Whiffing Another Slap Shot

Someone needs to tell Scott Clark that when you are in the penalty box for a three hour penalty, you don’t get to keep skating around on the ice. He says:

There have been numerous attempts to resurrect the old “grace and cooperation” with grace scheme. The Arminians tried it in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and it has persisted since. Richard Baxter tried it in the 17th century. The neo-nomians tried it during the Marrow Controversy (18th century) and moralists have tried it repeatedly since and they [are] trying it again today (in the Federal Vision). Some folk even say that “grace and cooperation with grace” toward eventual righteousness is Reformed theology. Well, it isn’t, not according to the Reformed confessions.

So, according to this representation, if we may use our terms loosely, the Federal Vision consists of moralists who are advancing that old-timey semi-Pelagian foolishness. According to this view, God offers us grace, and then we go on to make that grace effective by cooperating with it.

Just so everybody knows, this would be something that we would deny. I italicize the word deny there in the hopes that Scott Clark would eventually be able to pick up on it. We are rapidly approaching the time when everyone in the country will be in possession of this theological datum with the exception of the Escondido faculty, and I am trying to head off this particular embarrassment.

Any cooperation with grace that we offer, such as it is, is itself a grace or gift from God lest any man boast. Our salvation, all of it, including our responses during the course of our salvation, is from grace, in grace, to grace, on grace, under grace, and with grace. If I left out any preposition that makes good orthodox sense when combined with the word grace, then let us affirm that one too. I not only affirm sola gratia, but tota gratia as well. God does not do 90% and we do 10%. God does not do 99% and we do 1%. God does it all, and all that we do after the fact is entirely dependent upon what He has already done. Jesus gave the command, and then Lazarus came out of the tomb. This was not an instance where Jesus pulled and Lazarus pushed. Jesus did not give the command to rise from the dead so that Lazarus could then think about whether to make that particular command efficacious by cooperating with it. I mean, good grief. After Jesus gave the command to rise, all the essential life-giving work was already done, and so when Lazarus did walk around after that, his steps were not intended to be a walking embodiment of semi-Pelagianism. And it would not have helped his Calvinistic bona fides if he were to lie down and hold his breath.

God can bring good out of anything, and there has been a fun side benefit to this controversy. As I interact with Arminian friends (who really do hold to some form of “grace and cooperation with grace” scheme described above), it pleases me no end to know that they have to figure out how my brand of high octane Calvinism has been identified by a paid theologian at Westminster West as being the same thing as what they teach. Heh. Hey, bro. How about that Finney, eh?

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