Brute Facts

We appeal to facts, but never to brute facts. We appeal to God-interpreted facts. This is simply another way of saying that we try to discover whether our hypothesis is really in accord with God’s interpretation of facts.

 

Cornelius Van Til, Christian-Theistic Evidences (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1978), 73.

Scriptural Chastity

For a strict adherence to the word of God constitutes spiritual chastity.

 

Calvin. Commentary on Psalm 106:39

Priority of Union

By faith he is a member of the covenant, and that faith has a wide outlook, a comprehensive character, which not only points to justification but also to all the benefits which are his in Christ. Whereas the Lutheran tends to view faith one-sidedly—only in its connection with justification—for the Reformed Christian it is saving faith in all the magnitude of the word. According to the Lutheran, the Holy Spirit first generates faith in the sinner who temporarily still remains outside of union with Christ; then justification follows faith and only then, in turn, does the mystical union with the Mediator take place. Everything depends on this justification, which is losable, so that the believer only gets to see a little of the glory of grace and lives for the day, so to speak. The covenantal outlook is the reverse. One is first united to Christ, the Mediator of the covenant, by a mystical union, which finds its conscious recognition in faith. By this union with Christ all that is in Christ is simultaneously given. Faith embraces all this too; it not only grasps the instantaneous justification, but lays hold of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, as his rich and full Messiah.

 

Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001), 256.

Against Presumptuous Curiosity

Hence it is obvious, that in seeking God, the most direct path and the fittest method is, not to attempt with presumptuous curiosity to pry into his essence, which is rather to be adored than minutely discussed, but to contemplate him in his works, by which he draws near, becomes familiar, and in a manner communicates himself to us.

 

Calvin. Institutes 1:5:9

Eschatology Precedes Soteriology

...second to none in its importance for the Pauline system of thought, the eschatological appears as predeterminative both the substance and form of the soteriological.

What has been found is important not merely by reason of the light it throws upon the genesis of Paul’s teaching on its intellectual side, it likewise helps to answer the charge of the absence of systematic coherence brought particularly against the eschatological teaching. It were far more accurate to say that the eschatological strand is the most systematic in the entire fabric of the Pauline thought-world. For it now appears that the closely interwoven soteric tissue derives its pattern from the eschatological scheme, which bears all the marks of having had precedence in his mind.

 


Junius' Christological Framework of Revelation and Ad Extra

This christological framework is unmistakably present as Junius makes the point that the theology of union in Christ is the principle of the two other forms of ectypal theology—the theology of vision and revelation. Whereas archetypal theology is the matrix of all forms of theology, the theology of union is the mother (mater) of the two other forms of ectypal theology, that is, the theology of vision and revealed theology.

...

The conclusion seems to be justified that in True Theology Christology undergirds the presuppositions and approach to the nature of true theology.

...

The use of the archetypal/ectypal distinction and the crucial significance of the theology of union in its relation to the two other forms of ectypal theology was, for the Reformed orthodox, a means of developing the principles and task of theology, a discipline to be determined by a strong Trinitarian and christological framework.

...

 


What Is Salvation?

Salvation is how God glorifies himself in Jesus Christ. It is about God. And when you encounter...anybody who is promoting a perspective primarily based on what man does, not upon what God does to glorify himself, just move on... Because fundamentally they have abandond the central aspect of devine revelation to begin with.

 

James White

Calvinism vs. Determinism

when we enter the world of seventeenth-century theological debate, it is the purportedly predestinarian Reformed who take up the defense of human free choice and secondary causality against the more deterministic tendencies of Cartesian metaphysics, specifically the occasionalist conclusion, resting on a conception of necessary divine concursus, that God is the sole cause of all motion in the universe.

 

Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy; Volume 1: Prolegomena to Theology , 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 128–129.

Grace for Finitude, not merely Fallenness (e.g. pre-fall grace)

Divine grace, as indicated both in the doctrine of the divine attributes and in the developing Reformed covenant theology of the seventeenth century, is not merely the outward favor of God toward the elect, evident only in the post-lapsarian dispensation of salvation; rather is it one of the perfections of the divine nature. It is a characteristic of God’s relations to the finite order, apart from sin, in the act of divine condescension to relate to finite creatures 1.


1
There is, both in the orthodox Reformed doctrine of God and in the orthodox Reformed covenant theology of the seventeenth century, a consistent identification of grace as fundamental to all of God’s relationships with the world and especially with human beings, to the point of the consistent assertion that the covenant of nature or works is itself gracious...There is no substance to the repeated assertion of J. B. Torrance that the Reformed notion of the covenant of works undermines the notion of the priority of grace or indeed the graciousness even of the divine law
 

Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy; Volume 3: The Divine Essence and Attributes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 570.

Judge by theology, not by terms or creeds, lest we throw Calvin under the bus

Viret refuted all his quirks and calumnies with so much cleverness, that being manifestly detected, he might be considered as convicted upon this point. That he might, therefore, appear to have got the better of us in something or other, he accused the whole meeting of Arianism. I rose up immediately and brought forward the confession in our Catechism, which is repeated in our public letter to your college. Even this did not quiet him, but he declared that we would be suspected in that matter, until we subscribed the creed of Athanasius. I replied, that it was not my practice to approve any thing as the words of God, unless upon due consideration. Here observe the rabid fury of the little ass. Thereupon he cried out, that it was an expression unbecoming a Christian man.

 

Letters of John Calvin, To Megander, Geneva, February 1537