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.
PASTOR CLENARD HOWARD CHILDRESS, JR:
"CAN AMERICA SURVIVE AN OBAMA NATION?" (ENCORE PRESENTATION)
MP3 Available Here
PASTOR CLENARD HOWARD CHILDRESS, JR., a black Pro-life activist, founder of Christians For Social Justice , founder of the website: blackgenocide.org (a website designed to reach the African American Community with the truth about abortion ), and Northeast Region President and Assistant to the National Director of Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN), will address the theme: "CAN AMERICA SURVIVE AN OBAMA NATION?"
In the words of our guest, Pastor Childress:
"The Democrat Party has for years given lip service to the African-American community. They have talked about prominence without fulfilling the promise. They patronize without empowering. Worst of all, this unholy bond has done more to decimate and deplete our community than slavery and Jim Crow laws ever could have accomplished. This allegiance has destroyed millions of our children; children created but denied access to the American dream, children aborted...
...Despite this deplorable behavior of our perceived leadership, the winds of change have begun to blow. Pastors and leaders in the Black community have begun to remember their roots and realize they are chained to mediocrity and complacency. There has been a consistent flow of Afro-Americans making their way back to freedom. This has sent shock waves through the present Democrat leadership. While we are yet somewhat in a vacuum of solid Afro-American leadership with true integrity (there are many on the horizon not yet recognized), we are once again being wooed by the oppressor’s ploys to stay on the plantation. Staying where there is little reward and where our lives and votes are taken for granted. Once again it is someone of our own ethnicity, our own race being used. The Democrats have deployed a new pied piper in a desperate attempt topreserve their self serving party...
...New face, same tune. The song being played is from the movie “The Culture of Death.” The goal is to fill the seats with Afro-Americans in the theater of apostasy. Why? Because if the current trend continues the Democrat party could soon be performing in their final act....
...Enter Sen. Barack Hussein Obama (D-Ill), who is truly turning out to be one of the greatest performers of all times. Obama’s biggest act is that he calls himself a Christian. Listen to this line. Obama stated, “As I travel around this state, I don’t get asked about gay marriage, I don’t get asked about abortion, I get asked ‘How can I find a job that allows me to support my family?’ I get asked, ‘How can I pay those medical bills without going into bankruptcy.’” (Taken from a reply to questions asked during the Ill. Senate campaign)...
...We are deeply troubled, but not surprised at the Senator’s remarks. One would only have to look at Obama’s consistent support and advocacy for the gay agenda and the abortion industry to understand. As a longtime activist for children in the womb (the most discriminated against segment of our society) and proponent for family values, I am horrified at this man’s voting record. Anytime Planned Parenthood gives you a 100% rating, all Americans should cringe in fear because they are the leading abortion provider in the nation....
...Each day, 1452 African Americans are murdered by abortion, 4,000 children over all....
...There have been over 15 million African American children dismembered in the womb by the abortion holocaust and as many women victimized....
...As an elected official, should anyone have to ask you about abortion to make it your concern? ...
...Marriage, since the 1970s, is down 17% in America and in the African Community it’s down 34%, which is twice the national average....
...Should Barack Hussein Obama again have to wait until someone asks him about the fundamental building block of all society? Shouldn’t he protect the sanctity of marriage? The truth is, someone has asked and how he has answered the question wasabysmal....
...The question was asked of Obama, should the heinous act of partial birth abortion be outlawed in America? Twice Sen. Obama answered no! When he was asked if a child, who might miraculously survive the sentence of death by abortion, be protected from an abortion doctor after surviving? Sen. Obama said no! (See Born Alive Victims Protection Law.) Has he no conscience? Is he misinformed on the facts of these barbaric practices? His response to these questions is not indicative of the Black community’s beliefs, and certainly shows a low degree of conscience and moral fiber....
...These six things the lord hates, yea seven are an abominationunto him, a proud look, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood. (Proverbs 6:17)...
...There is no candidate running for the office of the presidency with a worse record than Sen. Barack Hussein Obama. His hands have aided and abetted the abortion industry’s slaughter of the innocent and no other community is affected by it more than the African American community. It’s an industry that targets Afro-Americans for profit at the expense of our children’s lives and the pain of Black women..."
