Robert N. Wilkin
The English branch of the Reformation developed a view of assurance that relied significantly on what became known as the practical syllogism. Since the Puritans considered regeneration to be unknowable by purely objective means, they sought for indirect ways to determine whether one was regenerate.1 Most Puritans believed that there were two indirect (i.e., subjective) means: the practical syllogism (focus on external actions) and the mystical syllogism (focus on the inner person, especially godly inclinations).2 This paper will consider only the practical syllogism.
It is the thesis of this paper that the works-based practical syllogism produces doubt, not assurance.
II. THE PURITAN USE OF THE PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM
Puritan theologians use the practical syllogism in order to provide Calvinists with knowledge of their regenerate status, as well as motivation for wholehearted service for God.
Joel Beeke wrote his dissertation at Westminster Theological Seminary on “Personal Assurance of Faith: English Puritanism and the Dutch Nadere Reformatie from Westminster to Alexander Comrie (1640-1760).” His book, The Quest for Full Assurance, is a revision of his dissertation.3 Beeke explains the practical syllogism in this way:
The practical syllogism was based on the believer’s sanctification and good works in daily life. It emphasized the believer’s life of obedience that confirmed his experience of grace. It went something like this: Major premise: According to Scripture, only those who possess saving faith will receive the Spirit’s testimony that their lives manifest fruits of sanctification and good works. Minor premise: I cannot deny that by the grace of God I have received the Spirit’s testimony that I manifest fruits of sanctification and good works. Conclusion: I am a partaker of saving faith.4
The major premise concerns something which is true of believers. The minor premise is what is true of me as an individual. The conclusion is that I am a believer. Here is a simplified version of the assurance syllogism:
Major Premise: Believers5 manifest good works.
Minor Premise: I manifest good works.
Conclusion: I am a believer.6
The focus in the practical syllogism is external and subjective (i.e., good works, sanctification, transformation, perseverance). The aim is to provide a way in which to verify that the cross and the promise of everlasting life apply to you.
III. EVIDENCE THAT THE PURITAN PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM IS INCONSISTENT WITH SCRIPTURE
The Puritans were seeking to glorify God via the practical syllogism. However, the Scriptures do not support the practical syllogism.
A. Born Again People Who Failed to Persevere in Good Works
1 Corinthians 11:30. The believers at Corinth were guilty of partaking in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Some of them were getting drunk and overeating. As a result, Paul said, “Some of you are sick and some sleep.” The word “sleep” (koimaō) in all other NT uses, when it is used figuratively of death, always refers to the death of believers (John 11:11, 12, 13; 1 Thess 4:14). This includes the one other use in 1 Corinthians (15:51). Though these believers had been guilty of misbehavior at the Lord’s Supper and had died prematurely as a result, they still went to be with the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:10. Demas was listed in Colossians and Philemon as one of Paul’s trusted co-workers (Col 4:14; Phlm 1:24). In Philippians, another of the prison epistles, Paul had said:
I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life (Phil 4:2-3).
Since Demas was one of Paul’s fellow workers, his name was and remains in the Book of Life.
Yet years later, as Paul faces death by martyrdom after his second Roman imprisonment, he writes concerning Demas, “Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica…” (2 Tim 4:9-10).
This is the last we hear of Demas: “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” Whether he, like John Mark, later returned to ministry and to loving the world to come is not stated. Yet Paul does not question his regenerate status. Paul finds fault with the behavior of Demas, not his eternal destiny.
B. Born Again People Who Failed to Rise Beyond Baby Christian Status
The practical syllogism requires that believers steadily progress. For someone to be stalled in immaturity would suggest that he was not born again.
The believers in Corinth had been in Christ for about five years when Paul composed 1 Corinthians. He writes to them:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal, and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor 3:1-3).
The problem for the practical syllogism is that Paul does call the Corinthians natural men, or mere men. He calls them “babes in Christ.” He affirms that they were in Christ. All who are “in Christ” in the Pauline sense have everlasting life.
In verse 3, the first word in Greek is still (eti): “Still you are now not able…”
I suppose one could argue that they later all achieved the status of mature believers or spiritual people. But there is no hint of that in the rest of 1 Corinthians, or in 2 Corinthians, or in any of Paul’s other letters. Besides, those who died for abusing the Lord’s Supper clearly never reached maturity (1 Cor 11:30).
