Antinomianism: Some Errors

The following may be considered as a series of antinomian errors, constituting a sketch of such a system as has been approximated in the course of history:

1. The law is made void by grace. Justification by faith alone renders good works unnecessary.

2. Since good works are unnecessary, obedience to the Law is not required of justified persons.

3. God sees no sin in the justified, who are no longer bound by the law, and is not displeased with them if they sin.

4. God therefore does no chastise justified persons for sin.

5. Nor can sin in any way injure the justified.

6. Since no duties or obligations are admitted in the gospel, faith and repentance are not commanded.

7. The Christian need not repent in order to receive pardon of sin.

8. Nor need he mortify sin; Christ has mortified sin for him.

9. Nor ought he be distressed in conscience upon backsliding, but he should hold fast to a full assurance of his salvation in the midst of the vilest sins.

10. Justifying faith is the assurance that one is already justified.

11. The elect are actually justified before they believe, even from all eternity.

12. Therefore, they were never children of wrath or under condemnation.

13. Their sin, as to its very being, was imputed to Christ so as not to be theirs, and His holiness is imputed to them as their only sanctification.

14. Sanctification is no evidence of justification, for assurance is the fruit of an immediate revelation that one is an elect person.

15. No conviction by the law precedes the sinner’s closing with Christ, inasmuch as Christ is freely offered to sinners as sinners.

16. Repentance is produced not by the law, but by the gospel only.

17. The secret counsel of God is the rule of man’s conduct.

18. God is the author and approver of sin, for sin is the accomplishment of His will.

19. Unless the Spirit works holiness in the soul, there is no obligation to be holy or to strive toward that end.

20. All externals are useless or indifferent, since the Spirit alone gives life.


William Young, Reformed Thought: Selected Writings of William Young, Antinomianism, Pg. 61-62

9 thoughts on “Antinomianism: Some Errors

  1. The order of repentance is the critical thing. The standard Calvinist ‘Reformed’ theological ordering (the term, ‘Ordo salutis’ was actually not used until the eighteenth century!) faith preceded repentance which in turn preceded justification. Note that many other models of Christianity saw repentance as preceding faith. Obviously, the specifically English variant of the situation was influenced by a number of key texts such as Perkins’ ‘On the nature and practice of repentance’ (1593). Breaching this Calvinistic logic was seen as extremely dangerous and damaging to the centrality of faith. Sure for Agricola poenitentia – broadly ‘repentance’ or ‘penance’ but also the word used by Luther in the first four of the ‘Ninety five theses’ (1517) – is totally the Gospel’s work and not the Law’s. But for the likes of Robert Towne it is simply the order of things. Traske calls it a ‘stepping stone’.
    And the Gospel over-rides the Law but the ‘true Christian’ behaves in a lawful manner because this flows from faith.


    1. Whether the term Ordo Salutis was used later or not is beside the point. Point 6 is specific to Antinomianism, in that they deny a gospel command to repent. Classic Antinomianism is heretical. See Rutherford’s treatment against them in his work “Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself”.


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