Pastor Childress is also a member of the National Pro-Life Religious Council of Washington, DC and a Board member of the Center For Bio Ethical Reform , which is dedicated to educating the nation and foreign countries on the rights of the unborn. In addition to his tireless labors to rescue children in the womb from slaughter, he serves as Senior Pastor of New Calvary Baptist Deliverance Church in Montclair, NJ and is the author of No Shepherd's Cry.
To hear a previous interview with Pastor Childress on the topic address "ABORTION: A BLUEPRINT FOR BLACK GENOCIDE," click here.
The chart above is part of Tony Byrne's crusade against Hyper Calvinism.
Apparently the men named above are all Hyper Calvinists...
Any thoughts about this charge from the US Postal employee. He obviously is good at "delivering" things, BUT!!
My simple advice to Christians who end up in these situations, is not to do it. These people are hostile to the truth, are hardened, and as such we should not be casting our Pearls before these Swine...If you disagree, and still want to tell these people that Jesus Loves them, (Which is a rather presumptive assertion theologically) then you may become the Martyr, but in actual fact you shall only be the recipient of the rest of that verse, which reads,
"Mat 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
So, how does the Christian reach these kinds of people?
Here is the full story regarding this video...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So if Romans 3:25 explains Christs death as a propitiation then the verse vindicates Hebrews and 1 John.
I have learned that many books have been written about Romans 3:25 in attempts to prove that Paul did not mean to use the word "propitiation" but rather "expiation."
Propitiation means that all of the redemption is done by Christ, but expiation can mean that Christ provided a way for man to do works to obtain redemption. "Propitiation" is the correct word, and therefore means that salvation is totally an act of Christ that he bestows on individuals, opposed to the incorrect understanding of "expiation" that implies that Jesus has provided a work that we may choose to reconcile ourselves to god to obtain salvation.
Some people consider "faith" as a work of fiction unless Romans 3:25 is understood as "expiation," but the New Testament writers considered "faith" in a different dichotomy than "works" (Eph 2:8-10).
I understand faith as an expression of the change God has made in the individual, and not an action that leads to salvation. I see good works also as a result of imputed righteousness that the Christian is enabled to do good works. The good works are also evidence of a change done to the character of the believer.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Propitiation versus Expiation
The Greek word hilasterion is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew kapporeth which refers to the Mercy Seat of the Arc. Hilasterion can be translated as either propitiation or expiation which then imply different functions of the Mercy Seat.
Propitiation literally means to make favorable and specifically includes the idea of dealing with God’s wrath against sinners. Expiation literally means to make pious and implies either the removal or cleansing of sin.
The idea of propitiation includes that of expiation as its means; but the word "expiation" has no reference to quenching God’s righteous anger.
The difference is that the object of expiation is sin, not God. One propitiates a person, and one expiates a problem. Christ's death was therefore both an expiation and a propitiation. By expiating (removing the problem of) sin God was made propitious (favorable) to us.
The case for translating hilasterion as "expiation" was put forward by C. H. Dodd in 1935 and at first gained wide support. As a result hilasterion has been translated as ‘expiation’ in the RSV and other modern versions.
But a generation of debate has shown that the linguistic evidence seems to favor “propitiation” (cf. Matthew Black, Romans, New Century Bible, Oliphants, London,1973, p. 68, and also David Hill, Greek Words and Hebrew Meanings, Cambridge University Press, 1967, pp. 23-48).
Theologians stress the idea of propitiation because it specifically addresses the aspect of the atonement dealing with God's wrath.
Critics state that seeing the atonement as appeasing God is a pagan idea that makes God seem tyrannical. In response to this theologians have traditionally stressed that propitiation should not be understood as appeasing or mollifying God in the sense of a bribe or of it making an angry God love us because it is God who - both in the Old and New Testaments - provides the propitiation.
"I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls" (Lev 17:11). God out of his love and justice renders Himself favorable by his own action.
On this point proponents of penal substitution are virtually unanimous.
