I have finally managed to finish a project I have been working on for nearly two weeks now, albeit intermittenly due to my current employed status. After hearing more than 60 (so far) sermon mp3s of Pastor John Piper's sermons through the first few books of Romans, I can say that I have a rough inkling of how he thinks. But anyway, what I have done and completed is a critical review of John Piper's sermon. More specifically, I have reviewed Piper's sermon on Rom. 2:6-10 which was preached on 6th December 1998, as I do not agree with Dr. Piper's exposition of this passage.
Before going any further, let me say first of all that I respect Pastor John Piper and his ministry. He is a man that has been used by God for the growth and edification of the Church. This sermon review is therefore not an attack on his person nor even of his orthodoxy, as the points of contention are not foundational doctrines. That said, I do think that the error he has made in this sermon of his is significant and would be very serious if taken to its logical conclusions. Perhaps we should therefore thank God that Piper is not very logical at times (remember his neo-Amyraldism) and therefore he is still mostly orthodox.
The significant error I am certain Pastor Piper is making is with regards to the doctrinal system known as Covenantal Theology, in his undermining or denial of the Covenant of Works. Yes, perhaps some of you may be encountering these terms for the first time, but rest assured it is not too hard, or at least I tried not to make them too complicated.
Without further to do, and if you would like to know more, here is the review of John Piper's sermon preached on the passage of Rom. 2:6-10.
I know it was not your intention, but perhaps in a subsequent post, you might wish to deal with the Covenants of Works and Grace.
By the way, John Piper would not the first theologian who denies (if he actually does) the Covenant of Works. Even some Presbyterian theologians have rejected that.
Good idea. And yes, I do know that John Piper is not the first theologian who denies the Covenant of Works. Nearly all Baptists do so anyway, but conservative Presbyterians? This is news.
"Nearly all Baptists do so anyway..."
Please read the 1689 London Baptist Confession of fatih Chapter 7. It would be good for you to compare it with its counterpart in the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 7 to see the difference.
I was asking for specific Baptists.
I see little difference there, the BCF does not spell it out the way the WCF does. That is not a denial of the CofW.
Out of the roughly 30-40 authors who drafted the BCF, only about 4-5 names are familiar to me and I only have books by one of them (Keach). So it is difficult to say that they (Baptists) deny the CofW.
Please can you provide me with specific names? I will check it out when my books come out of storage.
the WCF has this statement in section 7 which the BCF doesn't:
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.
In the BCF, the only things which are stated regarding Adam and the idea of the Covenant are:
II. Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace ...
III. This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman ...
The first one only says that God decides to make a Covenant of Grace with Man after he fell, which has nothing to do with the Covenant of Works. The second one alludes to Gen. 3 in the proto-evangelion whereby God proclaimed the promise of Christ and the Gospel, which is related to te Covenant of Grace. Again, nothing is said here about the Covenant of Works.
If you want to be techinically precise, the BCF *only* omits all mention of the Covenant of Works. Judging that the WCF was already written then, and in fact the BCF was an almost virtual replication of the WCF (except for certain parts like on Baptism), why was this paragraph (Para II of the WCF) omitted?
Regarding names, well, I do not have names of ancient Baptist prechers, only a few contemperary ones. And I don't think many Baptists will even think about this particular subject anyway. Most Baptists are not even Calvinists, so what Covenant of Works is there to talk about when you do not have even a basic foundation of soteriology to begin with?
And how's life over in your new place? You moved out of London, right? In Birmingham?
I would not comment on the first part, seeing it is your own opinion...
"Regarding names, well, I do not have names of ancient Baptist prechers, only a few contemperary ones."
I am not surprised. But do give me a few names.
"And I don't think many Baptists will even think about this particular subject anyway."
If you mean the modern "American" Baptist, who are of the Dispensational variety, yes. But Calvinistic Baptist? No. You haven't met many of the latter sort, haven't you? Maybe I ought to introduce you to my father-in-law.
"Most Baptists are not even Calvinists, so what Covenant of Works is there to talk about when you do not have even a basic foundation of soteriology to begin with?"
Again, I assume you mean the modern "American-type" Baptist. Because the historic Baptists are Calvinists, in fact, I am almost embarressed to say that there are quite a lot of Hypercalvinists!
And yes, I am living in Birmingham now. Still waiting to get our stuff from storage...
If you want to call the difference 'my opinion', I leave you to it. I am way passed trying to covince you otherwise; it's an exercise in futility.
Regarding American and British Baptists, I take your word for it. And yes, perhaps you can enlighten me by telling me whether you and your father-in-law do belive in the Covenant of Works, as a starter.
As with regards to particular Baptists, since you deny my first point, then that would make the task harder. After all, Baptists who are not Calvinists in the first place wouldn't even mention the Covenant of Works; in fact some of them may not even know there is such a concept. If you don't know it, you most definitely cannot deny it. You are basically asking me to find someone who expicitly denies the Covenant of Works, which rule out the majority of Baptists worldwide immediately, since they do not know about it and are not even Calvinists to begin with. [You need to understand the Doctrines of Grace in order to understand the Covenant of Works; that's the claim I am making. Denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of Covenant of Works]
Anyway, a contemporary example is the New Covenantal Theology movement, with people such as Steve Lehrer, Geoff Volker etc. You can read the New Covenantal Statement of faith here (http://www.ncbf.net/PDF/confession.pdf) , and more on NCT in Theopedia here (http://www.theopedia.com/New_covenant_theology). That is all I have to say about the matter.
