Paul's Passing Thoughts

Dear Jane, I Don’t Know About NT Wright, But I do Know Phil Johnson is a Heretic

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 30, 2013

Paul,

What do you think about this video about NT Wright being called a heretic by Phil Johnson?  Phil says Apostle Paul warns in Galatians about the heretic belief that denies imputed righteousness of Christ.

I think Phil is a puffed-up talking head, but curious on your take of this.

Jane.

Jane,

Thanks for this. Phil Johnson is a hardcore proponent of authentic Calvinist (AC) Reformed doctrine. It holds to the double imputation of Christ’s righteousness being imputed to our justification and sanctification. The Bible emphasizes that the righteousness of the Father was imputed to us APART from the law before the foundation of the world. For AC, it is important that it is specifically stated that it is Christ’s righteousness that was imputed to us because He is the only member of the Trinity that would have “kept the law” as a man. And that’s the crux of the heresy, it advocates a righteousness that is NOT APART from the law. It fuses WORKS with grace.

The cute little Calvinist end-around on that is the idea that it is alright that justification is based on perfect works because Jesus keeps the law in our stead. IF we live by the same faith-alone gospel that saved us, the perfect obedience (Christ’s righteousness) of Christ will be perpetually applied to our life and we will be found covered by the righteousness of Christ at the ONE final judgement where the law must be satisfied. The problem here is that a satisfaction of the law is in view, and that is completely antithetical to the point that the apostle Paul strives to make in the Scriptures about grace being apart from the foundation of works. WHO DOES THE WORKS IS NOT THE POINT–WORKS PERIOD IS THE POINT.

But in this false doctrine a practical problem arises. We have to keep our salvation by faith alone so that perfect works will be perpetually applied to our account in sanctification so that we can remain justified. Because of this fusion of justification and sanctification and the fusion of grace and works, our Christian life becomes focused on the ambiguous endeavor of  living by faith alone apart from works. The standard for what saved us is now the same standard for our Christian life. “It is [NOT] finished.” If our justification was not finished at the cross, what was Jesus talking about? Plainly, justification is not finished, we have to maintain it by faith alone. This is merely works salvation by proxy; ie., our faith alone in sanctification is a rectifier that imputes works to grace.

Furthermore, it requires a complicated theological system that defines what IS A WORK in sanctification versus what IS NOT a work in sanctification. Critical to the AC construct therefore is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic that rectifies biblical commands to a faith-alone construct. Simply put, it is a way to only EXPERIENCE obedience rather than to be the actual DOER of the law in sanctification lest it become, “the GROUND of our justification.” Hence, interpreting our Bible grammatically leads to works salvation because it necessarily implies “a leap from the imperative to obedience” rather than the imperative being rectified by the progressive imputation of Christ’s obedience.

It’s backdoor works salvation.

Moreover, it makes sanctification exactly what the Reformers themselves called it: “subjective.”  That’s their words exactly, not mine. The power in our sanctification is subjective because we only experience obedience and do not participate in it. We are to meditate on the OBJECTIVE gospel and passively observe the SUBJECTIVE results by faith alone. Hence, “the subjective power of the objective gospel.” John Immel would say that this is all about control; it makes sanctification an ambiguous and fearful endeavor that beckons the saints to depend on God’s annointed to guide them through the tricky and treacherous waters of Christian living by faith alone. Of course, James addressed this very problem in his epistle.

And Immel is absolutely correct about the control issue. That’s why Phil Johnson advocates this doctrine: he is a despicable tyrant filled with lust for the need to control people. Like Calvin, he advocates this false doctrine so as the apostle Paul said, let them both be accursed.

paul

16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Dear Jane, I Don’t Know About NT Wright, But I do Know Phil Johnson is a Heretic. […]

    Like

  2. Abe said, on July 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    NT Wright is a heretic too, but you have pointed out that Johnson is hypocritical in regards to this.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Abe,

      It’s all about the separation of justification and sanctification and the separation of law and grace. We are either “under law” or “under grace.” Those are the only two options. If Jesus keeps the law for us, we are nonetheless still under it for justification. We are not justified apart from the law. If the righteousness of Romans 3:21 is Christ, that’s still a righteousness apart from the law; ie., He didn’t have to keep it for us.

