Last Will And Testament: Hebrews And The Intent, Extent And Efficaciousness Of The Atonement (Pt. 1)

The criticism that the doctrine of limited atonement prevents the free offer of the gospel rests upon a profound misapprehension as to what the warrant for preaching the gospel and even of the primary act of faith itself really is. This warrant is not that Christ died for all men but the universal invitation, demand and promise of the gospel united with the perfect sufficiency and suitability of Christ as Savior and Redeemer. What the ambassador of the gospel demands in Christ’s name is that the lost and helpless sinner commit himself to that all-sufficient Savior with the plea that in thus receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation he will certainly be saved. And what the lost sinner does on the basis of the warrant of faith is to commit himself to that Savior with the assurance that as he thus trusts he will be saved. What he believes, then, in the first instance is not that he has been saved, but that believing in Christ salvation becomes his. The conviction that Christ died for him, or in other words, that he is an object of God’s redeeming love in Christ, is not the primary act of faith. It is often in the consciousness of the believer so closely bound up with the primary act of faith that he may not be able to be conscious of the logical and psychological distinction. But nevertheless the primary act of faith is self-committal to the all-sufficient and suitable Savior, and the only warrant for that trust is the indiscriminate, full and free offer of grace and salvation in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 2:11 says: “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…” Sanctifies is a present perfect, a simple statement of fact indicating something that is already done appearing perfected in the present. But, what is interesting about this, is the statement that the object of that sanctification is one. Throughout this section we see the unfolding of whom it was who is incarnated, begotten from before time, the Son. This section begins to tell us of the mystery that those who were sanctified in that perfect action are with the Son, of the Father, for which it is said that he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Later we will see that it is the high priest who is sanctified as we are told in John 17, who is only for “them”. Both parties as heirs have the same source as John records Jesus praying for us in his Gospel, chp 17. Add to this that Hebrews calls them the seed of Abraham a designation for the Son, that they are the object of his incarnation, John 3:16, that they share likeness being called the children. As they are spoken of here, they are not the seed of Adam, but are accounted as the children of promise, the seed of Abraham. He does not proclaim His name to all, but only to the brethren, again John 17. Add to this that Abraham was selected out of the world, that his seed is foretold as being incorporated in one, Isaac, and what unfolds from this is that Christ came to taste death for every one who was born from above just as he was, John 3:16, cf John 17. Hebrews contains the all, everyone, and many designations, but the context confines the extent of their definition to the children marked out before time.

To begin with we’ll look at the opening chapters of Hebrews with the target being to discover how it is that the author explores the concept of the perfect one in God’s story of redemption. Leon Morris has said:

Other religions have their martyrs, but the death of Jesus was not that of a martyr. It was that of a Savior. His death saves men from their sins. Christ took their place and died their death (Mark 10:45; II Cor. 5:21), the culmination of a ministry in which he consistently made himself one with sinners.

Morris inextricably weaves the sacrifice to the object. They are one, that very mystery we see in the symbol of baptism.

Here’s an even more important question. Will all of God’s purposes for sending Christ to die ultimately be accomplished? Did God intend something by the atonement that will not come to pass? Is there any purpose in Christ’s dying that will ultimately be frustrated? And if you ask those questions it puts the importance of the whole issue in a totally different, clearer light. And I believe that Christ’s atoning work on the cross ultimately accomplishes precisely what God designed it to accomplish, no more no less. If you believe God is truly sovereign you must ultimately come to that position. The fruits of the atonement are no less than what God sovereignly intended. God is not going to be frustrated throughout all eternity because He was desperately trying to save some people who just could not be persuaded. If that’s your view of God than your God isn’t really sovereign. Pharaoh fulfilled exactly the purpose God raised him up to fulfill. God is not wringing His hands in despair over Pharaoh’s rebellion and unbelief.

But on the other hand, Christ’s atoning work accomplishes no more than God intended it to accomplish. If benefits accrue to non-believers, reprobate people, because of Christ’s death, then it is because God designed it that way. If Christ’s dying means that the whole, the judgment of the whole world is postponed, then unregenerate people reap the blessings and the benefits of that delay. They reap the benefits and the blessings of common grace through the atonement. And if that’s the case then that is exactly what God designed. It didn’t happen by accident. And for that very reason it is my position and the position of most Calvinists throughout history that some benefits of the atonement are universal and some benefits of the atonement are particular and limited to the elect alone. (Phil Johnson)

It is that question that I believe will be answered as we look deeper into the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Book of Hebrews.

