Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Justification and the Christian Life: A Response to Steve Lawson

On today's program I responded to a recent lecture by Calvinistic Baptist pastor, Steve Lawson from the 2014 Shepherd's Conference. The lecture was on sanctification in the Christian life, and I showed why his approach is mistaken. This led into a discussion of justification and its centrality in the Christian life.

21 comments:

John Flanagan said...

Calvinists and Lutherans are not really so far apart on justification and election, but free will Baptists and similar minded believers have to ignore too many verses in scripture in order to make salvation a matter of man's fickle decision devoid of God's grace.

Anonymous said...

Lutherans are very far apart from Calvinists when it comes to the doctrine of justification. I have never heard a Calvinist declare that Christ died for all of mankind and that He attonened for everyone's sins thus justifying all people objectively. The Lutherans never saw the Calvinists as friends of the Faith.

J. Dean said...

I admit, Jordan, that I've not read Calvin extensively, but from what I've read of him, I've never gotten the impression that Calvin was as sanctification gung-ho as Lawson, Washer, and others are.

bjørn said...

Lutherans and calvinists are those who stand closest togheter despite on some differences about the doctrines of grace. The view of man, view of God, view on scripture, view on salvation and view on the power in the word of God are Basicly the same. Real solid Lutherans here in Norway embrace men like MacArthur and Washer for their preaching on the gospel and the christian life, even if there are big difference in sacraments and other theology. We must stand firm togheter with those we can, and warn of those who decive and preach false. I think without a doubt that Lutherans and calvinists can stand side by side.

Anonymous said...

syncretism and unionism... YUCK! To be honest, as a Lutheran, I would need to defend against the many errors and false teachings of Calvinism. No standing side by side.

David Gray said...

Many orthodox Lutherans see Calvinists as friends of the Faith. Luther and Melanchthon certainly did. If we could just get confessional Lutherans to all teach what the Book of Concord teaches about election.

Nicholas Myra said...

@David Gray

A "Confessional" Lutheran would by definition have to believe, teach, and confess all that the BOC teaches, including on election.

If only we could get all Calvinists to believe Scripture regarding the saving efficacy of Holy Baptism and the real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Anonymous said...

I agree as I am Lutheran, most all reformed pastors and friends of mine whole heartily agree that we have much in common. We both believe that the sacrament of baptism is where ones sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit is given to us, that in the sacrament of the Altar Christ’s body and blood are received in ones mouth, the practice of closed communion, that Christ died for all people and everyone’s sins have been forgiven (objectively), that God would never create a soul with the intention to suffer His wrath in hell, that one can lose their salvation (subjectively speaking) by not abiding in Christ….. Yeah, the more I think about this, we must be of one Faith being that on Sunday you go to your reformed church to offer God Worship in a much different manner than I do at my Lutheran Church. God must love the vastly different ways people gather to worship Him. Actually, if we can just agree to not agree on Baptism, Lord ’s Supper, the Atonement… then we could have a similar faith. However, I am in no way going to do that. Luther must have been a better man than I.

Nicholas Myra said...

@bjorn

Anabaptists like MacArthur and Washer will only lead astray any Lutherans that follow after them.

And those two men are not even "Calvinist" in a historic sense of the term: http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/how-many-points/

Steve Martin said...

I listen to John MacArthur's sermons on a semi-regular basis (radio). He is in my vicinity.

Law, law, law, law…and more law.

IF he ever does hand over the gospel…he rips it away with the other hand in his next few sentences.

NO thanks. Once the gospel has freed you…you'll never go back under that yoke of self-focused holiness projects.

David Gray said...

Was Melanchthon Lutheran?

David Gray said...

Let's see, someone who is confessionally Reformed believes that in Baptism the Holy Spirit confers on us what is promised to those whom He gives faith. We believe we truly and really receive Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper. We fence the table and do it biblically.

As Paul advises in Romans we don't argue with God and question His purposes as rationalists do. But we are able to stand side by side with people who are not perfect because their exegesis is flawed because we know ours is as well, we just don't necessarily know how we are in error.

David Gray said...

Also presumably men like Rod Rosenbladt and Todd Wilken aren't very good Lutherans.

