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Thank you for this, Lee. This is clear and cogent, as usual. It is also remarkably charitable. But for you, that is also usual. I suppose what is unusual is the restraint required not to respond in kind.

It is easy to lift quotes from historical figures out of context, especially in the age of digital texts and databases that store and sort them. As Crawford Gribben taught me, these databases are tremendously powerful for doing research, but the faustian bargain is that they teach us to mistreat books by not treating them like books at all. Chalk another one up for Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan, I suppose: the medium at least distorts the message.

But most importantly, thank you for the clarity on the central fact that God only declares me righteous because of what Christ has already done.

Theodore Zachariades

Well stated and on the mark. Justification is a declaration of God that we have our sins forgiven and that the positive righteousness of Christ is imputed to the elect by the sole instrument of faith. Soli Deo Gloria.

Douglas Abendroth

Thanks for adding the clarity. This was well said and needed to be said. If Piper had stuck to the language of the Reformed confessions, we wouldn't be having this conversation. When someone chooses intentionally to use idiosyncratic language to express key theological concepts long expressed in conventional language, it's always interesting to ask why. I tend to find one of three explanations. (1) They don't know better (not the case with Piper); (2) they are intending to blaze a new or different theological path and need new language to take them there; or (3) they think that the old, conventional language is not cool and will bore their audience or lose them. I think with Piper we're dealing with #3. I often hear in the PCA advice to pastors that confessional language will lose your audience; put it in your "own words" or make it "relatable"; don't be too "theological" because you won't attract young cool people. I think this is an unfortunate strategy, but a common one. Far better IMO to teach the congregation the conventional language and move them from ignorance to understanding. It is safer, and it insults the intelligence of people to think they can't understand justification or imputed righteousness.

Bob Bjerkaas

Very well written.

Brandon Addison

Elucidating reply, Lee.

I was "flabbergasted" by Jones's interpretation of your initial post. I think this follow-up should work to show that whatever (important) semantic quibbles there may be, this is a discussion among brothers.

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