David Allen Defends His Accusations Against James White

Now the only thing that remains is for Allen to prove White is a hyper-Calvinist. And if he doesn’t… will there be a forthcoming apology or repentance on the part of the anti-Calvinists like Allen? Will there? Will it be admitted that it is Allen who has attacked, and wrongly, White and the foundations of the SBC.

For Allen to sequester White as just a Baptist is ludicrous. From my understanding White is a former SBC’er and the church where he is an elder is more historic SBC than Allen’s alien majortitarian version. Allen himself does not represent “orthodox” historic Southern Baptistism, let alone historic protestantism. And for him to team up with Caner, the pseudo Southern Baptist, one only for political cause… posh! Burn the blankets before the plague takes everyone!

I am confident that White will respond again, (Phil should again, also) and I hope Allen and his “researcher” have their fire insurance paid up (half way, @34 min., into this program on the DL will give you a taste of White Fire).
Why Allen continues to neglect context, Scripturally and historically, is beyond conscience. The SBC needs honesty, something obviously lacking among the majoritarians.

If it is unhealthy for Southern Baptists to team up with hyper-Calvinists, and who would disagree, not even White would, is Allen ready to admit that there is also no place in the SBC for Molinist heretics like Yarnell and Keathley, those who would introduce more Roman Catholic doctrine into the SBC beyond the obvious Hobbsian semi-Pelagianism? (See also Pelagius Island and other posts on semi-Pelaginism, here) Seems to me that before Allen throws stones by making ill-informed and poorly researched for him assertions, he needs to clean his own glass house.

And drop the term non-Calvinist. Arminianism is by nature opposed to Calvinsim. Call it what it is, anti-Calvinism. As J316C demonstrated, the orgiastic angst against Calvinism as embedded in the Arminian dregs, find full expression in those who are drunk on them.

To use the same bravado, we Allen critics stand by White, and we see no evidence that Allen has proved his case.

Allen quoted Phil Johnson’s primer on Hyper-Calvinism:

1.    Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear, OR
2.    Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner, OR
3.    Denies that the gospel makes any ‘offer’ of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal), OR
4.    Denies that there is such a thing as “common grace,” OR
5.   Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.

Now notice the subtle shift in terminology, exactly what White in his phone-in conversation was trying to clarify:

I would encourage the reader to take a look at this Primer for himself. The Primer clearly leaves the reader with the impression, if not out and out states, that a denial of God’s universal saving will is a component of hyper-Calvinism.

Phil says: “Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear”

Allen says: “a denial of God’s universal saving will

One wonders why Allen is compelled to insert will when it is not present in Phil’s list. What is meant by Gospel call, all who hear, applies? What is meant by offer? In what way is it offered? As potentiality, or as reality? Has God provided a hypothetical salvation or an actual one? What is meant by will? Is there one will that intends the salvation of everyman, and another that intends the salvation of just some? Allen avoided the discussion of the decrees of God in his presentations and now wants to insert his preconceived notions. A misstep, a miscue? Or, a calculated misdirection. For White does necessarily involve the decrees and now we get Allen trying to accuse by what was not made clear in Allen’s presentation. Might we all agree, then, that Allen views God as schizophenic by what he has not said? Is universal desire different than universal saving will? Is the salvific intent the same for both elect and non? Is there even a salvific intent to save the non-elect (a contradiction in God)? Is the free offer particularly intended, or is it indifference and an open offer?

James White’s phone conversation took place in the context of the previous callers, and primarily a debate with Steve Gregg, which, Tony Byrne failed to include, or even mention; a slight of hand move that has come to be known as a ynottony. Allen follow’s the same deceptive pattern. White had just finished his debate series with Steve Gregg and is following up with a DL program on the subject. What White is attempting is to clarify is the language that is used. For many, like Allen, are inaccurate in using terms, not making a differentiation according to context. As I demonstrated, White does not disagree with others within the 5-Point camp, as he has been accused of doing:

In this article White says:

Christ gave Himself in behalf of His Church, His Body, and that for the purpose of cleansing her and making her holy. If this was His intention for the Church, why would He give Himself for those who are not of the Church? Would He not wish to make these “others” holy as well? Yet, if Christ died for all men, there are many, many who will remain impure for all eternity. Was Christ’s death insufficient to cleanse them? Certainly not. Did He have a different goal in mind in dying for them? [I am not here denying that the death of Christ had effects for all men, indeed, for all of creation. I believe that His death is indeed part of the “summing up of all things” in Christ. But, we are speaking here solely with the salvific effect of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. One might say that Christ’s death has an effect upon those for whom it was not intended as an atoning sacrifice.] No, His sacrificial death in behalf of His Church results in her purification, and this is what He intended for all for whom He died.

This accords with Piper, perfectly, but White avoids the “two-wills” language because he is defending the intent of the atonement and not its expression in evangelistic terms. The latter, both the Arminian and the Calvinist agree with, the former is where the debate is, which Allen had avoided except in his allegations of hyper-Calvinism. As White makes clear and I have verified, he has addressed this issue many times and harmonizes with the majority of Calvinist history, doctrinally.

David Allen needs to actually listen to the call, and the debates and actually read the books that he boasts of having. I don’t think that Allen is really capable of debating White, however. Annd even though I have said that probably the best debate would be with Tony Byrne (a.k.a.) ynottony, also known as the Byrner, and referred to in Scripture as Dichostasia, since Dr. Allen has chosen to further his attack of White on his own two feet without the crutch of TB, condemning White as one of those “other Baptists” as if no other tradition can inform the elite of the SBC, then perhaps, Allen is not like one of the typical blowhards of the SBC inner sanctum, as White has previously said, who will not debate. Now, with a looming sin of false witness to go along with the misrepresentations of historical writtings, the history of the SBC, et cetera, hanging like a dense cloud around Allen, Tony Byrne, Seth McBee, et al, and seeing that Allen has lied, again:

White denies the well-meant or “sincere” nature of God’s offer of the gospel to all men “in general”.

it is most likely not if, but when a debate will occur, and if not, then a paper rebuttal. White indicated in his woodshed treatment of Seth, that there might be such a written response. Would either suffice? Knowing these types of politicians, probably not.

To repeat one more time, note how Allen defines the terms through the presuppostion of his romanish semi-Pelaianism. What he cannot allow for, for it would defeat his whole agenda, is that others do not share his limited vocabulary. Compare the terms and ask: Are both parties asking the same questions? If they are not using the same terms with like definitions, then no. He has challenged both Johnson and White to defend themselves. Well, does that mean Allen is willing to debate, or is the idiot wind of the SBC just a whiny breeze waffing through a cracked window?

Update: White begins response to David Allen’s false accusations.
Update: Tom Ascol who was also pitted against James White responds (Yarnell visits).
Update: White has responded to Allen on his DL program.
Update: Phil Johnson Responds to Allen
Update: White issues another statement
Update: White Begins DVD Review Of J316C
Update: Dr. Clark give some insight to the controversy.

He Needs No Defense: James White Is Not A Hyper-Calvinist

This is in response to a really irritating gnat that keeps showing up on varioius blogs denouncing James White as a hyper-Calvinist. To follow what is happening here you must go there.

God wills to save all men

God desires the salvation of all men

Two enitrely different concepts. James White is clear on both. He avoids the term desires for the express purpose that some people twist the meaning. Allen calls it prestidigitation, deception on the part of Calvinists. Unfortunately, neither he nor ynottony read well. Calvin is clear that the intent of God’s purpose in salvation was to send Christ as the propitiation for only the elect. See his commentary on Romans where he inextricably connects the propitiatory intent with the resurrection, just as Paul does.

It is sad, that some men, while not necessarily idiotes, are nonetheless, anoetos. And not merely annoyingly foolish as Jesus might say, but seemingly are fools in the sense of having been deceived as Paul might say. They go on, and the net effect is to wonder in fear if the Gospel has been wasted upon them.

“at the same time not desire it in any sense of the word”

Notice again the qualifiers desire and any sense. Dr White does not deny this. But White’s attackers will continue to say that he does. What they cannot do, as the fools of the conference continue not to do, is to assign the right meaning for the context. They continue to make menexhaustively inclusively universal in every sense just as they do all, or world. It does not matter that there is another possible explanation; victory for the cause is more cherished than the defense of the truth, so they import their presuppostional meaning into the words wherever they find them to prove their case. It has almost come to the point that it has garnered a new name, a ynottony.

