Stunning

Friday, July 31, 2009

A response to Martin....Invitation to discuss.


Thread Updated 31st July

The following comments were made in another thread here, and I thought it may be best to provide a response here as that thread was more about defending a brother and so I will respectfully answer Martin's comments here.

I have visited his blog and it appears that Martin leans more toward Amyraldian views (Based upon the men he recommends at his blog, including Amyraut and also the links he follows). than the so called High Calvinism I represent, which is really just the Calvinism taught in the reformed creeds and confessions as well as The Synod of Dordt.

There has been in recent times, a kind of historical revisionism, which has attached misguided labels to this thing called Calvinism.

One of the more modern scholars in recent times to utilize this revisionism was Norman Geisler in his book "Chosen but Free", who decided to come up with various labels such as High/Moderate/low Calvinism, and in so doing utterly confuses the established historical theology of reformed Calvinism, even allowing for Arminianism and Amyraldianism under the Calvinist umbrella..

The antedote to this work is James White's response to Geisler, "The Potters Freedom"

Arminianism and Amyraldianism are not Calvinism and certainly not reformed.

This kind of revisionism has encouraged others who give lip service to Calvinism whilst pushing their own theology under the relative safety of reformed theology.

I also want it said again, that my recent comments regarding Byrne and Ponter etc were as a result of the charges made against Dr White.

Here is a useful timeline of how all of that unfolded.

Now to Martin's comments addressed to me at my blog.

My comments shall be in italics.

----------------------------------------------

To be fair I think you need to recognise that "there are two sides to every coin".
I mean, consider the following:
1. If you were genuinely convinced that a particular position on something was wrong and saw it constantly being put forward and believed that it was doing harm to the body of Christ and was not honouring God's Word and, furthermore, saw no recognition of any counter-arguments you put forward wouldn't you too be relentless in persuing that error? You may not agree with them but you must surely recognise that they are intelligent and convinced of the importance of what they do just the same as you would be in their position? There is always a danger when we strongly disagree with someone that we tend to see things lop-sidedly. This can colour our judgement and lead to us not extending the same Christian charity and general courtesy to others that we expect them to extend to us. Sadly, such is the nature of sin that afflicts us all.

Martin, let me share something with you. In all of my exchanges with the two main proponent's who would side with your views, I have never even been extended the common courtesy of being called a brother. Not once, even when asked to do so repeatedly, did these guys ever extend that courtesy to me personally? No, they never have extended that basic courtesy, and that speaks volumes does it not?

The evidence for this is on the public record and freely available.


2. Furthermore, reading between the lines I wonder whether the same could be said of you. That is, that you too have been relentless in your pursuit of them? Now nobody is questioning your motives are they?


Wait a minute Martin, I cannot let that assertion slide. My motives and actions have decidedly been questioned in this debate with those men. This is no secret by the way!

So, to be fair, there is surely nothing wrong with being relentless out of geniune concern - the question of who is right or wrong is besides the point here, if each party be genuinely convinced they're right. And its no good saying but they go too far if there are others such as yourself who go just as far in trying to refute them. :-)

Genuine passion and concern is great, but the rest of your comments do not even make sense given the history I have had with those you seemingly support.

I refute their views using scripture and for that I will not repent. I only wish they would do the same. I do not act in any way like them when they decide to malign sincere believers, men who are more qualified than themselves incidentally!

3. Intellectualism is suggested but is that not a sin that afflicts all drawn to reformed doctrines to some degree or other? Are we not all to some degree blinded by sin? Aren't we all to some degree in error in our thinking?

I always get worried when such things are said by those who do not advocate a robust Calvinism, as it smacks of humility clothed in equivocation.

There is no doubt all of us are blinded by sin and there is no doubt that there is error in all of us, but, and here is the real truth of the matter.

Does admitting such sin and error thereby mean that the Word of God is not clear upon the matters where we disagree?

That is the issue.

4. I think your comments about them sucking the life out of you are quite revealing.

It would not be wise to read too much into such comments.

The thing is we can all allow things to become more important to us than the Lord Jesus Christ at times. To describe it in such terms makes we wonder whether this has become something that has to some extent robbed you of your joy in the Lord and taken you beyond merely refuting what you believe to be error.

It does not surprise me that eventually when these matters are debated, subjective emotional reactions come out of the woodwork.

My joy in the Lord does not depend upon my apologetic defense against error.

My comment about "sucking the life" out of you was meant simply to convey how much effort is required in refuting error, nothing more nothing less.

Is it not worth remembering that God is sovereign? If He wants to stop the debate He can do so without us getting worked up about it (emphasis mine). Can I recommend you read "The centrality of the Gospel" by Dr. Timothy Keller? (Easily found via Google) This helped me enormously with such issues.

What issues are you specifically referring to Martin?

Funny as this may sound, but your first two sentences above that I emphasised sound awfully like a subtle form of Hyper Calvinism, but unlike those you seem to defend, I will not label you with that particular slur lol!

Incidentally Martin, I was labeled by these men as Hyper through their false use of Phil Johnson's Primer, and now Phil Johnson has come out and rebuked these men for misusing his primer against real Calvinist's who are not Hyper. Are you aware of that?

Oh, and one final point, we do well to remember, and indeed, is it not a mark of genuine Christian humility, to recognise that there is always the possibility that it is actually us who can be mistaken?

