Sandemanianism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by J.D., Aug 4, 2007.

  1. J.D.

    J.D.
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    What is sandemanianism and is it good or bad and why is it good or bad?
     
  2. npetreley

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    Isn't that the belief that some guy puts grains of sand in your eyes to make you go to sleep?
     
  3. J.D.

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    Aha! Another proof that pop music is evil. Remember that song, "Mister Sandman"?
     
  4. npetreley

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    Yes, I do. Something like "Make me a dream. Make her complexion like peaches and cream." Not that I'm old enough to remember songs like that. (cough)

    I looked up sandemanianism. I'm not sure what I think, though. The first piece I found was kind of biased.
     
  5. GeneMBridges

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    To answer your question. It's the view on the doctrine of saving faith that such faith is "bare." It is composed only of Number 2 below. That is to say, it denies that saving faith is, as the Reformers stated, composed of 3 parts:

    1. Noticia (the intellectual content)

    2. Assenus (belief in that content but without personal belief - that is it is true as a fact of history but not true in the sense of 3).

    3. Fiducia (trust). Fiducia is that which casts off all your own merits and pleads Christ alone in your place before God. Is is that which clings to Christ and Him only.

    Among Baptists, Sandemanians arose among the Campbellite sect in the 19th century. Their doctrines of baptismal regeneration, for example, are an attempt to compensate for divesting saving faith of fiducia.

    In the modern period, it is found among them from time to time, and among, in particular:

    1. The class of Presbyterians following the teachings of Gordon H. Clark. John Robbins @ the Trinity Foundation is an example. This is due to an (over)emphasis on the propositional. It is true that propositions articulate the content of Scripture, but it is not true that saving faith is believing a set of propositions.

    2. Those sometimes called "Easy Believism" teachers. Among these, you'll find men like Charles Ryrie to some extent and most certainly Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkins classed.

    a. Typically, they will say things like, when a person is uncertain about their salvation, they'll ask them if they believe in particular facts about Jesus. I have read Wilkins directly on this point.

    b. They are often preoccupied with assurance, asserting that any other definition of saving faith will rob the believer of his assurance. The problem here is that Scripture never indexes assurance to a definition of saving faith like theirs. Rather, it indexes assurance to a three test scheme, as in 1 John, that includes ethical behavior.

    c. Which means they are often antinomian in their views on perseverance to the end. They reduce the security of the believer to something like a "tattoo" that cannot be lost, even if one apostatizes. According to Wilkin, about 1/3 of those in their camp affirm that.

    d. They are often, therefore, very critical of both the Arminian who says salvation can be lost and the Calvinist who affirms the security of the believer but teaches:

    i. Assurance can be lost as means of chastisement.
    ii. Believers must persevere to the end. Doing so is positive evidence of salvation.

    Sandemanianism arose first by that name in Scots Presbyterianism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
     
  6. J.D.

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    Gene, my hero! So good to hear from you. Believe it or not, I was thinking of you when I posted the OP. I had read something you wrote some time ago in which you used that word "sandewhateverism" and I said to myself "I've got to learn what that is some day". I had no idea you were out there lurking around.
     
    #6 J.D., Aug 4, 2007
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  7. J.D.

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    Gene, I see that you name Clark in that camp. I've been studying him some and I picked up on that too, although I wasn't sure if he was fully sandemanian or not. Can you expand on him?
     
  8. J.D.

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    Notitia, Assensus, Fiducia -- TCGreek pointed out those three aspects to me a while back in response to a post I had made concerning the views of Clark. I wrote them down and memorized them.
     
  9. GeneMBridges

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    Well, I do put in appearance here and there from time to time. I'm like Doctor Who in his TARDIS. You never know where I'll turn up.

    You can go to the Trinity Foundation website and read John Robbins material. He's taken on the mantle of Clark's defender. Look for his material "refuting" Sproul on saving faith.

    Also, I think Vincent Cheung's material runs along the same lines. You get into material on Scripturalism with him, and it all runs back to Clark.

    Clark isn't so bad on his own. His followers are the ones you have to watch out for. I'm more of a Van Tillian in the end.

    The gist of his idea is that Scripture is propositional revelation. No problem!

    But then he gets going and before you know it you run into him concluding that saving faith is reducible to believing a set of propositional statements. Whoops.

    Cheung takes this and develops his Scripturalism. That's a whole can of worms that I'd rather not get into here. Head to Triablogue and search for "Scripturalism" and / or Cheung in our archives. I'm on "staff" there these days and nowhere else. If you can't find it, email me via my profile there, and I'll look them all up for you on my Dashboard. There are so many links there, it'd be easier to do that than list them here.
     
    #9 GeneMBridges, Aug 5, 2007
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  10. GeneMBridges

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    Oh, and I almost forgot. I remember an article on Sandemanianism that Banner of Truth had online at one time. You'll have to Google it. I believe that they respond to Robbins, so you can try Googling Robbins, Sandemanianism, and Banner of Truth. If that doesn't work, go to their website and search for it directly. It's been awhile since I've referred to it, so I'm not sure if it's still there.
     
  11. npetreley

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    JD, I find this a tough one to ponder. I'm beginning to change my mind about the turning point of salvation (at least from our perspective), but I don't think I'm prepared to go as far as sandemanianism.

    The Bible is filled with people getting saved by belief. The question is, what does it mean when it says things like, "all who were appointed to eternal life, believed"? Was that the moment they not only believed in the facts, but also began to TRUST?
     
  12. GLipscomb48

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    After reading several closed threads of the past, and the obvious dislike for the OP's of a certain poster, I thought sandemanianism was alluding to those who fell for the teachings of one many affectionally call Spamderson here on the BB.:laugh:
     
  13. GeneMBridges

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    First, let me amend my historical comments. Sandemanianism arose in the early, not late 18th century, with John Glas in Scotland, who then met Robert Sandeman.

    I know JD can speak for himself, but I think we need to be clear here. Sandemanianism teaches that "belief" is bare. It disincludes "trust." Sandeman himself held that bare assent to Christ is necessary to be saved, so the issue is just believing the facts.

    Thus, to answer your question, I would ask you another. Do you think that saving faith can fail to produce spiritual fruit in the believer? That is the real issue. The issue isn't simply "trust," but the fact that "trust" shows fruit. Nobody denies that saving faith involves believinng a set of facts about Christ. Very few would even go so far as to day that it does not involve "trust" (except for the extreme Clarkians and a few in the Free Grace camp). Rather, the issue is really, when it all cashes out, over the issue of whether or not saving faith is cannot and indeed does not grow and if saving faith is equivalent to "head knowledge." If the the former is true, then that leads to antinomianism; if the latter is true, then antinomianism is also true and there are people walking around today who intellectually believe the historical facts about Jesus but are bearing no fruit and should be considered "saved."

    This has serious implications for Baptist polity, for we affirm a regenerate church membership and the right use of church discipline. It says that the people that we would otherwise say are baptized and not true believers who don't show up to church on Sunday (most Baptist churches in the SBC today, for example, aren't getting half their church members into the door on Sunday morning) are true believers after all. This, IMO, reduces us to de facto Paedobaptists, and if people can "believe" but not bear fruit, then what is the use of church discipline and specifically the injunction to treat the unrepentant as unbelievers after that process reaches its final stage?

    By the way, for JD:

    http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?719

    That's the article on Clark.
    [FONT=“Verdana”][/FONT]
     
  14. npetreley

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    Yes, I agree this is the important question. I haven't read anything on sandemanianism that answers this authoritatively. From what I'ver ead, Sandeman himself believed that saving "bare belief" produced faith and good works.
     
  15. GeneMBridges

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    Like I said, it's usually their followers that are the ones to watch for. When we talk about "Sandemanianism" we're really talking about something more than he taught. He took Glas and then McLean and others took Sandeman, and so on and so on.

    The original issue dealt with whether or not saving faith was a thing of the mind or the mind & the will combined. That's a fairly fine distinction, but it's where it leads that's the real issue today.

    Now, it has come to encompass much more.
     
