Archive for June, 2013

Van Drunen Two Kingdoms Rebutted by Brian Mattson

June 27, 2013

Dr. Brian Mattson has a post in which he distinguishes between Horton’s views on the two kingdoms and Van Drunen’s views on the two kingdoms (link to post). Dr. Mattson’s post should help to explain part of the problem with engaging the topic — there are a variety of “two kingdoms” views even amongst folks like Van Drunen and Horton, each of whom would reject the position of Calvin and the Westminster divines.

Spealing of Calvin, Dr. Mattson also has a post in which he explains the problem with folks like Van Drunen trying to associate Calvin with their position (link to post). Mattson makes an excellent observation about the preface to Calvin’s great Institutes of the Christian Religion:

Before Calvin ever gets to writing the book, he begins with something called a “Prefatory Address to King Francis I of France.” It seems fairly strange that a man who believes Christian doctrine to be irrelevant to the “civil” realm would dedicate his work on Christian doctrine to the head of the civil realm. But Calvin is more specific. He writes: “For the Most Mighty and Illustrious Monarch, Francis, Most Christian King of the French, His Sovereign, John Calvin Craves Peace and Salvation in Christ.” So… Francis is a “Christian” monarch. This way of speaking is anathema to modern Two Kingdoms advocates.


When offering his defense to Francis, he writes: “Worthy indeed is this matter of your hearing, worthy of your cognizance, worthy of your royal throne! Indeed, this consideration makes a true king: to recognize himself a minister of God in governing his kingdom. Now, that king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage.”

There is more in Dr. Mattson’s post – I encourage you to check it out.

-TurretinFan

Rebuttal to Craig’s Denial of the Historicity of the Guard Account

June 25, 2013

The Bible declares:

Matthew 27:62-66
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”
Pilate said unto them, “Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.” So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Matthew 28:2-4 & 11-15
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

But William Lane Craig says, in response to the question “were there guards at the tomb”:

Well now this is a question that I think is probably best left out of the program, because the vast, vast majority of New Testament scholars would regard Matthew’s guard story as unhistorical. I can hardly think of anybody who would defend the historicity of the guard at the tomb story. And the main reasons for that are two:
One is because it’s only found in Matthew and it seems very odd that if there were a Roman guard or even a Jewish guard at the tomb that Mark wouldn’t know about it and that there wouldn’t be any mention of it.
The other reason is that nobody seemed to understand Jesus’ resurrection predictions. The disciples – who heard them most often – had not an inkling of what he meant and yet somehow the Jewish authorities were supposed to have heard of these predictions and understood them so well that they were able to set a guard around the tomb. And again, that doesn’t seem to make sense.
So, most scholars regard the guard at the tomb story as a legend or a Matthean invention that isn’t really historical.
Fortunately, this is of little significance for the empty tomb of Jesus, because the guard was mainly employed in Christian apologetics to disprove the conspiracy theory that the disciples stole the body. But no modern historian or New Testament scholar would defend a conspiracy theory, because it’s evident when you read the pages of the New Testament that these people sincerely believed in what they said. So, the conspiracy theory is dead, even in the absence of a guard at the tomb.
The true significance of the guard at the tomb story is that it shows that even the opponents of the earliest Christians did not deny the empty tomb, but rather involved themselves in a hopeless series of absurdities trying to explain it away by saying that the disciples had stolen the body. And that’s the real significance of Matthew’s guard at the tomb story.

This shows part of the soft underbelly of William Lane Craig’s excessive reliance on scholarship over revelation. The text itself treats the account as historical. There are no signals in the text that the account is mythical or parabolic. Indeed, the theory that the “vast, vast majority of New Testament scholars” would be adopting here is one that says that the text has its origins in the will of man rather than in the inspiration of the Spirit.

Let’s consider the two reasons that Craig gives. The first reason is Mark’s omission of the account. This is hardly a compelling reason. After all, while Matthew includes the vast majority of the material found in Mark, Mark contains less than three quarters of the material found in Matthew. Mark is simply a significantly shorter gospel. The guard at the tomb story, while significant to the conspiracy story and consequently to Matthew’s apparently Jewish primary audience, is not a central aspect of the resurrection account. It’s not only absent from Mark but also from Luke and John.

In this way it is similar to Matthew’s account of the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27) that Jesus miraculously paid for himself and Peter with the help of a fish. That account likewise is not found in Mark, Luke, or John, and likewise is of particular interest to Matthew’s presumably Jewish primary audience.

