Paul's Passing Thoughts

There is NO Such Thing as “Legalism”

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 3, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Originally posted March 21, 2013

We live in a unique era marked in its beginning by Christ paying the penalty for our sin (HEB 1:2). We are in the last days. We know that because it’s post cross. We live in this specific era which is also biblically described as a time of unprecedented deception (MATT 24:3,4; 2THESS 2:10-12).

Therefore, we must be careful to use specific biblical words in our communication of the truth. Those who define the language win the argument. Redefining the meaning of words to deceive is literally the oldest trick in the book; e.g., Satan redefined what God meant by death. “Surely, you will not die.” Depending on your definition of death, that was true—Eve didn’t die on the spot.

“Legalism” is a word that is not in the Bible anywhere. The concept/term was made popular by Martin Luther’s interpretation of law and grace. The term, “legalism” lends strong foundation to authentic Reformed doctrine. If you use the term, you are being a good Calvinist whether you know it or not. The Reformers were anti-sanctification because it suggests enablement and some room for self-esteem. The Bible does not call us to eradicate all concept of self for the sole purpose of the group, it calls us to evaluate ourselves truthfully (ROM 12:3). That’s why there is a severe lack of sanctification in the church today—we are all just good Protestants.

So, legalism is in, but the word for the primary nemeses of righteousness throughout the ages is out: “anomia.” The English word is, “antinomianism.” It means, anti (a) – law (nomia). And I assure you that man made law is not in view. Ignorantly, Christians deem the word as just another 50-cent theological term even though it appears throughout the New Testament and defines the core of human woes. While anomia is ignored, a word that doesn’t even exist in the Bible is thrown around more often than we change clothes.

Because the ramifications of anomia pushback against Luther’s law/gospel theology, the word is translated in English Bibles as “wickedness” and “lawlessness” giving the idea of general bad behavior. The real idea is anti-truth, anti-God’s full counsel, anti-God’s wisdom, anti-sanctification, anti-kingdom living, anti-clear conscience, anti-life, anti-goodness, etc., etc. Christ points to it as the primary cause of lovelessness and cold-heartedness (MATT 24:12; PS 119:70). John indicts it as the very definition of sin (1JN 3:4).

Perhaps the greatest deception in all of this is the Reformed motif that the Pharisees are the poster children for “legalism.” Supposedly, they strived to keep God’s law as a way of earning His favor for both justification and sanctification of which are the same to the Reformers. The opposite is true; the Pharisees were full of anomia and voided the law with their anti-truth (MATT 15:1-9; 23:23-28). The Pharisees were not “legalists,” that’s a lie, they were antinomians.

Nothing cripples sanctification more than the Reformed idea that Christians can sincerely seek to obey God by following their born again new desire for the law and thereby unwittingly partaking in works righteousness. There is no more detestable evil under the sun because it causes a conflict between the new desire God has put in our hearts (ROM 7:25; PS 119:1ff.) and instruction that propagates a relaxed view of the law (MATT 5:19). This is why Calvinism has crippled the American church. They propagate a doctrine that sets us against the very desire that God has put in our new hearts.

Satan did not come to Eve in the garden as a “legalist.” He came to her as an antinomian. In regard to the time of the end, the apostle Paul refers to the antichrist as the man of anomia at least four times in his letter to the Thessalonians. From the beginning, and through the middle embodied in the likes of Baalam’s error and Korah’s rebellion, and culminating in the end, the doctrine of anomia is the primary beast that devours the souls of men. But yet, New Calvinist queen Elyse Fitzpatrick likens anomia to the Loch Ness Monster, and is celebrated accordingly for her supposed biblical insight.

It’s time to eradicate “legalism” from our Christian vocabulary and replace it with a description of the New Calvinist breed of beasts among us: Antinomians.

paul.