  16. Mr.M

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    Regardless of the OP, your post leads me to believe that you are either favorable in some form of most or all of what is commonly called "Calvinism".

    Per the post itself you described Sandemanianism as only possessing #2 of the following 3 elements of saving faith as proposed by the Reformers:

    1. Noticia (the intellectual content)

    2. Assenus (belief in that content but without personal belief - that is it is true as a fact of history but not true in the sense of 3).

    3. Fiducia (trust). Fiducia is that which casts off all your own merits and pleads Christ alone in your place before God. Is is that which clings to Christ and Him only.

    You then charged that Sandemanianism is found among "Easy Believism" teachers, to some extent Ryrie and and most certainly Hodges and Wilkins.

    While I cannot and will not dare to imagine I know the minds of all ministers, even those that are characterized by their theological antagonists as "Easy Believists" I do take issue with your inclusion of Ryrie.

    First, there is no such thing as "to some extent" in this camp. Either a man only holds to #2 or he doesn't. If he holds to part or a whole of another then he obviously disagrees with Sandemanianism or else he would hold to #2 alone.

    But more importantly is that while one might find certain segments of Ryrie's writings that emphasize the gospel in its most basic form, that being to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, I find no place so far (I am open to enlightenment) that Ryrie intimates that faith is GENUINELY without Fiducia or Noticia in some form or to some extent (the qualifying phrase you introduced).

    While it might be that some men seek to interpret what Ryrie teaches in a theologically embarrassing light , I cannot, after reading Ryrie and even Hodges, believe that they earnestly hold to a genuine Sandemanian view.Rather, those that oppose what they interpret as their "Easy Believism" are seeking to use this obscure and isolated doctrine belonging to men far removed from reasonable consideration as sources for Ryrie or Hodges, as a weapon to wrongly characterize their teachings.

    As far as Wilkins, I cannot say and so I cannot comment due to not having read any significant amount of his doctrines.
     
    #16 Mr.M, Aug 5, 2007
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  17. GeneMBridges

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    The problem with Ryrie is that on the one hand he'll say something about "trust" and on another saying something else. Discussing him in relation to the "Free Grace" movement is like discussing the Early Chuch Fathers and Sola Fide. One the one hand, they'll say something to support and on another against it, so that's why I stated what I stated.

    You see on the one hand he can this:

    Charles Ryrie is famous for his distinctions over repentance:

    Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of one's life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. People can weep; people can resolve to turnfrom their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person's
    mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation (So Great Salvation p. 94)
    We agree, repentance does involve repenting from a wrong idea about Christ, but it is also repenting from sin. Almost every Bible mention of repentance unto salvation is in the context of repentance from sin. Now, Ryrie does says that repentance from sin is important. But to say that it is not essential to salvation is to say that Christ died for nothing more than recognition of his office as Savior.

    On the other, he can say this:

    And that is why my friends out West who graduated from DTS cannot believe their ears when they hear Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges make such absurd, anti-biblical statements about their pastoral practices much less their theology.

    Wilkins in on record stating that if a person is unsure of their salvation or false professor he will ask them if they believe a set of facts about Christ. That's certainly Sandemanian.

    Here's what Bob Wilkin says about dealing with false professors:

    In attempting to determine whether one is a true or false professor I do not:

    1) consider the quality of his works,

    2) try and figure out how grieved he is when he sins, or

    3) attempt to discern how much he desires to have an intimate relationship with God. Those are three commonly suggested tests (see, for example, Dr. Darrell Bock, Bibliotheca Sacra [Jan-Mar 89]:
    pp.31-32). The problem with such tests is threefold. First, some unbelievers may appear to do well on all three counts. Indeed they may be fervently trying to be good and may be living a very moral life. Second, some believers may do poorly on one or more of these tests. King David would have failed the test during the first year after his fall. Many of the believers in Corinth would have failed
    these tests (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 6:1-20; 11:30). Third and most importantly, the Scriptures do not give such tests.