This is not unlike your previous comments, and again I simply ask you if God's Word is insufficient or somehow does not speak with clarity as to the issues we disagree upon?

I mean, how many Christians have spent years as staunch Arminians arguing against Calvinism only to one day embrace it?

This only proves that error itself existed and needed correction. I am sure their embracing the truth of Calvinism did not just zap into them in a moment. God works through means, and I am quite sure that God uses the passionate proclamation of the truth and blesses the exposing or refutation of error.

The strength of our convictions in no way guarantees that we are right does it?

But who is relying upon this assertion? Certainly not me.

- just as you would no doubt argue of your opponents. So surely in humility we have to be honest that it could be true of ourselves?

Of course, but again, I humbly suggest that this kind of thinking impacts upon whether or not we believe The Word of God can speak clearly regarding the issues where we disagree...

In fact, I would go so far as to argue that the greater the strength of our convictions the more we need to be alert to this danger because the less likely we will think it to be true and the more likely we will be to not really intellectually and carefully process our opponents arguments and instead to filter them through a grid where we automatically assume they carry no force.

This is some interesting psychology, and as it goes it is reasonable. The problem however is that all of us process information through certain presuppositions. No one is epistemologically neutral, and hence your observations merely are equally relevant to everyone and by no means a refutation of one over another.

In other words, it sounds reasonable but is really saying nothing substantive. Your assertion above can also facilitate an attitude that endorses or gives comfort to those who desire to negate having strong convictions, and hence, the danger in your thinking is exposed and concerns me.

Incidentally, interpreting Scripture, comes with rules we call Hermeneutics, and those rules are like a grid. I find that most if not all Non Calvinists have a disdain for this thing we call Systematic Theology, preferring what has come to be called Biblical Theology. The truth is in how to adequately balance both.

I have regularly found that all of the best and faithful exegetes are found on my side of the fence so to speak, and some of them are even maligned greatly and unjustly by those on your side of the fence.

An example is David Ponter saying that Owen's work in "The death Of death in the death of Christ" was only good enough to line the bird cage with!

Then there is the whole matter of them citing sources and abusing context and anachronistically reading them from a point of reference that these guys were not even addressing.

Responding to them at that level truly sucks the life out of you and in fact leads to chasing rabbit trails. I know because I have done this with these guys.

I recall once discovering with horror within myself that as I was reading an opponents counter-arguments I realised that I was actually making no attempt to process them objectively but was only looking for ways in which to refute them and affirm myself in my beliefs.


Let me share something with you.

I used to passionately argue for the Credo Baptism position, even debating online with those who were passionate Paedo Baptists.

It was only through studying their counter arguments and processing them that I came to change my views entirely, so I am no stranger to this wise counsel. And that change cost a lot too!

If we are only about affirming our beliefs then we are to be pitied and certainly setting ourselves up for many a fall. So I do understand your point.

Again such is the nature of sin that we can very subtely make a sort of functional saviour out of our doctrines. I mean ask yourself, can you honestly say that you never automatically simply looked how to refute their arguments and never once failed to pray and say "Lord, let me not be deceived, help me to approach this objectively"? In my experience we're actually less carefull when we feel strongly about something than when we're a little unsure.


I have taken that counsel many many times, but at the end of the day, I believe the Word of God to be clear enough on these matters, and that is the hill worth dying upon.

You may want to ask the likes of Ponter and Byrne the same question, and whilst you are at it, ask them why they depicted me in demeaning cartoon caricature, made slanderous accusations against me including the charge that I promoted sexually deviant behavior from a certain unknown and unnamed theologian, lied about me stalking them, cited false online ISP information that was not mine, lied about my status as moderator online, accused me of Plagiarism, continually misrepresent my statements, incite others against me by twisting my statements, mocking me immaturely, spreading false charges, called me all kinds of names such as Retard, twit and stupid etc, and even went as far as having our "shared public conversations" deleted from my own web site just because they insisted such conversations were copyrighted, therefore stifling fair use and open dialog. Of course the secular owners of the site would agree with them, what liberal secular thinkers wouldn't?

Anyway just a few thoughts which hopefully help bring a little balance. :-)


Grace,
Martin


Well Martin, I thank you for your comments, but balance is a two way thing for sure.

Feel free of course to bring the Word of God in order to defend your views and you shall find me reasonable, honest and passionate in my views.

Sincerely

Mark


------------------------------Further responses-------------------------------------------

Martin, thank you for your comments.

Let me see if I can both reason with you and be reasonable at the same time.

First of all, are you the same Martin who pretty much said the same things to me a few years ago at Unchained radio forums?

I will assume you are, for the views expressed then are essentially identical to what you have said here.

Even if it is not you, the views were from someone sympathetic to the views of Ponter and Byrne.

I am somewhat taken aback that you would not in any way whatsoever even attempt to defend a fellow believer against the kinds of allegations that these guys seem to regularly employ.

Now that, speaks directly to you Martin.

I will freely admit that I am on the defensive, and I am so because of the history I have had with those guys and a few others who seem to desire to harp on this one issue of Universal Expiation/well meant offers etc.

If you are not an Amyeraldian, then that is great, but I bet you are closer to Amyraut than Calvin from my perspective, and I say that because your blog seems to indicate that from what little I have read there.

I would also assume that you would consider Calvin at any rate to be in line with what Ponter and Byrne teach, yes?

Now, regarding your comments, here is my reply, and please understand, that your assertions, which are many, are exactly that, assertions.

I am surprised that you missed in a big way, I might add, that I repeatedly referred to whether or not the Word of God is clear on these matters or not, and you decided to completely ignore this from my responses.

As far as your suggestions that I am

“defensive”,

“Not fully engaged”,

“Blind IE Lipstick/mirror comment”,

“other's see it”,

“I have deeper problems”,

“I say I am aware, but I am not”,

I find these comments a smokescreen, but I would like to ask you something, since you think I am so focused just on these guys, men you have in no way tried to correct, unless I am wrong about that.

Do you see no wrong in the way these guys have sometimes handled themselves, and whilst I am at it, are you saying that a believer has absolutely no right to defend themselves?

When you use the scripture to rebuke me in the manor you do, yet you do not do the same with those who oppose me, what am I supposed to take away from that?

I will tell you exactly what I take away from that Martin.

Your views, being in line with these guys, is causing you to not only falsely use scripture against me out of context, but is causing you to give these guys a free pass to behave however they want.

Now remember this Martin. You came here to my blog and made your comments, and you very well know that there is some kind of history to all of this between me and them, so you attempting to shift that fact, which again says more about you than me.

Anyway, I will interact with your comments and I do welcome a further response from you, but please leave off with the assertions regarding what you perceive are my failings and do what I have ever tried to achieve with those guys, namely to engage the text of scripture regarding the matters we differ.

I am aware of many failings, but unfortunately this dispute is personal, and these guys have never tried to make peace with me at any time and have never even as much as been willing to call me a brother.

In fact, both of them have publicly stated that they really wish I would stop addressing them as “Brothers” as it seems fake or insincere from their perspective.

The issues, even though it has been made personal by them, are still important, and that is why I still engage the defense of the Atonement, an atonement that actually saves everyone for whom it was intended by God's grace to save, not the irrational meanderings of many today daring to utter such false views, not based upon exegesis of scripture, but from their own imaginations and misreading of Historical theology too.

It is sad, but I will continue to oppose these views, even if it makes me look like some kind of buffoon that Ponter and Byrne publicly claim me to be.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’m afraid I cannot possibly to respond to all you have said and I don’t think much would be gained from a discussion of what did or didn’t happen between you and them in any case so I’m going to restrict myself to the following: (NB I’m not trying to ‘bat’ things away - even though that might be fitting given yesterday’s historic defeat of Australia by England at Lords {huge grin})

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, but that batting away ignores the context of this whole matter, it ignores the behavior of these guys, it ignores the shameful ways in which they have slurred other believers and dragged their name through the mud, it ignores how they have even tried to turn brother against brother and it ignores how they have given help and comfort to all those Arminians who are in error, a position they should be refuting, not joining hands with against Calvinists who are so misrepresented by these same men.

You may be willing to “Bat away” all of that, but I am not. And there is so much more could be added!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don’t care much for labels but it would be more accurate to ‘lean’ me towards Calvin than Amyraut. I think the fact that you identified me as Amyraldian has coloured how you have read and responded to what I wrote. Unfortunately it seems to have put you on the defensive which means that I don’t think you have fully engaged with all I say.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am fully engaging everything you say Martin. In fact I read your own post explicitly about yourself found here, and I am reasonably confident I can grasp where you are coming from.

You seem only too eager to accuse me of being “colorized” from statements I have made, not about me personally mind you as I rarely write about myself, and yet when I read your post about you, it is really quite easy to see where you are in fact “colored” in a real sense. Don't get me wrong, I really do appreciate anyone who takes the time and makes the effort to put out there where they are coming from.

I can see where you are coming from Martin, and as much as we both might not like labels, your views can easily be seen and grasped, and from which perspectives you are aligning with. In fact, you are so clear you even rightly identify the streams of thought by name that you embrace.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Consequently its difficult to know how to respond to you as it kinda feels like I’m talking to a man who hasn’t seen himself in a mirror and doesn’t know that his kids have put lipstick on his face while he was asleep. I don’t mean to be insulting in any way – I’m just struggling to come up with a good analogy but you must surely recognise the concept that we can be blind to things about ourselves that other people can clearly see?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Martin, I expressly told you about the matter of Paedo/Credo debate, and how I came to change my views. This is perhaps one of the biggest controversies within Christianity. A complex issue I might add. But I mentioned it to try and avail your fears about me being some kind of blind imbalanced person who cannot see the other side, but you did not even rate it worth a mention, and again this says more about you than me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In all honesty it is clear to me that the problems go deeper than you seem to realise or acknowledge.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just briefly, this kind of bare assertion seems to be the hallmark of modern or dare I say it, Post-modern thought. It is the ability to perceive motives whilst not knowing enough to assert such emotional assertions, and, to sidestep the real issues at hand. It is also a not so subtle Ad Hominem argument.

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For example, obviously I was addressing my comments to you yet so much of your response is about them. You make a long list of claims regarding how you believe you’ve been treated yet didn’t the Apostle Paul say “why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Cor. 6:7)?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since the “them” are both links on your site, and since you came here to comment at my blog, is it really a stretch that the “them” has no relevance, considering the “them” are very prominent on the Internet espousing their views and making a name for themselves with this “one” issue.

And again I ask you in reference to the passage you have cited against me, is it your position that a believer has absolutely no right to ever defend themselves?

You are misquoting that passage against me, for even though there has been a failure between us to have peace, there has been also a failure from some others to judge rightly 1Co 6:5, or keep silent, men who should know better.

I have not brought charges against them by going to the law or appeal to Unbelievers for vindication or some such thing, but they have done this with others I know, even contacting their Pastor etc. They even went to unbelievers to have comments deleted from my web blog! You ought to be laying this scripture at their feet, as the next verse you quote goes on to say, 1Co 6:8 But you do wrong and defraud, and these things to brothers.

All I ask is you use scripture properly and not in the haphazard way you used it against me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All praise be to Jesus who did not respond when falsely accused but aren’t His disciples also to follow his example? If we are accepted in the beloved, declared not guilty before the highest court there is, if we are justified through faith in Christ and what He has done for us then to try to justify ourselves before men is surely to forget the gospel?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, why are you using such tactics as this? I have no issue with what is said above, but do you really think what I am saying is me trying to justify myself before men and then the comment that I am forgetting the Gospel?

If I were to forget the gospel as you say, I would be doing exactly what these men are doing.

I am defending the gospel btw, not forgetting it.

I also do not think it appropriate to confuse categories, meaning that you are ignoring an apologetic defense which unfortunately can get unsavory, and making it a personal gospel application, which again is mere assertion.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is why I referred you to the Tim Keller article. Unfortunately you make no mention of it in your response yet I think its the most important part of my comments.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, but I did not get that impression at all. If you really thought that Mr Keller had something to teach me in any way, you easily could have sent me a personal message to read him and then leave whatever good may have come of it, without even mentioning anything else at all.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By all means ignore everything else I say but please, slowly and prayerfully read that article and ask the Lord to reveal how it might apply to you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will read it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You say you are aware of the dangers I mention yet I don’t think you are. I think the level of mistreatment you feel you have endured at their hands has left you more hurt than you realise and unable to approach this whole topic objectively. I think the proof of this will be if your immediate reaction was to strongly disagree with what I just said.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Martin, you need to realize something about me. I can be quite passionate at times, but please do not read too much into what I may or may not be feeling, as far as being hurt etc.

Personally, I fully expect there to be opposition and even personal attack and all kind of names to be hurled against me if I try to be faithful to the truth. I expect it Martin, and if such does not come my way then it is very possible I am not being faithful, so the charge and emotions you would like to stick upon me are simply you reading too much into things.

Now, having said that, let me also say, that I am not a Robot with no feelings, so yes, there are times when things are said that do hurt, and I can say that with me personally, I tend to get more defensive when I see others being mistreated, and that motivates me to come to defend someone else. At the end of the day, even if I am grieved about something concerning what has been said of me, I fully rest in Christ and find my joy squarely resting in Him, where I am complete.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Furthermore, I suspect that, deep down, you are seeking for apologies and for the perceived injustices to be put right but I would remind you that we are to show mercy and forgive just as we ourselves receive mercy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Martin, now that we are getting all emotional and personal, let me suggest a few things for you to consider, and if you are the same Martin I spoke with a few years ago at Unchained, I will simply repeat what I said to you then.

If someone has wronged someone, it is proper to seek apologies and it is proper to correct injustices. You seem to miss the very opportunity that exists when these matters are correctly dealt with.

It is one thing to just let things slip under the carpet, which is way too easy and convenient, but in calling others to repent and fix things, does not just make the person wronged feel a sense of vindication, but it also enables the person doing wrong to grow in grace and deal with their sins.

I hope my comments have helped you understand me in some small way.

And Martin, there was so much in my previous reply you did not respond to, why?

Sincerely

Mark


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark,

I think the prejudices you hold against messrs. Bryne and Ponter and, it would seem by extension me, are proving a barrier to fruitful dialogue. I think it best left. Perhaps, in time, the Tim Keller article will lead to further studies which will lead you to a greater self-awareness of your motives. Until then I can see this is only going to go downhill.

I think my recent blog post is relevant to this situation: http://allsufficientchrist.blogspot.com/2009/07/are-you-in-default-mode.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Martin,
Thanks for coming to my blog and saying and addressing absolutely nothing!

I had put up our interaction in the hope that something may come of it, but you have chosen to simply take the higher moral ground and cast aspersion against me and repeatedly question my motives, even when I have attempted to clearly explain myself.

The prejudices you perceive are nothing but facts of history and the fact that you will not go there directly affects your ability to address that history.
I take it then you are the same Martin who sided with these guys over at Unchained a few years ago, and if that being the case, you in a sense share in their complicity, in that you did not reprove them for their behavior and you still refuse to do so.
If you want your views to have an audience, then those guys are a hindrance to your position, and it is the reason why we could not discuss the subject matter.

My advice is simple. If one is going to be "prejudiced" as you say, just make sure that we are being prejudiced about the right prejudice in which to be prejudiced with.
I will remain prejudiced with scripture Martin, and leave Mr Keller for another day, and I do hope Mr Keller is not your only source of authority.

As far as my motives are concerned, they remain the same. Namely, to expose error and present an Atonement, free from the ravages of men who pervert the truth and history and who attempt to divide believers against one another in their merry quest to pursue their dogmatism and narrow one string imbalance, and I do so in the hope that others may not get carried away by their folly.

Mark

And, by the way Martin, what do you think about the Edward's quote below?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------Further responses-------------------------------------------
Martin Thorley said...

Mark,

You said: "you have chosen to simply take the higher moral ground and cast aspersion against me and repeatedly question my motives, even when I have attempted to clearly explain myself."

Me: I am not sure why you should react this way. This was not what I was trying to do. My goal was to point you to the Lord Jesus Christ. I haven't even asked you to explain yourself.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Martin, it is irrelevant whether you have or have not asked me to explain myself. The point is, I have explained myself, and if your aim was to point me to our Lord then I certainly missed that in your comments.

Your previous comments are loaded with assertions about me, just as these newer comments are.

I am beginning to wonder exactly why you came to my blog and I am also wondering what you are trying to achieve.

I see you are having a conversation with Daniel which seems to also have assertion based upon assertion as a pattern of your kind of thinking and it really bothers me.

It is enough for you to know Martin, that both Daniel and myself have on various occasions stood against the teachings of the men you support.

I personally have explained to you what kind of treatment I have received from both of those men, and it strikes me as slightly offensive that you have no correcting word for these men you support.

Another important matter, which you do not yet seem to grasp, and it could be understandable given the nature that sometimes ensues when attempting to refute and expose error, and that is that you really need to grasp that refuting error can at times be confrontational, personal and unfortunately sometimes unsavoury.

Personally, I aim for being direct enough, so as to not attack the man, but his position.

This is what I did with the men you are supporting, and the truth is, when we first discussed the issues that divide us, they also were civil, but when I continued to refute their views, their attitude and methods towards me, changed for the worse.

At this point I will freely confess, that at that time there was little support for my views at the place we were discussing these matters, and those guys exploited that fact for all it was worth, but I did not flinch nor turn away from refuting their views even for a moment.

The very actions that Tony Byrne used upon Dr White, by giving aid and comfort to the Arminians, and then letting them (by influence and giving them materials to use) attack both White and Phil Johnson, and in so doing, pit them or at least try to pit them against each other. It did not work and actually backfired on them, but I say all of that to simply say I had experienced the same treatment before Dr White had to endure similar.

There are also other Christians who testify of being mistreated by Byrne and it is documented.

So, when you come here to lend a hand of support for those men, please do not act as if what me and even Daniel are saying to you, is being said in some kind of vacuum or position of ignorance. But more than that Martin. I had tried from the first interaction with you, to explain myself to you, which you then throw back at me as something you did not ask for, which brings me right back to my opening words in this post, namely, the irrelevancy of that comment.

Now, I do appreciate that you do not want to have discussions which are unsavory and or unfruitful. In that we both agree, but I tried to get you to understand where I am coming from and you chose to ignore all that and take the higher ground which I had at the first post intimated.

If you want to discuss your beliefs about the atonement and in particular your dualism and universal expiation doctrine, then great. I will be direct, cordial and take on your views but not you personally, OK?

I will also add that since you are being taught in some measure by these men, then I simply ask that if we do discuss these issues, we stick to Scripture alone, and if really necessary or historically helpful, the Synod of Dort and the Reformed confessions. I do not want to discuss any of the men these guys often quote from, as I do not trust how they handle their sources and I am definitely not alone in that accusation.

Sincerely

Mark


Note to Martin: You may have noticed that I promote Piper's Book above at the front of my blog.

I raise this with you as you seem to question my joy in the Lord. That book, was used of the Lord to really help me understand where my joy indeed is, and if you have not read it, I highly recommend it.

My Joy is in Him, all else is a distant second.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jonathan Edwards....Interesting quote

'Tis Absurd to suppose that Christ Died for the salvation of those that he at the same time Certainly knew never would be saved. What Can be meant by that expression of Christ dying for the salvation of any one, but dying with a design that they should be saved by his death. or dying hoping that he they will be saved or at Least being uncertain but that they will be saved by his death. When we say that one Person does a thing for another, that which is Universally Understood by such an expression is that he does it with a design of some benefit to that other Person. 'Tis nonsense to say that Any Person does any thing to the End that Another thing that may be done and 'tis Impossible that he should design Any benefit to Another person that he Certainly knows will have no benefit by it.

'Tis Nonsense to say that Any thing [is done] with a design that Another thing should be done and to that End that it may be Done, at the same time that he has not the Least expectation that that other thing Ever will be done. and much more when he perfectly knows it never will. It matters not in this Controversy whether we suppose an absolute decree or no if we only allow that God knows all things that he knows future things before they Come to Pass as he declares he does in his word and no Christians pretend to deny But if we don’t deny this it implies a plain Contradiction to suppose that Christ died for in a proper sense.

If it Replied that no other is Intended when they say Christ died for all then that by his death all have the offer of salvation so that they may have salvation if they will accept of salvation – without any expectation or design of Christ that they should be saved by his death. if that be all that is Intended they Are Against no body – all that are Called Christians own that By Christ’s death all that live under the Gospel have the offer of salvation.
- Edwards, Jonathan - Sermon on Galatians 2:20

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today's religion!

And again, from brother Mahan during the 80's............

Why do People talk about everything except Jesus?

Another wee message from Brother Mahan from the eighties!

The Gospel is a command....

A wee message from the greatest preacher since Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones and Arthur Pink before him, in this generation, Henry Mahan. A short TV message from the early 80's.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ponter vs John Owen...and Dr White!

