But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Calvinist International - Apologetic Report
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 01:41

But How Many Good Works Are Necessary?

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“But this alone we say, There is grace administered by the promises of the gospel, enabling us to perform the obedience of it in that way and manner which God will accept.” – John Owen

The Wrong Question

When arguing for the necessity of good works for final salvation, not as...

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I’d like to return to a point that I made in the previous post to emphasize it again, because, at the end of the day, it is extremely important. So, once more: the Westminster Divines say this:

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet...

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Thursday, 09 November 2017 23:46

RTR: A Proposed Schedule

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Picking up on the idea of reading the Reformation along with Martin Luther, I’m planning on using this chronology to set up the schedule. That means that there are three things to read before the end of the year: the disputation against scholastic theology, the 95 Theses, and the lectures on...

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In the first chapter of their confession of faith, on Holy Scripture, the Westminster Divines say (among other things):

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and...

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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 22:12

Bacon: Big, Bad, and…Derivative

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In the fictional story of the Fall into Modernity (coming soon as a Netflix Original Series), Sir Francis Bacon sometimes plays the role of a big baddie for banishing formal and final causality from natural philosophy (i.e. science; what he calls “physic”). Never mind the benefits this...

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Monday, 06 November 2017 04:44

Judgment According to Works– Reformed Style

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While I was doing my PhD dissertation on Thomas Goodwin I kept a blog to throw out ideas and thoughts about my research. I remember once writing about Goodwin’s doctrine of “judgment according to works” and not long after a URC minister– a friend of mine –emailed me to...

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The following is an excerpt from Thomas Goodwin’s Of Gospel Holiness In the Heart and Life. It is found in vol. 7 of his Works, available here. This excerpt begins towards the beginning of the first chapter of the second book and continues through the end of the third chapter of that book. It...

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One of the disputed points in the recent debates over justification, sanctification, and the ordo salutis is whether there is such a thing as a “final justification” in the Reformed tradition, and, if so, what place the believer’s good works play in that justification. Some have...

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Thursday, 02 November 2017 00:37

Deep in History?

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The scene: Twitter, Reformation Day 2017.

The charge:

“The more I prayed, studied history &theology, read the Bible & ChurchFathers, the more I felt God calling me to be Protestant” said no one

— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanTAnd) November 1, 2017

To date, this has been retweeted 95...

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Since everyone knows that Martin Luther caused the modern capitalist order, we thought we’d lean right into that bad boy and use today’s date to unveil the Davenant Institute’s latest publishing endeavor! Behold, we present to you Reformation Theology: A Reader of Primary...

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 02:42

Burn, Baby, Burn?

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In a truly bizarre thread on Twitter yesterday–the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation–started by our own Steven Wedgeworth, a number of traditionalist Roman Catholics speculated as to whether it would be a good thing for the church to take up the cause of burning heretics...

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Monday, 30 October 2017 23:31

Reading the Reformation with Luther

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I’ve been thinking about pursuing an experiment and today is perhaps a better day than any to announce it. I intend to read through the Reformation along with Luther. By this I mean that beginning this year I want to read through the major works of Luther’s along with him, roughly as...

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017 20:41

The Catholic Retreat To Commitment

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In the 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, Pius XII, relying on Pius IX, makes a rather startling claim about the duty of theologians in the church:

It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living...

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017 14:32

Piper “Plagiarizing” Thomas Goodwin?

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The debate over John Piper’s theology of works and salvation has caused a minor stir in the confessional Reformed community. I say minor because, it seems to me, a lot fewer people actually care than we might (wish to) think. Mr. Brad Mason has written a post that a number of people I know...

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Explaining Question and Answer 91 of the Heidelberg Catechism, Zacharius Ursinus explains why, if we are justified by faith in Christ’s works, we should then also do good works. More than just “should,” he explains why the Reformed maintain that good works are indeed...

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Protestants in the sixteenth century were fond of quoting a number of passages from patristic sources in which the “exclusive particle” (i.e., “alone”) was used in connection with justification.

Philip Melanchthon, for example, does this in his Responsiones ad impios...

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Friday, 20 October 2017 00:08

Aristotle the Innovator?

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In The Advancement of Learning 2.7.2, Sir Francis Bacon acknowledges that he’s using old terms in new ways (e.g., “physic” and “metaphysic”). He claims that this is part of an effort to remain as close to tradition and antiquity as he can, even when he must depart...

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017 12:48

A Proposed Debate

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For many years now Professor R. Scott Clark has been tweeting and writing (on his blog) about matters that cause him grave concern. I have it on pretty good authority that I am one individual he has concerns about, and I think it is fairly obvious that he is referring to me when he denounces...

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A core principle of Reformational sacramentology was that the “presence” of the Lord was in the rites themselves as performed rather than (statically) in the elements themselves, and was to be accessed by faith. Or, to put it another way: that Christ was exhibited and offered...

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 03:30

The “Means and Way” to Salvation

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When we speak of good works being necessary for final salvation we need to make use of words and phrases to explain the meaning of this aspect of our salvation. By far the most common phrase I have come across in Reformation and Post-Reformation dogmatics concerning good works being necessary for...

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I’ve touched on the extra patristicum, er, extra calvinisticum before, here. The important idea in this connection is that the divine nature of Christ is omnipresent but his human body cannot be. This is a corollary of Chalcedonian Christology, viz. that the integrity of...

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Friday, 13 October 2017 05:07

Assessing Piper’s Critics: Love Hopes All Things

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Editor’s Note: This post is written by Mark Jones and D. Patrick Ramsey.

Where is the love?

Charity

The Aquila Report and Professor R. Scott Clark continue their onslaught against a foe that doesn’t actually exist.

The most depressing thing about the various articles that are supposedly...

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In a recent post at First Things, Archbishop Charles Chaput seems to want to appropriate Martin Luther’s image of “Babylonian captivity” to describe the situation of “believing Catholics and Protestants alike” over against the bugbears of modernity: for instance,...

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Thursday, 12 October 2017 03:37

Religion a Part of Justice

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We haven’t had a Hemmingsen post in a while, and I know how it has made you pine. Fret not; I’m here for you.

In their discussion of the virtues, the magisterial Reformers followed the classical tradition in considering religion to fall under the category of, or to be a part of, justice,...

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 00:07

Westminsterian Aristotelianism: Marriage (5)

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In the last post we looked at Samuel Willard’s discussion of the first of the “mutual duties” husbands and wives owe to each other in the context of his exposition of Westminster Shorter Catechism Q/A 64, which he calls “conjugal love.” In today’s post, he...

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