Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
As someone who knows only too well, the judgment from other Calvinists, (quasi Ameraldians to be more specific), regarding my not properly using the term "love", regarding God's intentions and His disposition toward the reprobate, I have some solace from the man who wrote a little primer on Hyper-Calvinism, a piece I have been critical of in the sense that it is not the standard writing upon the subject, and has also been used unscrupulously by others to malign genuine Calvinists, I have the pleasure of quoting Phil Johnson himself, who recently said,
"Moreover, in the section of my notes on h-cism that deals with God’s will toward the reprobate, I expressly acknowledged that there is a strain of classic high-calvinists who deny that God’s expressions of goodwill toward the reprobate may properly be called “love,” but who are not really hyper. I said, “They are a distinct minority, but they nonetheless have held this view. It’s a hyper-Calvinistic tendency, but not all who hold the view are hyper-Calvinists in any other respect.” Phil Johnson
For Tony Byrne and David Ponter, and all those who mocked and attacked me for saying what I have said, and carefully explained my position numerous times, even having Phil's Primer used against me more times than I can remember, well, what can I say?
I hope you guys clean up your act in 09, but having been on the receiving end of the abuse you guys can muster, perhaps Phil and yet others may unfortunately be in your sights for a target of your narrow arrow, but I sincerely hope for repentance from you guys. It's time in 09!
Give it up guys.....
Joh 3:14 `And as Moses did lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so it behoveth the Son of Man to be lifted up,
Joh 3:15 that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during,
Joh 3:16 for God did so love the world, that His Son--the only begotten--He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son to the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him;
Joh 3:18 he who is believing in him is not judged, but he who is not believing hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 17:9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Joh 17:20 And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word,
Joh 17:21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
Merry Christmas to all of my readers!...
Hope to be back God Willing in 09.
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I agree and have been saying exactly what James here says for years now, and it is just encouraging to hear the good Dr summing up these issues regarding Hyper Calvinism, two wills and the free offer of the gospel.......
Regarding John Piper, please see my post from a while ago regarding "two wills" found here.
If God were to say that he has desired to pass some sinners by and leave them in their sins, in that He will not save them by His grace, based upon His own free volition, and yet say that He has no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, is that reasonable?
Is that inconsistent with God's nature?
I raise it, because when it comes to God's desires regarding who or (whom) rather, He desires to show mercy and to call, regenerate, justify and ultimately glorify, is He then to be presented in the gospel call, as someone who desires the salvation of all men without exception?
I mean, when we preach the gospel, based upon what we read in Scripture, are we to infer that God really has this sincere desire for the whole world to be saved, as in every single person who ever lived?
That is the question.
I know from Scripture, that God get's all of His desires. That I am certain of.
Isa 46:9:10 Remember former things from forever; for I am God, and no other is God, even none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from the past things which were not done, saying, My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure;
So, if God truly desires the salvation of all men, even the reprobate, then there would truly have to be a sense that God ultimately must have unfulfilled desires, and for all eternity, given that not all men are saved, right?
This is just basic logic at it's core.
But, if we accept that grace is sheer grace, then God desiring the salvation of some, and not all, is perfectly reasonable, right?
And further, in desiring the saving of some, He has no pleasure in the destruction of the rest, is a valid point, yes?
So, God can not only have the right to command all men everywhere to repent, but also take no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, but can also be presented as the God who does not have to desire the salvation of all, in order for the charge of "insincerity" to stick, right?
If salvation is an act of mercy and grace, then how can even the thought of "insincere" offers of salvation even be upon the table for legitimate discussion, pertaining to God's desires?
These people who fight for this sincere desire in God for everyone's salvation, do not seem to understand grace in the first place.
They also seem to think that God is under some kind of obligation to provide even the possibility of salvation for every single person or else He is unfair or insincere.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Seasons greetings, and to all a goodnight!
I read a comment by Spurgeon, and I am going to use it as my sig line in 09.
"Beware of a religion without holdfasts. But if I get a grip upon a doctrine they call me a bigot. Let them do so. Bigotry is a hateful thing, and yet that which is now abused as bigotry is a great virtue, and greatly needed in these frivolous times. I have been inclined lately to start a new denomination, and call it "the Church of the Bigoted." Spurgeon
Monday, December 08, 2008
If Jesus is truly the Savior, he must also really save his people, not potentially but really and in fact, completely and eternally. And this, actually, constitutes the core of the difference between the proponents and the opponents of particular satisfaction (atonement). This difference is defined incorrectly or at least far from completely when one formulates it exclusively in the question whether Christ died and made satisfaction for all humans or only the elect (my emphasis)...The real issue concerned the value and power of Christ's sacrifice, the nature of the work of salvation. To save, said the Reformed, is to save truly, wholly, for eternity...Those whom God loves and from whom Christ made satisfaction are saved without fail.Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics vol. 3 p. 467
Hypocrite..but see my other posts regarding this matter.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Recently, Tony Byrne spoke about me on Unchained radio with Gene and Jonathon, and he has been quoting me on his blog, yet not that long ago he stated he would never mention my name ever again as I was not worth the effort etc.
Well, if I cannot provide a response to Byrne on Internet radio or at his blog, I shall do so here, fair enough.
Above is a copy of my attempt to post at his blog, whether or not it get's deleted by him, I do not know. Other posts have been deleted in past times and even recently if I am remembering correctly. I posted something a week or so ago but cannot find it anywhere. It is floating around in cyberspace someplace!
From one falsely called Hyper, (Steve Camp) to another, (Me), amen Steve...AMEN!
COLMES: All right. Let me ask you: you talk about, OK, so you think everybody needs a savior.
WARREN: I do.
COLMES: Well, what about those people who don't — you know, I happen to be Jewish. Not everybody — and Jesus, by the way, I have a lot in common with. Same religion.
COLMES: So not everybody necessarily goes that route.
WARREN: The thing is, Alan, I believe Jesus Christ came for everybody. I don't think he came for Christians. The Bible says take this good news to the whole world.
I don't care whether you're Baptist, Buddhist, Mormon, Methodist, Jewish, Muslim, or no religion at all. Jesus Christ still loves you. You still matter to God.
COLMES: True, and I think that's a wonderful message. But if you don't accept Jesus, if you're not something who goes that route religiously...
COLMES: ... can you find your way to heaven? Can you still be — go to the same place when it's all said and done?
WARREN: I'm not the authority on that, but I believe Jesus is. And everybody's betting their life on something. Jesus said, "I am the way." I'm betting that he's not a liar. I'm betting that he told the truth.
COLMES: What about — what does it say for all those people who do not accept Christ as their personal savior?
WARREN: I'm saying that this is the perfect time to open their life, to give it a chance. I'd say give him a 60-day trial.
COLMES: Like the Book of the Month Club.
WARREN: Give him a trial. See if he'll change your life. I dare you to try trusting Jesus for 60 days. Or your money guaranteed back.
COLMES: Really? You're going to give me the money back?
WARREN: Absolutely. Direct to me, Sean Hannity, FOX News Channel.
COLMES: But seriously, because I wonder. I mean, do you look differently upon those people like me who are not Christians but still don't believe...?
WARREN: I do not look differently on them. I think God...
HANNITY: He likes you more than I like you. He loves you. He tells you every time he's here.
COLMES: He's a good American.
WARREN: We're all created in the image of God. There's no doubt about that. There's not a person on earth that God doesn't love, but God wants us to learn to love him back.
And to me, God says, "I've given you this gift of grace, which means you don't earn your way to heaven. You don't work your way to heaven. You simply receive my gift."
