Piper vs Owen on Romans 2:6-7, 13


Excellent article on some of John Piper’s errors.

Originally posted on Contrast:

A short demonstration on the importance of covenant theology:
John Piper denies a works principle anywhere in Scripture, including the Covenant of Works.

Has God ever commanded anyone to obey with a view to earning or meriting life? Would God command a person to do a thing that he uniformly condemns as arrogant?

In Romans 11:35-36, Paul describes why earning from God is arrogant and impossible. He says, ‘Who has first given to [God] that it might be paid back to him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” The thought that anyone could give anything to God with a view to being paid back with merit or wages is presumptuous and impossible, because all things (including obedience) are from God in the first place. You can’t earn from God by giving him what is already his…

View original 966 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Piper’s Foreword

Originally posted on Contrast:

I’ve written in the past about some of Piper’s erroneous statements regarding justification. Justin Taylor recently posted a Foreword Piper wrote to Thomas Schreiner’s new book on Sola FidePiper says:

As Tom Schreiner says, the book “tackles one of the fundamental questions of our human condition: how can a person be right with God?”

The stunning Christian answer is: sola fide—faith alone. But be sure you hear this carefully and precisely: He says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone. There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but no others for entering a right relationship to God…

Such faith always “works by love” and produces the “obedience of faith.” And that obedience— imperfect as it is till the day we die—is not the “basis of justification, but . . . a necessary evidence and fruit of justification.” In this sense, love and…

View original 182 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

C.F.W. Walther on the Sanctification Controversy Brewing

CFW WaltherIn another place in the same chapter, §52, Gerhard writes: “There are several reasons why this distinction between the Law and the Gospel must be accurately defined and strictly adhered to. In the first place, many instances from the history of the Church of days gone by might be adduced to show that the pure teaching of the article of justification is not preserved, and absolutely cannot be preserved, if the distinction of these two doctrines is neglected.” Woe to him who injects poison into the doctrine of justification! He poisons the well which God has dug for man’s salvation. Whoever takes this doctrine away from man robs him of everything; for he takes the very heart out of Christianity, which ceases to pulsate after this attack. The ladder for mounting up to heaven is taken away, and there is no longer any hope of saving men. “In the second place,” Gerhard continues, “when the doctrine of the Gospel is not separated from the Law by definite boundary-lines, the blessings of Christ are considerably obscured.” By ascribing to man some share in his own salvation, we rob Christ of all His glory. God has created us without our cooperation, and He wants to save us the same way. We are to thank Him for having created us with a hope of life everlasting. Even so He alone wants to save us. Woe to him who says that he must contribute something towards his own salvation! He deprives Christ of His entire merit. For Jesus is called the Savior, not a helper towards salvation, such as preachers are. Jesus has achieved our entire salvation. That is why we were so determined in our Predestinarian Controversy. For the basic element in the controversy has been that we insisted on keeping Law and Gospel separate, while our opponents mingle the one with the other. When they hear from us this statement: “Out of pure mercy, God has elected us to the praise of the glory of His grace; God vindicates for Himself exclusively the glory of saving us,” etc., they say: “That is a horrible doctrine! If that were true, God would be partial. No, He must have beheld something in men that prompted Him to elect this or that particular man. When He beheld something good in a person, He elected him.” If that were so, man would really be the principal cause of his salvation. In that case man could say, “Thank God, I have done my share towards being saved.” However, when we shall have arrived in our heavenly fatherland, this is what we shall say: “If I had my own way, I should never have found salvation; and even supposing I had found it by myself, I should have lost it again. Thou, O God, didst come and draw me to Thy Word, partly by tribulation, partly by anguish of heart, partly by sickness, etc. All these things Thou hast used as means to bring me into heaven, while I was always striving for perdition.” Yonder we shall see — and marvel — that there has not been an hour when God did not work in us to save us, and that there has not been an hour when we — wanted to be saved. Indeed, we are forced to say to God: “Thou alone hast redeemed me; Thou alone dost save me.” Verily, as sure as there is a living God in heaven, I cannot do anything towards my salvation. That is the point under discussion in this controversy.

In conclusion, Gerhard says: “In the third place, commingling Law and Gospel necessarily produces confusion of consciences because there is no true, reliable, and abiding comfort for consciences that have been alarmed and terrified if the gracious promises of the Gospel are falsified.” Commingling Law and Gospel brings about unrest of conscience. No matter how comforting the preaching is that people hear, it is of no help to them if there is a sting in it. The honey of the Gospel may at first taste good, but if a sting of the Law goes with it, everything is spoiled. My conscience cannot come to rest if I cannot say: “Nevertheless, according to His grace, God will receive me.” If the preacher says to me: “Come, for all things are now ready — provided you do this or that,” I am lost. For in that case I must ask myself, “Have I done as God desires?” and I shall find no help.