David Ponter, once stated that John Owen's work, "The Death of death in the death Of Christ" was only good for lining the bird cage with!

John Owen wrote that work early in his life and it is a classic, but some 25 years later he wrote a 8 volume set on the Book of Hebrews..
Maybe Ponter could review that work? Byrne too maybe?

Listen to Dr Allen spout the exact words of Ponter and Byrne in this video!
(Please remember that Byrne provided his notes to Allen for this speech)

Do you think Ponter and Byrne would correct the Arminian Allen for even daring to use these Amyraldian arguments, which go against the very Arminian views itself?

Don't hold your breath.

If Ponter and Byrne had a concern for consistency, they would at the very least correct these Arminain's for their so called "substitutionary views" of the atonement.
But as long as the Arminian is willing to borrow the views of Byrne, they do not care one whit for the inconsistency of these Arminians. Views, Ponter and Byrne are not ignorant of btw.

Anyway, real substitutionary atonement, Christ's Intercession, High Priestly role, Double payment argument, Limited Atonement, John Calvin, Hebrews, Anachronism, Perfection of God's wrath, Union with Christ, etc etc is discussed in this video by Dr White...

Mark


Sunday, July 19, 2009

OSAS vs Non eternal Salvation...A wee peek!




I was listening to an interesting debate between two men from Non Calvinist positions on the subject of "Eternal Security" held in May this year at Messiah's Christian Fellowship.

A veritable litany of bad exegesis, philosophical speculation, emotionalism and man centered sentiment.

On the opposing side against eternal security is the *Pelagian Steve Gregg, a man I have had interaction with in the past, and another man Tommy Bertoli whom I have never heard of, who I think was representing the Once saved always saved (OSAS) position of the Arminians.

I don't think I have ever heard a debate between synergistic men before upon the subject which we Reformed call "Perseverance of the Saints".

The debate truly shows that what Calvinists teach on "Eternal Security" is definitely not what these men teach and believe, including the OSAS view.

What was interesting for me what was being implied and or the other issues connected with the subject of eternal security that kind of came up but ignored.
It is absolutely stunning how the debate in no manner even remotely touched upon the subject of Christ and His ability to keep His own. The Mediator role of Christ. The consistency of the work of the Triune God in salvation. The nature of the Atonement etc etc...You will not find any discussion of any of this, nor will you find the actual passages that are related to this subject.

It is interesting to hear Gregg get carried away during the cross examination a number of times (talking over his opponent also) and emotionally he cranked up the heat upon his opponent for use of a particular illustration he used, when in fact the illustration was a valid one, and a direct response connected explicitly with the way Gregg had used the "Obama Choir singers" club as an illustration that election has to do with a corporate thing rather than being individual and particular. Then his opponent later seems to get quite emotional too. But, at least he made a half reasonable defense of Predestination during the questions at the end, even though he pointed out he was not a Calvinist.

Everything seemed in the end to come down on the focus of what "we" the mighty individual must do or not do and the questions/answers get bogged down in this mire.
Made for interesting hearing but I was nearly pulling out my hair by the end just waiting for someone in that place to bring up the Power of God and His will.

A lady brought up the issue of "Adoption" right at the end and Steve Gregg told her that God will abandon His children if they abandon Him, but of course, Steve tells everyone he personally will never abandon God, never has desired such a thing and most likely never will.
How encouraging is that?

Good for you Steve, let us all hope our faith is as good as yours.

I'm, sorry, but this is another gospel and another jesus I am hearing about.

The Jesus of the Bible is the one represented by Paul below, who not only never forsakes His own, but saves to the uttermost, and shall not lose one which has been given to Him and is the author and finisher of our salvation.
(Psa_37:25, Jos_1:5, Heb 13:5, Heb 7:25, Joh 6:39, Joh 10:28, Heb 12:2)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rom 8:33-39,
Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seems to me, Gregg and others believe "our will/choice" can separate us from all of those things mentioned above.
How sad, and how weak is such a salvation?

It truly was amazing to listen to this debate.

Part 1
Part 2

*And Yes, he is a Pelagian. Here is a quote of his.

The question is asked of Steve,

"Let me get this straight Steve, the natural man can respond positively to God, actually seek God, simply on His disclosure in nature? So men look at the starry hosts at night and decide to worship the one true God - under their own inward steam?"


Steve's reply,

Why not? Romans 1:20 says that these evidences alone render a man "without excuse." This certainly implies man's capability and responsibility to respond to such stimuli in the environment as God has placed there to make Himself known. If man cannot respond to this, then he certainly has an "excuse" for not doing so. What better excuse can one offer, but that the thing required of him was beyond his human capabilities?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What we are losing if not already lost...

Being a British Subject and concerned about the future, I just had to put this video up.
Followed by another serious video depicting the new cultural changes we have to look forward to.





Below is a retraction I read from someone else who had posted the above video on their site.
I also affirm that the stats are wrong in the video and apologize for not researching the statistics that were presented in this video put on You Tube...

Mark


A Retraction

Earlier today I posted a youtube video here which projected the rise of Islam across the world, especially in Europe. In researching the matter further, I have determined that much of the content of the video cannot be verified, or worse, actually contained false statements. I really should have done much more research before posting the video and therefore wish to sincerely apologize to our readers for not doing so. I have removed the initial post without even a moment's hesitation as I do not wish to perpetuate falsehood of any kind. Here's an article from the BBC which outlines some of the errors. The internet is a great tool of communication but not always that of a factual nature. Lesson learned - hopefully. - JS

Friday, July 17, 2009

My favorite Hymn...Amazing Grace

Crank up the volume and sing along with me!