Elyse Fitzpatrick: The New Red Herring for John MacArthur

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 6, 2015

Hyper G - Tullian and ElyseContemporary evangelicalism is so fraught with heresy and confusion one becomes endeared to those who at least have an accurate understanding of their false gospel. It’s so annoying to me that I am no longer interested in converting people who believe in Luther/Calvin progressive justification, but rather long to see them accurately understand what they profess. I dream of a TANC school of Calvinism where Calvinists are taught what Calvin really believed. For graduation they would receive a T shirt that reads, “Now Jonathan Edwards is really my homeboy.”

That’s why I miss Tullian Tchividjian. That is a man that understands Reformation soteriology. It was too much fun watching him drive John MacArthur et al completely nuts with his un-nuanced articulation of Reformed doctrine. But Tullian screwed up; so disappointing.

So who is the new replacement for proving that MacArthur et al stand for something different? Tullian comrade Elyse Fitzpatrick. The likes of Elyse give fodder for the accusation of antinomianism against the authentic Reformation gospel of progressive justification which is in fact antinomianism. Fitzpatrick, like her bro Tullian, lacks nuance and enables people to connect the dots; that’s why she is a threat and must be neutralized.

So, MacArthur’s camp is blogging about Elyse and her involvement in the “Hypergrace movement.” The series is titled “Abusing Grace.” Look, the fact is: they do not believe anything one whit different than Elyse Fitzpatrick. This is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Who wants specific citations from the mouth of Mac propagating the exact same gospel contemplationism of progressive justification? His best bro is John Piper who states in no uncertain terms that Christians continue to be saved by returning to the same gospel that saved them. Mac minion Phil Johnson defines saving faith as returning to the cross for a fresh set of downs on the way to the goal posts of final justification. They all believe the same thing.

So, in throwing people off track with their new red herring, they of course falsely accuse Fitzpatrick which gives her opportunity to defend herself without getting to the crux of the issue: she teaches an unfettered Reformed gospel and they don’t. Her defense on Facebook follows:

Well, okay, I’m going to say it again:

Do I care about holiness? Yes.

Do I care about our children being holy? Yes. (Ask ’em.)

It is simply my belief that true holiness grows only in the context of love for God and love for God only grows in the context of being reminded of God’s prior love for us in Christ.

Yes, I talk about grace and the gospel a lot. But it’s because I care about holiness, not because I think sin should abound.

Of course, abounding sin is not the issue; the issue is that Luther, in his foundational doctrinal statement of the Reformation, the Heidelberg Disputation, proffered the following perspective on active sin: it is our only duty to seek more salvation while obedience manifested by God is completely out of our control and really none of our business. MacArthur has said the same thing on several occasions in this way: it is his job to teach Scripture, but it is up to the Holy Spirit to apply it. He has even suggested that Christians sometimes realize they obeyed after the fact because it was the Holy Spirit who applied the truth and not them. The general idea can be understood via this quote from Reformed guru and Christian counselor Bill Baldwin:

Give me a man who preaches the law with its terror and Christ with his sweetness and forgets to preach the law as a pattern of the fruit of sanctification and what will result? In two months his parishioners will be breaking down his door begging to be told what behavior their renewed, bursting with joy, hearts may best produce. And when he tells them, they will be surprised (and he will not) to discover that by and large they have produced exactly that. And where they haven’t, take them back to Christ again that they may contemplate him in all his glorious perfection so that they may better understand what sort of God and man he was and is.

Likewise, MacArthur often propagates the transformation of believers by gazing at the glory of God in the face of Christ which is also John Piper’s “beholding as a way of becoming.”

Be not deceived; it’s all the same stuff. It’s all progressive justification by returning to the same gospel that saved us for more salvation because Christians supposedly need ongoing salvation.

paul

An Open Letter to the President of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 28, 2015

Originally posted February 21, 2012

“This is the apostle Paul’s disparaged 3-verse system to fix a lack of peace. It is the wonderful hope that obedience to God’s word seizes upon His promises. And that’s why many NANC counselors strip their victims of hope.”

 “The cited letter reflects the same things often taught by many board members of NANC and BCC. Because this doctrine combines justification and sanctification, it makes sanctification like a minefield because what we do in sanctification can affect the justification that supposedly powers it. This does not lay a healthy foundation for counseling”

Dr. Street,

The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors website states the following about your organization:

NANC exists to help pastors and those who would be ministers of the Word of God by providing help and encouragement. NANC is first and foremost a certifying organization. The certifying process is rigorous but attainable by even the busiest pastor. The process consists of the completion of an approved training course, the completion of a theological and a practical counseling test, several references, and a minimum of 50 hours of supervised counseling experience.

Furthermore, your organization refers hundreds of “counselors” certified by your organization. The purpose of this letter is to publically confront you in regard to the fact that NANC has board members, Fellows, and hoards of certified counselors who openly promote a blatant false gospel. I will first establish this fact, in case you are not aware of it, and then beseech you to tell me why this is acceptable.

Much data could be provided as I have been sent several articles written by NANC Fellows that contain outrageous teachings; and apparently, NANC thinks nothing of sending troubled people to antinomian mystics. But I only need to quote one of your present board members, David Powlison. Powlison performed a lecture at John Piper’s church while Piper was on a sabbatical to eradicate “several species of heart idols” that he saw in his heart (apparently, they were of the 8-month type because he was able to return to ministry at the pre-appointed time). Powlison stated the following at Piper’s church:

This might be quite a controversy, but I think it’s worth putting in. Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for conversion. And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.  And actually even came out and attacked my mentor, Jack Miller, my pastor that I’ve been speaking of through the day, for saying that Christians should preach the gospel to themselves. I think Jay was wrong on that.

Jack Miller was the father of Sonship Theology, a false gospel that is presently wreaking havoc on Presbyterian churches. It has also been known as Gospel Sanctification and is the primary catalyst for the present-day New Calvinist movement which has turned orthodoxy completely upside down. The doctrine is best explained by a theological journal that was its source:

Unless sanctification is rooted in justification and constantly returns to justification, it cannot escape the poisonous miasma of subjectivism, moralism or Pharisaism…. Since the life of holiness is fueled and fired by justification by faith, sanctification must constantly return to justification. Otherwise, the Christian cannot possibly escape arriving at a new self-righteousness. We cannot reach a point in sanctification where our fellowship with God does not rest completely on forgiveness of sins…. Christian existence is gospel existence. Sanctification is justification in action.

Miller adopted the theology and coined the phrase, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” “The same gospel that saved us also sanctifies us” is the New Calvinist mantra of our day. I receive many links to articles written by NANC Fellows who clearly hold to this doctrine. In fact, How People Change, written by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp (and based on Powlison’s Dynamics of Biblical Change) is a Sonship/Gospel Sanctification treatise. Tripp and Lane are also on the board of the upstart Biblical Counseling Coalition. That board is the who’s who of Sonship/GS/ NC, including hyper-antinomian Elyse Fitzpatrick.

On a church level, here is the fruit of this doctrine:

To the Ruling Elders of Southwood:

On September 4, 2011, our daughter and her family from Atlanta were here and we attended the Sunday worship at Southwood.  After the service, our 13 year old granddaughter, who is well grounded in scripture, stated that she was very confused by the message.  She had come away hearing that every good thing she does is wrong.  Why would she believe that?  We have gone back and listened again to that message, entitled “Duh,” and here is what we found:

The message is from Galatians 3:1-6. Paul is chastening the church for falling prey to the persuasion of the Judaizers, exhorting them again that God’s love for them was not by any of their own works but through the miraculous work of Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Jean seems to take the written word beyond its intent.  He subtly changes ‘God’s love’ to ‘God’s favor.’  He changes legalism to performance. He takes Jewish law and extends it to almost any action one does.  Here are some paraphrased quotes from the sermon.  “To keep God’s favor, the Galatians were believing they needed Christ and a dash of obedience which looks like those things called Christian disciplines. Christian walk Christianity is from the Devil. Faithfulness is feeling condemned for work you haven’t finished (as contrasted with faith: resting completely in Christ). Faith is a litmus test for teachers and leaders; the difference between faith in Christ alone and faithfulness is like the difference between truth and falsehood, between Heaven and Hell. Faith alone is all we will teach.” (Here Jean says this is what Paul is teaching but he gives no supporting scriptures to support his interpretation.) “Discern as false any book, sermon, or Bible study where you hear a dash of self justifying obedience.  Self justifying obedience is from Satan.

Jean’s statements, combined with the tone and inflections in his delivery, imply that he is scornful of Christian disciplines, preachers, Christian writers, the Christian walk, obedience, faithfulness, good works, and an individual’s efforts.  This message can lead to the conclusion that everything we do is evil and, by extension, that God and the Holy Spirit can do nothing through us.  The message lacks balance and leaves sanctification out of the equation.  A new believer under this teaching would be moribund after accepting Christ, hidebound in fear that he can do nothing right.  While it is true none of us have all pure motives, it is also true that God commands us to go forward and that the Holy Spirit will be with us.  God says we are His instruments for spreading the Truth.  We cannot do this if we are strapped by guilt; we can do this if we seek partnership with the Holy Spirit.

From here Jean goes back to Paul saying “…since you were 100% depraved when you were brought into the Kingdom by the Holy spirit and by no works of your own, why are you trying to be perfected by your own human efforts?  You are being deceived by the Devil.”  I believe Jean is paralleling Paul in this.  Jean then goes on to “We are like alcoholics ; we use Bible study, prayers, small groups, etc. as a crutch and the church rewards our ‘addiction’ with its approval.  How would you know if you were addicted?  Stop everything.  If you feel anxiety, then you are afraid of leaving your ‘fix.’”   So we ask: what does God have us do?  Jean’s answer is “rest totally in Jesus.”  So in turn we ask, what does Scripture say about resting totally in Jesus?  But we hear no clear answer from the pulpit.

The cited letter reflects the same things often taught by many board members of NANC and BCC. Because this doctrine combines justification and sanctification, it makes sanctification like a minefield because what we do in sanctification can affect the justification that supposedly powers it. This does not lay a healthy foundation for counseling, and as Timothy F. Kauffman recently stated in the Trinity Review, when justification and sanctification are combined, anything we do in sanctification is works salvation—even doing nothing. It’s eerily reminiscent of Christ’s parable concerning the slothful servant. When such a parable is considered and compared to statements by Elyse Fitzpatrick and her spiritual big brother Tullian Tchividjian, it should make the hair stand up on a deceased person.

Moreover, the unfortunate results of counseling that comes from this doctrine can be seen in the following statement by a pastor who oversees a NANC counseling center:

We read this quote from Paul Tripp in last week’s Biblical Theology Study Center. Amazingly, part of the quote was used again the following evening during testimony time from someone not in our class…someone who resonated with the quote in the midst of personal crisis. For those who are involved in biblical counseling, it can be really easy (and tempting) for the Bible to become little more than a 12-verse system designed to fix a life. Tripp reminds us that the Bible isn’t a how-to manual, but a place where we find hope in a Person.

Compare that statement with what the apostle Paul said:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

This is the apostle Paul’s disparaged 3-verse system to fix a lack of peace. It is the wonderful hope that obedience to God’s word seizes upon His promises. And that’s why many NANC counselors strip their victims of hope. That, and confusing children who love the Lord.

So tell me Dr. Street, why is this acceptable? Why not come out from among them? Besides, the evidence that this doctrine was concocted by a Seventh-Day Adventist who is now an atheist is overwhelming. The truth will come out, and will eventually be accepted as truth. Why stick around and look stupid? Or, you could fix the problem. I beseech you Dr. Street, stop sending troubled people to false teachers. This is something that none of us want on our resume.

Paul Dohse

The “Legalism” Myth and Why Antinomianism and Justification by the Law are the Same Thing

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 24, 2015

Good evening everyone welcome to False Reformation Blogtalk radio. This is your host Paul Dohse. This is a special live presentation for tomorrow night’s episode because I will be out of town attending a conference.

Therefore, tomorrow night’s weekly Friday episode will be prerecorded here tonight. If you would like to add to the show or ask a question call 347-855-8317.

