Not Everyone Who Says Lord, Lord is a great sermon from Jim Butler delivered last Sunday at the Southern California Association of Reformed Baptist Church’s Quarterly gathering.
If I look at my books in my library, notice I quoted Gill. Gill and Calvin were the only commentators in my library that referred to John 6:40. A lot of the other commentators, I remember going through this, I emailed Pastor Barcellos and said “Some of these guys would be Vatican approved, I think, because the emphasis is on ‘Do more’”. So let’s just suppose that we didn’t have a John 6:40. Let’s just suppose we didn’t have a John 6. Let’s just suppose when we read ‘But he who does the will of my Father in heaven”. There is a use of this Sermon on the Mount that we need to reckon with. Something that we ought to appreciate as confessional baptists is the threefold use of the law: the civil use, the pedagogical use, and the normative use of the law. I think personally if we understand that it protects us from some extreme positions out there.
The Sermon on the Mount functions pedagogically.
If we didn’t have John 6:29, if we didn’t have John 6:40, and we heard Jesus say ‘But he who does the will of my Father in heaven,’ you see by the time we come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount, it ought not to be self congratulation that we undergo. It ought to be “Who then can be saved?” It ought to cast us on the mercy of Christ!
When it comes to exercise, calories are completely irrelevant. Saying that ‘I ate a 200 calorie bag of potato chips, so now if I go burn off 200 calories I’m good’ is as accurate as saying ‘I just smoked 2 packs of cigarettes’ or ‘I just snorted 2 lines of cocaine, now I’m going to go exercise to cancel that out.’ We know you can’t exercise off what cigarettes do to your lungs, but we’re led to believe you can exercise off what coca cola does to your pancreas. And you can’t.
A study compared an indigenous hunter gatherer community with a similar group (ages, etc) in America to compare caloric expenditure. The hunter gatherer community burned way, way more calories when they were out hunting. However
The total calories burned between the individuals in the more active hunter gatherer group and the less active Westerners group was not statistically different. How can one group be more physically active and not burn more total calories than the group that is less physically active? Here’s why: When the group that was more physically active wasn’t being physically active, their body ran slower. There’s a reason you sleep better after exercising. Your body is trying to conserve and make up for the calories you just burnt off. So not only is it extremely hard to burn calories through exercise, it’s extremely hard to burn calories. Your body will then do everything it can to make you burn less for the other 99% of your life when you’re not exercising. It will also try to make you eat more. Even more reason not to beat yourself up on the treadmill.
From Greg Nichols’ “Covenant Theology”
In sum, Adam’s original relation to God was familial and filial-parental. Thus it was warm and affectionate, not cold or distant. It was not an impersonal relationship between “contracting parties.” It was not between a disinterested judge and an unrelated defendant, or a ruler to an unknown subject. Thus, a “covenant of works” model simply doesn’t comport with its filial-parental framework. Categories like “contracting parties,” “stipulations,” and “penalties” are foreign to this familial relation. Such categories might suitably define a contract between corporations forging a business venture through their lawyers. They seem woefully inadequate to define a parental prohibition. In Genesis 2:16-17 God addresses Adam, not as a lawyer, but as a Father. This prohibition is an integral part of Adam’s filial relation to God. Thus, the covenant of works model wrenches this prohibition from its filial foundation. This is my primary objection to imposing this motif and its categories on this prohibition. (337)
This conditional form [of the Adamic Covenant] is similar to the conditional form of the Mosaic covenant… Observe that if [Adam] had complied with the condition, he would simply have done what was required. He would not have merited or earned anything – because he merely gave what was owed, trust and compliance. (346-7)
God freely blessed Adam with the Sabbath and with the hope it symbolized. Adam did not earn the Sabbath by works. Thus, Adam did not merit his hope by works – but he could sin and forfeit his hope. The covenant of works motif seems to say that Adam had to earn the hope of eternal rest that God gave him freely as a privilege… By eternal hope I refer to this expectation of divine blessing once he fulfilled his mammoth vocation. When he had populated and subdued the earth, he would have entered his rest. (341)
An Evangelical Explanation of the Mosaic Covenant’s Conditional Form
In this conditional promise God doesn’t say: “if you repent and believe, then you will be my special people,” but, “if you keep my law, then you will be my special people.” God said to Adam, if you eat you will die, implying, if you obey you will retain life and Eden. Similarly, he said to Israel, if you obey, you will retain Canaan, but if you disobey, you will be judged and disinherited. As Adam lost Eden, you will lose Canaan…
This teaches the necessity of gospel obedience unto complete salvation… (Lev 18:5; Matt. 5:20; Rom 8:12-13)
Jesus warned that evangelical obedience was necessary to enter heaven… This is how the conditional promise of the Mosaic covenant applies to the Christian life. It demonstrates the necessity of perseverance in gospel faith and holiness. …The law is gracious because it teaches us that if we live a holy life, mortify the deeds of the body, and keep evangelically the commandments of God, we will go to heaven, not to hell. (233-4)
Norman Shepherd taught a false gospel of works righteousness at Westminster Theological Seminary by arguing good works are instrumental to justification. He paved the way for the Federal Vision.