C. Promises of Everlasting Life Specifically Detached from Works
If all who have everlasting life will persevere in good works, then we must not see passages which deny any necessary connection between the two. Yet when asked, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28), the Lord Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29).
They spoke of “works,” plural. He spoke of one “work,” using the word work ironically. The only action a person can do to gain everlasting life is to believe in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If good works necessarily follow faith in Christ, then the Lord would have said something different. He would have said something like, “The works of God are to believe in Him whom He sent and then to love Him and your neighbor throughout your lives.”
See also Eph 2:8-9. Salvation, which is being made alive by God (Eph 2:5), is by grace through faith and apart from works. And it is something which is an accomplished and irreversible event: “you have been saved.” The perfect passive speaks of something which God did in the past to them and which has an abiding result.7
D. Rebuke by Christ of People Seeking Assurance in Their Works
The Lord Jesus rebuked legalistic Jews in His day when He said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
The legalists were looking to the commands of Scripture for assurance that they were good enough to enter the coming kingdom.
Searching the Scriptures can be a good thing. The only other reference to this idea is very positive (Acts 17:11). But here in John 5:39-40, it was not good because the purpose of the searching was wrong. Rather than trying to learn what God said one must do to have everlasting life, the legalists were searching the OT to find evidence in their works that they had eternal life.
But, the Lord says the Scriptures testify about Messiah. If the listeners had come to the OT and to Jesus with open minds and hearts, they would have gained everlasting life by faith apart from works.
See also the end of the Sermon on the Mount in which the Lord specifically rebukes those who think they will get into His kingdom because of works they have done in His name (Matt 7:21-23). Works are not the basis of assurance. Faith in Christ is.
E. The Gospel of Belief
John’s Gospel is called the Gospel of Belief because the word believe (pisteuō) occurs 99 times (100 in the Majority Text). Over and over again belief is said to be the sole condition for everlasting life (e.g., John 1:11-13; 3:14-18, 36; 4:10-14; 5:24, 39-40; 6:35, 37, 39, 47; 11:25-27; 20:30 31).
Not only is belief the condition of everlasting life, it is also the basis of assurance of it, according to the Lord in John’s Gospel. That makes sense, of course, since believing and being assured are synonyms. When you are assured of something, you believe it. When you believe something, you are assured it is true.
The Puritan practical syllogism is inconsistent with God’s Word.
IV. THE LOGICAL PROBLEM WITH THE PURITAN PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM
The Puritan practical syllogism is guilty of affirming the consequent. Shawn Lazar says, “Let’s assume that saved people do good works and that you do good works. However, being saved [the conclusion of the practical syllogism] is not the only explanation for why you might do good works.”8
He goes on to suggest that Buddhists, Muslims, and Jehovah’s Witnesses all do good works too. Protestants and Catholics who believe in works-salvation do good works. Politicians, people seeking scholarships, and guys who want to win girls all do good works. He concludes, “Being saved is only one possible explanation among many for doing good works. Hence the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. It is invalid.”
If you base your assurance in part on looking at your works, then Lazar’s point is well taken. Unless your works are absolutely perfect, you have no valid way of setting your works above the works of people who do not claim to be Evangelical Christians. Your works might only prove that you are what seventeenth-century Puritan Matthew Mead called the almost Christian.
V. WHY SOME REFORMED THEOLOGIANS QUESTION THE PURITAN PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM
A. It Produces Doubt, Which Is Bad
Beeke argues against assurance by faith alone (e.g., pp. 281, 283, 284). He follows the Westminster Confession, suggesting that assurance comes from “objective promises, subjective sanctification, and internal testimony” (p. 283). Since sanctification and the so-called inner testimony of the Spirit are both subjective, Beeke concludes that “faith will bear varying degrees of assurance” (p. 285).
Whatever assurance is for Beeke, it cannot be certainty, for there are no degrees of certainty.