And — and that means we need to unwrap the gift that God has given us, and your past can be forgiven. You can have a purpose for living, and you can have a home in heaven.
COLMES: Can you do all those things in other religions, too?
WARREN: I don't know how you would possibly do that. God didn't send 100 Jesuses; he didn't send 1,000. He sent one.
Lets see if a mere layman with convictions, like me for example, can interact with the sources provided by the leader of the new so called Moderate Calvinism, Mr David Ponter.
I am no stranger to attempting in the past to interacting with the man, but, I shall try again and see what happens.
On the subject of Double payment/Double Jeopardy argument, as it is rejected by Ponter and others, let us interact with one of his sources he quotes from the link above.
In this example, Ursinus and his Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism.
Sins of the world and cognate phrases:
2. It was necessary that the ransom which the Redeemer paid should be of infinite value, that it might possess a dignity and merit sufficient for the redemption of our souls, and that it might avail in the judgment of God, for the purpose of expiating our sins, and restoring in us that righteousness and life which we had lost.
The old saying that Christ died sufficiently for the sins of the world but efficiently for the sins of the elect is a saying no reformed person is ignorant of. It's usage shows up in various and sundry places/times and writers, including Calvin himself, who as a matter of fact referred to the saying in a less than positive light.
It seems that Ursinus here is addressing the infinite value of our Lord's sacrifice, and of course no Calvinist has an issue with that expression. However, Is Ursinus here advocating or meaning an infinite value that must be read as an actual expiation for the sins of all mankind as David Ponter would embrace, or is Ursinus merely mentioning the concept that the value of the sacrifice is of such infinite worth, because of whom it is providing the sacrifice? Is he here, in line with other Calvinists, drawing a connection between the sufficiency of the sacrifice, as looked at from one important angle, namely the value or worth because of whom it is that is offering this sacrifice? Namely, our spotless Lamb?
And what is meant when Ursinus makes mention of the expiation of “our” sins? Is the “our” there, meant to convey every single member of mankind, rather than the “our” referring to believers?
These are just basic and simple questions worth asking are they not?
Is Ursinus referring to every individual who ever lived when he mentions the redemption of “our” souls? To whom is he referring? Every single person in history or does he have believers in mind?
These are the exact same questions that arise with the usage of such words found in scripture.
What is being meant exactly? Consider the great passage that supposedly refers to the Universal gospel proclamation, which is found in 1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,
Is Paul referring here to all men without exception?, or does “our” sins mentioned here refer to those already believing, that is believers present when Paul spoke those words. Was Paul attempting to make this huge Universal statement regarding “Everyone's” sins being expiated by Christ upon the cross?
These are the basic sorts of questions that we need to ask when referring to these expressions.
I am not convinced that David Ponter comes to these expressions with these ideas in mind at all.
He just seems to assume certain things and no one ever stops him to question these assumptions.
I am fairly convinced he has certain presuppositions coming in before these expressions are dealt with.
If that is true, it is no wonder, that not only can and will these writers be open to misrepresentation, but scripture itself gets painted with the same broad brush. Some may think no decent student, such as Ponter would ever treat writers like that! But why not? This happens much more than people realize, and especially within the higher academic subjects, and particularly in modern scholarship, at least in my own studies in such basic matters.
In a rather smart or cunning way, it is a real shortcut to get to your own interpretations. It cuts out the argument from underneath your opponent in many subtle ways, and if your opponent fails to see what is happening, he may find himself going down all of these rabbit trails and or concentrating his efforts in an area he may not need to spend much time on.
Is it a reasonable presumption to ask the questions I am asking? Am I also guilty of bringing in presuppositions when I ask these questions? If I am, at this point bringing in presuppositions, other than simple hermeneutical ones, then I cannot see it. Not at this early stage anyway at least.
Let me continue with Ursinus...
Hence it became the person who would make this satisfaction for us, to be possessed of infinite dignity, that is, to be God; for the dignity of this satisfaction, on account of which it might be acceptable to God and of infinite worth, although temporal, consists in two things–in the dignity of the person, and in the greatness of the punishment.
Great, no problem here. We are seeing here the object who is God Himself, and hence the infinite dignity part of the expression, which we all confirm.
The dignity of the person who suffered appears in this, that it was God, the Creator himself, who died for the sins of the world; which is infinitely more than the destruction of all creatures, and avails more than the holiness of all the angels and men. Hence it is, that the Apostles, when they speak of the sufferings of Christ, almost always make mention of his Divinity.” God hath purchased the Church with his blood.” “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Yea, God himself, in Paradise, joined together these two: “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Acts 20:28. 1 John I:7. John 1:29. Gen. 3:15.)
Now, apart from the statement underlined “died for the sins of the world”, what else is mentioned here that promotes Ponter's theology of the cross? Did Ursinus, by using the word “world” mean every single person without exception? Does he mean that? Is he suffering to world of believers?
Again, these are the basic questions that need to be addressed are they not?
Why does Ursinus then mention in connection with the language of “purchase” the explicit statement the “Church” with His blood? Is that important, or does it at the very least give us some scope to consider as far as what or whom is purchased by the blood of this Infinite dignity found in Christ?
What does Ursinus mean by the term “world”? Does he mean what Ponter means when using this term? These questions need to be answered.
The greatness of the punishment which Christ endured appears in this, that he sustained the dreadful torments of hell, and the wrath of God against the sins of the whole world. “The pains of hell gat hold upon me.” “God is a consuming fire.” “The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” (Ps.116:3. Deut. 4:24. Is.53:10.) From this we may perceive why it was, that Christ manifested such signs of distress in the prospect of death, whilst many of the martyrs met death with the greatest courage and composure. [p., 88.]
Again, what does Ursinus refer to when using such expressions? If he was meaning all the sins of every single person who ever lived, and was really saying the same thing as Ponter teaches, then logically, why would Ursinus end the statement with a comment about the Martyrs? Is he not thinking about believers here, or is he on the same page as Ponter? I let the reader decide.
2) Or, we may, in accordance with the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth questions of the Catechism, define the gospel to be the doctrine which God revealed first in Paradise, and afterwards published by the Patriarchs and Prophets, which he was pleased to represent by the shadows of sacrifices, and the other ceremonies of the law, and which he has accomplished by his only begotten Son; teaching that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; which is to say that he is a perfect Mediator, satisfying for the sins of the human race, restoring righteousness and eternal life to all those who by a true faith are ingrafted into him, and embrace his benefits. [p., 102.]
When Ursinus refer here to “us” as in those who have been made to know wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, is he not referring to us believers? Is he to be made to say that all men attain these benefits? Surely not, but that is how we would be forced to read him according to Ponter!
Is Ursinus saying that Christ has made satisfaction for the sins of every sing person who ever lived?
Saying “human race” does not necessarily imply what Ponter presupposes.
And of course it goes without saying that if Ponter is reading into these little words all the baggage of universal language with his own peculiar views, the whole context changes completely does it not, and not only that, but harmonizes with the views Ponter is refuting, as has been shown by others in their interactions with Ponter.
Let us depart for a moment from this text by Ursinus, that Ponter uses to prove his universal expiation doctrine, and let us depart and consider Ursinus writing upon another subject, and let us simply examine what he says there and see if it can be consistently wedded to the picture Ponter presents us with.
Let us turn to Ursinus on the subject of “our righteousness before God.”
This may be helpful in one explicit sense. I have noticed that those who promote a more “general atonement”, or the views espoused by Ponter, tend to be what has been called Biblical theologians rather than Systematic Theologians, and for those familiar with these terms, you may see where I am going with this.