Fifth Evening Lecture, October 17, 1884

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel

Dr. C.F.W. Walther

Posted in C.F.W. Walther, Justification, Sanctification | Tagged , , ,

John Piper, Justification, Sanctification, and the Mystery of Those in Reformed Circles That Defend Him

john_piperI have been following John Piper closely in recent months.   Are Piper’s teachings damaging to Christ’s sheep?  Read below and decide for yourselves.

In recent years, Piper had defended Doug Wilson and even then Piper was gently rebuked.

By 1994, Meredith Kline warned of issues that Piper exhibited in the flattening of covenants due to his influence under Daniel Fuller.

Here Piper claims you can believe the promises of God and still be lost.

OPC elder and author D.G. Hart responded here and wisely employed Calvin.

I do not believe Piper understands the nature of God’s promise which actually accomplish what God promises in Jesus Christ.  If a person actually looks (in true faith) to Messiah, they have believed the promises of God and will be saved in the end.  The text that Piper fails to exegete is interpreted by Piper as though they believed the promises of God.  They did not trust Christ, period.  None of us can present our works to Jesus as our confidence and be saved.  Piper reads everything through his Christian Hedonism.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV).

Then, Piper’s forward to a book on Justification sola fide by Thomas Schreiner was published.


“The stunning Christian answer is: sola fide—faith alone. But be sure you hear this carefully and precisely: He says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone. There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but no others for entering a right relationship to God. In fact, one must already be in a right relationship with God by faith alone in order to meet the other conditions.

“We are justified by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.” Faith that is alone is not faith in union with Christ. Union with Christ makes his perfection and power ours through faith. And in union with Christ, faith is living and active with Christ’s power.

Such faith always “works by love” and produces the “obedience of faith.” And that obedience— imperfect as it is till the day we die—is not the “basis of justification, but… a necessary evidence and fruit of justification.” In this sense, love and obedience—inherent righteousness—is “required of believers, but not for justification”—that is, required for heaven, not for entering a right-standing with God.”

Jack Miller provided a very helpful response.

Then, Richard D. Phillips in the PCA, found it necessary to defend Piper on the article that is the forward to Schreiner’s book on justification.  It makes one wonder if Phillips read the Piper article You Can Believe the Promises of God and Still Be Lost.  After all, why would a Presbyterian minister come to John Piper’s defense?  Phillips either did not perform his due diligence by reading that article, among other things or does not understand Calvinism and the nature of God’s promises in the Gospel of Christ.

Then, URCNA minister Christopher J. Gordon provided a very helpful/pastoral response to Phillips.

Phillips wrote another article, letting us dummies know that James is indeed in the Bible.

And R. Scott Clark, URCNA minister and professor at Westminster Seminary California wrote this and other things in response to Piper (graciously without using Piper’s name because it’s not a personality thing).

Subsequently, Dr. Clark responded to Phillips piece on James.

Lee Irons then entered the fray on the lack of precision in Piper’s formulations.

Mark Jones, “Obedience Boy” responds  with a defense of Piper.  Mark has recently joined forces with Doug Wilson at New Saint Andrews.

Lee Irons responds to Mark Jones.

Darryl Hart also responds to Mark Jones.

Finally, R. Scott Clark interviews Christopher J. Gordon on the Heidelcast regarding this controversy over sanctification.

Below are other helpful articles on the theology of John Piper from Crying Out for Justice –

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 1) — Piper’s teaching tactics and view of God

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 2) — He Misuses the Law of God

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 3) — Doctrines of the Reformation compared to Piper

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 4) — Work Hard Enough and You Might Just Maybe, Perhaps Squeeze Through that Narrow Way

John Piper’s Works Righteousness “Gospel” (Part 5) — Working Your Way Through the Gate

In this video at 11:00 plus, Fisk eventually deals with the “Lord, Lord…” passage that Piper butchers.

Posted in Assurance, John Piper, Justification, Mark Jones, Richard Phillips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luther’s Theology of the Cross: By Simon Jooste

Originally posted on Creed:or:Chaos:

Here’s Part 1 of another great piece of writing by C or C’s friend Simon.