Per the usual, I will say “This is your host Paul. You are live on Blogtalk what is your comment or question?” With that, just start talking—identifying yourself is optional. Also per the usual, we will be checking in with Susan to get her feedback on tonight’s show.

Now, on to our topic. Let’s summarize the commonly accepted narrative of our day. The Reformation’s justification by faith saved Western civilization and stands in stark contrast to its two primary nemeses: “legalism,” and “antinomianism,” with antinomianism being the lesser evil by far.

Legalism is attempting to be justified by the law, and antinomianism is the belief that there is no use for the law—it only condemns. In other words, Christians are not obligated to the law in any way, shape, or form. The word means literally, “anti-law.”

This is the theses for tonight’s show:

Point 1: There is no such thing as legalism.

Point 2: Antinomianism is really justification by the law—they are the same thing.

Point 3: The Reformation’s justification by faith is really justification by the law.

Point 4: Therefore, Protestantism is both justification by the law and antinomianism because the two are the same thing.

Point one, there is no such thing as “legalism.” Without a doubt, this is proffered as kingdom enemy #1. However, the term is found nowhere in the Bible, nor is the concept found anywhere in the Bible. What is it? What’s the technical definition according to Protestant orthodoxy?

So-called legalism is the idea that Christians can do a good work. Legalism is closely associated with the Reformed truism, the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. The primary criticisms of legalism are “it jumps directly from the command to obedience.” This is also known as “fruit stapling.”

Closely associated with the legalism myth is the anti-legalism truism, “all change comes from the inside out.” That’s yet another truism among Christians that is accepted as absolute gospel out of hand. But what does it mean? I’m not saying that there is no truth in the statement, but what do they mean by it?

Listen carefully; I want to interject a principle of deception. Readily accepted truisms that sound good and not subjected to scrutiny are stepping stones that take you to a place of other people’s choosing. They know where you are going, but you don’t. No person anywhere or at any time ended up in a mass grave apart from this concept. No person was ever duped out of their lifesavings apart from this concept. No person has ever wasted years gifted to them apart from this concept. This concept applies to every strata of life.

So, what is meant by this anti-legalism myth truism? It is the idea that all good works must be filtered through the inner person before they appear outwardly. This dissects the role of the believer, if the dreaded legalism is to be prevented, into two categories: active and passive. The active is understanding only, and the passive is the actual manifestation of the outward work.

This necessarily requires an understanding of what is meant by “heart change.” Heart change is your capacity to see only. It defines faith as something that only perceives outwardly. So, the ONLY active role of the Christian is to SEE reality in a kingdom of God way, or at least what they define that to be. This is known as, watch it—we here it all the time: “a Christian worldview.”

So let’s pause for a summation thus far: in order to prevent the dreaded legalism myth, we must know that the only active role of the Christian is to have a proper worldview, or a proper perception of reality. This is faith, and the growth of faith is heart change. Got it?

This results in works being separated from the Christian and manifested by Christ. This prevents “legalism” which is the supposed errant belief that Christians can perform a good work, and thus, watch it, here is another one, “possessing a righteousness of our own.”

Are you getting this so far? So, in less than 700 words so far, we have defined: legalism; fruit stapling; faith; heart change; and Christian worldview. The Christian’s active role is to see according to the right worldview, his passive role is to WATCH…here is another one…here it comes…”what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

Let’s now add this: typically, those who are supposedly guilty of legalism will only believe that Christ died for our sins, while denying that Christ lived a perfect life to fulfil the Old Covenant law for us. This is the Protestant/Lutheran/Calvinist formal doctrine of double imputation. Christ died for our justification, and lived for our sanctification so that His perfect obedience to the law of Moses can now be applied to our life through faith alone in our sanctification, or Christian living if you will.

That’s the “indicative,” viz, all works are grounded in what Christ did, not anything we do. Therefore, when you see a command in the Bible, it must be seen in its quote…”gospel context” of double imputation. The imperative shows us what we cannot do, but rather what Jesus has done for us. Hence, “the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event.” Supposedly, when Jesus commands us to be perfect, He is driving this point home that perfection is the standard and we cannot be perfect.