Moreover, while the first half of the guard at the tomb account is in an easily separable pericope, the second half of the guard at the tomb account is woven into the account of the arrival of the women at the tomb, which is part that Craig would undoubtedly consider historical. Thus, the keepers of the tomb should also be regarded as historical.

The second reason that Craig gives is that the disciples did not understand Jesus’ resurrection predictions, and therefore it is unlikely that Jesus’ critics would have recalled these predictions. This analysis seems contrary to our common experience. Often, one’s harshest critics pay even more attention to one’s words than one’s own friends. Moreover, the disciples had a mistaken notion that Jesus first coming was to be like his second coming, in terms of being triumphant. They seemed not to accept his very clear predictions of his own death. By contrast, Jesus’ critics mocked his prediction of his death and accused him of paranoia (“The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” John 7:20, for example).

Thus, the disciples were quick to overlook Jesus’ comments specifically predicting his resurrection. By contrast, Jesus’ critics hung on his every word. (“Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.” Luke 11:54) So, when they were thinking how to eliminate this movement, they were not depressed and in despair over Jesus’ death, but instead were focused on trying to stamp out the movement altogether.

Neither of Craig’s reasons, therefore, provide a compelling case for rejecting the historicity of the guard at the tomb account.

The clip from the John Ankerberg show can be seen in the embedded video, below.

By the way, Geisler got on Mike Licona’s case for denying the historicity of the mass Jerusalem resurrection account. Why hasn’t he criticized Craig for denying the historicity of the guard at the tomb accounts? In fact, William Lane Craig’s analysis of the account and its significance are significantly more harmful to the doctrine of inerrancy than Licona’s treatment of the mass resurrection as apocalyptic. Where is the consistency? Is Geisler simply unaware?

-TurretinFan

MacArthur & OSAS vs. Prosperity Gospel & Charismatics

June 24, 2013

Michael Brown recently wrote:

And which is worse? To preach a carnal prosperity message or to give people false assurance that, once they are saved, no matter how they live, no matter what they do, even if they renounce Jesus, they are still saved? Which message will result in more people being misled and finding themselves in hell?
Pastor MacArthur rightly renounces the carnal prosperity message, yet many non-charismatics who follow him embrace an extremely dangerous version of the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. Why the double standard here?
Again, I am not for a moment excusing doctrinal errors, emotional manipulation, financial greed or other spiritual abuses often perpetuated in the name of the Spirit, but it is absolutely outrageous that Pastor MacArthur claims, “The charismatic movement is largely the reason the church is in the mess it is today. In virtually every area where church life is unbiblical, you can attribute it to the charismatic movement. In virtually every area—bad theology, superficial worship, ego, prosperity gospel, personality elevation. All of that comes out of the charismatic movement.”

It seems like Brown is suggesting that a carnal prosperity message actually has power to save souls.  I would strongly disagree.

Of course, I’d also disagree with Brown’s characterization of MacArthur’s view on perseverance.  The elect will certainly persevere to the end.  This will be accomplished by God, just as all of salvation is by God.  That may even include them temporarily falling into very heinous sin, such as denying Christ multiple times (recall Peter’s sad example).  Yet ultimately they will repent (as Peter did).

MacArthur’s claim does not seem outrageous to me.  What does seem outrageous, however, is Brown’s following two paragraphs (immediately after his paragraphs above:

And he is quite wrong when he states, “Its theology is bad. It is unbiblical. It is bad. It is aberrant. It is destructive to people because it promises what it can’t deliver, and then God gets blamed when it doesn’t come. It is a very destructive movement.”
In reality, more people have been saved—wonderfully saved—as a result of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement worldwide than through any other movement in church history (to the tune of perhaps a half-billion souls), as documented recently in Allan Heaton Anderson’s To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity. And professor Craig Keener has provided overwhelming testimony to the reality of God’s miraculous power worldwide today (see his brilliant two-volume study Miracles).

Brown’s response to MacArthur’s claim that the theology is not Biblical is to allege that it has been successful.  Yet one wonders about this claim.  No doubt the charismatic movement has widely proselytized, but if it is preaching a false Gospel and a false spirit, then what good are its large numbers?  One might just as well point to the billion plus Muslims as evidence of the good of Islam.  Surely Brown has the sense not to do that, so why can’t he discern the fundamental theological problems of the charismatic movement?

