Was Warfield a Lutheran?

“There is no evidence presented here that the New Testament represents sanctification as received immediately by faith.” Read more»

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. It is fascinating this conversation is in his writings “The German Higher Life Movement,” in Perfectionism.

    Does this tell us something about advocates of Definitive Sanctification and equal ultimacy of J and S in the ordo?

  2. It seems “Definitive Sanctification” somehow mitigates the “already-and-not yet” eschatological tension.

    Did John Murray really hold to “DS?”

  3. Dr. Clark,

    I’ve been looking at this issue for awhile, and I’ve been digging more into my systematics to see what they say. From what I have read, Louis Berkhof sounds pretty Lutheran when he writes about the relationship between sanctification and justification:

    Justification precedes and is basic to sanctification in the covenant of grace. In the covenant of works the order of righteousness and holiness was just the reverse. Adam was created with a holy disposition and inclination to serve God, but on the basis of this holiness he had to work out the righteousness that would entitle him to eternal life. Justification is the judicial basis for sanctification. God has the right to demand of us holiness of life, but because we cannot work out this holiness for ourselves, He freely works it within us through the Holy Spirit on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to us in justification. The very fact that it is based on justification, in which the free grace of God stands out with the greatest prominence, excludes the idea that we can ever merit anything in sanctification.

    • Indeed, this is one of the great problems with the attempt to set up what seems to me to be a fairly recent approach to existential union (as logically prior to faith) as the definition of Reformed soteriology and all other approaches as “Lutheran.” It ends up pushing most of the Reformed tradition into the Lutheran category. Or maybe most of the Reformed tradition was correct and the recent approach should be questioned?

  4. TO Warren;

    I think one could characterize Murray’s essay on Definitive Sanctification in exactly the opposite way you’ve framed it. Murray’s point is, as we live in faith and make our way through a life of progressive sanctification, we are also, already definitively sanctified – we are sanctified in Christ and called to live as such now. Some have called this positional sanctification. It’s not really a novel point. Part of the tension in the not yet (progressive), is that there is an already!

    As for “did he really hold to DS?” Well, it originally was published in Calvin Theological Journal in 1967. There’s a recording at WTS library** of a lecture by Murray on the exact same title; dating from some time in the 1970s, that is within 5 years of his passing in 1975; so I imagine he still held to it.* If the essay is in vol 1 of Murray’s Collected Writings that’s further proof, since he had edited or approved vol 1 contents for larger publication prior to his passing. * Will have to listen to recording to verify, has anyone suggested he backed down from the essay? I’ll have to ask around…

    **ahem, that’s WTS in Philadelphia 😉


Comments are closed.