Side note: What Jesus is really doing is telling us to be who we are, viz, perfect. “But Paul, we sin!” Hold that thought, we will address that.

Another side note: Christ didn’t have to obey the law perfectly in order to prepare our works for us, the Holy Spirit did that before the foundation of the world:

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

1 Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

The works were prepared by God and sanctified by the Holy Spirt before the foundation of the world, and Abraham was justified 430 years before the law of Moses—Christ did not have to obey the law for us and clearly, we are the ones who “walk” in the pre-prepared works sanctified by the Holy Spirit before the world was ever created. The more you study election, the more you realize it’s just another angle on trying to get it into the heads of Christians that law and justification are mutually exclusive.

So, in the closing of our first point let us define so-called legalism: it is the belief that a Christian can do a good work. See, among myriads of examples, the Calvin Institutes book 3, chapter 14, sections 9-11 and Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. “Paul, the Heidelberg Disputation has 28 theses, which one?” Answer: All of them. Pick one.

Now let’s define antinomianism. That’s actually in the Bible. That’s actually a biblical word. What does it mean? “Antinomianism is the English transliteration of the Greek word, “anomia” which means “anti-law.” As we have discussed on this program before, “law” is a biblical word that really just refers to the full counsel of God. Antinomianism for all practical purposes is “anti-godly wisdom.” As we will see as we move along, the best meaning is “anti-love.”

In the biblical sense, antinomianism has no reference to justification. Because law and justification/righteousness/salvation are mutually exclusive, the bible would actually endorse an antinomian view of justification. The only biblical reference point antinomianism has regards sanctification, or the Christian life. Antinomianism is the absence of law in sanctification.

Curiously, the Reformers, both past and present, define antinomianism as the absence of law in justification. Remember, in Protestantism/Calvinism/Reformed soteriology, law is justification’s standard. This is a segue right into the definition of antinomianism according to the Reformed.

This is where the Reformed pound the pulpit against antinomianism and vehemently deny that they are antinomian. Some Reformed guy even wrote a book titled “Friends of the Law” expounding on the Reformed virtue of upholding the law of God. But of course, why wouldn’t they? They think law is the standard for justification! No law, no justification.

But here’s the dirty little secret: justification, which according to them is synonymous with perfect law-keeping, is justification by faith alone right? So, if the perfect demands of the law have to be maintained in order for there to be any justification, Christians cannot remain justified in sanctification unless the demands of the law continue to be met. Right?

That creates a problem: how can the perfect demands of the law continue to be met in sanctification, or in other words: the Christian life? The dirty little secret is that justification by faith alone (also known as simply “justification by faith”) also pertains to sanctification also.

Aside: Some in the Reformed camp, actually many, claim that antinomianism is a misnomer because mankind is helplessly enslaved to chronic self-justification. Someone who believes in throwing the law away so that grace may abound is a description of someone who is an anomaly. Elyse Fitzpatrick wrote an article advocating such a view that went viral. According to the view, man’s natural bent is to attempt to justify himself through law-keeping.

Aside to that aside: This teaching can be particularly cruel and confusing to many born again Christians because the new birth results in a desire to obey the law. Fitzpatrick et al are now charging that such a desire to please God is sin. Follow?

Well, how does one live by faith alone in their Christian life? That is the money question; that is the lynchpin in this study, and now moves us to the biblical definition of justification by law. This is a very biblical concept that saturates the Scriptures.

What is scriptural justification by law? What is the specific definition? Here it is: justification by law (JBL) makes law the standard for justification. The law’s perfect demands must be fulfilled at all times in order for anybody to be considered righteous. There is only one problem; obviously, no person can keep the law perfectly. So, what to do?

Answer: faithfulness to a ritual or authoritative tradition is added to the law as a qualified faith-act that fulfills the law for man. JBL is NEVER an attempt to keep the law perfectly because everyone knows that’s impossible; hence, faithfulness to a system that appeases the law is implemented. In the case of the JBL that drove the apostles nuts, it primarily came from the Jewish culture that was heavily influence by Philo.

