Someone recently contacted me, confused it seems, about some matters well documented on this blog, so I have put an old post up with the audio link below, which may help some people regarding what was being hotly discussed just over a year ago.
Well, in the midst of this ongoing situation regarding the charges of Hyper Calvinism, I decided to take some time out by catching up with the Narrow Mind podcast, the Gene Cook/Jonathon Goundry led discussion program, which I always listen to. In fact, I admit to being one of the Narrow mind addicts and I have probably heard every single recording. And as some of you know!, I used to moderate the forums connected with the show until I resigned amidst some controversy.
Anyways, I am in my bed, headphones on, enjoying the recording, and toward the end of the podcast, both Gene and Jonathon are reading various emails that they receive, but then Jonathon has an email from a fellow Australian, who apparently would like Tartanarmy to have an opportunity to be on the show with Tony Byrne, so that the other side can get their view across. (all of this can be heard from 44 minutes to about 56 minutes in)
I was a bit gobsmacked to tell you the truth, not so much because I was mentioned, but because of the strange way I was mentioned by both of these guys. It was kind of like even mentioning my name, and their reaction to who I am, put me in some other kind of realm, maybe even having Gene's old Twilight zone music playing in the background or something!
It was like, yeah we remember him. Ol Tartanarmy! Then a strange, awkward silence!
Be that as it may, I can only say that with regards to my over 3 years of participation at Gene's forums, I only ever defended the gospel of God's grace, particularly the doctrine of Limited atonement, and I defended Gene too, against those who did oppose the gospel, but in the end, the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt ultimately won the day sadly, and after my discussions with Byrne and Ponter and Trey Austin my end was immanent.
Getting back to the email from my fellow Australian. At that moment, Gene announces that Tony Byrne is in the chat channel, and he is asked to phone in to answer a point made clear in the email, and the point had to do with why anyone should accept Byrne's chart, his ideas about what is Hyper and what is not Hyper? The email sought to find out whether what Tony had to say actually was indicative of what Historically was said of Hyper Calvinism etc.
It was a good question, and Tony comes on line to affirm that he is not the one coming up with this stuff, and he then proceeds to quote other men which he certainly loves to do. So he quotes from Iain Murray and Curt Daniel, and then he breaks his silence about me, something he has said he will not do, meaning he has told me he has no intention of ever addressing me ever again.
But, as soon as he publicly has an audience, his heart convictions about me are turned aside and he maligns yet again what I have said about these matters. The man has no shame.
I know all of this is personal, but I can do nothing about that. It just is what it is, but I shall yet again provide a response against this Tony Byrne, who obviously has been given a free platform over at Unchained radio to issue forth his decrees about God's will, Hyper Calvinism and other related subjects.
First of all. Tony's sources.
Others, more intelligent and capable than me have shown how selective this man is in using his sources and have provided reasoned and well thought out answers concerning this "revisionism" taking place whenever Tony opens his mouth.
I actually laughed out loud when Tony stated that this thing called Hyper Calvinism is not like some kind of wax nose that can be shaped whatever way we wish, and then he uses the term "Postmodern" to insinuate that his opponents do this! Like I said, I laughed out loud.
Folks. The people who have been providing a response to Byrne and his views are the very apologists speaking out against Postmodernism, hence why I laughed out loud.
The truth is very ironic.
It is precisely because of postmodernism, and by that I mean the modern views that have been coming out of the Church for the last several decades, including John Murray's views upon this subject, going back to Van Til and Abraham Kuyper, that we are even having to dig deep into these matters.
I have wrote about John Murray's book on the free offer and many other Calvinists like me, have opposed some of what Murray said, even though we love John Murray's views in other areas. Who can even dare to say anything bad about "Redemption accomplished and applied?"
Then there is Iain Murray's views regarding Hyper Calvinism. Is he the final authority on this subject? I mean, it's not as if he has an axe to grind is it? Is he balanced? Did he not have Banner of Truth edit Arthur Pink's Sovereignty of God book, with no shame about it all? Yes he did, and he was wrong to do that and many Calvinists know all about these matters.
Then there is Curt Daniel, who is a moderate Calvinist himself. That means that even he is not as strong in his Calvinism as the following men as reported by Byrne himself. See chart below
Now, I understand that Curt Daniel is well respected, and that he has written a dissertation on the subject of Hyper Calvinism, but so what?
Has anyone read that dissertation and if so, is everything he says gospel truth?
Personally, I find that he tones down and softens many of the earlier writers upon this subject, which seems to be the way to write in academia these days, in order to be accepted and have a wider audience. I find that truth comes off second best under such conditions sadly.
I can respect this man though, as he certainly is not like Tony Byrne and the Ponterites in his rhetoric and way of communicating, and for that he deserves respect from anyone.
Would Curt Daniel label James White as a Hyper Calvinist?
Would he call Robert Reymond a Hyper Calvinist?
I do not think so.
Byrne is spinning the facts my friends. He has an agenda. He has presuppositions which at the foundation, relate to his views upon the actual atonement itself, and yet he is nowhere near as vociferous in regards to his "universal expiation" views upon the atonement.
He has mountains of selective quotes from Calvinists, and is guilty of anachronistically looking back to their contexts etc and reading his own modern contexts and presuppositions into their writings, and of course as all of these men are dead, they cannot provide a response to how their writings are being used. But again, smarter men than me have commented upon Byrne's usage of these sources, and these men have valid points to make concerning Byrne and his usage of these men.