John Stott writes that propitiation "does not make God gracious...God does not love us because Christ died for us, Christ died for us because God loves us" (The Cross of Christ p.174)
Calvin writes “Our being reconciled by the death of Christ must not be understood as if the Son reconciled us, in order that the Father, then hating, might begin to love us”. (Institutes II 16:4)
Sources available by contacting me for further information.
I just saw that Tony Byrne from Theological Meditations blogspot was the special guest on Gene Cook's narrow mind broadcast with himself and Jonathon Goundry.
It was a discussion upon Byrne's chart on 4 views about God's will, the cross and compares the thinking between Arminians, then we have these labels concerning this thing called Calvinism, broken up into Classic/Moderate, High and Hyper Calvinism.
The chart was recently given by Tony to his friend Dr Allen, to use at the SB Conference which was on the theme of John 3:16.
Dr Allan was the person who sparked the blogosphere when he decided to use Tony's chart and ideas to malign Dr James White by labeling him a Hyper Calvinist.
Dr Allen was the one who said during the conference, "“Should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward 5-point Calvinism, such a move would be away from, and not toward, the gospel.”
This was met with a standing ovation.
That event sparked a defense from Phil Johnson which I have linked here, and
that defense was a real help against the ideas put out by Byrne, who is prone to use Phil's primer against Hyper Calvinism against genuine Calvinists. It was a case of Phil clarifying his views and it helped to put Byrne in his place, which was good.
I wonder what Gene thinks of that, especially since when the charge was made, James White was in London doing the work of an Evangelist and Apologist, whilst these people were gathered in their comfy conference lobbing smears against him.
Anyway, this post is a work in progress as I aim to interact with the chart and interview,which is no easy task due to the amount of comments made in this interview but in the mean time, listen to the program to get acquainted with these matters.
Things get interesting when the subject of "Expiation" comes into the conversation.
I am not sure whether I heard the term "Propitiation" being mentioned, let alone defended, but I may have missed it. But I will listen to this interview a few times and attempt to transcribe it if I get the motivation going.
The interview can be heard here.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Great gospel admonition, faithful, powerful and perhaps a way to reach the younger
Friday, November 14, 2008
We all know that there are distinctions to be made regarding God's will.
We all agree that what God preceptively commands, ought to be obeyed and heeded.
We all agree that God's decretive will can and does thwart His Preceptive will.
But here is where we do not all agree.
Does God, wish, desire, want the Non Elect to be saved?
Does God "well meaningly" offer Christ to all and hence desire for all that hear the gospel to be saved?
This is the issue.
Now, as far as I can tell, James White rightly sees the issue, when he explains that nowhere is it ever implied that God somehow shall be disappointed, dejected etc, in that those whom he desires to save are ultimately lost. It is not the Biblical picture.
(Incidentally, these guys are now calling this defense a straw man that assumes Arminian presuppositions, rather than reformed presuppositions, which I will say more about in a moment.)
Now, Seth McBee, Tony Byrne and the other Ponterites, have a history and an axe to grind upon this whole subject. They have made it their business to find any Theologian they can get their hands on, and then they will force their presuppositions (anachronistically) into these guys writings and seemingly win the argument against those like Dr White and other Calvinists.
These men have been going after White for some time, and have been pounding me into the ground along their merry way, so I am no novice in this area.
They have been one issue guys and such a statement can be proved by going to their blogs and reading the subject matter.
These guys are followers in doctrine of David Ponter, who for some reason has been quite silent during the latest spat of accusations etc.
Now, Seth McBee and Byrne have been calling James a Hyper-Calvinist, which is a false slur. They have been analyzing White's comments from radio interviews and in particular, comments made between himself and a guy named Jason from the UK.
(I have had many conversations with Jason, who is a nice, mild mannered guy who was previously Arminian, but has been shifting to a more reformed understanding of the issues, and has been greatly benefited by James White's ministry and admits so.)
James White affirms in what we call the free offer of the gospel, and for him, like me, that means that we as Ambassadors of Christ, freely proclaim the gospel to all men when and where we are able. That is it. That is the free offer as I understand the matter historically, BUT BUT BUT
Modern men have taken the "free offer" and put a lot of baggage into that idea, including well meant offers, multiple wills and extreme ideas regarding Common grace.
