Stones to Hurl

I have been reading again Leonard Verduin’s excellent book, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren. I would recommend that anyone who wishes to understand the differences between the views of Reformed Theology and those of New Covenant Theology or Baptist views, read and take seriously this book. One fact that has become exceedingly clear to me is that the term “Reformed Baptist” is an oxymoron.

Another somewhat peripheral lesson the book teaches is that the misrepresentation of another’s views is nothing new. Commenting on Calvin’s willingness to misrepresent the Anabaptists’ views concerning “the community of wives,” Verduin reminds his readers of the old saying, “If a man wants to hurl a stone at a dog he can usually find the stone.”

To some extent it is encouraging to remember there have always been unwarranted stone hurlers who are quite willing to impute iniquity to others without a cause. It seems to me one must view such people in only one of two ways. They must either be uneducated and theologically clueless or they must be pernicious, perfidious, and deliberate liars. One way to avoid such a practice is to quote the words of those with whom we disagree in the context in which they were written or spoken. Don’t tell me what someone said; let me read their words for myself. Even then, some people seem to have the talent to bring out of other people’s words more than they put into them.

Just yesterday I viewed a video of John Piper answering a question about what he would ask the Pope if he could have a two minute conversation with him. His answer was that he would ask, “Do you teach that we should rely entirely on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith alone as the ground of God being 100% for us, after which necessary sanctification comes?”

Look at the following response, “Piper, wants to add to our justification with what he calls, necessary sanctification. He continues qualifying or defining our justification as he states that, “after which” (the imputed righteousness of Christ is given but apparently that is not enough to save us) “necessary sanctification comes. . . .Umm, John, you and the Pope agree. You’re Catholic.”

How in the world did he get that out of Piper’s statement? That would be bad enough, but we all know that people who comment on blogs often aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. The really bad part is the response of the blog host, a man who fancies himself the defender of all truth and the church’s savior from the evils of New Calvinism, who responded as follows:

“Exactly. The key is also, ‘Christ for us.’ Did you catch that in the video? That is how they can get away with fusing justification with sanctification–both are monergistic, Christ obeys for us. Your dead on, in essence, and for all practical purposes, New Calvinism is based on the same premise as SDA [Seventh Day Adventism] and Romanism–the fusion of just[ification]. and sanct[ification] . Except NC [New Calvinism] claims to be Reformed and orth[odox], because of the COGOUS [Centrality of the gospel outside of us] formula.”

I just noticed a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on my side bar that I think is apropos. He said, “There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” These guys seem to have engaged in creative hearing. There is not the slightest indication in Piper’s statement that he agrees with Rome. If based on Christ’s imputed righteousness, God is 100% for us, how could we add to that by sanctification? Rome does not teach that we should “rely entirely on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith alone.”

Is sanctification necessary for salvation? Yes! Is it necessary for justification before God? Not at all! Remember that salvation is more than justification. God’s purpose is to make his chosen people like Christ; that purpose will be realized. Sanctification is necessary to prepare us for the eternal state by restoring us to God’s image.

I suspect such stone hurling is here to stay. Jesus was misquoted.

21“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:21-23).

The apostle Paul was misrepresented. “8And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just” (Romans 3:8).

It will probably happen to you.

The next time you look for a stone to hurl at the most despised dog in your world, you might just want to discern whether this dog might just be God’s dog. When the dog’s owner begins to retaliate, it might be unpleasant.


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