even my life. St. Paul tried to deliver us from legalism as did the other Apostles. But they didn't narrow the scope of the Gospel to legalism nor antinomianism. The scriptures bear this out as do our Confessions of the 1689 and WCF.

    The grace presented in my early days and the gospel presented now days as opposed to when I first came came to Christ was not the Gospel of the Bible. The Gospel of the Bible is as much outward as it is inward. And believe me, I don't have it all figured out.
  10. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Well said.

    Yes, we all argee that faith and repentance are necessary. I'm sure Brad's pastor does, too. I suppose we could add a number of good qualifiers to this statement.

    But I know what he means. There are many, many people who believe they have to show a certain amount of good faith effort toward trying to be good and, if it's enough effort, God will approve and take things the rest of the way. This is indeed contrary to the gospel.
  11. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Tell me Jack. What are those qualifiers for defining faith and grace? Did you brainstorm this?
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  12. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Not sure what you're looking for.

    I just meant to say that I assume the statement that "do your part" is contrary to the gospel...

    - did not mean to imply faith isn't necessary.
    - did not mean to imply repentance isn't necessary.
    - did not mean to imply we don't participate in sanctification.
    - did not mean to imply... (you name it, we could go on)

    Qualifiers. We could add them ad infinitum as we think of ways folks might misunderstand the statement. But if we always add all the possible qualifiers, the statement loses its punch. I think I understand what Brad and his pastor meant without them.
  13. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This is ad... infinitum? You mentioned some very pertinent things. What is deliverance Jack? There is nothing left to punch here as you mention unless you want to disqualify Jesus. BTW, I don't know what Brad's Pastor said in context. Justification is by faith alone. No works added. But the whole Gospel and salvation are not without them. Yes, I am referring to other things.
  14. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Are you saying we don't have our part in these?

    I am trying to explain to an 18 year old why he has to confess his sin and call upon God for Salvation.
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Josh, He said those are necessary and not our part, but I know others who say differently and that these things are our part and are a part of the gospel. They are both.

    Our Confession does not endorse Eternal Justification or Justification that doesn't have a faith.

    Eternal Justification Refuted. http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?529
  16. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I'm not trying to be difficult. We must just be talking past each other somehow. I'll try again...

    We DO have our part in all of these, of course. They are conscious actions on our part.

    I know that.
    You know that.
    Brad knows that.
    Brad's pastor, if he's any kind of PCA pastor at all, surely knows that too.

    So since we all know that, do we really have go through the list of all the things grace doesn't mean every time someone mentions how great God's free grace is? Can't we just revel in grace without feeling a need to say "Now don't get the wrong idea, you still need to do ______ and _______ and _____"?

    Such things probably would be good to mention when dealing with someone who resists repenting and calling on God in faith. But does that mean they must be mentioned in every post that mentions grace? I hope not. I hope I can express an appreciation for grace without having do list all the things I don't mean by that every time.

    The unnamed pastor made a comment that "do your part" is contrary to the gospel. I think I understand what that pastor means. I think he's refuting the idea that God requires you to make a certain amount of effort to be good—to meet him part way—before he'll be inclined to help you. Such ideas ought to be refuted. So I agree with that pastor.

    I do NOT take it to mean there's no effort ever, of any kind, that's part of the Christian life. I also do NOT take it to mean that the faith, repentance and ongoing sanctification God works in me is somehow divorced from the gospel of Jesus.

    But I will sometimes say "I love God's grace!" and "I'm so glad God doesn't make me meet him part way!" without feeling a need to always add those explanations.
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    We trust Brad knows that. The absolutism of grace is wonderful to adore as sinners who know we can do nothing of ourselves. In the context of this discussion, however, where "our part" in faith, repentance, sanctification, and perseverance is precisely the point under debate, a statement which denies "our part" is, at the very least, contentious, and that is putting the most charitable interpretation on it that we can.
  18. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Yeah, the original topic was our effort in sanctification. I sought to explain that to understand the Grace Movement we need to understand what those guys mean when they talk of "effort" being bad. They mean a self-effort that's divorced from all the promises and blessings we have in Christ and from the encouragement and power these give us.