You really NEED to read what Calvinistic Baptists believed, before making such remarks as
"...to find someone who expicitly denies the Covenant of Works, which rule out the majority of Baptists worldwide immediately, since they do not know about it and are not even Calvinists to begin with."
If that was an exam answer, that would be completely wrong!
As for the NCT, athough an "American" thing, we are aware of that "movement". Peter Masters has also dealt with that a few months ago. Actually, you would feel quite at home with the NCT crowd.
"Denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of Covenant of Works"
Again, that is novel, and very untrue. Once again, you MUST distinguish between modern Baptists, and historic Baptists! Just look at your John MacArthur's Study Bible.
May I suggest that you steer clear of Baptist issues? Stick to those issues that you are well versed in.
are my statements so difficult to understand? I said "...to find someone who expicitly denies the Covenant of Works, which rule out the majority of Baptists worldwide immediately, since they do not know about it and are not even Calvinists to begin with."
1) Most people who identify themselves as Baptists worldwide are not Calvinists
2) Most if not all people who belong to the category of non-Calvinist Baptists do not understand the concept of the Covenant of Works
3) If you do not understand the concept of the Covenant of Works, you would not be able to explicitly refute it (True by definition)
4) If you reject Calvinism, you cannot embrace the Covenant of Works as it is correctly understood (My assertion)
5) Therefore, to find Baptists who explicitly deny the Covenant of Works, they must be
b) amomg those who understand the concept of the Covenant of Works correctly, not a straw man caricature of it.
And since Calvinist Baptists as a proportion of all who call themselves Baptists are a minority, most Baptists worldwide would not explcitly deny the concept of the Covenant of Works.
>>"Denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of Covenant of Works"
>Again, that is novel, and very untrue. Once again, you MUST distinguish between modern Baptists, and historic Baptists! Just look at your John MacArthur's Study Bible.
MacArthur is a Calvinist, last I check. To prove my statement wrong, please find for me an Arminian who believes in the correct formulation of the Covenant of Works.
Can you understand what I am trying to say now?
I understand what you are saying, but I am saying your assertions are wrong.
I cannot deal with everything you have written, but this "Denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of Covenant of Works"
That is still not true. John MacArthur is a Calvinist, but does not hold to Covenant Theology. He is a Dispensationalist.
Hope I can point you in the right direction... John Murray and Klass Schilder - Scottish Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed. Covenant Theologians who do not hold CofW.
Perhaps you can email Vincent for more on those points. He is much well versed on that than I am.
no, you still do not understand what I am saying. You should really learn more about logical statements. By stating that "Denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of Covenant of Works", I am saying
1) If you deny the Doctrines of Grace, you must deny the Covenant of Works
2) If you embrace the Doctrines of Grace, you may or may not deny the Covenant of Works
In other words, you can be a Calvinist and deny the Covenant of Works. However, you cannot embrace the Covenant of Works and deny the Doctrines of Grace. Therefore, MacArthur, Murray and Schilder are Calvinists who deny the Covenant of Works, which goes well with statement 2 above. Got it?
Think of it in terms of sets. Let
A= those who embrace the Doctrines of Grace
B = those who embrace the Covenant of Works
A intersect B ≠ 0
~A intersect B = 0 (my assertion)
A intersect ~B ≠ 0
~A intersect ~B ≠ 0
In other words, B is a subset of A. Are you able to get it now?
Firstly, I can only wish the Christian faith is as logical as your description...
Secondly, you managed to save yourself with statement 2, but you will need to support statement 1 assertions - examples, please.
Perhaps an email discussion would be better. We seemed to be going off tangent here.
The Christian faith IS very logical, as Gordon Clark notes in his paraphrase of Jn. 1:1. Logic has to do with the form of reasoning, not with the reasoning itself. If you start off with false premises, then you get false conclusion. Perhaps the reason why anyone would think it is illogical is because they have been using false premises, and therefore get false conclusions. People who do this will believe in false premises and true conclusions, and therefore think that Christian faith is illogical, because they refuse to examine their faulty premises.
And I didn't save myself with any statement 2. The whole idea stated in statement 2 was already implicitly contained within the original statement, just that for some reason you cannot see it. That was why I mention that you should learn more about logical statements. Perhaps when you do so you may come to realise what I am saying and what I am NOT saying, instead of putting words into my mouth (eh... pen, no ... keyboard)
With regards to my assertion that denial of the Doctrines of Grace would necessitate denial of the doctrine of the Covenant of Works, that would be tackled in another post, when I reflect more on the Covenant of Works. In the meantime, be patient.
Ah, the Gordon Clark issue...
Perhaps you can save that for another post as well...
I'll wait patiently for further posts.
You realise that to deal with the link between Calvinism and Covenant of Works, you will need to interact with quite a lot of people - much trees have been cut for that! Thankfully, you will be doing it online.
Regarding Christianity and logic, it may help if you look at this earlier post of mine (http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/2006/06/church-effeminate-church-irrational.html). Also, it would help if you get one of Clark's book on the subject. Try The Johannine Logos for a start, which I think is an excellent primer on the topic of Christianity and logic.
Regarding the Covenant of Works and Calvinism, I can tell you that I will be using Reymond's New Systematic Theology to aid me.
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