Raise Your Hand… If You’re Sure!

Raise Your Hand… If You’re Sure!

One of the biggest purported “selling points” of Reformed theology has always been the doctrine of assurance. It is not uncommon to hear things like, “In Rome you’re stuck on a never-ending sacramental treadmill, but what you get in Geneva is the peace that comes from the full assurance of faith. Why would anyone trade assurance for fear and uncertainty?” I would respectfully demure at this point. While it is true...

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The Gospel as Perfect Love Casting Out Fear

The Gospel as Perfect Love Casting Out Fear

We have seen throughout this section of our series on gospel paradigms that all of the principal NT figures spoke and wrote as though their basic understanding of the gospel was that salvation comes through the New Covenant gift of the Spirit who accomplishes in God’s people what the law of Moses could not by enabling us to display the love of God and neighbor that the Father has desired all along. I have traced all of these elements in...

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“Did Somebody Say ‘Baby’?”

There is a recent post at Called to Communion titled “St. Augustine on Faith Without Love” in the comments of which there seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding about the Reformed notion of the need for good works. Since there weren’t any other Protestants involved in the discussion, I chimed in with a handful of comments. In one comment in particular, I brought up Angelina Jolie (as I am occasionally wont to do): The reason why the...

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Assurance Through Action

Because the soul is not only affected by the consideration of religious things, it must be remembered that the mere presence of affections does not prove the presence of true religion. Edwards listed various examples of affections which are neither proof of the presence of true religion nor proof of its absence. Edwards argued that true religious affections arise only from those influences of the Spirit of God that are saving and not common. In...

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Assurance and the Law of God

We have been considering the doctrine of assurance, and I have been hinting that a properly-realized eschatology should reduce the skepticism concerning the practical syllogism that I often detect from Reformed believers. Though confessional Reformed and Presbyterian theologians are often unjustly (and pejoratively) labeled “Lutheran” by those whose seminaries never taught them that the distinction between the law and the gospel is...

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Assurance in the Ache

We have seen that any genuine claim to assurance of salvation, however small in measure, is impossible without the work of the third Person of the Trinity, whose primary role in the economy of redemption is to “take what is [Christ’s] and declare it to [us],” revealing to us treasure that, without his testimony, “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man” (Jn. 16:14-15; I Cor. 2:9). As the concept of...

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