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Clark

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

Gordon Clark says....

 

"Faith, by definition, is assent to understood propositions ... all saving faith is assent to one of more Biblical propositions." (Faith and Saving Faith, p118)

 

What a clear definition of faith! Clark says that faith is simply assenting to certain propositions in the Bible. Now, if that is all that faith is, then it would be really easy to work out whether or not you are a believer. You would simply examine whether or not you assent to the propositions concerning Christ's person and work.

 

And your belief in the truth would prove to you at all times that you are saved. Your belief in the Gospel would PROVE to you that you are a believer. And you would think, "I believe the Gospel, so I am a believer and that means I am saved!"

 

Clearly, Clark's view of faith GUARANTEES assurance of salvation for the believer AT ALL TIMES. Because if we hold to the clear and simple definition of faith that Clark gives, we will never be struggling to work out if we have faith. We know EXACTLY what faith is -- it is assent to the truth -- so we WE WILL HAVE NO TROUBLE RECOGNISING THE FAITH IN US. And because we recognise our faith at all times -- we simply recognise our assent to the Gospel -- we will know we are saved at all times.

 

Sadly, Clark did not have this assurance of salvation I am talking about. In fact, in the book Gordon Clark: Personal Recollections, it is noted that Clark believed that we could not know we are saved until we die. Clark DOUBTED HIS SALVATION. But why did he? Couldn't his assent prove to him that he was saved?

 

What went wrong? What lead Gordon Clark to believe that, "... assurance may be shaken, diminished and intermitted. ... The Christian ... can lose his assurance... Assurance of salvation, like other blessings, does not come to all Christians" (p179, What Do Presbyterians Believe?)

 

I feel terrible. I'm devastated. Gordon Clark has helped me so much to see the truth on some matters. Yet, here he is saying that we can lose our assurance of salvation. And he says elsewhere that we can't be certain we are saved, until after we die.

I almost cry while writing this. My favorite writer is telling me that I can't be sure I am saved until I die.

 

But why can't my assent to the Gospel prove to me I am saved NOW, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN?

 

Why can't the LIGHT of the Gospel shining in my mind prove to me I am saved RIGHT NOW AND FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

 

Here is the answer. Clark held to the view that unbelievers have an innate knowledge of God. So he could never be sure whether or not he was an unbeliever. He writes,

 

"It was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9) ... John 1:9 cannot be soteric because it refers to all men. But this is far from showing that the light hits them in a merely external way, as it might shine on a rock or tree. The conclusion therefore is that CREATIVE LIGHT GIVES EVERY MAN AN INNATE KNOWLEDGE sufficient to make all men responsible for their evil actions." (The Image and Likeness of God, 1983)

 

"Is it not possible that THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS INNATE? May WE NOT HAVE BEEN BORN WITH AN INTUITION OF GOD, and with this a priori equipment we see the glory of God upon the heavens? ... In the act of creation God implanted in [every single] man A KNOWLEDGE OF HIS EXISTENCE. Romans 1:32 and 2:15 seem to indicate that God also implanted some knowledge of morality. WE ARE BORN WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE ... With the aid of this innate knowledge we may confidently sing: "O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder ... Consider all the worlds thy hands have made". (What Do Presbyterians Believe? p10,11)

 

Can you see Clark's error? I hope so!

He is saying that unbelievers are enlightened with the knowledge of God. Clark thought that unbelievers are born with the truth implanted, and the light of God in them.

 

Thus, he could never be sure if he was an unbeliever.

 

I have mentioned before that I am no longer a Presbyterian. Now, I have full assurance of salvation. I've realised that the unregenerate -- according to the Bible -- have NO KNOWLEDGE of God, so my understanding of the truth proves to me I am regenerate. "The fool says in his heart there is no God", but I believe in Jehovah -- the Just God and Savior -- then I am not a fool, but regenerate. Anyone who believes in the existence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a BELIEVER and is justified by Christ's righteousness. See John 17. Simply knowing the True God and Christ is everlasting life. We must DENY the unregenerate any knowledge of God, and this means in order to answer the question "Am I saved?" we simply think "Yes, I have the knowledge of the True God, therefore I am saved." Only the good soil "understood" the Word (see the parable of the soils). In other words, the other soils had no "root", that is understanding. The difference between the unregenerate and the regenerate is UNDERSTANDING.

 

Notice also that Gordon H. Clark said...

 

"An [apparent] contradiction occurs when Romans 1:21 says that the heathens know God and 1 Corinthians 1:21 says that they do not know God." (Commentary of 1 Corinthians, p126)

 

Clark never was able to deal with this apparent contradiction.

 

Here is my solution. Numbers 14:15 says that the nations HEARD about Jehovah.

 

So could it be that Romans 1 is saying that all the nations KNEW ABOUT GOD BY HEARING?

 

In Job 8:8 Bildad the Gentiles says he knew about God by HEARING WHAT PREVIOUS GENERATIONS HAD SAID ABOUT GOD.

 

So we can say that unbelievers merely HEAR about God. And they are condemned.

 

Then we have NO contradiction, do we ???

 

We can also say that they "KNOW NOT GOD" as 1 Cor says. Because they do NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY HEAR THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE!

 

Here's Clark's problem again...