According to Martin Luther, the church of his day had fostered an illicit relationship between theology and philosophy. He was concerned about late medieval scholasticism’s magisterial use of human ratio that sought to penetrate the being of God. This penchant for an unmediated view of God, via the elevator of speculative reason, Luther called a theology of glory.[1] In hostile opposition to this trend Luther formulated his theology of the cross.[2] In this paradigmatic shift, Luther sought to redefine the relationship of theology to philosophy.[3] His polemics on the subject find their most explicit early form in his Heidelberg Disputation of 1518. In commenting on Luther’s theologia crucis, Luther scholar, Walter Von Loewenich argued: “[I]n no theologian of the Christian church have these thoughts of Paul experienced such a revival…

View original 824 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

j_gresham_machenBut I really must decline to speculate any further about what might have been if Christ had done something less for us than that which He has actually done. As a matter of fact, He has not merely paid the penalty of Adam’s first sin, and the penalty of the sins which we individually have committed, but also He has positively merited for us eternal life. He was, in other words, our representative both in penalty paying and in probation keeping. He paid the penalty of sin for us, and He stood the probation for us.

That is the reason why those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ are in a far more blessed condition than was Adam before he fell. Adam before he fell was righteous in the sight of God, but he was still under the possibility of becoming unrighteous. Those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ not only are righteous in the sight of God but they are beyond the possibility of becoming unrighteous. In their case, the probation is over. It is not over because they have stood it successfully. It is not over because they have themselves earned the reward of assured blessedness which God promised on condition of perfect obedience. But it is over because Christ has stood it for them; it is over because Christ has merited for them the reward by His perfect obedience to God’s law.

J. Gresham Machen, The Doctrine of the Atonement: Three Lectures

Posted in Active Obedience, Atonement, J. Gresham Machen

Warfield on Faith

bb_warfieldSo little indeed is faith conceived as containing in itself the energy or ground of salvation, that it is consistently represented as, in its origin, itself a gratuity from God in the prosecution of His saving work. It comes, not of one’s own strength or virtue, but only to those who are chosen of God for its reception (II Thess. ii. 13), and hence is His gift (Eph. vi. 23, cf. ii. 8, 9, Phil, i. 29), through Christ (Acts iii. 16, Phil. i. 29, I Pet. i. 21, cf. Heb. xii. 2), by the Spirit (II Cor. iv. 13, Gal. v. 5), by means of the preached word (Rom. x. 17, Gal. iii. 2, 5); and as it is thus obtained from God (II Pet. i. 1, Jude 3,1 Pet. i. 21), thanks are to be returned to God for it (Col. i. 4, II Thess. i. 3). Thus, even here all boasting is excluded, and salvation is conceived in all its elements as the pure product of unalloyed grace, issuing not from, but in, good works (Eph. ii. 8-12). The place of faith in the process of salvation, as biblically conceived, could scarcely, therefore, be better described than by the use of the scholastic term ‘instrumental cause.’ Not in one portion of the Scriptures alone, but throughout their whole extent, it is conceived as a boon from above which comes to men, no doubt through the channels of their own activities, but not as if it were an effect of their energies, but rather, as it has been finely phrased, as a gift which God lays in the lap of the soul. ‘With the heart,’ indeed, ‘man believeth unto righteousness’; but this believing does not arise of itself out of any heart indifferently, nor is it grounded in the heart’s own potencies; it is grounded rather in the freely-giving goodness of God, and comes to man as a benefaction out of heaven.