It is the modern men, like John Murray (who is otherwise excellent!) who has been used by even more modern men to spearhead this whole area of God's will as it pertains to His desires for everyone to be saved.
I have spoken much on this subject in the past, so will not go into great detail here about where I am regarding the arguments these guys use. It is complicated and takes a lot of reading, checking sources etc, especially when attempting to respond to the Ponterites like Byrne and McBee.
What these guys are saying is also based upon their views about the atonement.
Please take this into consideration when discussing these matters with these guys.
Forget for a moment what they say about God desiring the salvation of the Non Elect, and NOW think upon their views regarding the atonement.
They believe and teach what is called a "Universal expiation" doctrine as far as the cross is concerned, meaning that Jesus died conditionally for everyone's sins upon the cross, and has made a way for any and all men without exception to be saved, including the reprobate.
This errant view underpins their "well meant offer" theology.
I hope you are following what that means for the doctrine of Penal Substitution, and of course the finished work of Christ upon the cross, which is a Propitiatory sacrifice rather than this limited term they replace it with, namely expiation.
These guys never talk about Propitiation...never...
I have argued all along that these guys present us with a God who is at odds with Himself. A schizophrenic deity of sorts.
The so called red herring/straw man that these guys attribute to White, namely the idea of God being eternally frustrated, is a legitimate one as far as I am concerned.
It is not "Platonic" reasoning, but simple logic being exercised.
So now we come down to the ideas regarding "what sense" are we to give to the whole matter. Is God in some sense "desiring" the salvation of the Non Elect?
Well, we know from His decree, absolutely not! I am not afraid to say that.
Even these guys will admit that God's "decretive" will can and does trump His "Preceptive" will.
So, the point of imbalance with these guys is not just their atonement views, (and that is serious enough!) but with their views upon the Preceptive will of God.
For them, God's revealed will is strictly to be applied in this area of salvation.
God desires that all men be saved, repent and believe the gospel.
Surely God desires what He commands is their argument.
But it is here where they are bringing in their own presuppositions to the revealed will and utterly abandoning logic and the decrees of God into the bargain!
Now, let me break all of this down to the most simple state, in order to defend James White and his views.
He, and all Calvinists can tell sinners, all sinners, that if they repent and believe the gospel, they shall indeed be saved. That is what scripture clearly teaches, but reading into that, the concrete idea that God Himself is desiring for everyone's salvation, is going way too far and scripture teaches the opposite, as has been pointed out so many times to these guys to no avail.
So in that sense, God is declaring, with an intentioned purpose in mind, to call out all those for whom Christ died, and for all whom He gave to Christ from eternity.
That is what scripture teaches.
When these guys change the sense to include the notion that God Himself wants, wills and desires for the salvation of the Non Elect, they do err quite badly.
But remember what is driving their exegesis? Yes, the faulty view regarding Universal expiation which scripture does not teach.
I understand why James White uses the defense he does, and it is really quite simple.
He is defending the "finished" work of the cross. He is defending the "Priestly" role of our blessed Savior. He is defending the plan, purpose and intention of why Christ came into the world to die for many....
These guys may call that defense one which is addressing Arminian presuppositions. So what?
Are these guys themselves not latent Arminians when their universal expiation views are laid out upon the table! Yes I rather think so.
Today, (as compared to the Canons of Dort time frame), is soft on its reformed doctrines, even calling Ameraldianism reformed etc. It was sternly rejected by our forefathers as heretical, and no one seems bold enough to say that these days.
But I am saying it and for sound reasons.
Scripture teaches that God shall have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and as long as that one statement is there, and many more besides, I will not entertain the presuppositions of the Ponterites and all other lesser Calvinists.
The last words from the person in studio says there is much anger on both sides!
Did he just watch the same footage?
An elderly woman aggressively faced with Homosexual (tolerant anyone?), no, Sodomite animals is what they are.
Note how they forcefully grab the cross from the lady, then toss it to the ground and angrily stamp upon it, whilst cheering at the top of their voices. These people have the audacity to scream "shame on you", that is, shame on us who oppose their evil lifestyle. Shame on us for not accepting legal marriage of sodomites. Shame on us for trying to preach the cross.
Welcome to the new world. Sit back, fasten your seat belts, for we are in for a bumpy ride.