It is tiring, but as Peter said, there are such men, who twist to their own destruction what others say.

“What about our concept of God? Are those who deny the true nature of the biblical offer on the same level as those who affirm it?”

Here is the case, those who are James White’s assailants do this very thing; they fall below the requirements of biblicism. He on the other hand proclaims the Gospel to all men the way it should be without Finneyesque enticements. He does not deny the free offer, what he does do is challenge the presupposed definition of it. Curiously, Finney is exalted among the J316C crowd as the answer to Edwards? What lunacy. A heretic was the corrective? Don’t these men actually read the materials they reports on?

The questions which remain are: how is it that they are right? If what God has done is to provide atonement for the sins of the entire world, why are they not saved? Those are the questions White wants answered. Those who challenge his sincerity in his belief in the love of God for all mankind simply reject his answers. It is not that White denies the free and earnest offer. What he does deny is the heresy that Christ’s blood is a common thing that man can apply to himself, as if it had not a designed purpose to redeem his bride and it was intended to be given to the nations all around. It is what I have called Tony’s bucket of blood theology. The reality is, that blood was applied to Christ as his sanctification on behalf of those who would believe. The One Son was given to the one bride and he was not intended to be given for all. Calvin knew this, and assigns the blood only to the elect as being in Christ in his death and as having entered into the Holy of Holies with him at that time (See his Commentary on Romans). Unreasoned men persist in quoting only portions of Calvin, only portions of Scripture, only portions of many others. And some honestly do come to wrong conclusion. However, Piper is quite clear on the extent of the propitiation over against the extent of God’s desire and clearly spells out the difference between desire and will in the primary decreedal sense of salvation. He does not deny that there are other effects of the work of Christ toward the non-elect. What happens to that when the hatefilled attackers confront White? The exclusive salvific intent of the atonement gets conveniently lost. Piper is both universalist and particularist, just like Calvin, just like White.

From the DG site on limited atonement with which Piper agrees:

The term “limited atonement” addresses the question, “For whom did Christ die?” But behind the question of the extent of the atonement lies the equally important question about the nature of the atonement. What did Christ actually achieve on the cross for those for whom he died?

If you say that he died for every human being in the same way, then you have to define the nature of the atonement very differently than you would if you believed that Christ only died for those who actually believe. In the first case you would believe that the death of Christ did not actually save anybody; it only made all men savable. It did not actually remove God’s punitive wrath from anyone, but instead created a place where people could come and find mercy—IF they could accomplish their own new birth and bring themselves to faith without the irresistible grace of God.

For if Christ died for all men in the same way then he did not purchase regenerating grace for those who are saved. They must regenerate themselves and bring themselves to faith. Then and only then do they become partakers of the benefits of the cross.

In other words if you believe that Christ died for all men in the same way, then the benefits of the cross cannot include the mercy by which we are brought to faith, because then all men would be brought to faith, but they aren’t. But if the mercy by which we are brought to faith (irresistible grace) is not part of what Christ purchased on the cross, then we are left to save ourselves from the bondage of sin, the hardness of heart, the blindness of corruption, and the wrath of God.

Therefore it becomes evident that it is not the Calvinist who limits the atonement. It is the Arminian, because he denies that the atoning death of Christ accomplishes what we most desperately need—namely, salvation from the condition of deadness and hardness and blindness under the wrath of God. The Arminian limits the nature and value and effectiveness of the atonement so that he can say that it was accomplished even for those who die in unbelief and are condemned. In order to say that Christ died for all men in the same way, the Arminian must limit the atonement to a powerless opportunity for men to save themselves from their terrible plight of depravity.

On the other hand we do not limit the power and effectiveness of the atonement. We simply say that in the cross God had in view the actual redemption of his children. And we affirm that when Christ died for these, he did not just create the opportunity for them to save themselves, but really purchased for them all that was necessary to get them saved, including the grace of regeneration and the gift of faith.

We do not deny that all men are the intended beneficiaries of the cross in some sense. 1 Timothy 4:10 says that Christ is “the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” What we deny is that all men are intended as the beneficiaries of the death of Christ in the same way. All of God’s mercy toward unbelievers—from the rising sun (Matthew 5:45) to the worldwide preaching of the gospel (John 3:16)—is made possible because of the cross.

