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Sproul VS Covenant

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  • fivesolas2004
    Tabletalk Rewrites the Covenant March 2004 Friends, The February 2004 issue of Tabletalk, a monthly magazine published by Ligonier Ministries, contains a
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 30, 2004
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      Tabletalk Rewrites the Covenant March 2004
      Friends,

      The February 2004 issue of Tabletalk, a monthly magazine published by
      Ligonier Ministries, contains a lethal misrepresentation of the
      Covenant of Grace. In its February 18 "devotional," we read these
      words:

      "The book of Hebrews uses this story [of ancient Israel] as a basis
      for warning Christians to persevere, thereby proving that the new
      covenant can be broken as well [as the Mosaic could]....

      "The fact that Hebrews gives real warnings and teaches that the new
      covenant can be broken might seem strange to those of us from a
      Reformed background. After all, are not the elect secure in their
      salvation? Surely it is not possible for the elect to lose their
      salvation?... How then can these warnings be real?

      "The answer lies in the concept of covenant. When God makes a
      covenant, He makes a covenant with both believers and unbelievers,
      with both the elect and the reprobate.... Human beings are
      responsible to keep the covenant...."

      Nothing could be further from the truth. First, Hebrews says that the
      new covenant is better than the old Mosaic covenant:

      "But now he [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch
      as he is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on
      better promises [than the Mosaic covenant]. For if the first covenant
      had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a
      second."

      Second, the new covenant, says Hebrews, is better because it cannot
      be broken:

      "I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and
      I will be their God and they shall be my people. None of them shall
      teach his neighbor and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for
      all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them "
      (Hebrews 8:10-11).

      There is no possibility of these things not happening: "All shall
      know me."

      Third, God does not make the new covenant, the Covenant of Grace,
      with both the reprobate and the elect, despite what Tabletalk says.
      The Covenant is made with the elect only. Question 31 (and many other
      questions as well) of the Westminster Larger Catechism makes this
      perfectly clear:

      "Q.31 With whom was the Covenant of Grace made?

      "A. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam,
      and in him with all the elect as his seed."

      In the new and better covenant, God the Father made an agreement with
      God the Son, Jesus Christ. Acting as the Mediator, as the
      Representative and Substitute for his people, the elect, Jesus Christ
      fulfilled all the conditions of the Covenant of Works that Adam had
      failed to fulfill. Jesus procured all the blessings of salvation for
      his people, and that salvation he gives to them all as a free gift.

      What Tabletalk is teaching is false doctrine. Tabletalk's covenant is
      the basis of the Antichristian Neolegalism that is sweeping through
      Reformed churches. This false covenant does not recognize the role of
      Christ as Mediator. Instead, it requires believers to fulfil
      unspecified conditions of the covenant in order to keep their
      salvation. In this false covenant, there is no room for Christ as the
      Substitute for and Representative of his people, who alone met the
      conditions the holiness of God requires for salvation: perfection. In
      this false covenant there is no room for Christ as Savior. In this
      false covenant, the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's
      righteousness as the necessary and sufficient ground for salvation of
      sinners is denied. In this false covenant, sinners are told that they
      themselves must meet the conditions of salvation, the "obligations of
      the covenant," and by their own "covenant faithfulness" obtain the
      blessings of the covenant.

      If they love the brethren and the truth, the writers, editors, and
      publishers of Tabletalk must issue an immediate apology to their
      readers, and a correction and retraction for these false statements.
      Their failure to do so will justifiably cause many more to doubt the
      doctrinal soundness of Tabletalk. For three years Tabletalk gave
      Douglas Wilson, a proponent of Neolegalism, a platform for his views;
      now the magazine is giving George Grant, a featured speaker at the
      Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church (which is the primary source of
      Neolegalism in the PCA), a platform for his views.

      When taken to task two years ago for saying in Tabletalk that Peter
      was the head of the church, the editor of Tabletalk refused to issue
      a correction or retraction to his readers. So the magazine's record
      is not good.

