16: The Works of God: Common Grace Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 16: The Works of God: Common Grace Deck (12)
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What is the covenant of "general grace"?

  1. God has committed himself to the care of his creation
  2. This care extends even to those who are in rebellion against the LORD.

    1. This shows his ongoing concern not just for his covenant people, but for all. 


What does the doctrine of common grace affirms?

  1. God's compassion upholds and protects the goodness of his creation

  2. God restrains the power and consequences of sin within the world


What was Calvin's contribution to the doctrine of common grace?

  1. God restrains the unregenerate so that they are not absolute devils.

    • His attitude towards the unbeliever is not only wrath

    • They are able to do things that contribute to human life and society

  2. It is a grace, but a non-redemptive grace.


What was the 1924 Christian Reformed Church declaration on common grace?

  1. There is a “certain favor or grace” of God which he shows to his creatures in general.

  2. God restrains sin in individuals and in society.

  3. God enables the unregenerate to perform “civic good.”


What was Herman Hoeksema’s criticisms of common grace?

  1. The notion of a favorable disposition toward fallen man is inconsistent with Scripture and the Reformed faith.
  • The antithesis (the absolute distinction between the believer and unbeliever) trumps common grace.
  • God does not love the unregenerate. The unregenerate are the enemies of God, and God “hates his enemies and purposes to destroy them, except them He chose in Christ Jesus.


What was Van Til's reply to Hoeksema?

  1. The antithesis is not absolute in this life. Neither the regenerate nor the unregenerate is perfect in his allegiance or in God’s estimation. A relative good remains in the unregenerate and a relative evil remains in the regenerate.

  2. The reprobate enjoy a measure of divine favor. And the elect are also objects of divine wrath.

  3. Historical reality is never as clean as suggested by Hoeksema’s absolute dichotomy.


What were other criticisms of Hoeksema to common grace?

  1. The created order stands under the curse of God. Call for separation from worldly things. Ignores the church’s calling to be salt and light to the world

  2. Common grace is inconsistent with the doctrine of total depravity. The Reformed confessional tradition tells us that the unregenerate can do no good.

    1. But "total depravity" does not mean "absolute depravity"

  3. Grace cannot be grace unless it is redemptive in intention and effect

    1. But the word grace does not always mean redemption, sometimes it means "favor"


Why was Hoeksema's criticism based on an unbiblical dualism?

Because it proceeds from the erroneous assumption that sin, death and the curse, instead of being powers which God works, manifestations of his wrath, are powers outside Him and apart from Him, which he must restrain. 


What are some elements of Hoeksema’s criticism of common grace?

  1. Absolute antithesis. A black and white world

  2. Rejection of the doctrine of creation. All discussion emanates from a decretal understanding of election and reprobation.

  3. God is the sole historical and metaphysical agent. A rejection of second causes and human covenantal responsibility

  4. Supralapsarianism (incompatibilist determinism; absolute unilateralism)


What was Hoeksema's Absolute antithesis?

  1. A remnant view of the church. The world is hostile to the gospel and the people of God
  2. An ethic of over-againstness. Extreme separatism
  3. A pessimistic, almost apocalyptic view of history


What was Hoeksema's Supralapsarianism?

  1. Sees redemption and reprobation as God’s primary work

  2. Creation is merely a means toward the end of glorification through election and reprobation

  3. The fall is a necessary means toward God’s elective purpose

  4. God is the author of sin in the same way as he is the author of redemption


Conclusion of Common Grace

  1. Common grace must be oriented first to God’s creational work. It is a maintaining and restraining benevolence. It is not redemptive but creational.

  2. How does common grace relate to God’s redemptive intention? A non-redemptive benevolence is part of God’s specifically redemptive work.

  3. Common grace in relation to the church’s calling as salt and light

    1. All of God’s covenants bring blessings to the world in general. Believers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world