Paul's Passing Thoughts

Elyse Fitzpatrick, The Antinomian, says Antinomianism Doesn’t Exist

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 22, 2011

Sigh. The latest novelty among New Calvinist is to teach that Antinomianism doesn’t exist. Elyse Fitzpatrick, who Justin Taylor called the greatest gospel-centered writer among women, posted a hypothetical open letter to an antinomian.

In the letter, she limits the definition of an antinomian to those who use grace as a license to sin, and then insinuates that such a person is a myth:

“Dear Mr. Antinomian,

Forgive me for writing to you in such an open forum but I’ve been trying to meet you for years and we just never seem to connect. While it’s true that I live in a little corner of the States and while it’s true that I am, well, a woman, I did assume that I would meet you at some point in my decades old counseling practice. But alas, neither you nor any of your (must be) thousands of brothers and sisters have ever shown up for my help…So again, please do pardon my writing in such a public manner but, you see, I’ve got a few things to say to you and I think it’s time I got them off my chest.”

Fitzpatrick (hereafter EF) offers the suggestion that she has never met an antinomian in her counseling practice as a profound indictment against the idea of Antinomianism.  Sigmund Freud didn’t meet any antinomians in all of his years of counseling either. It doesn’t mean anything when those looking have a distorted view of Scripture, and obviously, EF would be no exception to that. The English word, “antinomianism” is a biblical word. It is the word “anomia” in the Bible and means: without the law; against the law; lawless; lawlessness. Paul called the Antichrist the “anomia one,” and the “man of antinomianism.” Paul also said that we are in an age where the “mystery of antinomianism doth already work.” Christ said that in the latter days, because of antinomianism, “the hearts of many would wax cold.” Christ also said that He would say to many at the judgment, “Depart from me, you workers of antinomianism (anomia), I never knew you.”

For EF to deny antinomianism is patently absurd, but she continues to deny the reality with the following paragraph:

“I wonder if you know how hard you’re making it for those of us who love to brag about the gospel. You say that you love the gospel and grace too, but I wonder how that can be possible since it’s been continuously reported to me that you live like such a slug. I’ve even heard that you are lazy and don’t work at obeying God at all…Rather you sit around munching on cigars and Twinkies, brewing beer and watching porn on your computer. Mr. A, really! Can this be true?”

Yes Elyse, it can be true because your really thick gospel narrative tells us so. Of course, hundreds of verses could be cited other than this: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” The apostle Paul also wrote specifically about “Mr. Antinomian[‘s]” mentality that EF presents as myth: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” This clearly demonstrates EF’s rejection of a literal interpretation of Scripture.

Ef then continues in a New Calvinist approved pastime—erecting straw men:

“So many of my friends and acquaintances are simply up in arms about the way you act and they tell me it’s because you talk too much about grace. They suggest (and I’m almost tempted to agree) that what you need is more and more rules to live by. In fact, I’m very tempted to tell you that you need to get up off your lazy chair, pour your beer down the drain, turn off your computer and get about the business of the Kingdom.”

This is the false accusation that Evangelicals blame grace for Antinomianism; when in fact, the complaint is against a form of Antinomianism known as contemplative spirituality. This is the belief that contemplating the gospel leads to Christ obeying for us. In other words, Antinomianism can approach against the law in several different ways, including the denial that we have been enabled to keep it and are obligated to do so. EF continues in her false accusations via straw men by rewording the evangelical belief in repentance in petty terms: “….what you need is more and more rules to live by.” Notice the “more and more” emphasis that implies a piling on of what we cannot bear as a solution. This, in fact, reveals EF for the antinomian that she is. Evangelicals see “more and more” rules as not just “rules,” but the wisdom of God that sets us free from the former bondage of living in ignorance of how to properly think and act in a way that pleases God.

Ef continues in her shameless twisting of Scripture:

“I admit that I’m absolutely flummoxed, though, which is why I’m writing as I am. You puzzle me. How can you think about all that Christ has done for you, about your Father’s steadfast, immeasurable, extravagantly generous love and still live the way you do? Have you never considered the incarnation, about the Son leaving ineffable light to be consigned first to the darkness of Mary’s womb and then the darkness of this world? Have you never considered how He labored day-after-day in His home, obeying His parents, loving His brothers and sisters so that you could be counted righteous in the sight of His Father? Have you forgotten the bloody disgrace of the cross you deserve? Don’t you know that in the resurrection He demolished sin’s power over you? Aren’t you moved to loving action knowing that He’s now your ascended Lord Who prays for you and daily bears you on His heart? Has your heart of stone never been warmed and transformed by the Spirit? Does this grace really not impel zealous obedience? Hello…Are you there?”

Yes he’s there Elyse, whether you believe it or not. The New Calvinist denial of a battle between the flesh in us and our regenerated spirit can be seen here. The astute Bible student will see many assumptions in the above statement that denies that the flesh  wars against us, and assumes that the flesh lays down in surrender as we obtain a deeper and deeper understanding of what Christ accomplished for us, while denying that applying His wisdom to life also gives us a deeper understanding of the former person we were saved from. When the biblical dynamic of inner warfare with the flesh is denied (which is the case, particularly in the NC counseling culture that EF is part of [note the Adams/Welch debate on heart/flesh]), other assumptions tend to fill the void; such as, the perfect obedience of Christ being imputed to us in order to replace any obedience we might perform (because perfect obedience from believers is supposedly required to complete justification[double imputation]), and musings concerning what Christ experienced in Mary’s womb.

The last paragraph is really just a summation of the rest, but she closes with this:

“Again, please do forgive me for calling you out like this. I really would like to meet you. I am,

Trusting in Grace Alone,

Elyse”

Elyse, please forgive me for calling you out like this as well, but as JC Ryle said, it is not proper to say that we are sanctified by faith alone as your departure phrase implies, even though you use the word “trusting” to cover your tracks. And for efficiency sake, let me introduce you to Mrs. Antinomian instead of her husband—look in the mirror.

paul

 

2 Responses

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  1. Tad Wyoming said, on June 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Excellent post! I especially like your explanation of contemplative spirituality, which Jesus and the Apostles all speak out against. Obviously, contemplation is highly important, as a substantial part of the ‘renewing of the mind’, but what does it lead the believer to do? The assumption it leads to right action is not warranted, though it can be a significant part of the motivation for it. I really like your analysis that contemplative spirituality “assumes that the flesh lays down in surrender as we obtain a deeper and deeper understanding of what Christ accomplished for us.” In that light, you demonstrate the absurdity of that position, because the plot of its narrative imports a deus ex machina, “such as, the perfect obedience of Christ being imputed to us in order to replace any obedience we might perform (because perfect obedience from believers is supposedly required to complete justification[double imputation]), and musings concerning what Christ experienced in Mary’s womb.” You have struck right to the heart, with precision.

    Here’s another point. One must wonder how Ms. Fitzpatrick has missed seeing some porn addicts, alcoholics, nicotine addicts and gluttons among the body in her tenure as a counselor. Which is it? She doesn’t recognize those things as sin or she doesn’t recognize the doers of them as believers — strike that — as contemplaters? tw

    Like

  2. paulspassingthoughts said, on August 10, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Reblogged this on Paul's Passing Thoughts.

    Like


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