Yet Beeke recognizes a practical problem with the practical syllogism. When discussing the Puritan practical syllogism, Beeke issues a warning about a potential danger in self-examination:
If introspective probing of the realm of private experience takes precedence over seeking communion with God in Christ, the resulting imbalance will bring more darkness than light. Divorced from God’s promises, the reflex act would be more disheartening than assuring, for the Christian often discovers in self-examination that he is either missing many of the marks of grace or else finds them so defective that he would despair if faith did not rest on God’s Word.9
Beeke’s point seems to be that assurance is found primarily in believing God’s promises plus, in part, on seeing some works which, while imperfect, give a bit of subjective evidence to add to the objective promises.
Warnings about being too introspective are given by many Calvinists.
In Appendix E of the revised edition of The Five Points of Calvinism by Steele, Thomas, and Quinn, Curt Daniel warns:
Another odd pitfall that characterizes some Calvinists is chronic introspection. Now I do not mean normal self-inspection (2 Cor. 13:5). I mean the sort that goes too far. This sort seems to glory in introspection without the proper results. What do I mean? True self examination should lead to renewed faith and love and obedience. False introspection leads to more introspection and actually less faith. It produces more doubt, not faith. For example, some worry that they might not be among the elect…10
Michael Eaton says that introspection is:
…the snag of scholastic Calvinism. It leads into an abyss of ever-increasing introspection…The more sincere the Christian, the more severe the doubts…There are subtle variations among different versions of Calvinism. The introspective variety is decidedly not totally derived from the New Testament, and its all-pervasive view of the law needs reconsidering.11
Retired professor David Engelsma, also a Calvinist, gives a stronger warning. He believes that introspection is bad, no matter how carefully one does it:
Do not quench the Spirit of assurance either by listening to Puritan preaching that is forever questioning your assurance, forever challenging your right to assurance, forever sending you on a quest for assurance, and forever instilling doubt. The Spirit does not work assurance by means of a gospel of doubt.12
Seventeenth-century Puritan Matthew Mead (1629-1699) wrote a book entitled The Almost Christian Discovered. It was recently republished with a foreword from John MacArthur.13 The many warnings he gives show the dangers of introspection.
Mead goes to great lengths to strip any Puritan of false confidence that he is born again. See Appendix 2 in this article for a list of all twenty of the warnings he gives. Mead says that the following may be true of you and yet you may still be an almost Christian: you may have “spiritual gifts” (warning 2); “great hopes of heaven” (warning 9); “the Spirit of God” (warning 15); and “faith” (warning 16). In addition, he says you may “hate sin” (warning 5), “be under great and visible changes, and these wrought by the ministry of the word” (warning 10), “pray often, and pray much” (warning 12), “suffer for Christ” (warning 13), “obey many of the commands of God” (warning 18), and “be sanctified” (warning 19).
In the foreword to The Almost Christian Discovered, MacArthur says, “Self-examination is thoroughly biblical (2 Corinthians 13:5)…That is exactly what this book is all about. Don’t read it unless you are willing to undergo the most intense kind of personal inventory.”14
The concern of Beeke, Daniel, Eaton, and Engelsma seems justified in light of the lengths Mead and other Puritans go to strip assurance from those who call themselves Christians.
B. It Is Not Found in Scripture
Zachman, Engelsma, Kendall, and Eaton all suggest that the Scriptures do not support the idea that assurance is based in part on the objective promises of Scripture and in part on our works and feelings. They cite John 3:16 and other texts as teaching that assurance is based solely on the objective promises found in God’s Word. The promise of everlasting life is to everyone who believes, not to those who believe plus work, plus feel an inner testimony.15
Concerning 2 Cor 13:5-7, Kendall writes:
Paul is not turning on them at the last moment and raising the question whether or not they are even saved…He challenges them to prove their own worth in the light of his apostleship being questioned. The Greek does not read, “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith”; it is rather, “Examine yourselves if you are in the faith.” As they were seeking a proof of Christ speaking through Paul (2 Cor. 13:3), Paul turns on them and asks them to prove that Christ is speaking through them!…The contrast is not that of being saved or lost but whether, as saved people, Christ is openly manifest in them.16
C. It Undercuts Careful Hermeneutics
If I read the Bible in such a way that I cannot be sure I have everlasting life, this impacts the way I understand everything from Genesis to Revelation. If I adopt a hermeneutic that sees John 3:16 as a tough text, then I will see much of the Bible as tough texts.