      The question we must ask is, Will Tabletalk repudiate Neolegalism and
      its proponents, or will it continue to teach it and to give the
      proponents of Neolegalism a platform?

      John Robbins
      The Trinity Foundation
      March 4, 2004

      For further reading go to Review Archives at
      http://www.trinityfoundation.org
    • J. Parnell McCarter
      Q.31 With whom was the Covenant of Grace made? A. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 30, 2004
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        "Q.31 With whom was the Covenant of Grace made?

        "A. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam,
        and in him with all the elect as his seed."

        In the new and better covenant, God the Father made an agreement with
        God the Son, Jesus Christ. Acting as the Mediator, as the
        Representative and Substitute for his people, the elect, Jesus Christ
        fulfilled all the conditions of the Covenant of Works that Adam had
        failed to fulfill. Jesus procured all the blessings of salvation for
        his people, and that salvation he gives to them all as a free gift.

        Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?

        A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible
        church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess
        their faith in Christ, and obedience to him,[1066] but infants descending
        from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ,
        and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be
        baptized.[1067]

        We must distinguish the Covenant of Grace in its spiritual essence (see q
        31) and its visible administration (see q 166). With respect to its
        spiritual essence, the Covenant of Grace is with the elect alone, and
        unconditional. But with respect to its visible administration (as
        exemplified in water baptism), the Covenant of Grace is with the visible
        church, and conditional. The conditions are true faith and repentance, for
        not all of the visible church will be saved, but only those with true faith
        and repentance. Of course, only the elect will have true faith and
        repentance, for they alone did Christ atone for and the Spirit regenerate,
        God working faith and repentance in them.

        Of course, there are many like Schilder, Schlissel, etc. who have denied
        that the Covenant of Grace in its spiritual essence is with the elect alone.
        Such are great errorists, who undermine the doctrines of grace.

        On the other hand, we must beware the error of those who deny the Covenant
        of Grace in its visible administration is conditional, as if what we believe
        and how we live has no relation to our salvation. This tends toward
        antinomianism.

        - Parnell McCarter
      • Benjamin Hart
        OK, well what does Hebrews mean when it says the following? 2:1-4: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 1, 2005
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          OK, well what does Hebrews mean when it says the following?
           
          2:1-4:  Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
           
          6:4-6:  4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 *if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
           
          10:26-31:  26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* *says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people."* 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
           
          Isn't it consistent Reformed orthodoxy that states that the covenant is made externally with any who take the name of Christ and are baptised, yet there is the internal aspect of the Covenant of Grace which is made with the elect, who shall surely not fall away?  Perhaps I didn't read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying seemed consistent with this.
           
          A caveat with respect to John Robbins - am I the only one who sees him as just loving to publicly bash people and sound like he's the church-appointed protector of orthodoxy?  Who would devote an article to the question of whether CS Lewis was in hell, and end insinuating he was?  I could go on forever about him and Clark, but I must restrain myself.  Am I the only one whose skin crawls whenever I read their writing?
           
          -Ben

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        • gmw
          Similar garbage was recently posted in Songs of Zion. It appears that the minions are out beating the bushes. gmw. ... we have heard, lest we drift away. 2
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 1, 2005
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            Similar garbage was recently posted in Songs of Zion. It appears that
            the minions are out beating the bushes.

            gmw.