So Tony’s minions are not idiotes, they are anoetes. For they men know better. Why will they not give a proper accounting? How can the well meant/sincere/free offer be made in Piper’s economy if indeed it was not the intent of the atonement to provide for the salvation of men? It seems that if ynottony White, he also is attacking Piper. But then, he would also be attacking the majority of historic Calvinists, for this is what the non-hyper-Calvinists believe.

White makes the same case in this video post.

“What about our concept of God?”What of it? Is God’s love a matter of indifference? Or, is there specificity, particularity, discrimination, in God’s love or is he like the unfaithful husband hitting on the neighbors wife? Tony opines and in the cross-examination style of a prosecuter, attempts making three points. But what is meant by desire? What is biblical Calvinism? What is the bilbical offer? What is the nature of the offer? And who is Berkof, how now comes him? The assumption again comes out, what is meant by “desire it in any sense.” The avalanche of references given mean nothing, for what ynottony does is to not rightly handle what he says his opponents have said in the first place. That another writter should agree with ynottony is a superfluous appeal to authority and non sequiter. What is in question is what White believes, not what Quintillian might have believed.

As White says, terms mean one thing to the likes of ynottony and they are unwilling to allow for any other definintion, as White does, no matter how the subject is approached.

More White

White paper on Limited Atonement

In this article White says:

Christ gave Himself in behalf of His Church, His Body, and that for the purpose of cleansing her and making her holy. If this was His intention for the Church, why would He give Himself for those who are not of the Church? Would He not wish to make these “others” holy as well? Yet, if Christ died for all men, there are many, many who will remain impure for all eternity. Was Christ’s death insufficient to cleanse them? Certainly not. Did He have a different goal in mind in dying for them? [I am not here denying that the death of Christ had effects for all men, indeed, for all of creation. I believe that His death is indeed part of the “summing up of all things” in Christ. But, we are speaking here solely with the salvific effect of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. One might say that Christ’s death has an effect upon those for whom it was not intended as an atoning sacrifice.] No, His sacrificial death in behalf of His Church results in her purification, and this is what He intended for all for whom He died.

Someone is lying, and it is not James White, nor Phil Johnson, nor Piper nor Calvin, for these men agree. So, someone is lying about what these men said. I say lie, because it would be one thing to not know and make the mistake, or honestly have evaluated the subject and rendered an informed opinion, it is quite another to claim what is obviously not the case as an expert on the subject.

Again, what is meant by free-offer? Curt Daniels said that true hyper-Calvinism denied any universal aspects to the atonement. In his definition he makes clear that those who denied the free-offer also denied duty faith. Neither of which White actually does (again mind the definitions). Daniels further examines the defined extent of the atonement by several camps. He found in Calvin universal atonement. But, it can be found also in Calvin, a dual purpose, universality of aspects as well as a particularity, with which White agrees. That is not what is in contention. Daniels says Davenant, Baxter, and Ussher all taught a qualified universalism, or in otherwords, one could not say that they were strictly universalists. Daniels also admits that none of the church fathers taught either a strictly universal nor strictly limited atonement. As I have mentioned, there is the language from which both could be drawn. However, it must beconditioned upon the whole of doctrine and the intent of the atonement cannot be subtracted from the effects of it. One must wonder what Daniels means about Calvin when is it obvious that Calvin did as White does, as Daniels admonished, qualify, qualify, qualify, but I digress.

What is always necessary before the labels are licked and sticked is that one seeks further and without the blinders of predjudice. That is really what is happening with the false accusations made against White by Allen and various Arminian toadies. He doesn’t do what ynottony says, and he is in agreement with the majority position and even people like Daniels can be wrong in assessing Calvin. Helms makes exacting the argument that Calvin did indeed teach limited atonement: To this pretended difficulty of Pighius, therefore, I would briefly reply that Christ was so ordained the Saviour of the whole world, as that He might save those that were given unto Him by the Father out of the whole world, that He might be the eternal life of them of whom He is the Head; that He might receive into a participation of all the ‘blessings in Him’ all those whom God adopted to Himself by His own unmerited good pleasure to be His heirs . . . Hence we read everywhere that Christ diffuses life into none but the members of his own body. And he that will not confess that it is a special gift and a special mercy to be engrafted into the body of Christ, has never read with spiritual attention Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. Hereupon follows also a third important fact, that the virtue and benefits of Christ are extended unto, and belong to, none but the children of God. Calvin made the distinction in the universality of the atonement in what it accomplishes in its comprehensive aspects. The difficulty is in the word atonement, for it was in this single act that all the accomplishments of Christ culminate. However, when we speak of atonement as being propitiatory and subsitutionary, it becomes heretical to claim that it was efficacious in its todality toward those form whom it was not made. None but a few argue that Christ was the substitutionary atonement for the entirety of mankind in this sense. And they are wrong. It does not require equity in intent for the intention of God’s love for his creation to be fulfilled.