I gave up trying to quote some of these men that Byrne and Ponter use, as I soon came to see that some of the writings of these men can be made to say whatever you wanted them to say.
Calvin himself is a good example as has been shown many times by others, but still, Byrne and Ponter would have John Calvin on their side of the fence, which is just ridiculous.
Now, I will simply like to respond yet again to Byrne's charges against me, which he again repeated on Gene's Unchained radio.
He says that I completely reject that God in any sense loves the Non Elect, and that makes me a Hyper Calvinist, and he says that I utterly reject that God has a universal will for all to be saved including the Non Elect.
These two assertions makes me a Hyper Calvinist.
The facts are not being said and truth is found in the details.
1/ I have maintained since day one that the use of the term "love" is confusing. I have freely admitted that if hard pressed to use the word, I would do so. Tony and others against me know that I have plainly said that, but does it matter to him? No, he is deaf apparently.
In good conscience, I do not like to use the word "love" as this term represents the highest and purest form of God's disposition to His elect people. It signifies a profound relationship between God and His Church. The word is used in contexts that deserve the highest and purest use.
I have affirmed openly that God is kind and benevolent to the Non Elect every day. I have affirmed what classically has been called Common grace, even though that term can be misunderstood and certainly is missaplied in modern Christianity.
I have said much on this subject in my writings and when interacting one on one with Byrne and Ponter at every occasion. Gene knows this also, as that was his own position to a degree.
Does Tony, when speaking about me bring this out? No, he does not. The man is not honest.
So, when he says "Any sense or some sense", which he is so apt to find ultimate meaning in, does he consider that my position in "some sense" is not totally denying that God shows favor, kindness, real loving kindness if you wish, to the Non Elect? No, he misrepresents me!
Now the other matter concerning God's universal saving will or His desire for all to be saved.
This one is a no brainer for me, and I am totally on the same page as Dr White and Robert Reymond, who Tony is more than willing to also Label as Hyper. Oh the shame!
The idea that God desires, wills the salvation of everyone makes God Schizophrenic, and I have said this many times.
This is the reason Dr White responds as he does, about God having these unfulfilled desires and disappointments etc.
Dr White is spot on, and just because Byrne and others wish to embrace irrationality, does not change the argument at all. Call it paradox if you wish and celebrate that kind of thinking, but I do not wish to go down that slippery slope, and for good reasons.
Now even though I am quite open about my views here, there is this other thing which needs to be mentioned in this regard as it pertains to God's will, and again confusion reigns supreme with some of these guys who do not seem capable of parsing terms in a balanced way.
I affirm that God commands all men to repent and believe the gospel, so in that sense I affirm that God has a purpose in calling all men, but these guys loose the plot at this point.
I am glad that Phil Johnson has attempted to clarify these matters, and unequivocably affirms that as these matters relate to God's desires etc, we really need to be careful. Mainly because of the Arminian baggage that surrounds the use of these terms, but Phil is smart enough to cut some slack to his fellow Calvinist brothers rather than throw them under the bus as Tony does.
Gene might remember way back when, that I argued strongly with Ponter and Byrne that command is not a synonym for desire or vice versa. Truth is in the details folks.
Anyway, Byrne misrepresents my views and yet again I have to defend what I have actually said. These guys have no concern for what some of us have been consistently saying, and the evidence is plain and available on the public record.
It was disappointing that Gene did not challenge Tony to prove his accusations, especially about Dr White and even Robert Reymond. Forget about me, I am a nobody in the grand scheme of things. I am just a lay person with some strong convictions, but these other men have wrote Systematic Theology and numerous scholarly works and being labeled Hyper Calvinists.
It is amazing for sure.
I would love for Gene to really challenge Byrne on his "universal expiation" views and try and find out if those views are what underpins his emphasis upon God's desires, will and various and other sundry beliefs that are related. That would be a show worth listening to.
I am now of the opinion, that if Tony calls me Hyper, then it is a badge of honor coming from him.
It is no secret that these days, if anyone is a little bit higher in their Calvinism than the next guy, then such a person is Hyper!
Enough for now.
If anyone really is struggling in this area please feel free to drop me a line and I would be happy to direct you to other sources regarding these matters. It is important.
And to Gene I would simply say this. Please read all the links I have provided above, and then you will educate yourself more fully about these matters and have a better grasp of these matters, and I promise you that even your narrow mind shall become a wee bid wider! I still love you brother, even though we disagree about some of these issues.
And here is an after thought. Would you, or Tony or anyone else that contends for this universal saving will by precept, ever say to someone the following. "Hi, God loves you preceptively, which means He has a saving desire for the salvation of your soul, but that does not mean he has decreed or intends to save you. Does that help clarify God's will for you my friend?"
No, I do not think so, but to be consistent and honest, this is precisely what you need to tell everyone.
Now, go out and do that, and then report on your findings. It will make interesting reading.
I tell people that God's love is so vast and mans sins so great, that God has decided to justify sinners through the death of His Son, and that means that God is free to show mercy to whom He shall show mercy, and will show compassion to whoever He shall show compassion.
However, God commands that all men everywhere are to repent and believe the Gospel, for the Love of God is most clearly found in Jesus Christ and all those who by faith believe in Him, and God shall never ever turn away any who come to Christ alone for salvation. Amen!
Here is another article written by Jim Ellis, worth reading, which gets away from the generic kind of stuff out there about Hyper Calvinism.