Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hardshell Antinomianism III

Chapter 177

One Hardshell apologist, with whom brother Fralick and I have engaged, wrote:

"Primitive Baptists are no strangers to the accusation of antinomianism. It is because we preach the same gospel that Paul preached." (see here)

Notice that this writer acknowledges the fact that the Hardshells have historically been labeled as "antinomian." Second, this Hardshell sees such an accusation as proof that the Hardshells preach the same soteriological truth as Paul, who was for the same reason also accused of being antinomian.

The apostle Paul taught that the law could not justify. None are saved by keeping the law, by the deeds of the law. Some did indeed perceive that such a teaching was antinomian, and the apostle was quick to answer.

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Rom. 3: 31)

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (8: 3-4)

Though none are saved by the law, nevertheless, the law is fulfilled in those who walk after the Spirit. Being saved does not make one lawless. Faith makes obedience to the law, or pleasing God, possible, and faith is the essence of the life of regeneration. God, in regeneration, has said that he "will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts." (Jer. 31:33, Heb. 10: 16)

Further, sanctification, which is progressive, is the work of God in and after regeneration and such sanctification involves obedience to the stated will of God, or to his commands (law). Faith that is dead, which does not have works of love and obedience to the word and will of God, will save no one now or in the end. But, today's Hardshells have generally rejected the faith of their fathers in denying the truth of perseverance, and of the certain and successful work of sanctification in the life of the believer. Thus, they hold to what is called "non-Lordship antinomianism."

Non-Lordship Antinomianism

The Hardshells err in thinking that the making of faith and repentance to be conditions and requirements for salvation is equivalent to making salvation to be by the law. They reason that if the sinner must "do" anything for salvation, then salvation is not by grace but by works of law. But, such reasoning is not in agreement with the teaching of the Bible.

By such reasoning one can conclude that faith, repentance, confession, perseverance, etc., are not necessary for salvation. Those who do teach that such things are necessary for salvation are teaching salvation by law. Paul, however, did not believe that trust in Christ was equivalent to a work of the law. He testified: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3: 28) If Paul followed Hardshell reasoning he would say "by faith" equals "by the law."

In "The Gospel According to the Apostles" John MacArthur discusses "non-Lordship Antinomianism."

"Contemporary no-lordship doctrine is nothing but latter-day antinomianism....It is important to understand the term antinomianism in its theological sense."

Hardshells, in holding to no-lordship teaching, with its denial of the necessity of perseverance and progressive sanctification for final salvation, are antinomian.

MacArthur wrote:

"To say someone is antinomian is not necessarily to say that person spurns holiness or condones ungodliness. Most antinomians vigorously appeal for Christians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling; but at the same time they minimize the relationship between obedience and faith. Antinomians typically believe Christians SHOULD yield to the lordship of Christ; they just do not believe surrender is a binding requirement in the gosple call to faith. Antinomians do not necessarily despise the law of God; they simply believe it is irrelevant to saving faith. They suggest that obedience to the righteous principles of the law might not become a pattern in the Christian's life (cf. Rom. 8: 4; 10": 4). In short, antinomianism is the belief that allows for justification without sanctification."

Today's Hardshells are often trying to prove that many lukewarm believers in the Bible, people who did not grow and persevere, were nevertheless justified and saved.

MacArthur wrote:

"Antinomianism makes obedience elective. While most antinomians strongly counsel Christians to obey (and even urge them to obey), they do not believe obedience is a necessary consequence of true faith."

Hardshells make faith, repentance, and personal union with Christ, conversion, progressive sanctification, perseverance, etc., all optional, not at all necessary to be finally and eternally saved. Thus they are antinomian.

MacArthur wrote:

"Clearly, no-lordship theology DOES make obedience optional. And that is what makes no-lordship theology antinomian." He also said: "No-lordship antinomianism: Those who hold this view make sanctification an optional aspect of the believer's experience."

He could just as well have said "Hardshell theology DOES make obedience optional."

MacArthur wrote:

"Antinomians minimize sanctification or even render it noncumpulsory. Antinomian discussions of salvation typically omit any consideration of practical holiness."

Again, this is the view of today's Hardshells.

MacArthur wrote:

"No-lordship theology is classic antnomiansim. There is no way around that fact."

And, again we can that "Hardshellism is classic antinomianism."

MacArthur wrote the following under the sub heading "What is Sanctification?"

"Sanctification is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in believers, making us holy by conforming our character, affections, and behavior to the image of Christ. Justification is a one-time EVENT; sanctification is an ongoing PROCESS. Justification frees us from the GUILT of sin, sanctification from the POLLUTION of sin. As we are seeing, one is as much a necessary part of God's saving work as the other."

But, Hardshells have rejected the historic teaching of the Old Baptists in refusing to make progressive sanctification a "necessary part of God's saving work."

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