The only thing that remains is repentance and apology. We wait…

There is still more to this issue. Why did ynottony team up with this faction of Calvinist haters in the SBC? To establish a peaceful resolution? I think not.

Pray For All Of Those In Authority

Prayer For the Chief

…Hence we conclude, that fanatics, who wish to have magistrates taken away, are destitute of all humanity, and breathe nothing but cruel barbarism. How different is it to say, that we ought to pray for kings, in order that justice and decency may prevail, and to say, that not only the name of kingly power, but all government, is opposed to religion! We have the Spirit of God for the Author of the former sentiment, and therefore the latter must be from the Devil.

If any one ask, Ought we to pray for kings, from whom we obtain none of these advantages? I answer, the object of our prayer is, that, guided by the Spirit of God, they may begin to impart to us those benefits of which they formerly deprived us. It is our duty, therefore, not only to pray for those who are already worthy, but we must pray to God that he may make bad men good. We must always hold by this principle, that magistrates were appointed by God for the protection of religion, as well as of the peace and decency of society, in exactly the same manner that the earth is appointed to produce food. “Neither more nor less than the earth is appointed to produce what is adapted to our nourishment.” Accordingly, in like manner as, when we pray to God for our daily bread, we ask him to make the earth fertile by his blessing; so in those benefits of which we have already spoken, we ought to consider the ordinary means which he has appointed by his providence for bestowing them.

To this must be added, that, if we are deprived of those benefits, the communication of which Paul assigns to magistrates, that is through our own fault. It is the wrath of God that renders magistrates useless to us, in the same manner that it renders the earth barren; and, therefore, we ought to pray for the removal of those chastisements which have been brought upon us by our sins.

On the other hand, princes, and all who hold the office of magistracy, are here reminded of their duty. It is not enough, if, by giving to every one what is due, they restrain all acts of violence, and maintain peace; but they must likewise endeavor to promote religion, and to regulate morals by wholesome discipline. The exhortation of David (Psalm 2:12) to “kiss the Son,” and the prophecy of Isaiah, that they shall be nursing — fathers of the Church, (Isaiah 49:23,) are not without meaning; and, therefore, they have no right to flatter themselves, if they neglect to lend their assistance to maintain the worship of God… Calvin, Commentary on First Timothy 2.

Calvin sums up the different ideas that are contained in the exhortation. It takes into consideration the destruction of enemies that was part of David’s pleas, but at the same time, Calvin is clear in pointing out that those who only petition for vengeance do harm to the Gospel, for Calvin goes on to explain the desire of God for the salvation of men, of whom we are who were likewise His enemies. There is also what will be discovered later in Timothy and in Ephesians and elsewhere, that our service to those who God has given for our good, be they good or not, is a requirement of sincerity and not merely the cover of sweet words from a bitter belly. The overriding purpose is that we live at peace with our governors, not that they live in peace with us, necessarily. In either circumstance, our disengagement with civilian affairs in as much as such engagement interferes with the work of the Gospel is to be pursued. The work of the Gospel is primary, not government, not social works. Such that, it is we who are to be at peace in what ever circumstance we live in. Our prayer of course should be that the government is godly, and improving in godliness, but as Calvin states, even in the captivity of Babylon, we are to be subject to the rulers according to godliness, pursuing goodness even in the face of tribulations.