Once we take these great doctrines or concepts that we find in scripture, we can then proceed to attempt to gain greater understanding and consistency by doing the hard work of systematizing those great teachings so that they are in harmony with the rest of scripture. It is all bound up in this thing we call Hermeneutics and the hard task of exegesis of scripture.
In my own studies, I have increasingly become aware that those advocating general atonement theories are the least consistent and on many fronts the least interested, when doing exegesis and attempting to understand systematic theology. There is a kind of disdain for systematic theology and I think such is not only dangerous, but reflects a general movement spreading across Christianity for some time.
Now, here is Ursinus on another subject. I have underlined certain statements for emphasis.
WHAT IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD?
URSINUS, COMMENTARY ON THE HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, page 327
Interesting reading that last line above isn't it?
I think so, for above I have underlined all those expressions that Ponter would underline in the other context of universal expiation when quoting Ursinus elsewhere, but note well, that when we come to read Ursinus here with regards to the subject of imputed righteousness, we can understand his “us” and “Our” to refer to us believers. Ursinus is consistent, but the same cannot be said for Mr David Ponter.
Now I may post more later, but please keep in mind that both Ponter and his followers, particularly Tony Byrne treat their sources in this way. Not only do they do this with their sources, but they read arguments that came way down the road back into the contexts and situations where our forefather's were not addressing issues and or disputes during their own particular and unique at times situations. They do this with all of the Classic reformers such as Calvin, and what they do is anachronistically load their own presuppositions back into these other men's writings, and as they are not around to correct this kind of thing, we must do it on their behalf. Well, at least I try to do it, but it takes much time and effort.
Even right now, when someone who is alive, like Phil Johnson for example, is cited in a wrong away by Dr Allan at the John 3:16 conference with reference to Phil's primer upon Hyper Calvinism, due to the determined work of Tony Byrne edging him on with Byrne's notes and charts, do they admit error and apologize? No, they dig in their heels and even worse, argue the situation to such a level, that men who are brothers and great friends are so twisted by Byrne in his ever so narrow quest to major upon the minors, that he is actually guilty of trying to pit brother against brother. It is so sad to see this going on, but one wonders where it is all leading, as the saga still unfolds every day.
Incidentally, the quote from Ursinus above regarding imputed righteousness, immediately after he says “which God graciously imputes to us, and all believers. “ then goes on to complete his thoughts by saying the following,
“This satisfaction is equivalent to the fulfilling of the law, or to the endurance of eternal punishment for sin, to one or the other of which the law binds all. "I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." "Ye are complete in him." "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." "With his stripes we are healed." "He was bruised for our iniquities."
"This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
"Being justified freely, by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood."
"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven." "Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." "We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
"He redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 Cor. 2:2, Col. 2:10, Rom. 5:19, Is. 53:5-6, Luke 22:20, Rom. 3:24, 45; 4:7; 5:9-10, 2 Cor. 8:9, Gal. 3:13, Eph. 1:7, 1 John 1: 7).
Christ fulfilled the law by the holiness of his human nature, and by his obedience, even unto the death of the cross. The holiness of his human nature was necessary to his obedience; for it became our mediator to be holy and righteous in himself, that he might be able to perform obedience, and make satisfaction for us. "For such a High Priest became us, who is holy," etc. (Heb. 7: 26). This obedience now is our righteousness, and it is upon the ground of this that God is pleased with us. The blood of Christ is the satisfaction on account of which God receives us into his favor, and which he imputes unto us, as it is said, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin, both of commission and omission. The shedding of his blood is the complement of his satisfaction, and is for this reason called our righteousness. ”
URSINUS, COMMENTARY ON THE HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, page 328
Some good reading there folks! Try and read all of that through “universal expiation” eyes.
The next section addressed by Ursinus from the Catechism is an interesting subject.
3) Q 20. Are all men, then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ? Ans: No; only those ingrafted into him, and receive all his benefits by truth faith.
Anyway, Ursinus, when referring to universal language, is speaking at that point to universal sufficiency and he makes the necessary distinction between sufficiency and efficiency, which is well known in reformed writers, and nowhere is teaching that Christ has actually and really expiated the sins of the whole world, which Ponter teaches.
Divine intention is not found in the sufficiency idea which is protecting the inherent dignity of the Savior, which had God intended, is able to save a hundred billion worlds, had that been His intention, and in that sense, the sufficiency question has meaning, but in the two-fold effect of the efficient call of the gospel to all men, which results in the saving of the elect and the hardening of the rest. I see nowhere that Ursinus teaches actual universal expiation for all, but sufficiency language is used, but that does not prove what Ponter needs to prove does it?
No, he needs Ursinus to say that all the sins of every person who ever lived have been expiated by the death of Christ, not bare sufficiency which says nothing about for whom He died. Why do these universal/general atonement guys not grasp this?
I also noticed that Ursinus uses freely the term Propitiation! You will not find Ponter use that term. But why?
Well, that's another issue and I am worn out writing all of this!
Friday, December 05, 2008
This Tony Byrne has no shame whatsoever and I have seen enough!
Not only is the man on a single minded crusade to promote his false views regarding the atonement, but claiming to be a Calvinist, he is willing in his merry quest to try and separate brothers who are friends. (James White, Phil Johnson, Tom Ascol etc)
The man is unbalanced and I hope people near to him will call him out and maybe take the time to counsel him.
Enough is enough Mr Byrne, your zeal has caused you to stumble and fall into a ditch.
I know you do not even consider me a brother in Christ, but enough is enough.
Repent of your quest to major in the minors. You are a divisive man and need rebuking.
Maybe someone like Gene Cook will take you aside and in his straight and narrow way call you to repentance. Maybe you will listen to him, maybe not.
But enough of this narrow one string banjo playing crusade, it is no longer amusing and becoming quite disturbing actually.
I tried to log onto your web page, but am immediately diverted to another site, and I have no idea why this should happen except through some kind of divert from my web address when I log on. Very funny and thoroughly weak in my opinion.
I have read comments on your pages recently from supporters who are even daring to claim that the person who rang Unchained Radio and asked for me to come on and discuss the issues is apparently me!
What dishonesty is this you are allowing to be posted!
Whoever that person is, Jonathon from Gene's show knows him, and I for one would also like to know who that person is so I can contact them and thank them for wanting me to give some balance to all this nonsense spouted by yourself.
I have to laugh at your defending your "Hyper" Chart as being not just the work of Tony Byrne but the historical position of Calvinism, hence in some way distancing yourself from the chart, but when there is some confusion regarding the John 3:16 Conference as to what material is being used by the speakers, you immediately own up to the work, shouting out your own authorship of the work with not the slightest mention of history etc!
You are a dishonest person.
You make out how you are being mistreated and how the Arminians at SBC need to be shown the truth with gentleness and respect, and yet you use the most demeaning antics to cast dirt upon real Calvinists in your writings and online communications, you hypocrite!
I have had enough of your tactics and I hope others will start to deal with you properly and call for your repentance.
And what is the comment regarding me being an avid supporter of James White with the inclusion of the word "bazaar" highlighted, referring to me personally?
What is that all about my friend?
I have had enough of your personal attacks against me and a few others for over three years now.
Stop it please and wake up to yourself before you "Byrne" yourself out.
Jas 1:24 For he studied himself and went his way, and immediately he forgot what he was like.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
But, of course a true time line can be found throughout my blog pages, as I was involved with Ponter and Byrne right from the start of these kinds of allegations 3 plus years ago!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
We shouldn't judge people, right?