VI. A FAITH-ONLY PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM
There is another type of practical syllogism that relies not upon works or our feelings, but upon what we believe:
Major Premise: If you believe in Jesus for everlasting life you are regenerate.
Minor Premise: I believe in Jesus for everlasting life.
Conclusion: I am regenerate.
If believing God’s promise of everlasting life is objective, as the Westminster Confession suggests (though many modern Calvinists suggest that saving faith has subjective elements such as repentance, surrender, commitment, and personal encounter with Christ), then under this syllogism one could be sure that one is born again.
Though they do not call it a practical syllogism, a number of Calvinists (or former Calvinists) use this syllogism, including David Engelsma, Randall Zachman, R. T. Kendall, and Michael Eaton. For example, discussing Calvin’s view of assurance, Zachman says, “The foundation of our assurance lies not in what God is doing within us by the gift of regeneration, but rather in the promise of what God freely gives us in Christ Jesus.”17 He then adds, “Doubt and uncertainty cannot help but arise when we bring our works into consideration to found our assurance.”18
VII. PRACTICAL APPLICATION
A. Personal Assurance
The Puritan works-based practical syllogism produces doubt, not assurance.
If I look to Christ alone for my assurance, I will be sure. Jesus guarantees everlasting life to all who believe in Him for that life. I believe in Jesus for everlasting life. Therefore, I have everlasting life.
B. Personal Motivations for Serving God
Though Calvinists honor the sovereignty and glory of God, their motivation in serving God is also influenced by the practical syllogism. Calvinists who look to their works for assurance are serving God in part so that they might spend eternity with the Lord.
If our works are needed to gain what some call final salvation, then our motivation to do those works is certainly in part a desire to gain that final salvation.
Look to Christ alone for your assurance and you will fall more in love with Him. Love for Him is the single most important motivation there is for serving God.19
C. Personal Staying Power
In our day and age, serving Christ faithfully is tough. There are so many challenges trying to distract us and to get us to quit the race. Public education is against us. The media, television, books, and movies are all contrary to following Christ. Advertising also opposes fidelity to Christ.
If we know we have everlasting life that can never be lost, we have a powerful internal motivator to keep us going.
Through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, I came to faith in Christ while I was a senior in college. I had been in a sinless perfection holiness cult until that point. When I heard the faith-alone message, I rejected it as cheap and easy and a trick of the devil. But since a friend from the cult challenged me to consider this grace message, I went to a College Life meeting with him. Later I met with Warren Wilke, a staff member, for five weeks, an hour a week. Warren was like a broken record, quoting Eph 2:8-9. Finally after five weeks I believed. I was sure I had been saved once and for all by grace, through faith, and apart from works.
The cult had said if you had such assurance you would go to the dogs, meaning you would drink and do drugs and cuss and smoke and commit immorality. I found that assurance of everlasting life had the opposite impact. Within a few months, I was sharing my faith regularly on campus. I wanted to serve God. I changed from pre-med to pre-ministry at the start of my senior year in college.
I have been serving Christ for 46 years now. I have found that assurance by faith keeps me going.
In the summer of 1982, after I graduated from DTS, I asked Dr. Charles Ryrie if he would conduct my ordination council and preach my ordination sermon. He agreed. Then he said, “The key, Bob, is whether you will still be faithfully proclaiming God’s Word 40 years from now.”
It has been 36 years since Dr. Ryrie said that and his words still ring in my head. It all starts with believing God’s promise of everlasting life.
D. Personal Evangelism
How do you share your faith with others? Surely you tell them what you believe the Bible says.
If you believe the Bible says that those who persevere in faith and good works will gain final salvation, then that is the message you will proclaim. But that is not the saving message which our Lord proclaimed.
To clearly evangelize others, tell them about the promise of life to all who simply believe in Jesus.
Some Calvinists speak of evangelizing themselves as personal evangelism. They remind themselves of the need to persevere. But that is wrong. We should remind ourselves that we believe in Jesus and that all who believe in Jesus have everlasting life. That is powerful.
There is no doubt that assurance of everlasting life is an important Biblical doctrine and that it has tremendous practical benefit for the believer. The practical syllogism, while well-intentioned, fails to deliver assurance of everlasting life.