-TurretinFan

Thanks to LUBunkerman for pointing this out to me.

Irony of Idolatry in Francis of Rome’s Remarks and the Split Tenth Commandment

June 13, 2013

Francis of Rome recently was reported as saying (VIS, 9 June 2013): “We shouldn’t see the Ten Commandments as restriction upon our freedom; no, not that way. We should see them as signs for our freedom. … They teach us how to avoid the slavery to which the many idols that we ourselves build reduce us.” (ellipsis was in VIS report)

Francis is right that the commandments ought not to be viewed positively and not exclusively negatively.  They are, of course, both restrictions and duties.  Thus, we really ought to ask both “what is commanded” and “what is forbidden” by each of the commandments, as the Westminster standards helpfully analyze them.

The irony of Francis’ statement is that Rome is full of idols (representations of God).  Rome actually misnumbers the commandments to avoid having to get rid of her idols. Specifically, she bundles the second into the first, as though we were only forbidden to make idols of false gods and not also of the true God. To maintain the number ten, she splits the tenth into two commandments.

This misnumbering can easily be seen to be wrong. The first giving of the commandments does phrase the tenth this way:

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

לֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ךָ לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדֹּ֤ו וַאֲמָתֹו֙ וְשֹׁורֹ֣ו וַחֲמֹרֹ֔ו וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ׃ פ

Thus, there are two “thou shalt not” phrases, but they are both on the same topic of coveting. Moreover, it is strange that the house should get special separate treatment, while the wife should get bundled in with the slaves, cattle and miscellaneous other possessions.

In the second giving, the wording is slightly different:

Deuteronomy 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

וְלֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֑ךָ סוְלֹ֨א תִתְאַוֶּ֜ה בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֗ךָ שָׂדֵ֜הוּ וְעַבְדֹּ֤ו וַאֲמָתֹו֙ שֹׁורֹ֣ו וַחֲמֹרֹ֔ו וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ׃

Here the wife (rather than the house) gets special treatment, while the house gets mixed in with the slaves, cattle, fields, and other possessions.

Moreover, that the 7th commandment already prohibits lust can be seen from Jesus admonition:

Matthew 5:28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Likewise, speaking of coveting, the class of coveted things is generally undifferentiated.  Most tellingly, when Paul refers to the commandments he does not differentiate two types of covetousness:

Romans 13:9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Some may object that the division between the first and the second is artificial and the two should be joined. First, the division between the first and the second is quite clear.  In the first giving, it is written (combining them, to give every benefit to our objectors):

Exodus 20:3-6
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

In the second giving, it is written (again, combining them):

Deuteronomy 5:7-10Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

While it is understandable how someone might think these are connected, the making and bowing down clearly refer to images.  By contrast, the having can refer not to images but to gods.  Thus, this situation is unlike the bizarre parsing of the 10th, where the same command is expressed of differing lists of possessions in different givings.  Rather, there are different commands regarding different objects.

That the prohibition against idols is a prohibition against images of the true God can be seen from the explanation provided in Deuteronomy 4:

Deuteronomy 4:11-19
And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

The reference to not seeing a likeness is specifically relevant to the true God.  Indeed, the thick darkness blotted out even the sun, moon, and stars.  Thus, we ought to worship the unseen God without images of any kind.

That remained true even though God did sometimes reveal himself visually (such as when he came to Abraham, when he wrestled with Jacob, when he spoke to Moses face to face, or when he greeted Joshua, among other examples).  Thus, we should not make the error of some of the ancients who tried to justify making images of males and identifying them as Jesus on the ground that Jesus had indeed come as a man and walked among us.

-TurretinFan

Christ – Our Only Carer in John’s Repose

June 11, 2013

In the apocryphal “Repose of St. John the Evangelist and Apostle” (found here), John is quoted as praying:

Jesus is the one who plaited the crown with your own plaiting. The one who created the crown of all the saints and these many plants which transformed into people, yours is the flower which does not wither at all. The one who sowed in you his words, who alone cares for his servants. The physician of our body cures them all in vain. Our sole benefactor. The one without arrogance. The merciful who loves everyone. Sole saviour and just one who is everywhere and has been forever, God Christ Jesus.

What I found particularly interesting about this excerpt is the absence of later-arising mariolatry. Jesus’ uniqueness is emphasized in ways that leave no room for Mary to be a co-savior, a co-carer, a co-creator of the crown of the saints, or a co-benefactress.