Monica Dennington...A response

A few days ago I put up a video from this woman found here.
Brother Lane has put up a good response to that video below.

Btw, I didn't know Lane wasn't a Calvinist.
Also, Kirby has been working on a response found at his blog.

Mark

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A friendly reminder for the Ponterites...

Some of you may have missed the following video response from Dr James White, which I posted at the end of last year.

I think I may refer to this post as my last word addressing this subject, and may just point any opposition to my views to this video and also what I wrote here back in 2004.

(I am still open to discuss the matter rationally here on my blog if anyone desires a discussion though!)

I have been engaging this subject with both Ponter and Byrne since way back in 2003/04.
I first got involved with Mr Ponter after he appeared on Gene Cook Jnr's "The Narrow Mind" which can be downloaded here.

At that time I could not find any refutation of his atonement views, or I might have simply directed others to such information. It seems that around 2006 his views were being well and truly refuted, but I was interacting with him two years earlier and the silence of support for my views were deafening.

However, if you remain faithful to what Scripture teaches, and be patient, others may eventually come alongside you and lend a hand in opposing error.

You live and learn I guess, but I do not regret having the opportunity to defend my position even though the whole experience has been taxing and unpleasant.

Mark

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creflo Dollar says we are gods...


Gen 3:4-5

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."


Family members.....


My beautiful Daughter in law is working on her first album which is in post production. Thought I would share a wee sample of one of her tracks, called "Under Rated" by Trisha Farnon.

Here is a sample!

Overrated Demo Trisha Farnon.mp3

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In support of my brother Daniel.




Below is a link to Daniel Chew's web blog, and contains recent dialog with David Ponter and Tony Byrne, the implicit Ameraldians and "One trick" men of the Universal atonement views that even Arminians have a more logical and consistent grasp of.

These guys are surely "One issue" guys, and they are relentless at defending their "one issue" subject. They have gone after other Calvinists, most recently Dr James White and Dr Robert Reymond, and they are forever finding "Hyper" Calvinists under every rock.

These guys are imbalanced, infuriating, divisive and just plain in need of repentance.

I take my hat off to Daniel's efforts in trying to at least provide answers against their many errors and anachronistic reading of history and Reformed writers of the past.

I really think it time to let these guys alone and get on with other matters.

If you get drawn in, they will suck the very life out of you. I know this only too well from years of interaction with both of them and being mistreated, castigated, misrepresented and just plain old abused by them at any price, and all for their "one issue" subject matter which is in no way Classical, reformed Calvinism as per the Confessions of the Protestant Churches, and even if they could prove to have support from other reformed men of the past, they yet have no support from Scripture properly exegeted.

http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/search/label/Amyraldism/Neo-Amyraldism

Rick vs Michael - Who's Bad?




At the end of the day, I say Michael Jackson say's it all much better, and since he was far from the Kingdom of Christ, what does that say for Rick?

I report-You decide.

Here is his speech from the ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America......


Give me the King of Pop anyday!
At least he did not pretend to represent the King of King's.

Repent Rick, repent.....

2Co 6:14-18
Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever?
And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you,
And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.




Oh yeah, for Rick and those who think like him, be educated below for what is coming.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Funny, but worth contemplating.

Quotation below- Not me, but still worth thinking upon.
As I have said before, I am neither a Van Tilian or Clarkian, but lean more to Clark and Scripturalism.
I also appreciate Bahnsen, who I personally believe was much clearer than Van Til........Tartanarmy
Although there is clearly humor here, the subject of Cornelius Van Til's heresy is deadly serious. VanTil's theology of irresolvable paradox is a heresy matrix. In my opinion, it gave birth to Federal Vision. I do not think it is any coincidence that almost all, if not all, of the proponents of Federal Vision are Van Tilians.

Gordon H. Clark tried to warn Presbyterians back in the 1940's about the heresy of Van Til, but the Orthodox Presbyterian Church wouldn't listen, even after they ruled in Gordon H. Clark's favor in what has been called the Clark / Van Til Controversy. It wasn't long before the irrationalism of Van Til made it possible for the Covenant of Works to be dismissed from Westminster Seminary, Pennsylvania.

But the Covenant of Works was not all that was dismissed from that seminary.

Norman Shepherd, another paradoxical theologian, would also be dismissed--for teaching justification by faith and works! Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen would both publicly defend Shepherd's heretical theology, but still no one paid attention.

So now we have Federal Vision, and still there are some who can't figure out what the source of this heresy might be.


Federal Vision is still the Gospel.

This is very concerning given what the Federal Vision teaches. I had been warning about the Fed Vision way back in the old Dialog Box days on the net, a few years ago now.
I had also written to Piper a few years ago asking him to be clear upon the Law/Gospel teaching, so I am a bit concerned at this latest stance by Piper, whom I love.

Mark



Thursday, July 09, 2009

A GUIDE TO GODLY DISPUTATION JOHN NEWTON

A GUIDE TO GODLY DISPUTATION JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807)

A minister, about to write an article criticizing a fellow minister for his lack of
orthodoxy, wrote to John Newton of his intention. Newton replied as follows.

Dear Sir,
As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory.