            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Benjamin Hart
            <benhartmail@y...> wrote:
            > OK, well what does Hebrews mean when it says the following?
            >
            > 2:1-4: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things
            we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through
            angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience
            received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a
            salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was
            confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness
            both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the
            Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
            >
            > 6:4-6: 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
            and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the
            Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of
            the age to come, 6 *if they fall away, to renew them again to
            repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God,
            and put Him to an open shame.
            >
            > 10:26-31: 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the
            knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
            27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery
            indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has
            rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or
            three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will
            he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot,
            counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common
            thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said,
            "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* *says the Lord. And again, "The
            Lord will judge His people."* 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into
            the hands of the living God.
            > Isn't it consistent Reformed orthodoxy that states that the covenant
            is made externally with any who take the name of Christ and are
            baptised, yet there is the internal aspect of the Covenant of Grace
            which is made with the elect, who shall surely not fall away? Perhaps
            I didn't read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying seemed
            consistent with this.
            >
            > A caveat with respect to John Robbins - am I the only one who sees
            him as just loving to publicly bash people and sound like he's the
            church-appointed protector of orthodoxy? Who would devote an article
            to the question of whether CS Lewis was in hell, and end insinuating
            he was? I could go on forever about him and Clark, but I must
            restrain myself. Am I the only one whose skin crawls whenever I read
            their writing?
            >
            > -Ben
            >
            >
            > __________________________________________________
            > Do You Yahoo!?
            > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
            > http://mail.yahoo.com
          • thebishopsdoom
            V. Moreover, as we restrict this covenant to the Elect, it is evident we are speaking of the internal, mystical, and spiritual communion of the covenant. For
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 1, 2005
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              "V. Moreover, as we restrict this covenant to the Elect, it is
              evident we are speaking of the internal, mystical, and spiritual
              communion of the covenant. For salvation itself, and everything
              belonging to it, or inseparably connected with it, are promised in
              this covenant, all which, none but the Elect can attain to. If, in
              other respects, we consider the external economy of the covenant, in
              the communion of the word and sacraments, in the profession of the
              true faith, in the participation of many gifts, which, though
              excellent and illustrious, are yet none of the effects of the
              sanctifying Spirit, nor any earnest of future happiness; it cannot be
              denied, that, in this respect, many are in covenant, whose names,
              notwithstanding, are not in the testament of God." (Witsius, Economy
              of the Divine Covenants, bk 3 ch. 1)

              -thebishopsdoom
            • J. Parnell McCarter
              ... made externally with any who take the name of Christ and are baptised, yet there is the internal aspect of the Covenant of Grace which is made with the
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 1, 2005
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                >Isn't it consistent Reformed orthodoxy that states that the covenant is made externally with any who take the name of Christ and are baptised, yet there is the internal aspect of the Covenant of Grace which is made with the elect, who shall surely not fall away?  Perhaps I didn't read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying seemed consistent with this.

                 

                Yes, but at least 2 reformed denominations, and many people as well, have had a hard time grasping it.  This is especially true among the Dutch Reformed, because the 3FU do not go into as much detail regarding the doctrine of the covenant as the Westminster Stds.  

                 

                There are many, like Schilder and the Canadian Reformed Church, who have denied that the Covenant of Grace in its spiritual essence is with the elect alone.  They have asserted that all covenants are conditional by their very nature.  But this error undermines the Biblical doctrines of grace, which recognize that salvation is of free grace to God’s people.

                On the other hand, we must beware the error of those who deny the Covenant of Grace in its visible administration is conditional, as if what we believe and how we live has no relation to our salvation.  This tends toward antinomianism.  It is an error that Hoeksema and the Protestant Reformed Churches have tended towards.  They have denied that there is any sense in which the divine covenant can be conditional.  This explains in large measure why the Protestant Reformed Churches have denied the Covenant of Works (with its conditionality), and they have rejected that adultery is just cause for divorce, severing the marriage covenant.  Hoeksema wrote: "
                The marriage bond is absolutely indissoluble. It cannot be broken. No more than the union between Christ and His church can be dissolved, no more can the marriage tie ever be severed. It is a most intimate union of life and for life, which only death can dissolve."