The effects of faith, not being the immediate product of faith itself but of that energy of God which was exhibited in raising Jesus from the dead and on which dependence is now placed for raising us with Him into newness of life (Col. ii. 12), would seem to depend directly only on the fact of faith, leaving questions of its strength, quality, and the like more or less to one side. We find a proportion, indeed, suggested between faith and its effects (Mt. ix. 29, viii. 13, cf. viii. 10, xv. 28, xvii. 20, Lk. vii. 9, xvii. 6). Certainly there is a fatal doubt, which vitiates with its double-mindedness every approach to God (Jas. i. 6-8, cf. iv. 8, Mt. xxi. 21, Mk. xi. 23, Rom. iv. 20, xiv. 23, Jude 22). But Jesus deals with notable tenderness with those of ‘little faith,’ and His apostles imitated Him in this (Mt. vi. 30 f., 20, xiv. 31, xvi. 8, xvii. 20, Lk. xii. 28, Mk. ix. 24, Lk. xvii. 5, cf. Rom. xiv. 1, 2,1 Cor. viii. 7, and see Doubt). The effects of faith may possibly vary also with the end for which the trust is exercised (cf. Mk. x. hi ha ava(3\e\f/w with Gal. ii. 16 €7rioTeu-cranev ha 5t/catoj0w/xey). But he who humbly but confidently casts himself on the God of salvation has the assurance that he shall not be put to shame (Rom. xi. 11, ix. 33), but shall receive the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul (I Pet. i. 9). This salvation is no doubt, in its idea, received all at once (Jn. iii. 36, I Jn. v. 12); but it is in its very nature a process, and its stages come, each in its order. First of all, the believer, renouncing by the very act of faith his own righteousness which is out of the law, receives that ‘righteousness which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God on faith’ (Phil, iii. 9, cf. Rom. iii. 22, iv. 11, ix. 30, x. 3, 10, II Cor. v. 21, Gal. v. 5, Heb. xi. 7, II Pet. i. 1). On the ground of this righteousness, which in its origin is the ‘ righteous act’ of Christ, constituted by His ‘obedience’ (Rom. v. 18, 19), and comes to the believer as a ‘ gift’ (Rom. v. 17), being reckoned to him apart from works (Rom. iv. 6), he that believes in Christ is justified in God’s sight, received into His favour, and made the recipient of the Holy Spirit (Jn. vii. 39, cf. Acts v. 32), by whose indwelling men are constituted the sons of God (Rom. viii. 13). And if children, then are they heirs (Rom. viii. 17), assured of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, reserved in heaven for them; and meanwhile they are guarded by the power of God through faith unto this gloriously complete salvation (I Pet. i. 4, 5). Thus, though the immediate effect of faith is only to make the believer possessor before the judgment-seat of God of the alien righteousness wrought out by Christ, through this one effect it draws in its train the whole series of saving acts of God, and of saving effects on the soul. Being justified by faith, the enmity which has existed between the sinner and God has been abolished, and he has been introduced into the very family of God, and made sharer in all the blessings of His house (Eph. ii. 13 f.). Being justified by faith, he has peace with God, and rejoices in the hope of the glory of God, and is enabled to meet the trials of life, not merely with patience but with joy (Rom. v. 1 f.). Being justified by faith, he has already working within him the life which the Son has brought into the world, and by which, through the operations of the Spirit which those who believe in Him receive (Jn. vii. 39), he is enabled to overcome the world lying in the evil one, and, kept by God from the evil one, to sin not (I Jn. v. 19). In a word, because we are justified by faith, we are, through faith, endowed with all the privileges and supplied with all the graces of the children of God.

B.B. Warfield. Biblical Doctrines (Kindle Locations 7543-7580). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

Posted in Uncategorized

Beware Of Those Who Never Admit Fault


Very helpful thoughts on abuse…

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

http://ssofdv.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/a-cry-for-justice-book.jpg?w=112&h=169  Over the years I’ve met people who would never admit when they were wrong or if they were at fault.  If they did something wrong or even sinful, they would make excuses, blame other people, play the victim, or simply deny wrongdoing altogether. It’s like the alcoholic who totally denies he has a problem and blames his wife for accusing him.  Since there is no true acknowledgement of sin/error, there is no true sorrow or repentance for sin/error.  It’s an ugly picture.

When a five-year-old child denies doing something wrong, that’s one thing.  But when someone who is more mature never admits fault it is clear sign of pride and it shows that the person does not understand the pervasiveness of sin in his or her own heart.  In fact, the more I meet people who never admit fault and never apologize, the more I am very cautious around…

View original 374 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

War Room: Dishonouring God — a review by John Ellis (from ADayInHisCourt)

Originally posted on A Cry For Justice:

When John Ellis watched War Room, he almost walked out of the cinema when he saw how it depicted spouse abuse. Here are some excerpts from his review of the movie. We hope you read his whole review War Room: Dishonoring God, but be aware that it is fairly long and the power punches which we are quoting below come near the end of Ellis’s review.

Ellis’s review has a ‘reblog’ icon at its end, so we trust that he does not mind us picking out the following quotes.

With its theology, War Room weaves together three serious errors: Manichaeism, name it/claim it, and the belief that evil/sin resides outside of a person and not within. Manichaeism, the dualistic and odd heresy that claims there is a cosmic struggle between the equal forces of good (the spiritual world of light) and evil (the material world of, well, material and darkness), is a kissing cousin of Gnosticism. It’s…

View original 459 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Our Best Works (Witsius)

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain I’ve been enjoying Herman Witsius’ discussion of antinomianism and neonomianism in Britain during the 17th century.  The full title is a mouthful: Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain.  Below is a section near the end where Witsius talks about a believer’s good works and why they cannot be part of or count in our justification:

When Paul testifies in Philippians 3:8 that he “counts all things but loss and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and that he might gain Christ” by these words he excludes, as to justification before God, all works, whether previous to faith, or following it (as is excellently observed by Beza). For the elucidation of which point, it is proper to make the following remarks:
1. The graces of the sanctifying Spirit flow clear and pure from their fountain.
2. But running through the channels…

View original 259 more words

Posted in Uncategorized