Pristine Grace

The Trinity Foundation
My Joyful Tribute and Bitter Dissent
by Bob Higby
The Trinity Foundation

"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, "Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth." And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, "Give me the little book." And he said unto me, "Take it , and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey." And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, "Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Rev. 10:7-11

     This passage is the perfect introduction to the matter that I am about to deal with. Like John WE ALSO must prophesy again. Hallelujah! No matter how bitter a trial that the Lord has sent our way in the past, we must continue to stand for the gospel in our witness before the world to the end of our days!

     Recent awful experiences here at p-net necessitate that I state my position on Presbyterianism in general and The Trinity Foundation in particular. I am ‘hit hard’ in my spirit by the things that have happened, along with the entire moderating staff. To merely ignore all of it and go on as if nothing had happened would be a great sin before God. Therefore I’m writing this article.

     For many years I have been blessed in overwhelming measure by the work and testimony of the Trinity Foundation. No other organized and well-published Christian institution has stood more valiantly for the truth of the gospel in our age. Drs. Gordon Clark and John Robbins have defended the heritage of the 5solas of the Reformation with more courage than other known and respected teachers who profess faithfulness to such a heritage. For that I am eternally grateful--and I know that a host of others are also! Dr. Robbins in particular has demonstrated the tremendous sacrifice that is required to be a nonconformist for the gospel. He has faithfully scorned the constant temptation to accept the fellowship, praise, and employment offers resulting from saying ‘uncle’ to respected denominational leaders. I’m certain that he KNOWS what it means to have to stand alone like Elijah. The world always tells us that "no man is an island" and "a man needs brothers to survive." Well, those of us who are nonconformists for the gospel know that these were the devil’s lies from the beginning! If believers will not risk being rejected by all others for the sake of the gospel, their testimony means NOTHING. If we are still trying to PLEASE MEN, we are not the servants of Jesus Christ! (Gal. 1:10). According to his last word and testimony in 2 Timothy, Paul stayed true to the gospel at a time when most others he had labored with committed whoredom with the doctrines of the mystery of iniquity.

     I here and now confess joyfully my affinity with the Trinity Foundation on all the doctrines of historic Christianity--as interpreted by Reformation believers who accept the true gospel. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. The doctrine of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, and personal God revealed in the scriptures and all of his non-communicable attributes.
  2. The doctrine of the Trinity and full equality from eternity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  3. The doctrine of the eternal purpose of mankind’s redemption in Christ agreed to by the triune God.
  4. The doctrine of the original creation in time as a miraculous space-time intervention by God the Son in every aspect, rejecting the teaching of evolution.
  5. The historical and doctrinal accuracy of the scriptures in EVERY aspect of what is taught.
  6. The propositional nature of God’s revelation and truth.
  7. The infallibility and innerrancy of scripture as breathed by God.
  8. The literal accuracy of all recorded miracles in scripture.
  9. The Christocentric focus of all Old Testament law and prophecy.
  10. The virgin birth, perfectly sinless life, atoning sufferings and death, and immortal resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.
  11. The penal substitutionary nature of the atonement.
  12. Justification by grace in Christ’s finished work as a final, irreversible, and imputed-only reality received by the assurance of faith alone given by the Holy Spirit.
  13. The continuity of the message of the gospel in all ages and a rejection of EVERY dispensational interpretation of scripture. This does not deny progressive revelation, of course.
  14. The doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things in Christ and unto his glory.
  15. The doctrine of Christ’s absolute Deity and impeccable humanity without sin in his incarnation.
  16. The soteriology of the five points of Calvinism, INCLUDING LIMITED AND DEFINITE ATONEMENT without compromise.
  17. Supralapsarianism.
  18. The deductive method of reasoning truth, which implies a rejection of the inductive method. God reveals all truth in explicit propositions stated in scripture.
  19. An affirmation of the logical nature of truth and a complete rejection of all hermeneutics that involve paradox, synthesis, allegory, mysticism, and compartmentalization to define what is truth.
  20. The confession of God as the ULTIMATE cause of everything that happens in the universe, INCLUDING SIN.
  21. A rejection of all of the following popular heresies: Open Theism, Process Theism, Liberal Skepticism, Subjective (Analytical) Justification, Eschatological Justification, Paradox Theology, Common Grace, God’s Contrary Will, a Peccable Christ, non-forensic atonement, Reconstructionism, Preterism, Chiliasm, Federal Vision, the New Perspective, Arminianism, Amyraldianism, Fullerism.

     Well, that is enough for now–I could go on of course and exponentially increase this list!

     It would be wonderful if we could go back to the spirit of the apostolic gospel and center our testimony on these wonderful and precious truths! If the Lord gave us the power to accomplish that end, a lot of other differences would either decrease in importance or have a genuine basis for working out a solution. But the Lord continues to withhold the Holy Spirit from his people in this regard! We do not know why--but must simply praise the awesome wisdom manifested in his purposes. Certainly we hope that one day Christ will give us new reformation!

     My vision of a New Reformation and that of the Trinity Foundation are extremely different. We both realize how desperate the world needs such a reformation. But the TF wants a revival of orthodox Westminster Presbyterianism as the basis of its proposed reformation. I and many others passionate for the gospel could never support that--as we deem it a completely misguided hope. The last great reformation divided and ended quickly on issues of law and sacrament. It made no significant advances beyond 100 years after its inception; most everything that has happened in institutional Protestantism since then is either a re-affirmation of earlier truths or an abandonment of those truths to yield honor to the Papacy. The only significant advances in truth since the mid-1600's have occurred among nonconformist believers willing to meditate on the propositions of the prophets and apostles that challenge the status-quo of institutional church denominations.

     Here are some of my departures from the Westminster Confession--and, of course, the Trinity Foundation which accepts the legend of Westminster as the purest systematic expression of truth since the apostles. On the contrary, I can never accept Westminster as a complete and logical system of truth--since it is full of paradoxes. The following issues have been discussed extensively on the forum so I will only mention each one briefly and summarize:

     1. The Canon of Scripture

     I confess the Christocentric nature of the canon as taught by Luther--though I certainly disagree with some of his conclusions on the actual books needing to be relegated to a lower canonical status. I accept the grand majority of books in our current Bible as belonging to the high-canon of scripture--but not EVERY ONE. Esther, Ecclesiastes, and James are certainly examples of books that do not qualify based on A Christocentric hermeneutic. When present conservative scholars exalt Ecclesiastes and Esther to the sky while condemning the recently discovered Hodayot as uninspired poppycock, my stomach truly becomes bitter! What kind of standard for high-canonicity do we have anyway? It is certainly easy for those who hate the doctrine of predestination to instantly condemn ancient writings before Christ that teach it.

     I gladly affirm a complete and core canon but not a closed canon. The core canon includes most of our current Bible. A closed canon doctrine would affirm that the 66 books are self-authenticating in every respect and can never be added to or taken from. I heartily reject the notion of continuing direct revelation, so in that respect I am ‘orthodox’ like my Presbyterian peers who reject me! God gave his final revelation of the gospel to Paul and the other apostles; thus he has nothing more to say directly to anyone. The body of Christ is built on the testimony of the twelve apostles and the lamb.

     2. The spotless perfection without proclivity to rebel of Lucifer, Adam, and Eve in their original creation.

     I have constantly given my objections to this false Westminster doctrine still accepted and taught by TF and will not enumerate further here from the scriptures. I will only state that Gordon Clark (like all other Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants) accepted the doctrines of Augustine and Plotinus and rejected the doctrines of Isaiah and the Hodayot.

     3. Free-will.

     The nauseating defense of chapter 9 of the WCF by Presbyterian scholars is the most telling example of an extreme misguided devotion to a false legend. Free-will is a lie and a deception, period. We do not need Gordon Clark to tell us the reason why IN SOME SENSE (source "What do Presbyterians Believe") it is true; that is Clark’s paradox theology. It is an absolute contradiction of everything else wonderful on the subject that Clark himself has to say.

     4. Traducianism.

     The doctrine of traducianism promoted by Gordon Clark affirms the biological transmission of sin. It is promoted due to an acceptance of Neo-Platonism promoted by Augustine and the Reformers and the notion that God never creates a soul directly with a proclivity to rebel. The weakest argument of Clark in all his writings is the teaching that God created nothing new since his original creation.

     5. The Covenant of Works

     I accept a covenant of works taught in scripture, however, it is the SINAI covenant and not a covenant made with Adam. According to Paul in Galatians, it is the covenant cut at Sinai that proves grace as the only possible method of salvation.

     6. Sabbatarianism

     I am a non-Sabbatarian, period. I believe fully (as Luther) in the first and second uses of the Law but not in the Third use. The scriptural reasons have been presented time-and-time-again. Presbyterians think that I am apostate because of this.

     7. Water Baptism

     I do not accept paedobaptism as a mandatory covenant. The scriptural reasons have been presented time-and-time-again. Presbyterians think that I am apostate because of this.

     8. Church Organization

     I do not accept the Presbyterian view of institutional church with rulership of elders who are ONE HUNDRED PRECENT WESTMISTER in doctrine. The scriptural reasons have been presented time-and-time-again. Presbyterians think that I am apostate because of this.

     9. Hell

     I do not accept the Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim view of hell-evangelism nor ALL aspects of the traditional doctrine of hell taught by those three entities (which are identical). The scriptural reasons have been presented time-and-time-again. Presbyterians think that I am apostate because of this.

     10. Judgment

     I do not accept the traditional view of judgment taught by most Protestants. Justice and mercy are not opposite entities in the Bible; justice instead comprises both mercy based on just atonement as well as wrath.

     11. Vindication

     I do not accept the doctrine of a stoic hereafter where Christ and the saints mourn over the wicked in hell. The Bible teaches that all judgment administered by God is celebratory, which means that God will vindicate his elect people in the presence of his enemies and Christ with his saints will celebrate the downfall and punishment of the wicked.

     12. Sanctification

     I do not accept the doctrine of progressive sanctification. In the New Testament, sanctification is a gift of a perfect status of holiness or purification imputed to the believer in Christ--even as justification is a gift of a perfect status of rightness or justness imputed to the believer based on Christ’s merit. The hope expressed that believers will be ‘sanctified wholly’ or ‘preserved blameless’ is the same as the hope expressed that believers will hold fast the beginnings of their confidence unto the end. Neither notion is progressive if we believe in the sovereign election of God in Christ.

     I could go on. I’m ready to press on and forget about this little bit of strife! Let the Trinity Foundation pursue its vision of a New Reformation and let us pursue our very different and separate vision of a New Reformation based on gospel unity! Praise God forevermore!