At best, the syllogism can lead one to conclude that he is probably born again. But to achieve even this sub-assurance level of probability, one must take care not to put much stock in introspection.
One can only be certain that he has everlasting life if he looks outside himself to the promise of the Lord Jesus that the one who believes in Him has everlasting life and shall never hunger, never thirst, never perish, never die, and never come into judgment concerning his eternal destiny (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35, 47; 11:25-26).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Truth, as well as the Way and the Life. We can be certain that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life.
In a chapter on “Perseverance and Assurance” in his systematic theology, Calvinist John Frame cites two verses in the Fourth Gospel to prove that “Clearly, God promises eternal life to all who receive Christ (John 1:12…6:35…).”20 He goes on to say that while his name is not listed in the Bible explicitly, “my name is there implicitly.”21 He went on to say that, “God promises salvation to everybody who believes. If you believe, then, that promise is yours. God promises to save you. And that promise is infallible, certain. You dare not doubt it.”22
APPENDIX 1: THE ORIGIN OF THE PRACTICAL SYLLOGISM
The generic practical syllogism goes back to Greek philosophy. Aristotle (384-322 BC) said that a major premise states some universal truth, a minor premise states a particular truth, and the conclusion is an action which should result.23
Here is an example slightly modified from Wikipedia’s discussion of the practical syllogism in Aristotle’s treatise on ethics called the Nicomachean Ethics:
Major premise: All men should exercise (universal).
Minor premise: I am a man (particular).
Conclusion: I should exercise (a reasonable action).24
In a practical syllogism, the conclusion can be an action to be taken, knowledge to be believed, or motivation for future action.
APPENDIX 2: THE ALMOST CHRISTIAN DISCOVERED
As mentioned earlier, Matthew Mead of the seventeenth century gave twenty warnings about the possibility of being what he called “an almost Christian.” Those twenty warnings are:
1. “A man may have much knowledge, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
2. “A man may have great and eminent gifts, yea, spiritual gifts, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
3. “A man may have a high profession of religion, be much in external duties of godliness, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
4. “A man may go far in opposing his sin, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
5. “A man may hate sin, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
6. “A man may make great vows and promises, he may have strong purposes and resolutions against sin, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
7. “A man may maintain a strife and combat against sin in himself, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
8. “A man may be a member of the Church of Christ, he may join himself to the people of God, partake with them in all ordinances, and share of all church privileges, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
9. “A man may have great hopes of heaven, great hopes of being saved, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
10. “A man may be under great and visible changes, and these wrought by the ministry of the word, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
11. “A man may be very zealous in the matters of religion, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
12. “A man may be much in prayer—he may pray often, and pray much, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
13. “A man may suffer for Christ in his goods, in his name, in his person, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
14. “A man may be called of God, and embrace this call, and be but almost a Christian.”
15. “A man may have the Spirit of God, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
16. “A man may have faith, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
17. “A man may have a love to the people of God, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
18. “A man may obey the commands of God, yea, many of the commands of God, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
19. “A man may be sanctified, and yet be but almost a Christian.”
20. “A man may do all, as to external duties and worship, that a true Christian can, and when he hath done all, be but almost a Christian.”25
So what is Mead’s solution? First, use self-examination (pp. 164-175). Look to see if you have a new heart and a new spirit (p. 165). “Regeneration is a whole change: ‘old things are done away, and all things become new. It is a perfect work, as to parts, though not as to degrees’” (p. 170). “Is thy obedience universal?” (p. 175). Second, use caution (pp. 175-189). That is, “take heed of being almost, and yet but almost a Christian” (p. 175). The Puritan never can escape the need to doubt his own eternal destiny. Third, use exhortation (pp. 189-211). Here Mead speaks of “motives to quicken you up to this important duty” (p. 189). As if the motive of avoiding eternity in the lake of fire would not be enough, Mead speaks of various motivations bound up in the exhortations of Scripture, like following Christ is profitable for us and produces comfort and relief in us.
APPENDIX 3: ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA (ACTS 5:1-11)
Ananias and his wife Sapphira are the NT counterparts to Nadab and Abihu in the OT.
