08 February, 2017

Francis Turretin (1623-1687) on Ezekiel 18:23



Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (Ezek. 18:23 KJV).


(I)

[Source: Institutes of Elenctic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R, 1992), vol. 1, pp. 229-230, 408]

When God testifies that ‘he has no pleasure at all in the death of the sinner, but that he should return from his ways, and live’ (Eze. 18:23), this does not favour the inefficacious will or the feeble velleity of God because the [Hebrew] word chpts (which occurs there) does not denote desire so much as delight and complacency. Thus God may be said not to delight in the punishment of the wicked inasmuch as it is the destruction of the creature, although he wills it as an exercise of his justice. So he is said to will the repentance of sinners approvingly and preceptively as a thing most pleasing to himself and expressed in his commands, although with respect to all of them he nills it decretively and effectively ... Although God protests that ‘he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but in his conversion and life’ (Eze. 33:11), it does not follow that from eternity he willed and intended under any condition the conversion and life of each and every man. For besides the fact that conversion cannot be intended under any condition (because it is itself a condition), it is certain that here is treated the will of euarestias and of complacency, not the will of good pleasure (eudokias) (which the verb chpts proves, meaning everywhere to be pleased and to hold as grateful, to imply that God is pleased with the conversion and life of the sinner as a thing grateful to him and agreeing with his perfectly merciful nature, rather than with his destruction, and therefore exacts it from man as a bounden duty to be converted if he desires to live). But although he wills not (i.e., is not pleased with the death of the sinner, as it denotes the destruction of a creature), yet he does not cease to will and intend it as an exercise of his justice and as the occasion of manifesting his glory (Prov. 1:26; 1 Sam. 2:34). Take, for example, a pious magistrate who is not pleased with the death of the guilty, yet does not cease justly to decree their punishment in accordance with the laws. Nor is it the case that if God does not properly intend their repentance and salvation, does he to no purpose say to the reprobate who are invited to repentance, ‘Why will ye die?’ For he rightly shows them by these words what they must do to avoid death and that by their voluntary impenitence, they alone are the cause of their own destruction, not God. For although by the decree of reprobation, he had passed them by and determined not to give them faith, yet no less voluntarily do they sin and so obstinately bring down their own destruction upon themselves.


----------------------------------------

(II)

Dr. Raymond A. Blacketer

[Source: “The Three Points in Most Parts Reformed: A Reexamination of the So-Called Well-Meant Offer of Salvation,” Calvin Theological Journal, vol. 35, no. 1 [April, 2000], p. 59).]

Francis Turretin (1623-87), who held the chair of theology at the Genevan Academy from 1653 until his death, was a great synthesizer and defender of Reformed orthodoxy. He frequently defends and exposits the declarations of the Synod of Dort in his Institutes of Elenctic Theology. His interpretation of the Canons and his exposition of the Reformed doctrine of the calling of the reprobate shed a great deal of light on this subject and demonstrate the coherence of this doctrine. At the same time, he leaves no room for the well-meant offer of salvation as it is presented by the [Christian Reformed Church’s] 1924 synod [which cited Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11] and its defenders. In his discussion of the calling of the reprobate, Turretin repudiates two assertions: First, that the reprobate are ‘called with the design and intention on God’s part that they should become partakers of salvation;’ and second, that it follows from this that ‘God does not deal seriously with them, but hypocritically and falsely; or that he can be accused of some injustice.’ Turretin states the Reformed position as follows: ‘we do not deny that the reprobate ... are called by God through the gospel; still we do deny that they are called with the intention that they should be made actual partakers of salvation (which God knew would never be the case because in his decree he had ordained otherwise concerning them). Nor ought we on this account to think that God can be charged with hypocrisy or dissimulation, but that he always acts most seriously and sincerely.’


----------------------------------------

(III)

More to come! (DV)





No comments:

Post a Comment