      Like

  3. A Mom said, on July 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Paul said, “For AC, it is important that it is specifically stated that it is Christ’s righteousness that was imputed to us because He is the only member of the Trinity that would have “kept the law” as a man. And that’s the crux of the heresy, it advocates a righteousness that is NOT APART from the law. It fuses WORKS with grace.”

    Paul said, “Calvinist… justification is based on perfect works because Jesus keeps the law in our stead. IF we live by the same faith-alone gospel that saved us, the perfect obedience (Christ’s righteousness) of Christ will be perpetually applied to our life…”

    Imputed righteousness of Christ:

    We are not righteous because Jesus did the heavy lifting of living out the rest of our days rightly for us. This thinking leads to naive or intentional dismissal of the importance of living a right life. It’s an out, it’s an excuse.

    We are to live out the rest of our days rightly, after being born again. Period.

    Like

  4. james jordan said, on July 30, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    “NT Wright is a heretic too…” (Abe)

    Heresy is in the eye of the beholder. If I were going to condemn someone I’d use a more objective standard.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 31, 2013 at 3:38 AM

      James,

      Standard: the fusion of law and grace.

      Like

  5. james jordan said, on July 31, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    If you insist on such a standard then the result is You can’t even define grace. Like I said before, what was the “grace” when Noah found “grace” in the eyes of the Lord, and it came in the form of a command to build the ark, what was the “grace” if Law and Grace are opposites?

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 31, 2013 at 3:49 AM

      He believed/trusted/loved God and it is was credited to him as righteousness apart from the law. Law is not for grace–its for sanctification. Law and grace are mutually exclusive. Obedience is merely the life activity of a living faith.

      Like

      • james jordan said, on July 31, 2013 at 4:10 AM

        This is simply assertion. Plus there is the question of how exactly you are defining law. Is every commandment law? Or only certain types? When God told Noah to build the ark, was that law to you? If so, where was the grace exactly?

        Like

      • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 31, 2013 at 4:24 AM

        Christians are not under law but under grace. Law informs our sanctification, but has nothing to say to us for justification.

        Like

      • james jordan said, on July 31, 2013 at 4:33 AM

        But I’m not asking about that. I want to come up with a solid definition of grace. What was grace in Noah’s situation exactly?

        Like

      • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 31, 2013 at 6:12 AM

        He was under grace and not under law. That’s the definition of being under God’s grace: NOT UNDER LAW. Law being anything from the law written on men’s hearts and administered by the conscience by accusing or excusing or what God had added to that up till then. Noah found grace in the eyes of God and therefore was not under law. He was enslaved to righteousness and free to sin. Those under law are enslaved to sin and free to do good. Under grace is loving God for the sake of love because their is no law to use for earning justification. The revealed law at the time which includes the conscience is used for pleasing God in a loving relationship. it’s a family matter versus a civil matter.

        Like

  6. Andy said, on July 31, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Since I consider myself a biblicist, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and simply define grace the way scripture does.

    In Genesis 6:8 we read “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The word translated “grace” is the Hebrew word “chen” (Strong’s 2580) “graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or objectively (beauty)” It comes from the root word “chanan” (Strong’s 2603) “properly to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (that is, move to favor by petition)”

    In the New Testament, thew word commonly translated “grace” is the word χαρις (charis) and it has the same idea of kindness or favor bestowed upon someone. Interestingly, this is where we get the word “charismatic”. We are familliar with Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Also notice the word “gift” is the word δωρον (doh-ron), which means “present, SACRIFICE, or OFFERING”. Wow, what a thought! How appropriate that the gracious gift of salvation was manifest in the once-for-all offering of Chirst as a sacrifice!

    I’m not sure if this answers James’ question, but I thought it might be informative.

    Like

  7. Abe said, on July 31, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Grace and works are opposites (Romans 11:6), thus, justification cannot include works.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 31, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Abe,

      Right, and notice it’s not who does the works as the issue–it’s WORKS period.

      Like

  8. james jordan said, on July 31, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Yes, but my point is the kindness was linked to a command. If Noah didn’t build the ark, he’d have drowned. Isn’t building the ark a “work”? So by you guys’ definition of “grace” doesn’t that cancel out the grace?

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: