Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gordon Clark on Synergism in Sanctification... Yes, Again

I know I wrote a post on this last month (link), but since it was not so long ago that the assertion progressive sanctification is synergistic was violently contested by reasonable Scripturalists, I can't help noting this statement Clark made on pg. 133 in The Pastoral Epistles:
Not only do destructive critics make such mistakes; many sincere and devout worshippers are also confused. They often say that we are saved by faith alone. This of course is false. We are justified by faith alone; but we are regenerated without any previous faith or works; we are sanctified by faith and works; and we shall be glorified by neither. A closer study of Scripture would help us avoid confusion relative to the several distinct phases of an all-inclusive salvation.
I shouldn't have to cite Clark to persuade anyone sanctification is synergistic, but at least in this case it doesn't hurt.


MikeD said...

I think that Clark may have overstated the case in the quote you provided, although I must say I've used part of it a ton of times, "We are not saved though faith alone." But I do not think that sanctification is by faith and works. Would not one need be sanctified before good works flow from such a one? Furthermore, Jesus prays that we would be sanctified by his word, which is to be believed (and obeyed too) but this would follow from proper thought and choice. So I think a better way to say it is that we are justified through faith alone, on account of an alien righteousness alone. We are sanctified by faith alone as well, but this is synergistic in that we work at better understanding the law and gospel and their implications,struggle against false motives, strive toward godliness, and all this by grace alone as well. This righteousness is not solely forensic, but also personal to the Christian, albeit Christ's righteousness poured out within his person. This further knowledge of God's word (reformed thought and volition), then works it way out to things that are rightly called works in the worked in which we live.

In short, good works are by sanctification, not the converse.

Ryan said...

Is not assent to the truth - God's word - part and parcel of our means of progressive sanctification? Does not assent involve our volition? Why, then, can't good works be said to be a means of progressive sanctification?