Those passengers in First class, will probably just roll over and try to fall asleep, not counting the sheep, but probably counting up their frequent flyer points...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Click here to go to AOMIN, and then the debate from there.
I listened to this debate, and I do not know about any of you, but it did little for me.
Too quaint and familiar for my taste, and given that Christopher Hitchens is way overated intellectually in my opinion, I thought someone as smart as Doug Wilson would have held the man's feet to the flame, but it never hapenned, and so was quite boring to tell you the truth.
There was this "kind of Presuppositional apologetic" that Wilson started with, but then it all went down hill, and besides, it was not a proper kind of debate with proper rules.
Hitchens, when he gets started, you cannot shut him up. And his drivel is sickening to listen to.
But get used to this type of militant in your face Atheism, as the political climate is now set to give these guys a free pass and they (unlike many proffesing Christians sadly!) will grab their opportunities to assail Christianity and milk it for all their worth toward their own empty materialistic, marxist, God hating ends.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
(Please note how David Ponter was in his element here during the subject matter discussed!)
I blogged about it here.
The comment below by Phil, together with his Primer about Hyper Calvinism, helps fuel the nonsense espoused not only by the likes of Byrne and Ponter, but also what is coming out of the SBC.
Like I said yesterday, I aprreciate the comments Phil has recently made in order to clarrify, but I truly wish he would see the damage that results too. He sometimes (on this issue) is not as clear as I wish he could be and certainly is capable of being, as shown by his comments yesterday that I quoted.
Phil has previously stated,
Many Calvinists, swayed by Arthur Pink's assertions in the unabridged edition of The Sovereignty of God, falsely imagine that real Calvinism must assert that God's hatred for the reprobate is an absolute loathing of their very beings, unmitigated by any compassion, tenderness, or benevolence that could reasonably be called love.
No Calvinist, whether High or even those called Hyper, have ever even come close to saying what Phil says above. It sends a wrong message. Pink never ever said what Phil is saying here either, and that bothers me. Pink needs to be rescued from such statements, and I will do so whenever I come across this kind of comment.
Even real Hyper Calvinists (whom I oppose) would not say what Phil has said above, and of course, the High Calvinists like Dr White get no favors from those who misinterpret Phil and what he has said.
If we are swayed by Pinks assertions, we should rather be more balanced, not what Johnson writes above.
Common grace and the love of God from a balanced point of view, teaches that the Loving nature of God is most certainly a benefit that all men receive in common ways in this life, and more so, is a love which also holds back the wickedness of man, ensuring that common goodness can still be seen in man, and that the nature of God is hence shown as loving toward all His creation.
The Reformers and robust Calvinists of the past called this love, a kindness and benevolence of God, but never what Phil says above in that quote. It was unhelpful and only helps those opposing Calvinism to flex more of their ignorance and rain down more scorn against those who are holding the balance.
As I said yesterday, thankfully Phil has went also on the record by saying,
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." I cited Arthur Pink as the best-known example of that view.
Hopefully Phil will get why I am raising this and think some about it all.
I am trying to be part of the solution NOT part of the problem.
Well folks. It has been amusing and sad watching the hoopla unfold regarding comments made at a conference on "John 3:16" and in particular comments made by Dr. Allen during his talk. He actually said,
James White is a hyper-Calvinist by the definition of Phil Johnson. Oct. 10 on the Dividing Line White denied God wills the salvation of all men which is against Tom Ascol.
Now, just a couple of things to say.
First is the irony that Dr White is currently in London defending the faith once again, whilst these shameful people are nicely tucked up at home enjoying the freedom to cast assertions against the evangelist James. Yes, the evangelist. The very thing that is supposed to define what a Hyper Calvinist IS NOT! Oh the irony and hypocrisy of it all.
James has made his own comments here and here.
Phil Johnson has also commented here.
It seems my old foe Tony Byrne's material was part of the material used by the confused Dr Alan.
Why do these Ponterites show up in these exchanges all the time? Where are they when Calvinists are debating Muslims, Roman Catholics, Mormons, JW's and others?