When the Law of Moses was being inaugurated, Aaron’s two oldest sons offered up strange fire on their firepans and were struck dead by God on the spot (Lev 10:1-7). Right after this, the Lord gave Aaron instructions that the priests were not to drink wine or intoxicating drink “when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die” (Lev 10:8-9). The implication is that Nadab and Abihu were drunk when they were burned with fire from heaven.
Shortly after God inaugurated the church age, another couple, this time husband and wife, were also struck dead by God. They sold land, kept back some of the proceeds of the sale, and then told the Apostles that they were giving the entire proceeds from the sale. Both lied. Because the issue here, as in Leviticus 10, was the holiness of God, He struck them both dead.
Ananias and Sapphira were born again people. Peter did not evangelize them. He exercised church discipline. The concluding verse shows that the other believers present realized this could happen to them as well: “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
1 Also uncertain is whether Christ died for you, whether God has drawn you, and whether you will persevere in faith and good works until the end of life. The practical syllogism is designed to help answer all those questions affirmatively.
2 The mystical syllogism looks not at external works and transformation, but at inward grace and godliness. The mystical syllogism focuses on inner attitudes and feelings, rather than observable actions.
3 Joel R. Beeke, The Quest for Full Assurance (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1999), vii.
4 Ibid., 132.
5 Following Beeke, I refer to believers in the major premise. However, I could also refer to born again people or to the elect.
6 This is Beeke’s explanation of the syllogism, simplified.
7 Verse 10 does not support the idea of guaranteed perseverance, either. Most fail to notice the shift from the second person plural in Eph 2:8-9 to the first person plural in Eph 2:10 (and following). Verse 10 is corporate. The Church of Jesus Christ, made up of Jews and Gentiles undivided (Eph 2:11ff.) is God’s workmanship. The Church should produce manifestly good works. Of course, we know from the two letters to the Corinthians and the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 that not all churches are characterized by good works.
8 Shawn Lazar, “Assurance and the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent,” Grace in Focus Magazine, Nov-Dec 2017, 40.
9 Beeke, The Quest for Full Assurance, 139, emphases added.
10 Cited in David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn, The Five Points of Calvinism, 2nd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1963, 2004), 195. Appendix E is from Curt Daniel’s book The History and Theology of Calvinism (Dallas, TX: Scholarly Reprints, 1983), 465-70.
11 Michael A. Eaton, No Condemnation: A Theology of Assurance of Salvation (Carlisle, UK: Piquant Editions, 2011), 36.
12 David Engelsma, The Gift of Assurance (The Evangelism Committee of the Protestant Reformed Church: South Holland, IL: 2009), 53.
13 Matthew Mead, The Almost Christian Discovered (Ligonier, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, first printed in 1661, SDGP reprint 1989).
14 Ibid., 1.
15 See, for example, R. T. Kendall, Once Saved, Always Saved (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1983), 19-21.
16 Ibid., 130, emphases his.
17 Randall C. Zachman, The Assurance of Faith: Conscience in the Theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 210.
18 Ibid. Zachman continues, “Therefore, even though Calvin is at pains to show that faith in justification is never found apart from repentance and newness of life, he is equally at pains to establish the foundation of the assurance of conscience in justification alone, for it is only by faith in the reconciling death of Christ that ‘we may have in heaven instead of a judge a gracious Father’ (Calvin’s Institutes III.xi.1).”
19 Other motivations include a desire for God’s blessings now and in the life to come (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; Luke 19:16-26; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 9:24-27; 2 Cor 5:9-10), a desire to escape temporal judgment in this life (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; Jas 5:19-20), and a desire to make one’s life count, to have a life that has eternal significance (Matt 6:1-21).
20 John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2013), 1004.
21 Ibid, 1005, emphasis his.
23 See DeAnima 434a 15-20. See also Alexander Broadie,“The Practical Syllogism,” Analysis (October 1968): 26-28.
24 Wikipedia, s.v., “Practical Syllogism.”
25 Mead, The Almost Christian Discovered, 3-7 in the Table of Contents, and at the heading of each of these sections, pp. 40, 43, 48, 55, 63, 66, 69, 76, 78, 81, 85, 92, 96, 98, 100, 103, 108, 112, 116, 119, respectively.