Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mike Horton Reponds to Lane Tipton

Mike Horton Responds to Lane Tipton: Christ the Center

The following was posted on the Westminster Seminary California blog. I eagerly look forward to hearing Dr. Horton's response to Lane Tipton's accusation that Horton's view of justification is essentially Lutheran, non-reformed, and semi-pelagian. For further information see my earlier blog post at Reformed Forum: Union with Christ.

Horton Interview on Christ the Center

Recently, Dr. Horton was interviewed on the audio program Christ the Center, hosted by Reformed Forum, on the topic of Union with Christ. This interview was given in response to a recent episode with WTS Professor Lane Tipton which discussed various dimensions of the doctrine of Union with Christ, including reference to Dr. Horton’s work, Covenant and Salvation: Union with Christ.
The audio of the discussion with Horton is embedded below, and the audio for the interview with Professor Tipton to which he is responding can be found here.

Westminster Seminary California


Charlie J. Ray said...
Apparently the heated discussions over neo-legalism and the Gospel have gotten the legalists inflamed. The comments at Reformed Forum are now moderated:) Anyway, I'm posting two comments I made over at the Forum in case they do not get posted there: Charlie J. Ray says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. December 21, 2011 at 8:36 am Speaking as one sympathetic to the theology and apologetics of Gordon H. Clark, I have to say that all this emphasis on “union with Christ” as if it were some sort of mystical, existential encounter with a “person” rather than an intellectual apprehension, comprehension, and assent to the propositional truths of Scripture and what Scripture teaches about Christ is a serious bone of contention. If what Tipton is saying about union with Christ is true, then what he is teaching is essentially a non-doctrinal personal encounter. That’s simply neo-orthodoxy rehashed. Second of all, to confuse the forensic justification imputed to the believer with infused sanctification is to deny the very Gospel itself. Even Charles Hodge was not so blind as to confuse imputed righteousness with the imperfect, filthy rags of sanctification. Of course we obey the moral law out of gratitude to Christ for what He did for us on the cross and for His perfect and sinless life. But that obedience is not now nor will it ever be part of our ground or basis for salvation. It is a “result” of a credible profession of faith but not the cause of salvation. Even the late Archbishop Thomas Cranmer got this. The 39 Articles, Articles 11 and 12, on justification and good works say this: Article XI Of the Justification of Man We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification. Provenance Based on the Confession of Würtemberg. Article XII Of Good Works Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God’s judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit. If anything, to emphasize sanctification above justification by melding the two together in a new sine qua non of the “gospel” in the doctrine of union with Christ is to commit the error of Osiander where justification and sanctification become infused. In fact in your earlier discussion with Lane Tipton the heading said, “Transformative aspects of justification.” This is the Roman Catholic position. There are no “transformative aspects of justification”! Justification is imputed and forensic and without that forensic, declarative justification there is no salvation and no acceptance of good works as pleasing to God. The 39 Articles of Religion refutes good works as acceptable before justification and the Articles also refute the idea that there is some sort of higher life of total sanctification, i.e. supererogatory works through “union with Christ” or any other such compromise with Rome. (See Articles 13 and 14). If union with Christ is essentially sanctification and obedience then the implication is that new believers need to prove themselves before the judgment. That begs the question, “Is faith alone enough to justify the believer?” If not, then new believers, death bed conversions, and others who simply accept the Gospel are in for a hell of a time. My contention is that Tipton’s view–along with Norman Shepherd, the theonomists and reconstructionists and a whole host of other neo-legalists–has more in common with Rome than with Geneva or Canterbury or Wittenberg. Charlie
Charlie J. Ray said...
My other comment was: Reply Charlie J. Ray says: December 21, 2011 at 8:57 am I should also point out that anyone studying the English Reformation should know that the Lutherans DID influence the English Reformers. If you notice several of the 39 Articles were inflluenced by the Confession of Wurtemberg (a Lutheran document), particularly Articles 10, 11, and 12. If you know your church history you know that the Irish Articles of Religion drew from the 39 Articles and that the Westminster Confession itself draws from the Irish Articles and from the Lambeth Articles of 1595. Therefore Tipton’s assertion that Horton depends on Lutheran theology could be said to be substantiated to some degree. But then that would mean that Tipton is the one who isn’t Reformed and Horton is Reformed. Only someone blind to church history could possibly say that Lutherans and Calvinists do not have some affinity on the doctrine of justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness. The appropriate sections of Calvin’s Institutes bear this out. Also, compare that to the Consensus of Tigerinus and one cannot help but notice that Calvin himself sought a consensus on doctrinal essentials with both Lutherans and Zwinglian Reformed theology. Hey, why not invite R. Scott Clark or Carl Trueman to discuss the historical and theological roots of the Westminster Confession? Who is really the revisionist here? Charlie Reply Leave a reply I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. (Romans 16:17-18) The Scripture verse at the end is meant to co-opt those who disagree with the neo-legalists, obviously:)
Charlie J. Ray said...
I don't know what Horton is referring to when he says that the doctrine of eternal justification has been historically connected with antinomianism and is connected with Barth is misleading. Herman Hoeksema outlined his doctrine of eternal justification in Reformed Dogmatics. Hoeksema can hardly be called an antinomian. Horton's remark is an over-generalization at best.
Charlie J. Ray said...
Revelation 13:8 KJV clearly says that Christ is "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world". In other words, logically the decree for particular atonement precedes everything else. Redemption is impossible without the atonement. Therefore to argue about the temporal falling out of the ordo salutis in real time versus God's eternal decrees is to confuse the entire basis for the ordo salutis, being of course the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation.

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