"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Historia Salutis, Ordo Salutis, and Duplex Gratia.

Ever wondered how the historia salutis relates to the ordo salutis in the duplex gratia? Of course you have, what else would you have been thinking about?!

In laymen's language, this actually might be a question that has crossed your mind: how does the death of Christ as accomplishing salvation relate to my experience of salvation? and How does my being pardoned for sin (by grace) relate to the living of the Christian Life (by grace)?

Those questions are actually related together in the first question: How does the accomplishment by Christ in history of the redemption of the elect (the historia salutis) relate to the application of salvation to the Christian (the ordo salutis) in the "grace upon grace" of pardon for sin and the experience of new life (two graces - duplex gratia).

If you have the terminology down and have your interest up, take a listen to an interview with Dr. Richard Gaffin Jr. on Christ the Center to think along with Gaffin on this matter.


Andrew said...

Come on! you guys freak out about the Roman Catholics using latin as a way too look superior and then bam! 500 years later you guys are doing the same thing. (this was a joke)

And I have the answer to how Christ's redemption on the Cross is applied to us for the pardoning of sin. I have to admit - I stole it from St. Thomas Aquinas - The Sacraments.

Andrew said...

OR I guess one might say the whole Pauline doctrine of justification by faith that you people are so adamant on. But I don't remember Aquinas mentioning that. (another joke)

Jared Nelson said...

Gaffin is exploring how the life of Christ applied to believers relates to sanctification, he is not addressing instrumentality.

You, however, seem to be very interested in instrumentality. :) So since you have commented along this line a few times, let me ask you: Even if the sacraments are confering, isn't faith required to receive what is offered in baptism?

Jared Nelson said...

By the way, I'm not opposed to Latin, though I would be if it was the issue of using the Latin Vulgate over the original languages of the Bible, which is a position that makes no sense to me.

Andrew said...

Q-"Even if the sacraments are confering, isn't faith required to receive what is offered in baptism?"

A- I'd say -like the Lutherans and traditional Christendom- that the sacrament of baptism imparts faith to the infant, for the adult being baptized, faith is indeed required. Just as Trent says, faith is the root of all justification.

Andrew said...

so yes it may sound ridiculous that an infant is given the gift of faith (Aquinas, Augustine, etc wouldn't think so) but the sacraments kind of work like Magic... which is why there were so many abuses and probably why the Reformers rejected them.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Nelson said...

I don't believe such a view can justly be ascribed to Augustine. There is a different relationship between faith, baptism and the person than the view that baptism creates faith where it was absent before. For an infant brought to baptism sponsorship or headship (we call this federal theology in Reformed camps) is in view for Augustine. Baptism is made efficacious by faith.

Consider Augustine's "On Merit, Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism" Book I, ch 25:

"Some one will say: How then are mere infants called to repentance? How can such as they repent of anything? The answer to this is: If they must not be called penitents because they have not the sense of repenting, neither must they be called believers, because they likewise have not the sense of believing. But if they are rightly called believers, because they in a certain sense profess faith by the words of their parents, why are they not also held to be before that penitents when they are shown to renounce the devil and this world by the profession again of the same parents? The whole of this is done in hope, in the strength of the sacrament and of the divine grace which the Lord has bestowed upon the Church. But yet who knows not that the baptized infant fails to be benefited from what he received as a little child, if on coming to years of reason he fails to believe and to abstain from unlawful desires? If, however, the infant departs from the present life after he has received baptism, the guilt in which he was involved by original sin being done away, he shall be made perfect in that light of truth, which, remaining unchangeable for evermore, illumines the justified in the presence of their Creator. For sins alone separate between men and God; and these are done away by Christ’s grace, through whom, as Mediator, we are reconciled, when He justifies the ungodly."

Andrew said...

ok. so I was wrong about faith being imparted to the infant - you owned me there - but Augustine is still saying that the sacrament imparts justifying grace to an infant by "the divine grace which the Lord has bestowed upon the Church". That's still in line with Christ's passion mediated through the Church via the sacraments. But of course you'll probably own me there as well. I am limited to polemics more or less.

Jared Nelson said...

It's not about "owning" someone, but about meaningful dialog. If Socrates was right, then this is how we learn, i.e. by this dialectical method.

We can also see where we have common ground. Your concern is about whether the sacraments confer grace. I can say, indeed. My confession says it well:

28:6 The efficacy of Baptism...the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time (Act_2:38, Act_2:41; Gal_3:27; Eph_5:25, Eph_5:26; Tit_3:5).

My Catechism also teaches this, that the sacraments are means by which we grasp by faith the promises of God as they are exhibited there:

Question 154: What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?

Answer: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

All this to say, I think the issue of the Reformation was less about whether sacraments were sacraments or not, but the reception by faith of that which is offered in those sacraments and whether the grace was "once for all" or contigent on a person's merit rather than solely on Christ's merit.

Andrew said...

Thank you for clearing it up, as none of the Reformed pastors I've talked to in person will admit that the sacraments confer grace. But I think the Dutch and Canadian Reformed Churches I've attended tend to swing more Zwinglian than Calvinistically. Hence the confusion over the Sacraments and Reformed theology.