That is right folks. They are nowhere to be seen, except hiding behind their keyboard lobbing bombs over the enemies heads and hitting the evangelistic Calvinists. It is a shame and a sham.
Now my next point is a serious one, and it is something I have said for years.
Whilst I truly support Phil Johnson and his ministry, I have tried in the past to suggest that his Primer on Hyper Calvinism is not quite up to scratch.
Now I realise, he never envisioned how others would use it against other Calvinists, but maybe now is the time to revise it a wee bit.
It has been used several times and publicly against true Calvinists.
I am also thankful for Phil's comments found here, where he articulates a clarity that I find encouraging, and personally wish I had these comments to produce against the people who have beat me over the head with the charge of Hyper and using Phil's Primer as the blunt instrument at times.
Phil has stated,
Let me go on record here: I know James White well, and he is not a hyper-Calvinist.
At the same time, I recognize and affirm the equally-valid point being made by those who steadfastly reject the language of "desire" or "will" when we are dealing with God's overtures of mercy to the reprobate.
Moreover, although my notes on hyper-Calvinism are just notes and not an academic treatise, in the section of those notes where I dealt with the issue of God's will toward the reprobate, this was all carefully qualified. 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." I cited Arthur Pink as the best-known example of that view.
Let me finish with this thought. Go to Byrne's website and read it.
The man has one subject and one subject only. The extent of the atonement, free offers and universal views about the atonement.
That should be enough for any serious person who wants balanced theology to run away from his site. The people he quotes are all dead and cannot answer for themselves the selective quoting done to their writings and CERTAINLY cannot get the opportunity to CORRECT the presuppositions contained in the views that Byrne and Ponter and the rest of the Ponterites hold to.
It seems to me that when Calvinists like Dr White speak and act, out comes the Loonies who have escaped from the Asylum, all holding hands and together. Whether it be the dishonest Arminian/Semi-Pelagian "historically challenged" element at the SBC, or the "one trick Ponies" called the Ponterites, or the "unable to parse theological terms about the ordo salutis" such as those like Bob Ross and his ilk, they all tend to raise their ugly heads at the same time.
Interesting times we are in.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
If anyone is interested in whether the earlier editions of "Sovereignty of God" were the true reflections of Pink rather than the edited Banner publications which stripped about one third or more of Pinks teachings, then let me know and I will write about it.
In the meantime here is a recent comment I made at Puritan board re Pink.
"I am wondering if you could critique Dr. Roger Nicole’s article? I am simply curious as to what the “near enough” meant in your post. I appreciate you linking it, as I found Nicole’s article extremely helpful."
I very much liked the article, but a few points I put in the “nearly” context are as follows.
Quotes with comments below.
I am trying to be more precise and hope to add something to the “sense” of what he has said, with a view to articulate some clarity, well at least as I see it, but in responding to you, some will take great pleasure in hurling my way, charges of Hyper Calvinism, which I am used to, but saddened by. I am not a Hyper Calvinist and have in fact argued online with real Hyper Calvinists that really are out there.
“The only prerequisite Scripture knows is that one should be a member of fallen humanity, and this applies to every man, woman, or child who can at all be reached with the good news of the gospel.”
True as far as it goes, BUT, scripture does place a few prerequisites as far as the sinner is concerned, so in a very real sense, there is a “qualified” scriptural limitation.
But as we do not know who the “elect” are, we certainly preach to all men indiscriminately, but even then, there is a sense in which those who attempt to dishonor the message, are as dogs and not fit to cast our pearls of grace before them, lest we might be destroyed!.
Surely those with open hostility are at the very least “at that moment”, not those seeking, thirsting, heavy laden, repentant etc.
If any man thirst, or all that are heavy laden, or repent and believe for example.
Jesus Himself has plainly said that He did not come to call the “righteous” but sinners to repentance.
He said He was sent precisely and “only” for the lost sheep of the House of Israel etc.
So, I am just adding a sense to what Dr Nicole had stated above, and I am reasonably sure he might agree with what I have added, as he seemed to be really speaking to proclaiming the Gospel from the preaching sense, where as I am looking to relate and include the preaching and the “audience” receiving, as God does all things well and in relation to each act, and hence we know that the “Word” goes out and shall do that which it is supposed to achieve, and never return void, or without purpose.
