Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Murray on whether Piper is Bad

OK, so Murray didn't write about Piper (back from Reading Week and I'm still banging on about the same stuff!). But he did write about Definitive Sanctification:

it is a fact too frequently overlooked that in the NT the most characteristic terms that refer to sanctification are used, not of a process, but of a once-for-all definitive act.

So closes the paragraph that opens (that's a bit confusing) the chapter on Definitive Sanctification in the Collected Works. It reproduces a paper published in the Calvin Theological Journal in April 1967. Beginning with texts that use sanctification in a definitive sense (1C1:2; 1C6:11; 2Tim2:21 and E5:25ff; Murray also favours including A20:32 and A26:18 due to Pauline usage of the term), Murray sees the substantive 'sanctification' in places like 1Thess4:7 and 2Thess2:13f in a similar way. We are therefore, says Murray,

compelled to take account of the fact that the language of sanctification is used with reference to some decisive action that occurs at the inception of the Christian life, and one that characterizes the people of God in their identity as called effectually by God's grace.

The key passage for Murray is R6:1-7:6. I'm not sure how those who persist in referring to Christians as 'sinners' reconcile this passage to their position. For Murray,

there is no possibility of toning down the antithesis.
And, its not just Paul, but Peter too. In both 1P2 and 1P4 the same thought appears. Oh yes, John does it too - 1J3. Murray concludes,

The person begotten of God does righteousness, loves and knows God, loves those who are begotten of God, and keep the commandments of God.

So, why does Definitive Sanctification seem so innovative to some and make them so nervous? Why can Piper say he's bad and no-one bats an eyelid? Interesting.