«Antinomianism: A Modern Heresy, Summarized and Refuted by William D. Pratney Last Updated 07-02-2012 (British Calendar System) Taken and Adapted from ...»
5. Rejoicing (evidence of a heart that's full of joy - a fruit of the Spirit and evidence of the Kingdom of God) But many will say, "But those are all actions that occurred AFTER he was saved, and BECAUSE he was saved, NOT so that he could be saved!" Well, that's true and it's not. It's true that those actions sprung out of a heart that was truly converted. Yes, he was saved before he did any of those things. But, it's not true that had he not done those things he would remain saved. Had those actions evidencing his salvation not occurred, not only would his (former) faith be proven (presently) dead/worthless (and therefore unable to save him)*, but he would answer to Christ for it on the Day of Judgment**.
* James 2:13-26 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
What doth it proﬁt, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and ﬁlled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it proﬁt?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justiﬁed by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulﬁlled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justiﬁed, and not by faith only.
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justiﬁed by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
** Matthew 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit
upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as
a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a
stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting ﬁre, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Fletcher asks, "Wherefore is it that we are commanded to `strive that we may enter in at the strait gate? So to run that we may obtain?' So to wrestle that we may be `able to stand?' So `to ﬁght, that we may lay hold on eternal life?' Can you strive and run, and wrestle and ﬁght, and all this by doing nothing? If God would save you without working, why has he given you grace, an operative principle, that you might work? He might as well save you without grace as without works: for that is not grace that does not put forth itself in working. God, rather than we shall not work, will set us at work. He gives and promises assistance, only that we might work out our own salvation. We are not sufﬁcient to think any thing: What then? Must we therefore sit still? `No,' says the apostle: for God, who ﬁnds us employment will also ﬁnd us strength. `Our sufﬁciency is of God.'" (4I) You may say, "But I thought all I had to do was believe!" Our faith is proven real by our actions. Only living faith–belief that produces good works–in the living Christ can save us.
...Even demons "believe" in God! But remember, faith without works IS DEAD! Only the kind of faith that manifests itself in doing good works can save us.
Antinomian Crispianity The following propositions have been extracted from Dr. Tobias Crisp's works. (Dr. Crisp had been a major antinomian proponent in the Century preceding Fletcher.) Fletcher called what you're about to read, "Antinomian Crispianity." See for yourself if some of these don't sound familiar to you.
1. "Must not a believer, an elect, be reckoned to be a sinner while he does sin? No: though he does sin, yet he is not to be reckoned as a sinner; his sins are reckoned to be taken away from him. A man does sin against God; God reckons not his sin to be his; he reckons it Christ's, therefore he cannot reckon it to be his." "Every elect vessel, from the ﬁrst instant of his being, is as pure in the eyes of God from the charge of sin as he shall be in glory. Though such persons do act [in] rebellion, yet the loathsomeness and hatefulness of this rebellion is laid on the back of Christ; he bears the sin, as well as the blame and shame: and God can dwell with persons that act [this way], because all the ﬁlthiness of it is translated from them upon the back of Christ." (4J) Antinomianism denies personal responsibility with regards to a believer and their sin.
2. "There is no condition in the covenant of grace; man has no tie upon him to perform any thing whatsoever as a condition that must be observed on his part; and there is not one bond or obligation upon man to the fulﬁlling of his part of the covenant, or partaking of the beneﬁts of it. There is no better way to know your portion in Christ, than, upon the general tender of the Gospel, to conclude absolutely he is yours: say, `My part is as good as any man's:' set down thy rest here; question it not, but believe it." (4J) Antinomianism denies practical obedience to God and the Gospel.
3. "Christ belongs to sinners as sinners; and if there be no worse than sinfulness, rebellion, and enmity in thee, he belongs to thee, as well as to any in the world." (4J) Antinomianism denies the necessity for holiness, and portraits Christ as One soft on sin.
4. "It is a received conceit among persons that our obedience is the way to heaven; and though it be not...the cause of our reign, yet it is the way to the kingdom: but I must tell you, all this sanctiﬁcation of life is not a jot the way of that justiﬁed person to heaven. To what purpose do we propose to ourselves the gaining of that by our labour and industry that is already become ours before we do one jot? Must they now labour to gain these things, as if it were referred to their well or evil walking, that as they shall walk so they shall speed? The Lord does nothing in his people upon conditions. The Lord intends not that by our obedience we shall gain something, which, in case of our failing, we shall miscarry of. While you labour to get by duties, you provoke God as much as in you lies. We must work from life, and not for life."