I hope you are following what I am saying.
“These are unmistakable expressions of a universal design in the proclamation of redemption and the calling of men and women to repentance and faith.”
A little ambiguous, but generally a true statement, but there is wiggle room left for confusion, in that some may interpret what he has said, refers not merely to the calling of all kinds of Men and Women from the whole world, but “all”, “each” and “every” man and women etc.
That would be an error. Consistency is the key to avoid confusion, especially upon this issue.
He Himself then goes on to clearly say that the “many” and (hence not all) exposed to the gospel, may in fact remain in darkness and not be effectually called. And of course, the reason for remaining in darkness is first of all to be found in the sinners rebellion as an active, responsible act, but also as a passive decree from God Himself to leave them in their rebellion and sin.
Of course, the doctrine of the “effectual” call is key to a consistent hermeneutic, which I have elsewhere argued is the foundation to understanding the call of the gospel, and being consistent.
“it is plain that the extent of the call is greater than that of the appropriate acceptance.”
Again, this is true, but leaves open some room for confusion, but I will make no big issue of it, for it is certainly true that the actual preaching of the Gospel extends beyond who are actually effectually called, but the extension itself, was never to all men without exception, but certainly to “many” as scripture confirms, and the “acceptance” thereof is to be found again in that doctrine we call the effectual call leading to regeneration, which acceptance is itself a gift from God.
“When the matter of the scope of the call is brought into relation to the scope and design of the atonement many feel that a difficulty looms on the horizon.”
This is the crux of the matter, and hence why we must try and be precise, which may not be popular, but at least will be clear enough to avoid confusion. The kind of confusion that seems to be rampant these days, and not helped by those who advocate a more universal “expiation” kind of teaching, the same people who read much into older and more robust Calvinist writers.
“Some very strong Calvinists, keeping a firm hold on the particularistic elective purpose of God and on the definiteness of the atoning work of Jesus Christ, have concluded that no call can rightly be offered except to the elect. Unfortunately this view, advocated by men of the caliber of Joseph Hussey (1660–1726), John Gill (1697–1771), John Brine (1703–1765) and, in more recent times, Klaas Schilder (1890–1952) and Herman Hoeksema (1886–1925) “
The above statement is popularly stated these days, but is false. These men did not believe that we can only preach to the “elect”. It is a misinterpretation of what they believed.
They affirmed that the gospel is promiscuously preached to “any and all” where there is opportunity, but that the “elect” are called by this self same means. One call, but two purposes in the same call.
Not two calls with two purposes, or anything else. One general call to all, an effectual call to the elect, and the rest left in their rebellion. What they did do however, especially Hussey and Brine, was to emphasis and thereby become imbalanced as to the duty of the unbeliever, where they argued falsely as far as I understand them, but they did preach a universal call, which is here misrepresented above by Nicole.
These men were certainly stronger than where I am, and certainly Hussey and Brine could be argued to teach certain tenants of Hyper Calvinism, but they do not deserve much of the bad press they receive from reformed men these days. Were they imbalanced slightly on some of their views, maybe, but they did preach a universal proclamation of the gospel to all, so we should at least represent them rightly rather than jump on the bandwagon to malign them. They preached a universal call, and that is central to real Calvinism. These men also preached at a time when God was on trial so to speak and man was the measure of all things, much like today.
If you read even Pink, he will tell us plainly that when the balance is lost we must address that balance, and in so doing, we may be perceived to be out of balance ourselves. We need to read men in their contexts to do them justice is my point.
“The work of evangelism and of missions within that frame of reference is painfully constricted.”
That was an unnecessary statement, and a very subjective one at that. Many of the movements associated with the men mentioned above were evangelistic, or at least paved the way for evangelism down the track. Maybe not crusade type status, but certainly faithful and Church centered, rather than following much of the modern methods of separation of Church and Missionary!
I guess I am not a big fan of subjective statements alluding to concluded negative objections.