    I took Brad's pastor to mean something similar by "do your part." I suppose we need Brad to explain in order to be certain. But given the explanations that came earlier in the thread, I certainly would not assume he meant that we have no role in faith, repentance and sanctification.
  19. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, you made it more complex than I ever thought to. I never thought about this this way. And that is part of this problem. Did you even read or go through what I said in my blogs? in this post? http://www.puritanboard.com/f48/timothy-kauffmans-recent-critique-brown-tchividjian-keller-73282/

    That is precisely the problem Jack. You have taken them (the Grace Movement) (or me and the Reformers) to mean...... What?

    This discussion goes farther than.....? I really want to discuss this. I hope I am not being ungracious. We are not speaking or discussing this out of a vacuum here. This discussion has been going on for a long time with no definitive answers to our questions in my estimation. Is the Gospel only outside of us? You can say others have said this or that about the gospel and that it has to be qualified. Let me ask you this. What is the Gospel? What is Grace? These are two questions that I have found simple answers for that these guys seem to cloud up.

    I found out what the gospel was 30 years ago and found that some have redefined it separately from the Bible. We can name denominations here. But I won't. Maybe we can call it brainstorming. Sorry if I am taking this out of context. I am trying to be merciful and patient. Some have done this from their imagination and outside of the scriptures. I am sure this is true even though I am a simple laymen. These things have a place where they can be defined from. Is the Gospel only an outward declaration as some have put it? You know who I am talking about. What is Grace? Is Grace just unmerited Favor? Answer this shortly and without a long sidetrack and we will move on finally. I believe these two questions will clear up a lot. The answers to these simple American Evangelical questions will clear a lot up in my estimation. At least they will tell everyone where the theological thought of today really stands as opposed to..., Yes, I am biased, the Confessions. I am not opposed to being different. Believe me. I am opposed to not loving our neighbor as ourselves. I am opposed to not holding forth the truth. I love those who don't love me. I hope they love me. But I will always tell you what I believe and have believed. I am not trying to crucify anyone here. I just want the facts to be known.

    In my estimation the Grace movement needs to study Grace. It doesn't fully understand what it is. And no I am not a shining armour of grace.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  20. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    This almost sounds like the Lordship Salvation Controversy all over again.

    BTW, for the record, I picked up Tullian's book Saturday (I haven't finished my coffee, so I'm not even going to attempt to type his last name right now). I'm about a third of the way through it, and it is overall a very good read. And for the record, I'm not picking up even a hint of antinomianism in the book. What I am getting is Tullian's emphasis on the gospel and the cross of Christ, and for us to remember that the cross isn't just for us at the time of our conversion. He's making it clear that we need to rest in Christ and His work, and not to exercise sanctification by our own efforts apart from God.

    As I alluded to earlier in this thread, those of us who were exposed to Arminianism earlier in life know all too well that it's not that far a step from sanctification to works-righteousness if we're not careful. That is a real danger, even for those of us steeped in Calvin and the Puritans. Even understanding that our sanctification/mortification of sin does not save us, we can fall very easily into a trap of questioning our salvation based upon how sanctified we are (or worse yet, how we "feel") instead of resting on the work of Christ.

    As Paul said, if it's of works, then grace is no longer grace.
  21. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry Dean but you are off. You are not listening. I fully lean upon Christ for my justification. ALONE!
  22. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

  23. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Hermonta. I appreciate that blog and Kevin Deyoung. But I want to keep my questions focused here with Jack. I may be ill equipped to answer him. He may be ill equipped to answer me. I specifically asked him some questions that I want him to answer. I want to discuss this. I pointedly asked him because he seems to be a partial defender of those who I am trying to understand. My questions are my own. I hope I am not being selfish here but am certain that I am being selfish because I have watched this unfold for so many years. I want to interract with guys on this forum and not blogs at this point.
  24. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Never said you didn't, my friend.

    ---------- Post added at 07:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:21 AM ----------

    That's a good posting.
  25. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for acknowledging that.