One of the primary points emphasized in the Sandy Cove lectures (July, 1981) is that the obedience required of Adam in the “Creation Covenant,” had he rendered it, would not have been meritorious. Adam was a son, not a laborer. The concept of wages earned, reward merited, is not appropriate to the father-son relationship. This is not a point made somewhat incidentally by Mr. Shepherd along the way, but a point that is evidently fundamental in his theology of the covenant.
Mr. Shepherd rejects not only the term “covenant of works” but the possibility of any merit or reward attaching to the obedience of Adam in the creation covenant. He holds that faithful obedience is the condition of all covenants in contrast to the distinction made in the Westminster Confession. The Westminster Confession states in Chapter Vll that the first covenant “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 contrast, in the second covenant, the covenant of grace, the Lord “freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved.”
He describes the requirement of our covenant-keeping obedience in terms drawn from his description of Adam’s covenant-keeping. We have resources that Adam did not have, Mr. Shepherd shows. We have forgiveness of sins in the blood of Christ; we have the Spirit to move us to obey; but we also have the same covenant condition to meet, and the same threat for disobedience.
As the Lord God came to Mount Sinai to deliver his commandments to Moses and all Israel, so also the Lord Jesus came to another mount to deliver the commandments of the new covenant to his disciples and to the church of the new covenant…. Far from abolishing covenant obligation, Jesus says, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). (The Call of Grace)
The obedience required of Israel is not the obedience of merit, but the obedience of faith. It is the fullness of faith. Obedience is simply faithfulness to the Lord; it is the righteousness of faith. (The Call of Grace, 39)
The ‘covenant dynamic’ of Mr. Shepherd makes the function of our obedience in the covenant to be the same as the function of the obedience of Adam in the covenant before the fall. … Adam’s covenantal obedience in the garden did not merit any reward; neither does our covenantal obedience. But both are required by the covenant command. The threat for disobedience is eternal death. This threat is as real for us as it was for Adam in the garden. The warning of the New Covenant must not be blunted or made hypothetical in any way. God’s threat to Adam or to Israel was not idle, and the same sanction of the covenant is directed against us in the New Covenant.
Reason and Specifications Supporting the Action of the Board of Trustees in Removing Professor Shepherd
- False Shepherd: The Neolegalism of Norman Shepherd
- The Changing of the Guard
- The covenant of works in the 1677 London Baptist Confession
- Covenantal Merit in the 1677 London Baptist Confession
- Particular Baptists on the Covenant of Works
- Faith, Obedience, and Justification
- And He Will Be My Son: A Biblical Paradigm for the Covenant of Works Conception (Sam Waldron & Eddie Goodwin)
Once again, the debate over GMO’s is not a debate over how government should regulate the harmful effects of profit driven business. It is a debate over how government has enabled crony capitalism to crush competition:
So the best way by far to supply carotene (and thus vitamin A) is by horticulture – which traditionally was at the core of all agriculture. Vitamin A deficiency is now a huge and horrible issue primarily because horticulture has been squeezed out by monocultural big-scale agriculture — the kind that produces nothing but rice or wheat or maize as far as the eye can see; and by insouciant urbanization that leaves no room for gardens. Well-planned cities could always be self-sufficient in fruit and veg. Golden Rice is not the answer to the world’s vitamin A problem. As a scion of monocultural agriculture, it is part of the cause. Syngenta’s promotion of it is yet one more exercise in top-down control and commercial PR.
…The real point behind GMOs is to achieve corporate/ big government control of all agriculture, the biggest by far of all human endeavours… The technology itself is esoteric so that only the specialist and well-endowed can embark on it – the bigger the better. All of the technology can be, and is, readily protected by patents. Crops that are not protected by patents are being made illegal. Only parts of the EU have so far been pro-GM but even so the list of crops that it allows farmers to grow – or any of us! – becomes more and more restricted. Those who dare to sell the seed of traditional varieties that have not been officially approved can go to prison. Your heritage allotment could soon land you in deep trouble.
…Yet we have been assured, time and again, that there is no alternative; that without high tech, industrialized agriculture, we will all starve. This is the greatest untruth of all; though it has been repeated so often by so many people in such high places that it has become embedded in thezeitgeist. Whether the officially sanctioned untruths spring from misconception or from downright lies I will leave others to judge. But in either case, their repetition by people who have influence in public affairs, is deeply reprehensible…. Professor Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute in Washington, points out that the world already produces enough staple food to support 14 billion – twice the present number. A billion starve because the wrong food is produced in the wrong places by the wrong means by the wrong people – and once the food is produced, as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has pointed out, half of it is wasted.
Just one more example of the state creating a problem so they can pronounce themselves the only savior to the problem.