    Rather, I feel there is one test we can utilize. Since belief is an understanding and acceptance of the Gospel, a false professor is one who claims to believe yet who either does not understand
    or does not accept the gospel. Therefore, I talk to people about the gospel. I ask them questions. Do they believe in eternal security? Are they sure they have eternal life? Why should God let them into heaven? How would they share the gospel with someone else? If they indicate that they are sinners who are
    eternally secure by grace because Jesus died and paid the penalty for all of their sins, I conclude that they are saved. If not, I am unsure as to whether they are a confused believer or whether they never were saved in the first place. In any case I then attempt to make sure that they now understand the
    gospel and accept it.

    Zane Hodges...

    But then what is it? Many of the contemporary evangelical answers are filled with confusion and permeated by error. When faith ceases to be merely taking God’s Word for things, it becomes something mysterious, imprecise, vague, and numinous. It can then be said to include such unrelated
    concepts as repentance, surrender, willingness to obey, devotion, a worshipful spirit, etc.....

    The one who believes that Jesus is the Christ possesses divine, unending life.

    No one can believe this message without being saved (1 John 5:1). And no one can believe this message without being sure that he is saved! The message, in fact, is God’s true, reliable, and unchanging
    "witness" to us.

    Having done this, we try hard to turn faith into something "productive" and "effective." Faith, we decide, cannot be merely "receiving the witness of God." It cannot be, we tell ourselves, merely
    "standing on the promises" of His Word. Surely it is not, we think, simply "resting" in who Jesus is and in what He guarantees.
    Hodges, as I recall, also denies that repentance is concomitant with saving faith.
     
  18. Mr.M

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    After having read your fair quotes of those men I cannot see that they can be reduced to rightly or fairly being represented by Sandemanianism, even to "some extent".

    I understand the objections that arise with their statements, particularly among those influenced by Reformed theology (which I acknowledge Reformed students believe is Biblical Theology but for the sake of discussion I use the Reformed reference) but I certainly find their theology easily overflowing the tiny container of Sandemanianism and its label severely inadequate to fairly describe their doctrine, even when being tagged by those who find them barely tolerable as teachers of the Scriptures.
     
    #18 Mr.M, Aug 5, 2007
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  19. GeneMBridges

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    Frankly, Brother, I'm only making that statement based on what they have themselves stated about their own theology.

    In the debate with Dr. James White, Bob Wilkin flatly denied that saving faith bears fruit and flatly stated that saving faith amounts to assent to a set of facts. I'm sorry you don't see that as "Sandemanian," but what, pray tell, would qualify them if their own confessions of their beliefs doesn't?

    Protestant Christians (of the non-Sandemanian variety - which is the vast majority of Protestant Christendom I might add) see works as a necessary evidence of genuine faith, something that follows conversion and subsequently vindicates one as a true believer as opposed to a mere confessor of the faith.

    Works function then, much like the fruit of a tree does, they reveal the underlying nature/root. Just as apples on a tree don't make a tree an apple tree (rather they reveal it to be truly an apple tree) so too works (according to traditional Protestant theology) reveal whether one is truly born again or merely one who professes to know God while still unregenerate (cf. Titus 2:15).

    In other words, according to traditional Protestant soteriology, works follow genuine conversion/justification and they do not precede or cause/contribute to it.

    Wilkins denies this. Zane Hodges has done so as well.

    Bob Wilkin says there are 3 positions on eternal security in that camp. 2 of them, according to him, believe the believer can apostatize from the faith and still be considered "saved." The 3rd does not.

    Wilkin admits to denying the third, because he has argued against the perseverance of the saints.

    Wilkin flatly admits that repentance is not part of saving faith. He has done so openly for the public.

    See here
     
  20. Jerome

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    I ran across the Sandemanians while researching "multiple elders" among early Baptists.
    The group called Scotch Baptists was heavily influenced by Sandemanianism:

    "The Scotch Baptist churches were much influenced by the early Sandemanian connections of these leaders, adopting from that source some notions regarding organization and practice that have been peculiar to them among Baptists, such as insisting on a plurality of elders in every church, and the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper."
    -p. 45, Henry C. Vedder, Baptist History.

    They also forbad widowed elders to remarry (husband of one wife).
     

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