There is a large number of people in the world, even Christians, today who say that we shouldn't judge people. Thus, they would go to say that we shouldn't criticize others; saying that they are wrong or what they believe is wrong. This is mainly due to the influence of postmodernism, with its idea of relativism and philosophical pluralism.
In this article, I would first, for the benefit of all, show that such an idea is preposterous and is never practiced anywhere, by deconstructing this notion. I would then go on to show according to Scripture what it teaches about judging people.
When someone says that we shouldn't judge people, what they often mean is that we don't have the right to say someone is right or wrong. I would answer this with three lines of reasoning:
You are judging us when you say that
Judging people means that you pass a value judgment on what others think or do or say, of which judgment implies making a decision whether something is right or wrong. Thus, when someone say that we should not judge others, they are in fact passing a value judgment (that judging people is wrong) and thus anyone who does so (judging other) is doing something that is wrong. Thus, those people who say that we shouldn't judge other are in fact doing exactly what they say they shouldn't do; judging that people who they perceive as judging others are wrong. Thus, this sentence is self-defeating. In fact, because this is so, those people who say that we shouldn't judge others are in fact hypocrites, because they practice the thing they condemned in others.
Truth by nature is exclusive
As I have shown in this article on relativism, truth by nature is exclusive. Most people, when they say that we shouldn't judge people, it is almost inadvertently related to truth claims like those found in Christianity (i.e. the claim that Jesus is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY life — Jn. 14:6) The fact of the matter is that something which is true is non-negotiable. In that article and the main article on relativism, I have demolished the claims of relativism, thus establishing the fact that there are absolute truths. Therefore, if what I say is true, you can't say that I am judging people.
I'm not judging you, God is
The Christian, whether he is presenting the exclusivity of Christ in the Gospel or talking about other truth claims in it, should be basing his arguments on Scripture. Thus, for example, when I say that Jesus is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY life and that apart from knowing Jesus as God, you will not go to heaven, I am not passing judgment on those who refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, but God's Word in the Bible is. This is because I am not saying something new, but just reiterating what God says through the Bible. Thus, all non-believers' arguments are with God, not me.
Now, we will look at Scripture to see what the Bible says about judging.
For many Christians, they would always throw out these few Bible passages and say that from there Jesus, and Paul condemns judging people. However, is that really the case? We shall see.
The passages that are quoted for saying that we shouldn't judge people are as follows:
Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Rom. 2: 1-3 (NIV)
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?
Before we examine these passages in detail, let us look at some passages in the Bible that show Paul, Stephan and even Jesus judging people, even scolding and shaming them in public.
In what is probably Jesus' most acidic judgment on the Pharisees in Luke 11:37-52, Jesus, the person who tells us to love each other, pronounces six woes on the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. The word woe used here is the Greek word transliterated Ouai and denotes a primary exclamation of grief. Used in this context, Jesus was saying that they are in a very bad and grievous state. Jesus here liken these self-righteous religious leaders to bowls which are clean on the outside and dirty on the inside, unwashed tombstones and the people who kill the prophets and then decorate their tombstones later. In other words, Jesus is pronouncing that he has judged them and found them wanting, they being hypocrites who do one thing and exalting themselves in public on their perceived righteousness while sinning in private.
Some people may say that Jesus can do that because he is God. However, let us not forget that Jesus is modeling for us the life we are to live as Christians, thus we can't say that Jesus can judge because he is God, especially since judging someone is an attitude and action, not something special that God alone can do. To prove this, we can look at the case of Stephan and Paul.
Stephan was one of the early Christian and the first Christian martyr, being stoned to death by a Jewish lynch mob made up by his accusers and the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:57- 8:1a). The reason behind his death is found in the passage immediately preceding this. In Acts 7:1-56, Stephan was caught and tried by the Sanhedrin on false charges by people who oppose the Gospel. When asked to present his defense, Stephan gave the Sanhedrin a history lesson, finally closing with a judgment and indictment of the Jews present, especially of the Sanhedrin. Stephan accuses the Sanhedrin and his accusers as follows:
"You stiffnecked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” (Acts 7:51-53 NIV)
If that is not judging and criticizing people, then I don't know what it.
Paul, similarly, judge and criticize people. In Gal. 2:11-14, the apostle Peter compromise and was rebuked publicly by Paul.
In light of these examples, we must really look very closely to the passages which seem to support the idea that we are not to judge people.
Let us look at the two passages, Mt. 7:1-5 and Rom. 2:1-3. In these two passages, the Bible is not asking us not to judge; it is against hypocritical judgments. In the passage in the Sermon of the Mount (Mt. 7:1-5), Jesus didn't say that we shouldn't remove the speck from another's eye. In fact, we are asked to do that. However, we are to remove the plank from our eye first, then remove the speck from his eye. In Rom. 2:3, it is saying that is is wrong to judge someone when you are doing the same thing. In fact, in Rom. 2:20-23, we are told that if you want to judge or teach others, you must apply the same standard to yourself. In fact, God himself said that in Mt. 7:1 and the whole of Rom. 2:1-3 that God will judge us according to the standard that we judge others.
So, therefore, what does the Bible teaches about judging others? The Bible says it is OK to judge others, as long as we apply the same standards to ourselves and knowing full well that God will use the same standard on us. In fact, in light of the actions of Jesus, Stephan and Paul, it would be strange if judging people is wrong, for then they would have done something wrong.
I would like to conclude this with a verse which talks about how we are to judge:
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (Jn. 7:24)
(The above article was from my brother Daniel Chew, and I just had to put it up here. The article can be found here...)
It is amazing to me that professing Calvinist's like David Ponter and Tony Byrne are providing information to the SBC, information which Dr Allan is clearly trying to use in attempting to refute Calvinism in general, and the nature of the Atonement in particular.
What is amazing, is that as far as I know, Ponter/Byrne do not subscribe to the synergism of these guys at the SBC, and yet knowing that, would allow them to use their arguments, to what end exactly?
Are they helping their synergist brothers in any meaningful way with these issues?
In what way are they helping Calvinism?
In what way is the whole issue of Limited atonement being represented?
These are the questions I have, and have never received any meaningful answers.
Dr White does a great job in responding to Dr Allen, and one can only hope, yet again, that further interaction, like a Public Debate may ensue sometime in 2009, in order to address these matters. Dr White is willing to debate, and I do hope something comes of it all.
But back to the atonement for the moment, for that is what all of this is about, whether it be the views of the Synergistic SBC leaders, or the quasi Ameraldian views of the Ponterites.
What is the atonement all about, as pertaining to the perfection of the work of Christ, as High Priest, as regarding Propitiation, intercession etc?
These are the issues folks, and methinks it to be a hill worth dying upon.
Think about the logical implications or ramifications to do with the views being put forth by Dr Allen and the Ponterites with their own mish mash atonement views.
I agree with Dr white, that these guys at the SBC are merely playing loose with the arguments and they are using analogies etc that do not represent the fullness of the biblical position, and hence they need to answer more fully these inconsistencies. They need to be challenged directly, rather than forever having a monologue on the subject.
Shame on the ponterites for arming these men with arguments that have no bearing whatsoever on their own synergistic systems.
In the past, I have seen the Ponterites apply these tactics in their quest to advance their own atonement views, even using Dr Whites debate with Arminian Steve Gregg for the very same reasons!
What you will not find these guys doing is correcting the Steve Gregg's and these SBC synergists. No way will you see that happening any time soon, and the reason why is simple. The Ponterites realise that the Arminians can be used as useful allies when it suits their narrow Ponterite ends!