The resulting surpluses are then fed to livestock. Livestock that could, incidentally, be fed in more than adequate numbers if we made better use of the world’s grasslands, which account for about two-thirds of all agricultural land… “Demand” (in this scenario) is judged not by what people actually say they want (who ever said they wanted wheat-based biofuel, or cereal-fed beef rather than grass-fed beef?) but by what can be sold by aggressive PR and successfully lobbied through complaisant government.
A Christian epistemology does not begin its systematic approach to theology and philosophy with a discussion of whether there is a god or how we know there is a god, and then seek to prove that this is the God of Scripture. The starting point in a genuine Christian epistemology is revelation. The doctrine of God follows epistemology. This is why the Westminster Assembly began its study of systematic theology with the doctrine of revelation. Chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith has to do with our source of knowledge: “Of the Holy Scripture.” The following 32 chapters are erected upon the axiom of Biblical revelation.
W. Gary Crampton, Scripturalism: A Christian Worldview
God as distinct from Scripture is not made the axiom of this argument. Undoubtedly this twist will seem strange to many theologians. It will seem particularly strange after the previous emphasis on the mind of God as the origin of all truth. Must not God be the axiom? For example, the first article of the Augsburg Confession gives the doctrine of God, and the doctrine of the Scripture hardly appears anywhere in the whole document. In the French Confession of 1559, the first article is on God; the Scripture is discussed in the next five. The Belgic Confession has the same order. The Scotch Confession of 1560 begins with God and gets to the Scripture only in article nineteen. The Thirty-Nine Articles begin with the Trinity, and Scripture comes in articles six and following. If God is sovereign, it seems very reasonable to put him first in the system.
But several other creeds, and especially the Westminster Confession, state the doctrine of Scripture at the very start. The explanation is quite simple: our knowledge of God comes from the Bible. We may assert that every proposition is true because God thinks it so, and we may follow Charnock in all his great detail, but the whole is based on Scripture. Suppose this were not so. Then “God” as an axiom, apart from Scripture, is just a name. We must specify which God. The best known system in which “God” was made the axiom is Spinoza’s. For him all theorems are deduced from Deus sive Natura. But it is the Natura that identifies Spinoza’s God. Different gods might be made axioms of other systems. Hence the important thing is not to presuppose God, but to define the mind of the God presupposed. Therefore the Scripture is offered here as the axiom. This gives definiteness and content, without which axioms are useless.
Gordon H. Clark, God and Logic
We also thought it was important to begin our confession with God rather than with Scripture. This is significant. The Enlightenment was overconfident about human rationality. Some strands of it assumed it was possible to build systems of thought on unassailable foundations that could be absolutely certain to unaided human reason. Despite their frequent vilification of the Enlightenment, many conservative evangelicals have nevertheless been shaped by it. This can be seen in how many evangelical statements of faith start with the Scripture, not with God. They proceed from Scripture to doctrine through rigorous exegesis in order to build (what they consider) an absolutely sure, guaranteed-true-to-Scripture theology.
The problem is that this is essentially a foundationalist approach to knowledge. It ignores the degree to which our cultural location affects our interpretation of the Bible, and it assumes a very rigid subject-object distinction. It ignores historical theology, philosophy, and cultural reflection. Starting with the Scripture leads readers to the overconfidence that their exegesis of biblical texts has produced a system of perfect doctrinal truth. This can create pride and rigidity because it may not sufficiently acknowledge the fallenness of human reason.
We believe it is best to start with God, to declare (with John Calvin, Institutes1.1) that without knowledge of God we cannot know ourselves, our world, or anything else. If there is no God, we would have no reason to trust our reason.
D.A. Carson & Tim Keller Gospel-Centered Ministry
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The result of this governmental takeover of the economy has predictably been dire. “Many of the new mega rich of the 1990s and 2000s got their wealth through their government connections. Or by understanding how government worked. This was especially apparent on Wall Street. … This was all the more regrettable because, in a crony capitalist system, the huge gains of the few really do come at the expense of the many. There was an irony here. Perhaps Marx had been right all along. It was just that he was describing a crony capitalist, not a free price system, and his most devoted followers set up a system in the Soviet Union that was cronyist to the core.” (p. 17)
…Cronyism extends far beyond the financial sector. Lewis has for many years been active in the natural health movement, and he is thus keenly aware of the manifold ways in which crony capitalism risks our lives, health, and safety in pursuit of profit. Shunning a genuine free market, the predators strike at products that, if widely distributed, would threaten their ill-gotten gains. “In general, the FDA maintains a resolutely hostile stance toward supplements. It will not allow any treatment claims to be made for them, no matter how much science there is to support it, unless they are brought through the FDA approval process and become drugs. … Who can afford to spend up to a billion dollars to win FDA approval of a non-patented substance? The answer is obvious: no one. So the real FDA intent is simply to eliminate any competition for patented drugs, since these drugs pay the Agency’s bills.” (p. 171)