Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More examples

Auburn Ave. Summary Statement

8. God has decreed from the foundation of the world all that comes to pass, including who would be saved and lost for all eternity. Included in His decree, however, is that some persons, not destined for final salvation, will be drawn to Christ and His people only for a time. These, for a season, enjoy real blessings, purchased for them by Christ’s cross and applied to them by the Holy Spirit in his common operations through Word and Sacrament (Hebrews 6:4-6; Matthew 25:14ff; etc.).

Here is a perfect example of objective power in the sacrament. Those who are not elect can and do get the blessings of Christ on the cross by taking the sacrament. It is granted that they will not be saved because at some point they will frustrate with unbelief the power of the sacrament. This is new theology of sacraments that is arising in the Reformed churches.


Mark said...


Have you read the Westminster Confession?

Geoff said...

Mark, Care to elaborate?

Lee said...

Rev. Horne,

I have read the Westminster, though I subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity and therefore do not have the same expertise on the WCF as you. I will tell you where I think the above statement of Auburn Avenue contradicts the Westminster, and you are welcome to further discuss my assertions.

One thing that I think is important with regard to any confession or creed is the order in which things appear. Everything that is mentioned in the Westminster in the section on baptism should be read through the lens of what is discussed in the preceding chapter on sacraments.

WCF 27.1 seems to me to indicate that the sacraments are instituted to “represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him; as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world.” Yet, the AAPC seems to say the sacraments do more than represent Christ to us, to actually unite us to Christ. The WCF does go on to say that baptism is “a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ,”(28.1), but this should be read with an understanding of the previous definition of sacrament. The Westminster stated that the benefits are represented to us in the sacraments, not conferred. I also believe a key phrase is found in 28.6 where the efficacy of baptism, not tied to the moment of baptism, is “not only offered but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto.” It seems important that the benefit is only given to those to whom the grace of baptism already belongs. In my understanding, the benefit is to the elect who have grace, not just to anyone who happens to eat the bread/wine. Thus, the AAPC statement seems to violate WCF 27.1 and 28.6 by declaring that the benefits are conferred to those who are not elect, who will not persevere to final salvation.

I thank you for commenting, and I look forward to hearing your response and explanation of the WCF. May God Bless you,