Anyways, here is the video..Enjoy!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The video really bothered me no end.
What really is going on between the Synergists connected with the SBC and the Calvinists there.
I am in no way connected with the SBC, so being outside I can speak freely.
All of this in a weird way reminds me of Spurgeons battles way back then, and I really have to wonder how all of his shall pan out.
It seems to me that some things are clear enough. These prominent leaders within this body do not like Calvinism. In fact, they really really come off as ignorant of Calvinism, but also seem to be so negative about it, that they have no desire to even fairly interact with what Calvinism is.
(....The testimony offered in the video below was amazing in that it did not attract correction from the men on that stage in any way, shape or form, and the testimony itself was a whole lot of emotionalism mixed with irrelevancy as far as what Calvinism actually is, that I was stunned at how such comments were so easily accepted without any regard to truth, and then a speech that placates the sentiments expressed by this person are offered..Amazing stuff!....)
This ridiculous cry that "we are all Baptists" and that is what we should be defending, just seems so silly on the face of it. These guys do not even seem to have any knowledge that true Baptist distinctives were historically entwined with Calvinism at it's root!
Of course, being an ex-Baptist myself, who am I even to mention these things!
But, I do know a little about Baptist history, apparently more than these Baptist leaders in the SBC!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Anyway, thought I would put the section up I was reading. Those not familiar with Dort, please understand these writings were put out to defend orthodoxy and provide a response to the errors of the Remonstrants, a.k.a Arminians and other less orthodox ideas....
The Second Main Point of Doctrine
Christ's Death and Human Redemption Through Its
Article 1: The Punishment Which God's Justice Requires
God is not only supremely merciful, but also supremely just. His justice requires (as he has revealed himself in the Word) that the sins we have committed against his infinite majesty be punished with both temporal and eternal punishments, of soul as well as body. We cannot escape these punishments unless satisfaction is given to God's justice.
Article 2: The Satisfaction Made by Christ
Since, however, we ourselves cannot give this satisfaction or deliver ourselves from God's anger, God in his boundless mercy has given us as a guarantee his only begotten Son, who was made to be sin and a curse for us, in our place, on the cross, in order that he might give satisfaction for us.
Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ's Death
This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.
Article 4: Reasons for This Infinite Value
This death is of such great value and worth for the reason that the person who suffered it is--as was necessary to be our Savior--not only a true and perfectly holy man, but also the only begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Another reason is that this death was accompanied by the experience of God's anger and curse, which we by our sins had fully deserved.
Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All
Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.
Article 6: Unbelief Man's Responsibility
However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient, but because they themselves are at fault.
Article 7: Faith God's Gift
But all who genuinely believe and are delivered and saved by Christ's death from their sins and from destruction receive this favor solely from God's grace--which he owes to no one--given to them in Christ from eternity.
Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death
For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit's other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle.
Article 9: The Fulfillment of God's Plan
This plan, arising out of God's eternal love for his chosen ones, from the beginning of the world to the present time has been powerfully carried out and will also be carried out in the future, the gates of hell seeking vainly to prevail against it. As a result the chosen are gathered into one, all in their own time, and there is always a church of believers founded on Christ's blood, a church which steadfastly loves, persistently worships, and--here and in all eternity--praises him as her Savior who laid down his life for her on the cross, as a bridegroom for his bride.
Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those
I. Who teach that God the Father appointed his Son to death on the cross without a fixed and definite plan to save anyone by name, so that the necessity, usefulness, and worth of what Christ's death obtained could have stood intact and altogether perfect, complete and whole, even if the redemption that was obtained had never in actual fact been applied to any individual.
For this assertion is an insult to the wisdom of God the Father and to the merit of Jesus Christ, and it is contrary to Scripture. For the Savior speaks as follows: I lay down my life for the sheep, and I know them (John 10:15, 27). And Isaiah the prophet says concerning the Savior: When he shall make himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand (Isa. 53:10). Finally, this undermines the article of the creed in which we confess what we believe concerning the Church.
II. Who teach that the purpose of Christ's death was not to establish in actual fact a new covenant of grace by his blood, but only to acquire for the Father the mere right to enter once more into a covenant with men, whether of grace or of works.
For this conflicts with Scripture, which teaches that Christ has become the guarantee and mediator of a better--that is, a new-covenant (Heb. 7:22; 9:15), and that a will is in force only when someone has died (Heb. 9:17).
III. Who teach that Christ, by the satisfaction which he gave, did not certainly merit for anyone salvation itself and the faith by which this satisfaction of Christ is effectively applied to salvation, but only acquired for the Father the authority or plenary will to relate in a new way with men and to impose such new conditions as he chose, and that the satisfying of these conditions depends on the free choice of man; consequently, that it was possible that either all or none would fulfill them.
For they have too low an opinion of the death of Christ, do not at all acknowledge the foremost fruit or benefit which it brings forth, and summon back from hell the Pelagian error.
IV. Who teach that what is involved in the new covenant of grace which God the Father made with men through the intervening of Christ's death is not that we are justified before God and saved through faith, insofar as it accepts Christ's merit, but rather that God, having withdrawn his demand for perfect obedience to the law, counts faith itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith, as perfect obedience to the law, and graciously looks upon this as worthy of the reward of eternal life.
For they contradict Scripture: They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ, whom God presented as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood (Rom. 3:24-25). And along with the ungodly Socinus, they introduce a new and foreign justification of man before God, against the consensus of the whole church.
V. Who teach that all people have been received into the state of reconciliation and into the grace of the covenant, so that no one on account of original sin is liable to condemnation, or is to be condemned, but that all are free from the guilt of this sin.
For this opinion conflicts with Scripture which asserts that we are by nature children of wrath.
VI. Who make use of the distinction between obtaining and applying in order to instill in the unwary and inexperienced the opinion that God, as far as he is concerned, wished to bestow equally upon all people the benefits which are gained by Christ's death; but that the distinction by which some rather than others come to share in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life depends on their own free choice (which applies itself to the grace offered indiscriminately) but does not depend on the unique gift of mercy which effectively works in them, so that they, rather than others, apply that grace to themselves.
For, while pretending to set forth this distinction in an acceptable sense, they attempt to give the people the deadly poison of Pelagianism.
VII. Who teach that Christ neither could die, nor had to die, nor did die for those whom God so dearly loved and chose to eternal life, since such people do not need the death of Christ.
For they contradict the apostle, who says: Christ loved me and gave himself up for me (Gal. 2:20), and likewise: Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died, that is, for them (Rom. 8:33-34). They also contradict the Savior, who asserts: I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:15), and My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13).
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A balanced and well written response by Phil Johnson about the whole matter concerning the recent comments by Dr Allan. It is no secret that I have not been a big fan of Phil's primer, but it is really good to hear from the man himself, and the necessary distinctions he uses which do really help to clarify.
It is even good to hear Phil say that perhaps Dr White is a higher Calvinist than himself, and hence defend his brother against the charges of Hyper Calvinism, even if Phil is more like Iain Murray than Pink, which I will not hold against him!
Thank you Phil, but is there any chance you might consider editing your Primer upon this subject? Not that you are responsible for how others may misuse it, but rather that a re-write may avoid it from happening from now on?
PS, Phil also mentions in this article his friendship with David Ponter and I respect that, but what does Phil think about the doctrine of "universal expiation" or this dualism he promotes that is at the heart of Ponters position. It is "that" view that is fueling not only his followers like Tony Byrne, but is also at the heart of the Arminian presupositions which we have seen wed nicely together in order to attack High Calvinists like Dr White, Robert Reymond and poor Arthur Pink whom I love dearly.