Likewise, amongst Christ’s titles, the author includes “the true stone,” which fits well with Scripture, though not so well with Roman interpretations of Matthew 16:18.

So, while this writing is defiled by the early error of asceticism (John is quoted as claiming that Jesus repeatedly prevented him from marrying, though John wanted to marry and John is praised as a virgin) and while this writing is marred by being falsely written in the first person, it is not marred by many of the later errors that arose later.

I would date the version that serves as the basis for this translation as being from the 4th century. The reference to Christ being “consubstantial” with the Father and the Spirit suggests a post-Nicene production of the work. On the other hand, the absence of references to Mary suggests a pre-5th century dating. Also, the work seems to suggest an explanation for a lack of primary (i.e. first class) relics of John the Evangelist-Apostle, despite the legend of his having been buried. This suggests authorship within the age of necromania, but prior to any loud claims of possession of significant first class relics – thus, early in that age, as opposed to later in the 5th or 6th centuries, as that mania increased and the number of supposed relics multiplied.

If I understand correctly, the work purports to be (or at least has been averred to be) an account by St. Prochorus, allegedly his disciple and one of the proto-deacons (the original seven deacons). The work itself, however, does not appear to name the author. I’m not aware of any particular scholar who has dated this work, though I would be interested if someone could identify one.

– TurretinFan

Francis of Rome on Atheists and Redemption

June 2, 2013

Francis of Rome was recently reported speaking about good works and atheism:

Wednesday’s Gospel speaks to us about the disciples who prevented a person from outside their group from doing good. “They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”:

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

“Doing good” the Pope explained, is not a matter of faith: “It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because He has made us in His image and likeness. And He does good, always.”

Where is Francis of Rome correct?

Atheists can do civil good. They can outwardly conform to the law of God in a variety of ways. They can (and many do) give to the poor. They can (and nearly all do) abstain from killing their neighbors. These things do not fully comply with the law of God, because they do not arise from right motives. Nevertheless, we sometimes refer to these deeds as good in view of their outward conformity to the law of God.

That we do good to our neighbors is written in the law. The second great commandment commands us to do good to our neighbor. Moreover, the parable of the good Samaritan commends to us the activities of an unbeliever, as an example of what our behavior should be. Thus, there is Biblical warrant for using the actions of unbelievers as examples of (partial, outward) compliance with God’s law.

Atheists have the law of God written on their heart. They have a conscience. That which may be known of God is manifest to them, for God has shown it to them. That conscience may be seared. The image of God may be damaged, distorted, and perverted, but it is there.

Where has Francis of Rome erred?

Francis was wrong to say that all are redeemed. The Israelites were redeemed – the Egyptians were not. By analogy, the elect are redeemed, the reprobate are not.

Francis was wrong to say that we are all “children of God of the first class.” There may be some sense in which all humans are God’s children, but not in the highest sense. Recall that Jesus himself compared the Jews to God’s children and the non-Jews to dogs. There is a distinction between the people of God and those outside the people of God.

Response to Some Objections

Some of Rome’s apologists will respond, like Bryan Cross:

It is important, as you mentioned, to distinguish between redemption accomplished objectively, and redemption applied subjectively. Pope Francis was speaking of the former when saying that Christ has redeemed all men, and therefore not implying universalism.

Bryan may be right to insist on that distinction, but Francis is not making that distinction – he’s arguing that the “this Blood makes us children of God.” The consistent reference to “us” in Francis’ lecture is everyone, and specifically not just Roman Catholics. The blood acting on subjects to make them something is not simply objective redemption accomplished, contrary to Bryan’s wish.

Jason Stellman, recent apostate/revert to Rome (it is unclear if he was baptized RC or not) put it this way:

Again, it’s not that “our sins are paid for” in the sense Protestants think of it (i.e., God imputing our guilt to Christ, pouring out his wrath upon him, and then imputing his righteousness to us). So the reason redemption accomplished doesn’t imply redemption applied is that the former doesn’t mean for Catholics what it does for Protestants. Jesus did not suffer divine anger and retribution for a certain group of people who then cannot but be saved. Rather, he recapitulated Adamic humanity in himself by offering a sacrifice that pleased the Father more than our sins displeased him. When seen in this way, redemption applied ceases to be a foregone conclusion and actually becomes something we must actively pursue through faith and the sacraments.

Expressing the recapitulation theory this way, however, doesn’t rescue Francis. Francis is talking about something that has been applied to people, not something that is merely available to people.