J. Dean said...

David,
As we alluded to on another of the podcast commentary areas on Jordan's site, there seems to be a real divorce between Calvin's Calvinism and the Calvinism of the post-Puritan era, and I'd go so far as to say that plays out in the sacraments as well.

When I was on PuritanBoard.com with other Reformed, it was an interesting time, as those on the board were an amalgamation of Presbyterians, Dutch and American Reformed, and Calvinist Baptist, and the issue of the sacraments either seemed to be 1.) treated in a Zwinglian fashion, or 2.) not talked about altogether. Now perhaps this is in part due to the mix of people on the site, but there seemed to be an overall silence on the matter. The posters there didn't talk about any sort of efficacy with the sacraments, even to the degree that Calvin did in his writings. I inquired once as to whether or not somebody over there held Zwinglian views when the topic of intinction came up (which many Reformed condemn) and was met with rather unpleasant responses.

Although there were some real differences between Calvin and Luther, it's even more interesting to see the differences between Calvin and modern Calvinists on issues. As I mentioned to Jordan in an earlier post, I don't recall reading that Calvin was as heavy about the third use of the law as people like Washer, MacArthur, Puritan-influenced pastors, etc., are today. Truthfully, what I read from him sounded MUCH more like Tullian Tchividjian, or like sensible Lutherans, than it did the Puritans. Same with issues like the Sabbath and the Regulative Principle of Worship: the Presbyterians went rabid on these issues, while Calvin's own thoughts and words are nothing of the sort (he, like Luther, believed the Sabbath was done away with, but don't you DARE mention that to a strict Presbyterian today!). And I think it was you who mentioned that Calvin did absolution in his church; I've never heard of a modern Calvinist doing such a thing.

It would be an interesting study to take Calvin and modern Calvinism and set them side-by-side to see how much deviance there is. I'm persuaded, like you, that classical Calvinism is FAR closer to Lutheranism than it is to modern Reformed Calvinism.

J. Dean said...

Steve Martin,

I agree with you about the abuse of the 3rd use as you expressed. Anybody undermining the gospel with a return to the law is taking a step in a dangerous direction.

If THIS is what you oppose when it comes to third use, meaning a law that completely ignores grace, or attempts to supplement grace with merit, then I completely agree with you.

Anonymous said...

David, You said, “in Baptism the Holy Spirit confers on us what is promised to those whom He gives faith”.

Is this true for all who are baptized? Or only the elect? For whom did Christ die? I do not see how Lutherans and Calvinists share the same Faith. You are using similar language but the meaning and is completely different.

David Gray said...

It is true for the elect. I don't say we agree completely but the fact is confessional Lutherans and confessional Calvinists are closer than any other two groupings. That is why I have my family in a Missouri Synod church now as we don't have a confessional Reformed church within 100 miles.

bjørn said...

Well, then i wonder with what ears you listen my friend. Why dont you listen to "the glorious gospel" by MacArthur and "the crucifixion of Christ" by Lawson. Both preach a clear gospel. The big difference is that they speak much more clear about fruits of salvation than Lutherans do, for example from 1.John. But the disagreements are'nt that big when you listen carefuly. Except the baptism. There we differ big time.

Jon said...

Good stuff. It'd be great to hear you do a critique of a Tim Conway sermon some time. The illbehonest website seems to be a popular one.

terriergal said...

Jordan where is this Lawson sermon found? I can't find any of the 2014 Conference messages for some reason. Unless it's this one http://vimeo.com/89619924

(but I wasn't able to find it by googling - I found it by finding the older Shepherd's Conference videos and then going to Grace Community Church's vimeo page.)

Also if you have an idea where the offending segments are, time stamps would be helpful.

And I second the request for a Tim Conway sermon. Especially see if you can find one on the Romans 7 wretched man. I'm pretty sure he's one who thinks that's about Paul before he was saved.

Another one like him who is catching on is Mike Fabarez.

Janine Dupre said...

As a former Roman Catholic with a friend who is and was born into the Lutheran faith, I was surprised last year when she and I were discussing religions, how close and similar the two religions are.