What Iain Murray and banner did with Pink's Sovereignty of God book was just wrong, and having a Pastor that personally knew Pink and was converted under his ministry, allows me the honor to speak against Murray and Banner of truth, for my Pastor assured me that Pink would never have agreed with what they did by editing his work, which views he affirmed to his last breath.
So even though I jokingly fein comment against Phil's favoring Murray over Pink, I do so with firm convictions upon this subject, but am glad both High Calvinists and other Calvinists are on the same team, I do not and personally cannot say the same with regards to Mr Ponter and his band of merry men who seem to be busy trying to restore a balance that only exists in their own imbalance and presupositions sadly, but, enough for now..........
See here for more background and also here and here, for info regarding this whole matter....
He had made the comment that James White is a Hyper Calvinist, and it then stirred up the blogosphere, resulting in counter comments by James White himself, and even Phil Johnson has made comments defending Dr White and even clarified that his Primer on Hyper-Calvinism was not used rightly by Dr Allan.
There are a few issues regarding all of this, and as I am no stranger to the history of all of this I will make a few relevant remarks.
1/ It is no secret that the SBC and some of its leading lights, have incorrect views about what Hyper-Calvinism actually is, and the proof of this can be found on the record at their conferences, individual statements etc. Think Caner bros, and you might remember some of those statements, but there are many more.
2/ This recent comment by Dr Allen is no innocent comment, and I believe it serves to illustrate that their is an agenda with all of this, as can be easily proved by listening to Dr Allen and his particular comments about the failed Caner debate, Tom Ascol and his supposed views and the link to demonize James White with the charge of Hyper Calvinism. It most certainly is personal and Dr Allan knows it.
3/ Dr Allan wants the focus to be on Phil Johnson's primer on what Hyper-Calvinism is, and he creates the impression that is the issue.
This has some truth to it, for he does use that Primer in order to substantiate his claim that Dr White is a Hyper Calvinist based upon what the primer says regarding God's universal saving will. The problem however, is that the SBC has been making these kinds of claims and even linking Dr White to Hyperism for quite some time. What is happening now, is that they are attempting to use other Calvinists to expose Dr White and his supposed Hyperism.
4/ People like Tony Byrne have been forever pushing forward their atonement views, and he himself has come up against Dr White a few times in the past, and Tony has been instrumental, when given the opportunity to do so, to arm others, including the SBC with information that can then be used against the likes of Dr White and other Calvinists who affirm a more robust Calvinism, including the likes of Sproul, Reymond and others.
5/ Tony Byrne has been somewhat of a student of David Ponter, and it is Ponter who has been inspiring some of these men with his universal views regarding the atonement, and it is at that level I personally have been opposing those views, for I saw from the very beginning, way back when Ponter did an interview on Gene Cook's "The Narrow Mind" a few years ago, that the view being put forward by Ponter was not reformed. I also note here that Ponter was drawing a lot of information from an Australian Theologian who was actually my New Testament teacher when I was at Bible College many years ago, which I found interesting to say the least, for I remember having a conversation with my teacher way back then about his views on limited atonement, but I digress.
6/ The Ponterites as they have been called, have one issue and one issue only, and that is to put forward their quasi Ameraldian views regarding the extent of the atonement, which then addresses such things as well meant and sincere offers of the gospel, the Love of God to the Non Elect and various and sundry other matters, but, they follow their views all around the internet and have becoming more aggressive about their views, and even attacking other Calvinists with the slur of Hyper Calvinism, and now, are so dedicated to their task, that they will align with anyone who shares their presuppositions, in order to attack reformed men. Even if these men are Arminians, Semi Pelagians etc, it matters little to these supposed vanguards of the Christian faith.
7/ These guys do not appear to be interacting with those who oppose the Gospel, instead being focused upon their narrow "universal expiation" doctrine, they are only concerned about going after modern Calvinists, who ironically are defending the faith to a faultless degree and passion against those who really do oppose the gospel of God's grace.
This is the saddest irony in all of this. These Ponterites will argue in rooms on the internet and get involved with discussion on many boards, and yet their message is this narrow doctrine of universal expiation, and woe to anyone who refuses to accept their views.
8/ I have addressed many times the issue regarding Phil's primer on the subject of Hyper Calvinism, and it being used against genuine Calvinists by these guys, and in that sense, I am not surprised that Dr Allen, no doubt edged on by the likes of Tony Byrne, are using these tactics to try and even turn brother and friend against each other. It is pitiful as far as I am concerned.
And even though I am no fan of Phil's primer for this very reason, I can NOW say that even Phil has responded against Dr Allen and his understanding of that primer being misused against Dr White.
I am happy that Phil Johnson clarified that matter, but I am also hoping he may re-write the primer and stop it from being used against other Calvinists who simply do not share the exact view regarding the extent of the atonement, God's love and well meant offers with other respected Calvinists. It may even be true that Dr White and others hold to a minority view upon this issue, but that is ok, and certainly should not attract the false slur of being Hyper.
9/ There are so many interelated issues going on here, and some people not knowing the history of what has been going on in recent times may find the whole matter confusing, irrelevant or much ado about nothing important, but such thinking has not understood what is at stake.
Dr White, I respect greatly because he understands what is at stake in all of this.
He is defending an atonement that atones. He is defending a "Propitiation" that actually propitiates. He defends a Savior that saves, and a Gospel that is powerful, effectual and a plan and purpose from Almighty God that is perfect.
We are defending with clarity, an accomplished salvation, a salvation that is so much more than a halfhearted potential opportunity for everyone to be saved, or a peanut butter grace that is spread all over the place and yet saves no one in particular. We are speaking and defending against a theology that is not clear, is man centered, emotional, illogical and unfortunately popular.
All of the arguments that Tony Byrne and now the SBC and others can muster is killed completely by the revealed will of God which simply, clearly states,
Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
End of debate.
As at the time of writing this, I see Dr White has done a Dividing Line about some of this matter and it can be heard here.
I was faintly amused when James mentions how Tony Byrne was kicked out of the Chat Channel
and yet this same man is given whole on air interviews by others such as Gene Cook, who himself is a man I greatly respect, but who seems to becoming a potential Ponterite in the making.
(Actually, Gene is a friend of Tony's but I know they both disagree on the extent of the atonement issue, but Gene does hold to the views made popular by John Murray, Stonehouse and Van Til before them. It is those views concerning well meant offers, God's love for the Non Elect etc that Gene shares with Tony and the Ponterites)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
God help America....
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A blast from the past! Was reading at my old board and had a wee chuckle!! Good to look back and laugh at this stuff, which back then was, well, same as today actually!
The Helvetic Consensus (Latin: Formula consensus ecclesiarum Helveticarum) is a Swiss Reformed symbol drawn up in 1675 to guard against doctrines taught at the French academy of Saumur, especially Amyraldism.
The strict and uncompromising definition of the doctrines of election and reprobation by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) occasioned a reaction in France, where the Protestants lived surrounded by Roman Catholics. Moise Amyraut, professor at Saumur, taught that the atonement of Jesus was hypothetically universal rather than particular and definite. His colleague, Louis Cappel, denied the verbal inspiration of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and Josué de la Place rejected the immediate imputation of Adam's sin as arbitrary and unjust.
The famous and flourishing school of Saumur came to be looked upon with increasing mistrust as the seat of heterodoxy, especially by the Swiss, who were in the habit of sending students there. The first impulse to attack the new doctrine came from Geneva, seat of historical Calvinism.