"There is nothing you can do from whence you ought to expect any gain to yourselves." (4J) Antinomianism denies the conditions of the Gospel, and of our salvation. It denies that obedience avails anything, and likewise dismisses disobedience as inconsequential.
5. "Love to the brethren, universal obedience, and all other inherent qualiﬁcations, are no signs by which we should judge of our state." (4J) Antinomianism denies biblical tests of Christian authenticity.
6. "A believer may be assured of pardon as soon as he commits any sin, even adultery and murder." "God does no longer stand displeased though a believer do sin often. There is no sin that ever believers commit that can possibly do them any hurt." (4J) Antinomianism discounts the law and wrath of God, and opens wide the ﬂood gates to sin and immorality, along with all the hurt and consequences due to those who commit them.
7. "Therefore, as their sins cannot hurt them, so there is no cause of fear in their sins committed. Sins are but scarecrows and bugbears to fright ignorant children, but men of understanding see they are counterfeit things. Sin is dead, and there is no more terror in it than in a dead lion. If we tell believers, except they walk thus and thus holy, and do these and those good works, God will be angry with them, we abuse the Scriptures, undo what Christ has done, injure believers, and tell God lies to his face." (4J) Antinomianism practically denies the power of sin and debases the necessity of holiness.
8. "All our righteousness is ﬁlthy, full of monstrosity, the highest kind of ﬁlthiness... God has done every thing in Christ, and taken away all things that can disturb our peace; but man will be mincing the truth, and tell you, that if you keep close to God, and refrain from sin, God will love you." (4J) Antinomianism practically debases good works, and preaches an equal favor of God to both saint and sinner alike, thus destroying all motivation to do good, and to walk in righteousness and holiness.
9. "Christ does all his work for him as well as in him that believes. If persons are not united to Christ, and do not partake of justiﬁcation before they do believe, there will be bringing to life again the covenant of works; you must of necessity press upon yourselves these terms, `I must do, that I may have life in Christ; I must believe.' Now if there be believing ﬁrst, then there is doing before living. To what purpose do we tell men of wrath and damnation? We had as good hold our tongues..." (4J) Antinomianism practically debases the demands of the Gospel, especially those directing people to "repent" and "believe."
Walter Farquhar Hook again, "High Calvinism, or Antinomianism, absolutely withers and destroys the consciousness of human responsibility. It confounds moral with natural impotency, forgetting that the former is a crime, the latter only a misfortune; and thus treats the man dead in trespasses and sins, as if he were already in the grave. It prophesies smooth things to the sinner going on in his transgressions, and soothes to slumber and the repose of death the souls of such as are at ease in Zion."
"In opposition to Scripture, and to every rational consideration, it contends that it is not man's duty to believe the truth of God–justifying the obvious inference, that it is not a sin to reject it. In short, its whole tendency is to produce an impression on the sinner's mind, that if he is not saved it is not his fault, but God's; that if he is condemned, it is more for the glory of the Divine Sovereignty, than as the punishment of his guilt." (2) Conclusion In summary, antinomianism is from the pit of hell. Because people prefer something other than the truth that can save them, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will put their faith in what is false, in order that they who had no faith in what is true, but took pleasure in evil, may be judged. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
"Antinomians are found, at times, in union with almost every Church, and have, in fact, never existed apart, but always in connection with some body of professing Christians. Their theory is, that Christians are free from the restraint not only of the ceremonial, but of the moral law;
that God neither sees nor punishes sin in the elect; that, being clothed with the righteousness of Christ, they are, in such a sense, complete in him, that their own conduct no longer affects their position in the sight of God." (3) Dr. Tobias Crisp, rector of Brinkworth in England, was a major proponent of Antinomianism in the 17th Century. He wrote and spoke much on the subject, and engaged in a grand debate in his day, having no less than ﬁfty-two opponents. The Westminster Assembly of Divines are said to have discussed having his books burnt as heretical. (3) Robert Adam said, "...the most successful exposure of the high Calvinistic doctrines [speaking of Antinomianism] which has ever appeared is contained in Sancroft (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury)'s 'Fur Predestinatus:' an ironical piece..." (see "The Life of William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury." Volume 2, Appendix No. 2, Pg. 175-228; AR Pg. 186-239, by George D'Oyly) Adobe Reader Pg. 161-162 Who was John Fletcher?
Born in Switzerland, Fletcher was converted in 1752 after going to England to learn English.