Eternal Justification?

About the most worthwhile thing in R.T. Kendal’s book Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979) is the following quote from Rutherford on eternal justification:

‘justification in God’s decree and purpose from eternity, is no more justification than Creation, sanctification, glorification, the crucifying of Christ, and all things that fall out in time; for all these were in the eternal purpose of God.’
Samuel Rutherford, Survey of Spiritual Antichrist (1648), ii.19.

Along the same lines good Mr Durham says the following:

It is true, God’s purpose and decree of pardoning sin, is Eternal, as all the decrees are; But this actual pardoning of a sinner is no more from Eternity, than his creating or glorifying men, yea, in the same decree, he hath proposed the giving of both Repentance and Pardon, in the method laid down.
Commentary on Revelation (rept. Old Paths, 2000), 316

I’ve long been meaning to post on Durham and ‘eternal justification’ as he takes the opportunity to dissent from the idea a few times in his writings.  Maybe at some point I’ll find the time to write a post on it…

3 Responses to “Eternal Justification?”

  1. Steven Carr Says:

    Excellent quotes! Do you know if there was any connection of the doctrine of justification from eternity to the neonomian controversy. I can’t remember if Crisp held to such a view or not.

  2. Donald John MacLean Says:

    Hi Steve

    I’m sure Crisp held to eternal justification but I wouldn’t be able to provide any primary source material. He was certainly regarded by his contemporaries as an antinomian e.g. The Journal of the Proceedings of the Assembly of Divines (1824; this is volume xiii of The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, D.D.), 9,12. where a petition from the Assembly identifies Christ Alone Exalted by Tobias Crisp as Antinomian. Also the full title of Rutherford’s work names Crisp as an antinomian:

    A Survey of the Spirituall Antichrist: Opening the Secrets of Familisme and Antinomianisme in the Antichristian Doctrine of John Saltmarsh, and Will. Del, the Present Preachers of the Army Now in England, and of Robert Town, Tob. Crisp, H. Denne, Eaton, and Others.

    Interestingly Kendal notes Tobias Crisp’s work Christ Alone Exalted comprises 17 sermons 14 of which are on Is 53:6 – which perhaps explains why Durham was so against eternal justification in his works of Is 53?

    Every blessing

  3. Steven Carr Says:

    I was asking because I do see a link between eternal justification and antinomianism. Your hypothesis on Durham’s sermons on Is. 53 is interesting I’ll have to pursue that thought. RHB has several copies of Crisps work available. I might go there and look through them.

    By the way, I told Dr. Murray about your blog, he was very interested in looking at it.

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