In 1635 Friedrich Spanheim wrote against Amyraut, whom the clergy of Paris tried to defend. In course of time the heresy of Amyraut gained ground in Geneva.
In 1649, Alexander Morus, the successor of Spanheim, but suspected of belonging to the liberal party, was compelled by the magistrates of Geneva to subscribe to a series of articles in the form of theses and antitheses, the first germ of the Formula consensus. His place was taken by Philippe Mestrezat, and later by Louis Trouchin, both inclined toward the liberal tendency of France, while Francis Turretin zealously defended the orthodox system.
Mestrezat induced the Council of Geneva to take a moderate stand point in the article on election, but the other cantons of Switzerland objected to this new tendency and threatened to stop sending their pupils to Geneva.
The Council of Geneva submitted and peremptorily demanded from all candidates subscription to the older articles. But the conservative elements were not satisfied, and the idea occurred to them to stop the further spread of such novelties by establishing a formula obligatory upon all teachers and preachers. After considerable discussion between Lucas Gernler of Basel, Hummel of Bern, Ott of Schaffhausen, Johann Heinrich Heidegger of Zurich, and others, the last mentioned was charged with drawing up the formula. In the beginning of 1675, Heidegger's Latin draft was communicated to the ministers of Zurich; and in the course of the year it received very general adoption, and almost everywhere was added as an appendix and exposition to the Helvetic Confession.
The Consensus consists of a preface and twenty-six canons, and states clearly the difference between strict Calvinism and the school of Saumur.
Canons i-iii treat of divine inspiration, and the preservation of the Scriptures.
Canons iv-vi relate to election and predestination.
Canons vii-ix attempt to show that man was originally created holy, and that obedience to law would have led him to eternal life.
Canons x-xii reject La Place's doctrine of a mediate imputation of the sin of Adam.
Canons xiii-xvi treat of the particular destination of Christ&mdsash;as he from eternity was elected head, master, and heir of those that are saved through him, so in time he became mediator for those who are granted to him as his own by eternal election.
Canons xvii-xx state that the call to election has referred at different times to smaller and larger circles
Canons xxi-xxiii define the total incapacity of man to believe in the Gospel by his own powers as natural, not only moral, so that he could believe if he only tried.
Canons xxiii-xxv state that there are only two ways of justification before God and consequently a twofold covenant of God, namely the covenant of the works for man in the state of innocence, and the covenant through the obedience of Christ for fallen man. The final canon admonishes to cling firmly to the pure and simple doctrine and avoid vain talk.
Although the Helvetic Consensus was introduced everywhere in the Reformed Church of Switzerland, it could not long hold its position, as it was a product of the reigning scholasticism.
At first, circumspection and tolerance were shown it the enforcement of its signature, but as soon as many French preachers sought positions in Vaud after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, it was ordered that all who intended to preach must sign the Consensus without reservation. An address of the great elector of Brandenburg to the Reformed cantons, in which, in consideration of the dangerous position of Protestantism and the need of a union of all Evangelicals, he asked for a nullification of the separating formula, brought it about that the signature was not demanded in Basel after 1686, and it was also dropped in Schaffhausen and later (1706) in Geneva, while Zurich and Bern retained it.
Meanwhile the whole tendency of the time had changed. Secular science stepped into the foreground. The practical, ethical side of Christianity began to gain a dominating influence. Rationalism and Pietism undermined the foundations of the old orthodoxy. An agreement between the liberal and conservative parties was temporarily attained in so far that it was decided that the Consensus was not to be regarded as a rule of faith, but only as a norm of teaching. In 1722 Prussia and England applied to the respective magistracies of the Swiss cantons for the abolition of the formula for the sake of the unity and peace of the Protestant Churches. The reply was somewhat evasive, but, though the formula was never formally abolished, it gradually fell entirely into disuse.
The official copy, in Latin and German, is in the archives of Zurich. It was printed in 1714 as a supplement to the Second Helvetic Confession, then in 1718, 1722, and often afterwards.
H. A. Niemeyer, Collectio Confessionum, pp. 729-739, Leipsic, 1840 (Latin)
E. G. A. Böckel, Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-reformirten Kirche, pp. 348-360, ib. 1847 (German).
J. J. Hottinger, Succincta...Formulae Consensus...historia, Zurich, 1723;
J. J. Hottinger, Helvetische Kirchengeschichte, iii. 1086 sqq., iv. 258, 268 sqq., Zurich 1708-29.
C. M. Pfaff, Dissertatio...de Formula Consensus Helvetica, Tübingen, 1723.
A. Schweizer, Die protestantischen Central-dogmen in ihrer Entwickelung, pp. 439-563, Zurich 1856.
E. Blösch, Geschichte der schweizerisch-reformirten Kirchen, i. 485-496, ii. 77-97, Bern, 1898-1899.
P. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, i. 477-489.
I do consider Amyraldianism to be heresy, inline with the earlier reformers and particularly Turretin's defense against it.
Some attempt to define Amyraldianism as another system of "Reformed" doctrine. This is not the case at all. This is quite opposite to what constitutes "Reformed Orthodoxy."
It is emphatic to say "not the case at all" since the hallmark of reformed doctrine is the limited atonement of Jesus Christ and the Gospel (limited in the sense of scope, not in its power to actually do what it is designed to do - i.e. save the elect).
If someone were to modify the doctrine of the atonement or power of the Gospel, then that new idea, or "new" Gospel, would not be the biblical atonement or biblical Gospel at all. It would be a modification of it, and it would cease to be the real, saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.A more simplistic view of this theological error is called the "4-point Calvinist."
This is a "Calvinist" who believes in T.U.I.P., not T.U.L.I.P., throwing out the limited atonement of Jesus Christ for the elect alone. (The acronym T.U.L.I.P stands for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.).
In reality, someone who holds to this view is really a confused Arminian. Although 4 point Calvinists claim the title "Calvinist", that does not mean they understand the elaborate system of doctrine which orthodox Calvinism purports as true. What they do understand about Calvinism is superficial since understanding orthodox Calvinism would give them no choice but to abandon their Amyraldianism.
Amyraut attempted to wed Arminianism and Calvinism together. This is an impossibility biblically, theologically and logically.
In attempting to do so, his presuppositions about systematic theology overrode his understanding of the biblical text and biblical theology. He filtered the text of the Bible through his newly created Amyraldian grid.
This presupposition appear full blown and was epitomized in his understanding of the order of decrees. In his Traite de la Predestination (published in 1634, only 15 years after the Synod of Dordt) he claimed that God, moved by his love for mankind, had appointed all human beings to salvation provided they repent and believe.
(The orthodox theologian should immediately see this as an inconsistency both biblically and logically.)
Amyraut believed that the Father sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for the sins of all men in order to implement this purpose. However, since human beings would not on their own initiative repent and believe, God then chose to bestow a special measure of his Spirit to some only, who are the elect.
Electing Grace is seen as universal in the provision of salvation, though this is seen abstractly in Amyraut's eyes, yet, it is particular in the application of it.
In his presupposed system of thought, Amyraut thought that he could continue to adhere to the Canons of Dordt and at the same time provide a picture of God's love to all mankind that would be more faithful to *****ure, and indeed to Calvin, than the thoroughly particularistic approach in the second quarter of the 17th century by the orthodox Puritan Divines. (New Dictionary of Theology, Section on Amyraldianism, by Dr. Roger Nicole (Harvard), Page 17.)
Amyraut taught the following concerning the decrees of God, which many modern Evangelicals still hold today (although some would deny certain points which Amyraut held as essential to the complete system):
The Father, because of His general saving love for all mankind, desires to redeem all men actually, although He does not actually save all men. He sends Jesus Christ into the world to make salvation possible for all men (this is the Hypothetical Universalism previously mentioned).
