Flavel and Piper on Antinomianism

by Jun 19, 2013ChurchLife, Piety0 comments

According to Flavel, antinomians fail to

distinguish, as they ought, between vindictive punishment from God, the pure issues and effects of his justice and wrath against the wicked; and his paternal castigations, the pure issues of the care and love of a displeased father. Great and manifold are the differences between his vindictive wrath upon his enemies, and the rebukes of the rod upon his children. Those are legal; these out of love. Those unsanctified; but these blessed and sanctified to happy ends and purposes to his people. Those for destruction, these for salvation. —A Blow at the Root of Antinomianism (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1840), 75.

HT: Josh Young’s BJU PhD dissertation (unlinkable at the moment)

And here’s John Piper (around 45:25 in the first video) addressing a related tendency* in our day:

In [2 Corinthians] 7:1, Paul makes “fear of God” the motive of Chrsitain holiness. “Since God promises to be your father”—6:18—“bring holiness to completion in the fear of God.” What is it about the judgment [in 2 Cor. 5:10] that is so serious, or produces this fear in verse 11? [What is it that] makes it so motivating for holiness in a right, godly, gospel, not legalistic way?

Don’t let your theology dictate here: “Woah, if we preach this, we’re just going to produce legalists who just try to get into the favor of God, blah, blah, blah…”

Look, the Bible is the Bible; you’re not! Don’t tell the Bible what it should say! Say what it says, and labor all your life to put the pieces together! Don’t bring your little “gospel” paradigm over here that’s so limited… so limited! Make it big with all the Bible! You won’t lose the gospel, you’ll have a biblical one.

*Flavel’s quote focuses on a Hebrews 12 chastisement; Piper’s focuses on a 2 Cor 5 eschatological judgment—of believers—which is even more alien to current conservative evangelical thinking. It’s a topic I’m eager to read more about in Josh’s dissertation. A verbal summary of it was instructive and, believe it or not, very edifying.

Read More 

Review: Small Preaching by Jonathan Pennington

Review: Small Preaching by Jonathan Pennington

Small Preaching: 25 Little Things You Can Do Now to Become a Better Preacher, by Jonathan Pennington (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021). Very few pp.Great little title. Punchy and short. Genuinely full of wisdom. The three things that stood out to me most: The very...

Review: Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson

Review: Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson

Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene H. PetersonMy rating: 5 of 5 starsI've said before that I'm an emotional reader. My five stars for this book represent my rapture at great prose and, more...

Don’t Tell Young Women in Your Church to Avoid College

Don’t Tell Young Women in Your Church to Avoid College

There’s a young man I know from Christian circles somewhere in the U.S.—I’ll call him Kyle or Gerald or Edward, or maybe something a little more derogatory—who posted what I can only call an anti-girls-going-to-college meme on Facebook. It argued that Christian...

Leave a comment.


Leave a Reply