“If there is one comfort in the presence of such a phenomenon it is that people of that ilk usually fail to reproduce themselves and therefore they do not threaten for a very long time the integrity of the gospel. “
That reads to me quite nasty actually, and I think such subjective opinion spoils what Nicole has to say in this article. An otherwise excellent article apart from some of these kinds of statements. It also fails to keep one eye upon the bigger picture of God's providence and how He works through history, culture and certain contexts that were prevalent during particular times. Particular men for particular times and all that rightly entails.
It is oh so easy for us today to look back and cast glib judgments!
Arminians and other non Calvinists love this kind of rhetoric and it is a shame. Plus it then flows into the general Calvinist arena and good men are smeared with a very broad and inaccurate brush.
Which leads to the popular accusation of Hyper Calvinism, so often bandied about unjustly.
Much of what passes as “Hyper Calvinism” these days is simply a genuine robust Calvinism. The labels are being changed thanks to those who hold loosely to the five points, and certainly by those who hold to 4 points and most definitely by those who reject the five points.
“If it be asked in what terms the offer of the gospel must be presented and whether it is appropriate prior to any response on the part of sinners to say to them “God loves you with redemptive love” and “Jesus Christ died for your sins,” the answer to the query must be that these forms of language are not strictly legitimate unless there is some assurance that the people involved are in fact among the elect. It is better to say “God in his unfathomable mercy has been pleased to love sinners such as you and me, and he invites you to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. If you do so, you will find that the work of Christ avails for you, and you will be saved.””
I wholeheartedly agree with what Nicole says above, except I would say that God has a plan to save some sinners whom He certainly and everlastingly loves, and He is calling out this people for Himself. I do not want to be loose with the objects of God's love, but have no problem telling sinners that God's own attribute of love within Himself, shows kindness to all of creation, but especially the elect. I also affirm that all who shall repent shall be certainly saved, and would call all men to repentance as opportunity to preach and teach arises.
I would even go as far as telling sinners that God does not “actively” keep people away from salvation, and in that sense all kinds of people are outwardly called by the gospel.
That is why Spurgeon is sometimes smeared by REAL Hyper Calvinists, as they do not appreciate the distinction between passive and active double predestination and hence they err in making God active and equally at work in reprobation as well as regeneration, which Scripture does not teach.
In conclusion, the article is really good and I very much appreciate it. My differences are not so much in substance, but rather with some needed clarity at certain points of subjectivity.
It is a tough subject for sure.
The best point in the article was the Sears illustration and how that related to the category he called “VI. Utmost Assistance” , and the best line was the following point, “It may be noted in any case that the disability under which sinners labor is not forcibly produced by direct action of God but is self-induced so that they, rather than God, are rightly charged with their own plight, dramatically revealed in their obduracy in the presence of the gospel call. We conclude here again that utmost assistance is not an essential prerequisite for a sincere offer. “
Tied in with my comments above and in light of Nicole's comments above regarding Hyper Calvinism, it seems that those who advocate “Universal” offers and “Universal expiation” etc make the same errors that Hypers make, namely that command does not equate to ability, and hence, ideas about “sincerity” are misplaced and misunderstood.
Ps, I know that some modern scholarship argues that the men you mention were Hyper Calvinists, but I reject a lot of modern scholarship. If modern scholarship is your thing, then perhaps read Dr Nettles who wrote to defend Gill, read Tom Nettles By His Grace and For His Glory, pages 73-107, for a thorough and balanced discussion of this issue of Gill. or read Paul Helm who rescues Calvin from the popular Calvinists who embrace universal expiation and sub Calvinism.
In the years after Dr. Gill’s death there arose a great controversy between the followers of Gill and the followers of Andrew Fuller. Neither man would have endorsed such. There is no doubt that Fuller called Baptists to a more balanced presentation of the doctrines of Grace. But Gill also foresaw the disastrous slide of General (Arminian) Baptists into denials of the Trinity and of gospel redemption.
Did Gill fail to preach the gospel to sinners as some have asserted?
Why not from his own mouth and heart:
"Souls sensible to sin and danger, and who are crying out, What shall we do to be saved? you are to observe, and point out Christ the tree to live to them; and say, as some of the cherubs did to one in such circumstances, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, Acts 16:31. Your work is to lead men, under a sense of sin and guilt, to the blood of Christ, shed for many for the remission of sin, and this name you are to preach the forgiveness to them."