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Thread: An Appraisal of Faith as an Instrumental Cause of Justification.

  1. #11
    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    Faith is not a gift from God. The Reformed people are wrong on that. Salvation is a gift from God for all who believe.

    Revelation 22:17
    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

  2. Amen The Remonstrant amen'd this post.
  3. #12
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    wait. so when TM said your OP was too long and complex to respond to, you just post additional stuff to make it worse? You really don't get this do you John? His post wasn't an invitation to post MORE stuff. It was a plea to simplify your OP.

    Well the topic is complex so I can see how its hard for someone to simplify it down. Especially when John Martin has spent a lot of time considering it.

    That being said, John Martin, I will point out that you do not have a very accessible writing style. Your message is getting lost in a confusing forest of words. As a start, try reading The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I helped me to write more clearly.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    wait. so when TM said your OP was too long and complex to respond to, you just post additional stuff to make it worse? You really don't get this do you John? His post wasn't an invitation to post MORE stuff. It was a plea to simplify your OP.
    The Reformed notion of justification is a complex theme that does require some space to flesh out. I thought it important to contrast the Reformed notion of justification with the thomistic notion to show the commonality and the differences. The comparison is a simplification of the OP to some degree. I thought it important to make the comparison to give the reader an alternatve to the Reformed understanding of justification.

    I don't expect anyone to reply to everything I have said. The readers can discern and reply as they wish.

    JM
    Last edited by JohnMartin; 06-30-2017 at 06:05 PM.

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    A Partial Appraisal of the Instrument of Faith in Relation to Formal Cause.

    If we compare faith as an instrument to the formal cause we may discern if faith is well formed in relation to formal cause. The formal cause is placed into the material cause by the principle cause and the efficient cause. Using the example of the poet writing the poem, God (prime principle) moves the poet (secondary principle) to move (efficient) the pen (instrument) to cause the form (formal) of poem in the ink (material) and onto the page (material). Note that the instrumental cause is acted upon by the principle and efficient causes to place the form into the material cause to produce the final effect as the poem written on the page. However, with the Reformed notion of justification, the prime principle cause is the Father who acts to inform both Christ and the sinner -

    (2i) The form of sin legally imputed to Christ.

    (2ii) The form of Christ's righteousness legally imputed to the sinner's account.

    The Father is said (by the Reformed) to act to cause the form within the following series of causes as shown in the quotes below.

    1. Father (prime principle) moves
    2. to send Christ (prime principle)
    3. The Father (prime principle) imputes (efficient) sin (formal) to Christ (material).
    Here the Reformed teaching requires the first part of the double exchange. The Father imputes sin to Christ. The act of the Father imputing sin is itself very problematic for reasons already exposed in Problems with the Westminster Confession of Faith Thread, particularly on posts 15 and 18. Two such reasons are the Father is acting unjustly towards the Son as God, who cannot sin and thereby the Father cannot justly impute sin to the Son. The second reason is if the Father does impute sin to the Son, both the Father and the Son are involved in a lie, and thereby God must sin for the Reformed double exchange to occur. Of course God is the prime truth and cannot lie. Take note that even with the problematic nature of the Father imputing sin to the Son, the act of the Father causing the form of sin to Christ, is an act that is only an occasion for faith. The Father in imputing sin to Christ, is not moved by the instrument of faith. Nor is the Father's act of imputation as direct cause of faith in any man. For the Father could impute sin to Christ and no man consequently have faith.

    Even if men have faith after the Father imputed sin to Christ, 1) the Father's act of imputation of sin to Christ is not caused by faith as an instrument, for the Father acts (principle) prior to faith (instrument) in any man. Faith is then only a possible effect of the Father's imputation of sin to Christ. 2) the Father's act causes faith to act as an instrument, and faith in turn is said to instrumentally cause the Father to impute Christ's righteousness to the sinners account. The Father then acts to cause the first imputation of sin to Christ, without the instrument of faith acting, but then faith acts as an instrument to cause the Father to impute Christ's righteousness to the sinner's account. The Father then acts both without the instrumentality of faith and from the instrumentality of faith to act to impute. The diverse manners of the Father's acts indicate the Father's action in relation to faith are both independent of and dependent upon faith as an instrument.

    As the Father acts to impute sin to Christ without faith causing as an instrument, one may question the veracity of the claim that the Father acts from faith as an instrument to impute Christ's righteousness to the sinner's account. Also because of the diversity of the Father's action in relation to faith as an instrument, one may also question the veracity of the claim that the Father does not act from faith as an instrument impute sin to Christ. The diverse action of the Father in relation to faith infers the Reformed soteriological system contains causes that are not well established. For if faith is an instrument that is claimed to cause the Father to act, how can such a claim be established when the same soteriological system also claims the Father acts to impute without faith as an instrumental cause? The problematic nature of faith in relation to the Father's acts of imputation infers faith as an instrument is not well formed in relation to principle causes.