God, through a "hypothetical decree" which derives from His general saving love of all men universally, offers the Gospel, and salvation, to all men if they would believe on Christ.
In Amyraut's mind, all men have an equal chance to become "sons of the Living God" because they all have a natural ability to repent and believe the Gospel (this is Pelagianism.)
Amyraut, then, believed that though men are naturally able to repent and believe, the fall rendered them "somewhat" incapable, thus, God decreed to elect a certain number of men, and secure their salvation for eternity.
This "incapability" is "aided" by what Arminians call today "prevenient grace." This grace enables all men to be savingly empowered to see and believe the Gospel, though they are not regenerate. At this point the orthodox bible scholar asks, "Could this become any more convoluted?" Yes it can.
In following part of this line of thought, many "supposed Calvinists" have adopted Amyraut's ideas concerning the will of God. To make matters worse Amyraut divided the will of God into two parts: the Universal conditional will, and the Particular unconditional will.
In this universal will, God desires the salvation of all men conditional on their faith - the faith of "chooser." (Proof texts Amyraut used were Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; and John 3:16.) For his Particular conditional will he used Romans 9:13ff; Ephesians 1:3ff, etc.) This is where the modus operandi "Christ died sufficiently for all, but efficiently for the elect," came about.
(It is my opinion that this saying is not theologically accurate. You will find it written little in Reformation literature. It asserts that God had two possible plans, or could have two possible plans, as if the death of Christ was not specific and particular.
The death of Christ could not be anything other than for the elect, both sufficiently and efficiently. The atonement (or oblation) of Christ securing or saving men has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else but the elect (those for whom he died).
To use the phrase "sufficiently and efficiently" is actually to say nothing at all in the reality of the cross, since we are not dealing with "hypothetical possibilities."
Even if we were to "hypothesize" that Jesus' blood is able to secure a million billion worlds, the Bible never teaches us the cross in this way. It always deals in the absoluteness of the reality of what Jesus actually did, and what the Father wanted him to accomplish.
This doctrinal position is seen clearly in the Covenant of Redemption. (cf. Psalm 110:4)) In dealing with the Gospel and the nature of the atonement, Amyraut emphasized the dual nature, or double nature, of the divine will.
This meant that God has a universal, conditional will to save all men upon the condition of faith, but that He also has an absolute and irresistible will which leads men to that faith. According to Amyraut, God, according with His unconditional will, savingly desired the salvation of the entire human race. God, he said, desired to give them redemption upon the condition of their faith. (John Owen, in his work "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" exhaustively disembowels the theories of hypothetical universalism.
Any reader would do well to study through Owen's exemplary work on the atonement.)
During the time Amyraut taught these doctrines, others began to believe them, and even within the assembly of the Westminster Divines, which invited all ministers to attend, the Davenant group (Amyraldians) attempted to overthrow the assembly on these points more than once.
Men like Samuel Rutherford and George Gillespie, and the other Presbyterians, held the majority opinion and the Westminster Assembly did not yield to their views.
If noticed, the Westminster Confession does not explicitly deal with the "order of decrees." However, this does not mean that the Westminster Assembly left room for the false views of the Amyraldians; not at all. It is quite an aggressive confession surrounding the reality of God's eternal decree and His purpose in sending the Son to save men. (See WCF Chapter 3 - On divine Decrees.)
The problems of Amyraldianism stem from mixing some twisted ideas surrounding Biblical material and the heresy of Pelagianism. The horror that arises out of this is that many churches today that would hold a label of calling themselves Evangelical really believe the theology and teachings of Amyraut; and subsequently Pelagius.
Though they would walk along the streets holding the banner of the "orthodox," they have actually taken a wrong turn and walked into the house of Amyraut to sit down and dine with him.
When one begins to slide from the Reformed position to the Amyraldian position, some or all of the following doctrines begin to appear in their writing, preaching or teaching:
1) That God loves all men unconditionally and with an eye to saving them all, if they believe - a power they autonomously possess,
2) That Jesus Christ died for all mankind as to secure the possibility of salvation for them all,
3) That God wills and desires the salvation of all men through an unconditional love for them, disregarding any thoughts of an eternal, unchangeable decree to salvation,
4) That God has two wills, one particular and one conditional, both without qualification as to decree or purpose,
5) That God gives all men a chance to be saved through Christ's atonement of "possibility", and so pleads with them, offering them the Gospel if they would believe.
The Problems of Hypothetical Universalism are many. Amyraut has created a God who desires after those things which his omniscience has told Him He can never have.
This means God is frustrated in His knowledge. He knows he will not save certain men, but He nonetheless desires their salvation because Christ hypothetically created a "way of possibility" for them. This would make God sin.
He would sin in that He would violate His own mind and omniscience. He would go against that which He knows is true. He would desire the salvation of men which He will never regenerate. This would make God frustrated. He would be the ever-blessed, ever-miserable God.
Furthermore, Amyraut would have the will of Christ in direct opposition to the will of God. If God willed the salvation of all men, and loved all men hoping they would all "see His love in the death of Christ", many of the biblical narratives and texts that Christ asserted are in contradiction to the Father's desire.
Christ said in John 6:37-40, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
Here the Father's will and Christ's will are the same.
Jesus loses nothing, and will raise them up in the last day. This is not a probability, but a reality.
Yet, Amyraut would have God desire something different than what Christ says here. God desires all to take hold of the free gift he has actually given them in Christ, though it remains a possibility for them until they take hold of it.
Yet, the Bible says here that Jesus loses none that the Father gives him. Jesus must, then, not have really known the Father's will.
Jesus Christ referred to His flock, His people, as sheep. He said in John 10:15, "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." Contextually, the opposing Pharisees are the sons of the devil, and Jesus says they are not His sheep.
Why would Christ say this if God willed the possibility of salvation in the manner that Amyraut thought? Jesus is in direct opposition to the will of God if Amyraut is left to rule. Jesus in John 10:15 says He lays His life down for the sheep, not for all men.
All men are not sheep.
If all men were sheep, then the Shepherd, who goes out to find all His lost sheep, would then find them and bring them home. He would then rejoice with His friends that the all the sheep were found.
But this is contrary to the Bible. There are sheep and there are goats. The goats go to hell, and the sheep go to heaven. The Savior does not lay His life down for the goats, but for the sheep. (See Luke 15:4-6; Matthew 25:33) He does this so as to infallibly secure their salvation based on the intention of God's decree and design for them.
However many *****ures we may be able to use to refute Amyraut's ideas, it is wholly unnecessary in light of the purpose of the cross of Christ.
Amyraut did not understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Without a long digression into the Old Testament to understand a full doctrine of the "sacrifices", suffice it to say that when the Israelites were commanded by God to sacrifice the burnt offerings, the sin offerings, and the like, they did this for those inside the camp - the camp of God's chosen people.
It is true that some strangers whom God loved savingly were inducted into the camp and proselytized, but the sacrifices during Yom Kippur were for the people of God, not the Hittites, Jebusites, Amalakites, etc… Reading Leviticus 16 will bear the reality of this out quite effectively in opposition to Amyraut.
Those were but shadows and patterns of Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice on the cross for His people (Matthew 1:21). If Amyraut had understood this simple and basic principle, his theological system would have come to nought.
But there will always be those who desire to overthrow the sovereignty of God in salvation, and place the contingency of man's power in the stead of Christ's effectiveness. Such, in my opinion, is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of the Gospel itself.