 

"An [apparent] contradiction occurs when Romans 1:21 says that the heathens know God and 1 Corinthians 1:21 says that they do not know God." (Commentary of 1 Corinthians, p126)

 

But the contradiction is solved if we say that the heathens only HEARD about God but THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND / BELIEVE WHAT THEY HEARD (THEY DID NOT KNOW it)

 

In other words -- the LIGHT SHINED IN THE DARKNESS BUT THE DARKNESS DID NOT COMPREHEND IT (John 1)

 

Clark's problem was that he said that unbelievers had the light "inside them"!!!!

 

so he was never sure if he was an unbeliever too.

 

but we are free from the doubting and fears he had... if we say that the unbeliever is in total darkness.... then the light of Christ in our minds will always prove to us we are saved!

 

notice that Gordon H. Clark also wrote...

 

"... assurance may be shaken, diminished and intermitted. ... Assurance of salvation, like other blessings, does not come to all Christians... There is such a thing as backsliding, both sudden and gradual. The Christian may fall into sin and LOSE HIS ASSURANCE."(p179, What Do Presbyterians Believe?)

 

Look what happened to Clark. This is another one of his major contradictions.... He says

 

"The Lord may indeed grant me assurance of my election by means of my good works." (Commentary on 1 and 2 Peter, p62)

 

But then he admits that SIN WILL CAUSE HIM TO DOUBT.

 

And he's right. If he bases his assurance on his works, then whenever he sins, he is going to lose the assurance!!

 

The problem goes back to the Westminster Confession that says in Chapter 1 "That the light of nature reveals to all men that there is a God".

 

And they give the unbeliever LIGHT IN HIS CONSCIENCE. So they can never be sure if they are unbelievers... so they TRY TO USE THEIR WORKS FOR CONFIDENCE IN VAIN!!!

 

But the lost have NO LIGHT IN THEM. Hosea says "MY PEOPLE PERISH FOR A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE".

 

Man LACKS the knowledge of God.

 

So while Clark said

1. All men have a natural knowledge of God

 

The Scripture says

1. All men have a natural IGNORANCE of God

- "the fool says in his heart there is no God". In fact, Paul said that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.!!

 

Can you see how this one mistake -- by giving unbelievers light in their conscience -- is Clark's fundamental error... It forced him to make the grounds of assurance to be our goods works... and that meant that assurance is lost whenever we sin (according to Clark)

 

But if we put the unbeliever in total darkness... as Genesis 6 says, then assurance is guaranteed for the believer. The truth in the believer will always prove to him he is saved.

 

Isaiah 1:3 says that oxen know their master, but unregenerate Israel did not know God. So the unregenerate have NO knowledge of God at all! Animals have more knowledge of their masters, than the unregenerate do about God. By implication, if we DO understand God's gospel -- that He imputes righteousness to the elect and declares them righteous -- then we must be regenerate! We are not unregenerate like the unbelievers (who are just FLESH, Genesis 6:3, and have completely lost the image of God for "EVERY thought of their heart is evil continually"). The unregenerate do not have God in their knowledge (Romans 1). And this is why Jeremiah 31 says God HAS TO write His laws on a man's heart when he is converted. Before conversion, a man does NOT have God's law on His heart but "his conscience is seared as with a hot iron" and he "calls good evil and evil good ... light darkness and darkness light". Unregenerate man is so confused, he doesn't even know the difference between good and evil!

 

The lost have no innate knowledge. So if we have the knowledge, that will assure us at all times we are saved!..

 

Further Reading

Why does John Piper think that, "DEMAND FOR A KIND OF ABSOLUTE, mathematical CERTAINTY about [your] right standiang with God is ASKING FOR TOO MUCH." (When I Don't Desire God, p217-218)

Is Piper is correct when he says that unbelievers seek/long after God? He writes, "Moses… cried… "I pray thee, show me thy glory". THIS IS THE HEART-PANG OF EVERY HUMAN BEING … Only a few diagnose the LONGING BENEATH EVERY HUMAN DESIRE — the LONGING TO SEE GOD." (The Supremacy of God in Preaching, p 108)

JP applies Psalms 27,40, 77, etc. to David's own experiences. But didn't the apostles apply these Psalms to Christ?

Can believers today doubt like John the Baptist did in prison?

3 Verses Proving that People that Doubt their salvation are NOT believers

6 College Students who Doubt their salvation Answered

David was ONLY a prophet speaking about Christ (He did NOT experience the Psalms)

How can Christ say "my iniquity" in the Psalms? Christ didn't have iniquity, did he?

Assurance By Works? What about 1 John when it says "we know we are of God when we love the brethren"?Are Arminians Saved?

What is the True Gospel?

 

Who were the Bereans in Scotland?

A list proving all the Psalms are about Christ

Psalms are All Messianic

Is Psalm 51 About Christ?

Doubting Thomas?

But Don't Demons Believe?

Faith simply is Belief

Lies in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms

No Natural Theology

The Sky does NOT reveal God

Assurance Defended

Doubting Calvinists?

Regeneration is Intellectual

Does Romans 1 teach that unbelievers know God "deep down" ?

Does Romans 2 teach that unbelievers have God's laws on their hearts?

Did Calvin believe by salvation by works?

John Owen's Blunder

Was Spurgeon the "prince of preachers"?

When John Piper basing his assurance on his "humble heart", is it any wonder he has doubts about his salvation?

Indeed, JP's view that faith is more than belief, seems to be the reason he writes that assurance is an "agonizing problem" for him.

Last article -- How JP's view that all men know God by nature, forces him to make saving faith mystical, i.e. more than knowledge.

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