    The remainder of the discussion on faith in relation to formal cause will be presented below.

    JM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    Well the topic is complex so I can see how its hard for someone to simplify it down. Especially when John Martin has spent a lot of time considering it.

    That being said, John Martin, I will point out that you do not have a very accessible writing style. Your message is getting lost in a confusing forest of words. As a start, try reading The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I helped me to write more clearly.
    Thanks for the advice. I now own a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

    JM

  7. Amen Thoughtful Monk amen'd this post.
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    A Partial Appraisal of the Instrument of Faith in Relation to Formal Cause.

    The appraisal of faith as an instrumental cause of justification is continued from post 14 above. Post 14 established the double imputation theory may be reduced to several causal steps as summarised below. The first three steps involve the problems of the Father imputing sin to the Son, and the Father acting to impute, both with and apart from faith as an instrument. The problems associated with the Father's acts of imputation are closely associated with the instrument of faith. The problems provide a lead into further problems with the double imputation theory as discussed below.

    However, with the Reformed notion of justification, the prime principle cause is the Father who acts to inform both Christ and the sinner -

    (2i) The form of sin legally imputed to Christ.

    (2ii) The form of Christ's righteousness legally imputed to the sinner's account.

    The Father is said (by the Reformed) to act to cause the form within the following series of causes as shown in the quotes below.

    1. Father (prime principle) moves
    2. to send Christ (prime principle)
    3. The Father (prime principle) imputes (efficient) sin (formal) to Christ (material).


    4. The Father and Son (prime principle)
    5. send the Holy Spirit (prime principle)
    6. to cause man (secondary principle) to have faith (instrumental)
    7. the Father imputes Christ's righteousness to the sinners account.
    Note initially that the above four causes (4-7) are dependent upon the causes previously discussed (1-3). As the prior series of causes 1 to 3 involve the problematic notion of Father imputing sin to Christ, the subsequent causes 4-6 do not have sufficiently well-founded causes in 1-3. Further, here in point 6. in the above quote, the instrument of faith should act to cause a form with a material cause to affect the final outcome. Like the pen acts to place the form (formal) into the ink and paper (material) to affect the poem. But the Reformed notion of justification requires that the instrument of faith act to cause the Father (prime principle) to then cause another cause of imputation of righteousness to the sinners account. However, the instrumental cause as instrument cannot cause the principle cause to cause. For an instrument is only ever caused by the principle cause as an instrument of the principle cause. Therefore, faith as an instrument of the Holy Spirit and the man cannot cause the Father to act as the prime principle cause.

    If according to the Reformed, faith is an instrument, the Father acts to impute righteousness to the sinner's account, but where faith is thought to be an instrument but is only an occasion for the Father to act simultaneously with faith. An occasion is not a cause, but only a circumstance. Like a bird flies past a man and the man says, "look at the bird". The man speaks on the occasion (circumstance) of the bird flying past the man. The bird does not instrumentally cause the man to speak, but only provides the circumstance for the human speech. The bird could fly past the man and the man also remained silent as the same occasion is presented to the man. An occasion then does not necessitate instrumental causation. Similarly, because faith as an instrument cannot cause the Father to act as principle, faith can only be an occasion for the Father's consequent act of imputing Christ's righteousness to the sinners account. Moreover, faith as an instrument does not have a proper effect proportionate to the act of faith. The poem written by the poet, using the instrument of the pen, has the effect of the written poem as the proportionate effect of the pen acting under the power of the poet. If faith is an instrument, we would expect faith to cause a similar proportionate effect. If the action of the Father is not the proportionate effect of faith, then the Reformed understanding of faith as an instrument does not have any proportionate effect. Consequently, because an instrument without a proportionate effect, is not an instrument, faith is not an instrument.

    Conclusion - The partial appraisal of the instrument of faith in relation to formal cause has shown the Reformed understanding of faith as an instrument is not well formed and is unsound. The Father sends the Holy Spirit, who causes men to act with faith. Faith is only the occassion (and not a cause) for the Father then to act to impute. Faith as an instrument is not well formed in relation to the formal cause of Christ's righteousness caused by the Father's imputation. Finally, as faith as an instrument does not cause the Father to act to impute, faith as an instrument does not have a proper effect. Faith is then not an instrument. For an instrument without a proper effect is only a thing that has not been used by a principle cause. The attribution of faith as an instrument is unsound.



    JM

  9. #17
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    john you are starting to spam again. you are just continuing to pile on more and more with no regard to any discussion. that isnt what tweb is about. we are a discussion and debate forum, not a blog. stop it.

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