                See http://www.rsglh.org/a_history_of_the%20church's%20doctrine%20of%20marriage%20and%20divorce.htm to read the Protestant Refd perspective :

                "Convinced by this great theologian that the Word of God does indeed teach marriage as a lifelong, unbreakable bond in reflection of the everlasting covenant of grace, the Protestant Reformed Churches have steadfastly confessed and practiced this doctrine of marriage with its implications for divorce and remarriage to the present day. In doing so, they have broken with a significant aspect of the Reformed tradition. This tradition goes back to the 16th century Reformation itself, having its source in Calvin and Luther. It is a doctrine of marriage that views marriage as a breakable bond. Sinful human actions can dissolve what God has joined together. The sins that can break the bond are fornication and desertion."

                - Parnell McCarter

                 

                 

                 

              • Maggie Conley
                Perhaps I didn t read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying seemed consistent with this. For the record, the February 18th article quoted was taken a tad
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 2, 2005
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                  Perhaps I didn't read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying seemed consistent with this.

                   

                  For the record, the February 18th article quoted was taken a tad bit out of context – or at least it seems to me it was.

                   

                  I have been a regular subscriber to Tabletalk for almost three years now and this past year on Hebrews has been wonderful.

                   

                  The summation of this day’s devotional says this:

                   

                  “The Reformed tradition recognizes that the Bible teaches both divine sovereignty and human responsibility.  God is in control of all things.  Human beings are responsible to keep the covenant.  In the book of Hebrews, God gives us real warnings so that human responsibility is not invalidated, but rather sustained because the warnings motivate the invisible Church to keep the faith.

                   

                  “It is a sobering thought that every local church probably has people within it who profess Christ but in reality are from the kingdom.  Though we may not know who those people are, we must remain aware that they exist.  Pray that all the people in your church may not only profess faith, but also possess it by God’s Grace.”

                   

                   

                  Lest I type the ENTIRE article (and I can if necessary) the point of this article is that the Covenant is made by God, and broken by man.  Men break it over and over, and only God remains true, and only God enables men to remain true, by His Grace in the Faith which He Gifts us.

                   

                  Maggie – who begins a new year of Tabletalk in James yesterday.

                   

                   

                • Edgar A. Ibarra Jr.
                  Maggie, Very beautiful and sobering about those that are in the visible body but not in the invisible body. Thank you for posting this! -Edgar ... seemed ...
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 2, 2005
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                    Maggie,

                    Very beautiful and sobering about those that are in the visible
                    body but not in the invisible body.

                    Thank you for posting this!

                    -Edgar

                    --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Maggie Conley"
                    <mmpconley@s...> wrote:
                    > "Perhaps I didn't read Sproul carefully, but what he was saying
                    seemed
                    > consistent with this."
                    >
                    > For the record, the February 18th article quoted was taken a tad
                    bit out
                    > of context - or at least it seems to me it was.
                    >
                    > I have been a regular subscriber to Tabletalk for almost three
                    years now
                    > and this past year on Hebrews has been wonderful.
                    >
                    > The summation of this day's devotional says this:
                    >
                    > "The Reformed tradition recognizes that the Bible teaches both
                    divine
                    > sovereignty and human responsibility. God is in control of all
                    things.
                    > Human beings are responsible to keep the covenant. In the book of
                    > Hebrews, God gives us real warnings so that human responsibility is
                    not
                    > invalidated, but rather sustained because the warnings motivate the
                    > invisible Church to keep the faith.
                    >
                    > "It is a sobering thought that every local church probably has
                    people
                    > within it who profess Christ but in reality are from the kingdom.
                    > Though we may not know who those people are, we must remain aware
                    that
                    > they exist. Pray that all the people in your church may not only
                    > profess faith, but also possess it by God's Grace."
                    >
                    >
                    > Lest I type the ENTIRE article (and I can if necessary) the point of
                    > this article is that the Covenant is made by God, and broken by man.
                    > Men break it over and over, and only God remains true, and only God
                    > enables men to remain true, by His Grace in the Faith which He
                    Gifts us.
                    >
                    > Maggie - who begins a new year of Tabletalk in James yesterday.
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