I am not therefore anxious for the event of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but also over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of mail; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul's, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive it is taken from that great magazine provided for the Christian soldier, the word of God.

I take it for granted that you will not expect any apology for my freedom, and therefore I shall not offer one. For methods sake, I may reduce my advice to three heads: respecting your opponent, the public, and yourself.
As to your opponent, I wish that before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing.

This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. If you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab concerning Absalom, are very applicable: "Deal gently with him for my sake." The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly.

The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should show tenderness to others from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself. In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now.
Anticipate that period in your thoughts, and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to
be happy in Christ forever.

But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit), he is a more proper object of your compassion than of your anger. Alas! "He knows not what he does." But you know who has made you to differ.

If God, in his sovereign pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defense of the gospel. You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes, and not his.

Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation.

If, indeed, they who differ from us have a power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts, then we might with less inconsistency be offended at their obstinacy: but if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is, not to strive, but in meekness to instruct those who oppose as taught in 2 Timothy 2:25, "If peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth."

If you write with a desire of being an instrument of correcting mistakes, you will of course be cautious of laying stumbling blocks in the way of the blind or of using any ex-pressions that may exasperate their passions, confirm them in their principles, and thereby make their conviction, humanly speaking, more impracticable.

By printing, you will appeal to the public; where your readers may be ranged under three divisions: First, such as differ from you in principle. Concerning these I may refer you to what I have already said. Though you have your eye upon one person chiefly, there are many like-minded with him; and the same reasoning will hold, whether as to one or to a million.

There will be likewise many who pay too little regard to religion, to have any settled system of their own, and yet are pre-engaged in favor of those sentiments which are at least repugnant to the good opinion men naturally have of themselves. These are very incompetent judges of doctrine; but they can form a tolerable judgment of a writer's spirit.

They know that meekness, humility and love are the characteristics of a Christian temper; and though they affect to treat the doctrines of grace as mere notions and speculations, which, supposing they adopted them, would have no salutary influence upon their conduct; yet from us, who profess these principles, they always expect such dispositions as correspond with the precepts of the gospel.

They are quick-sighted to discern when we deviate from such a spirit, and avail themselves of it to justify their contempt of our arguments. The script ural maxim, that "the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God," is verified by daily observation. If our zeal is embittered by ex-pressions of anger, invective, or scorn, we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit.

The weapons of our warfare, and which alone are powerful to break down the strongholds of error, are not carnal, but spiritual; arguments fairly drawn from scripture and experience, and enforced by such a mild address, as may persuade our readers, that, whether we can convince them or not, we wish well to their souls, and contend only for the truth's sake; if we can satisfy them that we act upon these motives, our point is half gained; they will be more disposed to consider calmly what we offer; and if they should still dissent from our opinions, they will be constrained to approve our intentions.

You will have a third class of readers, who being of your own sentiments, will readily approve of what you advance, and may be further established and confirmed in their views of the scripture doctrines, by a clear and masterly elucidation of your subject.

You may be instrumental to their edification if the law of kindness as well as of truth regulates your pen, otherwise you may do them harm. There is a principle of self, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a becoming zeal in the cause of God.

I readily believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from and are nourished by the pride of the human heart; but I should be glad if the reverse were always true; and that to embrace what are called the Calvinistic doctrines was an infallible token of a humble mind.

I think I have known some Arminians, that is, persons who for want of a clearer light, have been afraid of receiving the doctrines of free grace, who yet have given evidence that their hearts were in a degree humbled before the Lord. And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility, that they are willing in words to debase the creature and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of.

Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit.

Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace. Yea, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such representations as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments.

Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress his wrong disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince, and puff up those whom they should edify. I hope your performance will savor of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.

This leads me, in the last place, to consider your own concern in your present undertaking. It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers.

If ever such defenses were seasonable and expedient they appear to be so in our own day, when errors abound on all sides and every truth of the gospel is either directly denied or grossly misrepresented. And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it.

Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry, contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things that are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters that are at most but of a secondary value.

This shows, that if the service is honorable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made?

Your aim, I doubt not, is good; but you have need to watch and pray for you will find Satan at your right hand to resist you; he will try to debase your views; and though you set out in defense of the cause of God, if you are not continually looking to the Lord to keep you, it may become your own cause, and awaken in you those tempers that are inconsistent with true peace of mind, and will surely obstruct communion with God.

Be upon your guard against admitting anything personal into the debate. If you think you have been ill treated, you will have an opportunity of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus, who "when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not."

This is our pattern, thus we are to speak and write for God, and "not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that hereunto we are called." The wisdom that is from above is not only pure, but also peaceable and gentle; and the want of these qualifications, like the dead fly in the pot of ointment, will spoil the savor and efficacy of our labors.

If we act in a wrong spirit, we shall bring little glory to God, do little good to our fellow creatures, and procure neither honor nor comfort to ourselves. If you can be content with showing your wit, and gaining the laugh on your side, you have an easy task; but I hope you have a far nobler aim, and that, sensible of the solemn importance of gospel truths, and the compassion due to the souls of men, you would rather be a means of removing prejudices in a single instance, than obtain the empty applause of thousands. Go forth, therefore, in the name and strength of the Lord of hosts, speaking the truth in love; and may he give you a witness in many hearts that you are taught of God, and favored with the unction of his Holy Spirit.