Pray then for the peace of Babylon, that the Gospel not be hindered. The reality is that it is evil to call for the destruction of enemies simply so that we might have the benefits of God graces. Instead, if it is that he should take away our enemies, then let it be that the graces that we know become theirs. We have the history of the OT. God did both; he brought the destruction of the enemies of God by the sword and by the reformation of the hearts of kings, even those whose faith was not the faith of God. Therefore we walk circumspectly understanding that God’s desire is that all manners of men be saved, even the likes of Paul. Paul knew all to well the grace of God afforded to him who once killed the saints of God. Then let us understand that we all were him at one time and pray for those who spitefully abuse us as well as those who protections afford us the ability to establish churches freely for the spread of the Gospel.

John Piper: Racist, Sexist, The State And The Church

Where does Scripture forbid a woman from having a vocation outside of the home? It is a terrible imposition upon Scripture to force traditional views of womanhood upon it.

Why is it a golden opportunity? Obama is Euro-African-American like sixty percent of those of African descent in the United States, not merely an African hyphenate. It is Obama who has made it a racial issue. Why continue race baiting? Could it be that Piper’s fascination with race equity and faux guilt is as much a racist attitude as Obama’s race hatred?

John Piper of Desiring God Ministries goes on, and actually does a good job from here on out. He notes that the reason that kingdom work is not being done is because we have too much invested in this life. Too much that can be lost. What miserable people the church must be filled with, then.

At Between Two Worlds Justin Taylor lays out an outline:

Prophetic perspective
Sovereignty of God

The reality is that the last three are the Gospel. They are not separate subjects. The sin of covetous that Piper covers, the prosperity Gospel that is endemic in U.S evangelicalism that says this wasting disease is the kingdom of God, is a good jumping off point. He corrects those who fear God’s judgement, but does not say why it is that God is judging the U.S.; why “that is the judgement,” why any corruption within the U.S. is God’s judgement upon the world and not just this country. The U.S. is not the kingdom of God, will never be, and as he rightly divines, it will go the way of all nations. The fact is that, and I wish Piper would have expounded upon it, Romans 1 applies to all nations. The worsening conditions are not because of anything one person or the nation as a collective whole does or does not do contra Richard Land and Brian McLaren and the rest of the emergents be they fundamentalist/traditionalists of Land’s type, or anti-orthodox/neo-traditionalists, like McLaren. Piper is right, that whether God is blessing us or withholding blessing is impossible to discern. Which is which?

Was the judgement of God upon Germany, Nazism? For what? For being the home of Luther? Others have rightly stated that if the U.S. was founded upon the reality of Princetonian perspectives, then why is it now cursed? And if we could restore the former glory, what glory would that be, a fate-filled expectation that we would become the latter, extolling Peter Singer rather than Edwards? The question might be asked, also; if Israel is God’s chosen nation, why then was that a curse? Did Israel do right when they entered the promise land and killed the inhabitants? Did the Law become to them death? They aborted the babies of pregnant mothers? Wiped out the innocents? But, who is innocent? And, where is Jesus’ plea, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”? Or, what then shall be our plea as a person, or a nation? Shall we like Job press our innocence and be found liars? God alone is just, and right, and good, and the blessing or cursing belongs to Him who does as he pleases with that which he has created for his own purpose and respects no person, or nation.

Piper is right. We need to preach the Gospel, beginning with the church. She has joined the world, made her bed among the nations where she prostitutes herself to politics as to kings for her security and future, boasts of her righteousness and presses for her rights among men. My guess, though, is that people like Piper will not call out by name the smooth talking shepherds who lead the flocks in the broad ways of this world. Speaking in generalities does not get the job done. Was Paul correct in sighting the names of those who foisted a false eschatology? Some of the worst prosperity teachers reside within the fold of conservative Christianity, but they are spread like cancer throughout the entire church. This world, Piper rightly observes, is wasting away. America will not forever stand as a beacon of truth, (as if she ever did). If Israel, God’s chosen, was not able stand, blessed as she was, what trust can man put in kings and fortresses, horses and spears or an elected politician. Regardless of who is elected, there are always rebel children who refuse to honor God’s anointed and chosen leader. Obama needs to be told, flatly that his faith is an abomination. But, to be told, Piper must condemn the notions of people like Warren, Land, even Driscoll, and a host of leading evangelicals who are teaching their flocks fornication with the temple of man, and are no less guilty, even if theirs is a conservative utopianism.

If judgement is to begin, let it begin with the household of God, however cruel, or harsh, it may be.