Let me demonstrate from Scripture how this worked:

Galatians 5:2 – Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Herein is the biblical definition of JBL: clearly, it is a ritual or tradition that replaced the necessity for being justified by keeping the whole law. It is a faith-based ritual that appeases the law. In this case what is it? Right, circumcision. Paul said “no,” if you want to be justified by the law you are obligated to keep the whole law because the law is not appeased by ritual. Circumcision, so they thought, was atonement for sin certified by the authority of leaders and their established traditions.

More than likely, circumcision was the ritual that got you in, and then you had to follow other traditions in order to keep the law satisfied:

Galatians 4:9 – But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

Get it? The law is replaced and dumbed down with easy-to-keep rituals, customs, and traditions as a way of fulfilling the whole law and apparently atoning for sin according to whatever system you have signed up for. In some cases, it may be believed that these customs inaugurated by the authority of men actually abolish the law rather than fulfill it. But whatever it is matters not—the results are the same.

This brings us to the inevitable problem with such systems: the finer points of the law are disregarded because the ongoing demands of the law must be met to keep yourself saved. Besides, the law can’t be kept perfectly anyway, and focus on the accepted customs is what keeps you saved.

This is why JBL is antinomianism, because it voids the law by the traditions of men in sanctification in order to appease the law for justification. Let’s look at a prime example of this:

Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Why would one relax the law in their Christian living? Because in justification by law the law isn’t for sanctification it’s for justification. That’s almost too obvious when you state it that way. And in regard to where this passage comes from what is the Sermon on the Mount about? Right, sanctification. The cross or justification is nowhere in that sermon. It’s a message about Christian living. Also, the dominate theme of the message is a warning against replacing the law of God with tradition. How many times in that message do we read, “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”?

Let’s look at some other examples:

Romans 2:17 – But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Galatians 2:17 – But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Side note: many in our day in-fact say that we are found justified in Christ by professing that we are what? Right, “sinners.” We hear it all the time!

Next, let’s look, as promised, at how antinomian justification by law leads to anti-love. This is because one biblical definition of love follows: love is an endeavor to learn God’s law and truthfully apply it to life:

Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14: 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

There is no surprise then that the Bible links antinomianism with lovelessness. It is impossible to love God and others without obedience. If there is law in justification that must be continually appeased, we must fear the motives for our obedience in sanctification, we are still enslaved to the law and its demand for perfect law-keeping. But if there is no law in justification and justification is a finished work, we are free to aggressively love in sanctification without fear that our justification will be harmed. Motives for obedience are a non-issue because law-keeping does NOTHING for our justification—the two are mutually exclusive. The only motive left is love. This is why justification by law is antinomianism leading to lovelessness:

Matthew 24:11 – And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

The word for lawlessness in this verse is “anomia.” Love will grow cold because of anomia. Why? because love and obedience are mutually inclusive and there is only obedience in sanctification—not justification. Elsewhere we read:

Psalm 119:70 – their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.

Lastly, why is Protestant justification by faith really the justification by law resulting in loveless antinomianism that the Bible warns us about? Because law is the standard for justification, its demands must be continually met during the Christian’s life, and “faith alone” ritualism fulfills the law on behalf of the Christian.

In the 1st century it was circumcision, now it is a baptism into church membership where we can find a continuing cover for sin. If we are faithful to the local church and disavow any “righteousness of our own,” the righteousness of Christ will continue to satisfy the law in our stead. It’s really the same justification by law resulting in loveless antinomianism that has plagued God’s people from the very beginning. In fact, we even hear notable Calvinists like John Piper in our day claim the following:

If you are not being accused of antinomianism, you are probably not preaching the gospel.

Why are they right about that? Because it is antinomianism—it replaces our obedience, and frankly our love as well, with the obedience of Christ. Also, it is supposed that justification and law are mutually inclusive because Jesus keeps the law for us. However, the Bible continually states that we justified APART from the law and “apart” means “totally separate.”

Who keeps the law is not the issue; the law period is the issue.

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

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on December 12, 2014

GS LogoOriginally published 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

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