    This is hard to believe for me if we hold to sola Scriptura and conversion. I am not legalistic either. Believe me. LOL. In fact, I am so not legalistic.... And the step I would have to take is much farther than you might understand in light that I and all my Truly Reformed and Confessional Brothers believe Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5. We have no works but filthy rags as Isaiah states. (Isa 64:6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

    But I do know maybe a part of the Calvinistic faith that may hold to this. That might be the Welsh Calvinistic guys who hold to the sealing of the spirit or the second blessing. But that is not present in the circles I know or have been around my neck of the woods. Is it in yours? How is it if they believe the Bible as the Scriptures and Confessions state?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  26. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    I try not to be, but believe me it's something I have to battle with.

    When you hear Arminianism for a good portion of your life, you start worrying about your good works, and not in a good way. You start judging yourself by whether or not you've "done enough," and it can be maddening, because whether you mean to or not you base your salvation ultimately on your own efforts. It's such a subtle sin, and before you know it you're looking at yourself instead of Christ.
  27. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    J. I have preached in a Nazerene Church. I have been around the doctrine of entire sanctifcation since I started walking with God. When one depends upon scripture as whole it kills every pride. Every thought is judged. Nothing in my hand I bring. I do know that Jesus and His good word does a work that is fully Gospel. I must have been taught better. I am blessed. The Gospel saved me from what I was and what I would have been. But I don't measure upon that. I measure upon a relationship that is based upon His promises in the Written Word. I would have given up by now if it wasn't for that written word.

    I truly believe John 5:24.
  28. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This is why I asked you if you read my prior posts and blogs. Grace brings awakening. Any awakening is purely of Grace. It is God's influence upon the heart and it's reflection. Maybe it is easier for me because I came from such a low place. But to Believe is such a work and grace and you need to know that. It isn't many wise who come. The wisest or smartest refuse because grace isn't there. Only a few wise come. If it wasn't true Einstein would be hills above us. It is because we need grace (Unmerited Divine Influence) according to His riches. This stupid fool was called as was my most excellent smartest friend. We were born for His glory and we both know this. We both have faults. My best friend is a Dean at some College. He has had to suffer more than I have but it is because God keeps him humble. I am lesser so I don't suffer as much.

    But the wise are called and they are given a heavier burden than those of us who are not as wise. And it is Gospel.
  29. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    But, alas, I'm still not sure I understand the questions. They seem to have something to do with...

    - Making sure we understand that the gospel is bigger than mere justification. No problem there. I agree, of course. Though in terms of word usage we must allow that the NT does not always speak in precise, consistent theological terms. Sometimes it seems to use "gospel" in a narrower sense to refer to a certain aspect of salvation (sometimes to refer to justification). And when a preacher uses it in the narrower sense I don't necessarily assume he doesn't recognize the larger sense as well.

    - Making sure we understand that we have active participation in our conversion and subsequent sanctification. No problem there, either. I agree. In fact, I don't know anyone of any prominence in the Reformed world who disagrees. Those I do know who speak of "effort" being bad don't mean that we shouldn't strive for holiness. Rather, they mean that we must do all things (including work at holiness) in faith, constantly relying on God.

    Do you mean to argue that the Spirit has no role in our sanctification? That it's all our own work? I haven't thought that was your position, but it's starting to sound like that. It seems that when people talk about the ongoing work of God in a believer's life, you feel a need to refute that. As if the idea that God is at work in a believer's life is bad doctrine. But I don't think you really mean that. So I'm lost as to what you do mean.

    Hate to type and run, but I'll be gone for a few hours. There's a foot of snow to clear, breakfast to eat, work to start on...
  30. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Jack, Read what I asked you to. You are not answering my questions simply nor are you reading what I have written. Please take your time and you will correct what you have said above.

    Please take your time. I am in no hurry and might not even respond for a few days. But it is obvious you have not done the homework I asked you to.

    Please take your time. http://www.puritanboard.com/f48/tim...hividjian-keller-73282/index2.html#post936900
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