Jimmy Akin similarly says:

So far so good: Christ redeemed all of us, making it possible for every human to be saved.

That is not what Francis said, though. Francis did not say simply that it was possible for them to be saved, but that this redemption had made them children of God “of the first class.”

Jimmy Akin continued:

We can be called children of God in several senses. One of them is merely be being created as rational beings made in God’s image. Another is by becoming Christian. Another sense (used in the Old Testament) is connected with righteous behavior. And there can be other senses as well.

Here Pope Francis may be envisioning a sense in which we can be called children of God because Christ redeemed us, even apart from embracing that redemption by becoming Christian.

Had Francis not added “of the first class,” then this avenue might be available. Yet Francis talked about them being made children of the first class.

Mark Shea took umbrage with the way the story was reported in HuffPo (and who can blame him). However, Shea (and Andrew Preslar) helpfully pointed out that CCC 605 specifically states, “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer,” quoting from the regional council of Council of Quiercy of 853, as reported in Denzinger’s Sources at item 624 (Latin numbering, corresponding to item 319 in the English). That original source stated:

316 Chap. 1. Omnipotent God created man noble without sin with a free will, and he whom He wished to remain in the sanctity of justice, He placed in Paradise. Man using his free will badly sinned and fell, and became the “mass of perdition” of the entire human race. The just and good God, however, chose from this same mass of perdition according to His foreknowledge those whom through grace He predestined to life [ Rom. 8:29 ff.; Eph. 1:11], and He predestined for these eternal life; the others, whom by the judgment of justice he left in the mass of perdition,* however, He knew would perish, but He did not predestine that they would perish, because He is just; however, He predestined eternal punishment for them. And on account of this we speak of only one predestination of God, which pertains either to the gift of grace or to the retribution of justice.

317 Chap. 2. The freedom of will which we lost in the first man, we have received back through Christ our Lord; and we have free will for good, preceded and aided by grace, and we have free will for evil, abandoned by grace. Moreover, because freed by grace and by grace healed from corruption, we have free will.

318 Chap. 3. Omnipotent God wishes all men without exception to be saved [1 Tim. 2:4] although not all will be saved. However, that certain ones are saved, is the gift of the one who saves; that certain ones perish, however, is the deserved punishment of those who perish.

319 Chap. 4. Christ Jesus our Lord, as no man who is or has been or ever will be whose nature will not have been assumed in Him, so there is, has been, or will be no man, for whom He has not suffered- although not all will be saved by the mystery of His passion. But because all are not redeemed by the mystery of His passion, He does not regard the greatness and the fullness of the price, but He regards the part of the unfaithful ones and those not believing in faith those things which He has worked through love [Gal. 5:6], because the drink of human safety, which has been prepared by our infirmity and by divine strength, has indeed in itself that it may be beneficial to all; but if it is not drunk, it does not heal.

Setting aside the problems of this nearly Arminian/Amyraldian view of the atonement, notice that this text does state that Jesus suffered in some sense for all, but simultaneously states that “all are not redeemed.”

Moreover, redemption is (in the Bible) explicitly expressed in terms of distinction:

Revelation 14:3-4
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Moreover, redemption is expressed as the basis for the effectual call:

Zechariah 10:8
I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.

Stellman tries to defend the claim of universal redemption by citing:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Col. 1:15-20).

The problem with an appeal to that text is that if Stellman is saying that “all things” there refers to each and every human being that ever was or will be, and he is saying that this passage refers not just to a desire but something actually done, then he’s stuck with saying that God reconciles all men to himself and is at peace with them. In what sense, then, could they said to be “children of wrath”? No, the attempted justification cannot stand.

Finally, note Francis’ concluding prayer:

“Today is [the feast of] Santa Rita, Patron Saint of impossible things – but this seems impossible: let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work, which is a work of creation, like the creation of the Father. A work of the family, because we are all children of God, all of us, all of us! And God loves us, all of us! May Santa Rita grant us this grace, which seems almost impossible. Amen.”

In this prayer (to Rita) he asks (of her, not of God) grace to do something that allegedly by created nature and redemption they already can do, namely good works. Moreover, Francis insists on a universal love of God, and asserts that we are all children of God, as he had already done in his homily. I would just note finally how this teaching by Francis eviscerates the doctrine of adoption.

John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

1 John 3:1-2
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Francis is wrong on redemption and wrong on adoption.

-TurretinFan


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