Monthly Archives: February 2012

Van Til: Doctrine of Salvation

“… Christ must subdue us in order to give us knowledge. But this subduing of us by Christ is done through his Spirit. It is the Spirit who takes the things of Christ and gives them unto us.” …

“For this reason we must observe at this juncture that the Spirit who applies the work of Christ is himself also a member of the ontological Trinity. He would have to be. Unless he were, the work of salvation would not be the work of God alone. If God was to be maintained in his incommunicable attributes [the attributes of God that cannot be communicated or gifted to objects or persons in the universe; e.g., the aseity of God, immutability of God, omnipresence of God, etc.], the Spirit of God, not man, had to effect the salvation of man. The only alternative to this would be that man could at some point take the initiative in the matter of his own salvation. This would imply that the salvation wrought by Christ could be frustrated by man. Suppose that none should accept the salvation offered to them. In that case the whole of Christ’s work would be in vain, and the eternal God would be set at naught by temporal man. Even if we say that in the case of any one individual sinner the question of salvation is in the last analysis dependent upon man rather than upon God, that is, if we say that man can of himself accept or reject the gospel as he pleases, we have made the eternal God dependent upon man. We have then, in effect, denied the incommunicable attributes of God. If we refuse to mix the eternal and the temporal at the point of creation and at the point of the incarnation, we must also refuse to mix them at the point of salvation” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of The Faith, 40).

Wright: After You Believe

“What are we here for in the first place? The fundamental answer we shall explore in this book is that what we’re “here for” is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we’re made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, in its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not least by “following Jesus.” The way this works out is that it produces, through the work of the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character” (N.T. Wright, After You Believe, 26).

Wright: After You Believe

“How do we not only think clearly and wisely about what to do, in our personal lives, our church lives, and our entire public life, but also discover how to do it” (12)? … “Interestingly, Jesus seems to have given both sides of this question the same answer: “Follow me!” That is both what you should do and how you should do it” (14).

“You can divide theories about human behavior into two: either you obey rules imposed from the outside, or you discover the deepest longings of your own heart and try to go with them.” … “But what we notice in Mark 10 is something which seems to operate in a different dimension. For a start, it is a call, not to specific acts of behavior, but to a type of character. For another thing, it is a call to see oneself as having a role to play within a story-—and a story where, to join up with the first point, there is one supreme Character whose life is to be followed” (17).

“My contention in this book is that the New Testament invites its readers to learn how to be human in this particular way, which will both inform our moral judgments and form our characters so that we can live by their guidance. The name for this way of being human, this kind of transformation, is virtue” (N.T. Wright, After You Believe, 18).