November 2, 2013

bible.ca vs. the Gospel, pt. 5

Posted in Steve Rudd tagged , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Continuing in my refutation of the e-Sword module “5 Points of Calvinism Refuted” (see also part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), the next section is a set of questions that are intended to be embarrassing to those who believe in the doctrine of Total Depravity:

1. Why did Jesus never teach that man was depraved or blamed mans sin on Adam. Rather he always held each man responsible for his own sin.”

Actually, Jesus did “teach that man was depraved”:

And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their works were evil. (Joh 3:19)

No one is able to come to Me if not the Father, the One having sent Me, draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. (Joh 6:44)

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. (Joh 15:18)

Like all the prophets and apostles, Jesus clearly taught that Man by nature loves darkness, hates God, and cannot come to God, apart from God actively working to bring Man to himself.

Those who believe in Free Will explain John 6:44 as meaning that God ‘draws’ Man in the sense of pleading or wooing. But note Marc Carpenter’s comments on John 6:44:

What does it mean when it says that God DRAWS a person? Does it mean that God draws a picture of them? No. Does it mean that God says, “Please, please, will you please come to me”? No. The word DRAW here means to DRAG BY FORCE. To show you what this word really means, let’s see how it is used in other parts of the New Testament:

Joh_21:11 :

John 21 : (11) Simon Peter went up and dragged the net onto the land, full of big fish, a hundred and fifty three. And [though] being so many, the net was not torn.

Was Peter PLEADING with the fish net to come ashore?

Act_16:19 :

Acts 16 : (19) And seeing that the hope of their gain went out, having seized Paul and Silas, her lords dragged them to the market before the rulers.

Did they PLEADwith Paul and Silas to come to the market?

Act_21:30 :

Acts 21 : (30) And the whole city was moved, and there was a running together of people. And laying hands on Paul, they drew him outside of the temple, and at once the doors were shut.

Did they PLEADwith Paul to come out of the Temple?

Jas_2:6 :

James 2 : (6) But you dishonored the poor one. Do not the rich ones oppress you, and they drag you to judgment seats?

Did the rich ones PLEAD with them to come to the judgment seats?

As you can see, this word doesn’t have anything to do with PLEADING or with PROFFERING or even with ASKING. It is a UNILATERAL, FORCEFUL DRAGGING. A better translation of Joh_6:44 would be, “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me DRAGS him.”

When God ‘draws’ a sinner to himself, it isn’t by begging and pleading; it is by forcefully overcoming that person’s total depravity by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

Our author continues:

2. If every newborn is “utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil”, then

* how do we account for the goodness of the “unregenerate” like Cornelius, Act_10:1-4; Act_10:22, or anyone else today. How do we account for all the good things that non-Christians do?

* then how can “evil men proceed from bad to worse” 1 Timothy 3:13?

As far as Cornelius is concerned, it is not apparent that he was unregenerate. Indeed, Acts 10:4 says that Cornelius was “devout and fearing God”, which he could not have been unless he were regenerate. Verse 22 adds that Cornelius was ‘just’, which he also could not have been unless he were regenerate.

But so far as “the good things that non-Christians do”, such works may be good in the eyes of men, but not in the eyes of God:

The righteous one knows the life of his animal, but the mercies of the wicked ones are cruel. (Pro 12:10)

The Pharisee was standing, praying these things to himself: God, I thank You that I am not as the rest of men, rapacious ones, unrighteous ones, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice on the sabbath; I tithe things, as many as I get. (Luk 18:11-12)

For not knowing the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. (Rom 10:3)

Note that in Romans 10:3, Paul is referring to people who are attempting to ‘establish their own righteousness’ not immoral perverts and idolaters. Even so, if they are ignorant of “the righteousness of God”, then their works are not pleasing to God, but are a stench in his nostrils. The Pharisee of Luke 18 is a perfect example of this: he fasted, prayed, tithed, observed the sabbath, abstained from adultery, and so on. But being ignorant of the righteousness of God, all his ‘good’ works were merely an attempt to establish his own righteousness, without submitting to the righteousness of God. And unless a person is submitting to the righteousness of God, no work they do is truly ‘good’.

3. Why is the Greek word “sarx” (English=flesh, Mistranslated “sinful nature” throughout the NIV) which Calvinists say teaches the inherited depraved sinful nature of man, also used in scripture of Jesus in Heb_2:14; 1Pe_4:1; 1Pe_3:18; 1 John 4:2?

Because ‘sarx’, much like the English word ‘flesh’, has both a literal and a metaphorical meaning. Note how Jesus applies the word ‘sarx’ (here translated ‘flesh’) to himself in a literal manner:

See My hands and My feet, that I am Myself? Feel Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see Me having. (Luk 24:39)

But note how the apostles Paul and John use the word ‘sarx’ (also translated ‘flesh’) in a metaphorical sense:

There is therefore now no condemnation to the ones in Christ Jesus, not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit. (Rom 8:1)

And the ones being in the flesh are not able to please God. (Rom 8:8)

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another; that not whatever you may will, but these things you do. (Gal 5:17)

But the ones belonging to Christ crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. (Gal 5:24)

because everything in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1Jn 2:16)

Our author continues:

  1. Why would Jesus not inherit the guilt of sin & depravity from his mother Mary?

Because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by a man:

But Mariam said to the angel, How will this be since I do not know a man?And answering, the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and on account of this the Holy One being born of you will be called Son of God. (Luk 1:34-35)

Our author continues:

5. If Mary was “conceived sinless” so that Jesus would not get inherited sin then:

* wouldn’t Jesus’ brothers and sisters also be born without inherited sin?

* wouldn’t all the children of Christians today (whose depravity has been removed) are born without inherited sin.

* If we can inherit the corrupt nature of our parents, then why can we not inherit the righteousness of our parents?

* If God could conceive Mary without sin why did He not simply conceive Jesus without sin?

Mary wasn’t “conceived sinless”; indeed, Mary herself testified that she was in need of a savior:

And Mariam (Mary) said, My soul magnifies the Lord,and my spirit exulted in God my Savior. (Luk 1:46-47)

Mary would not need a savior if she had no sin.

  1. What is the difference in “nature” between Adam before his sin, Mary who was “immaculate” and Christians who have their depravity removed, and Jesus?

Unlike Jesus, Christians who are still in this world have a sin principle that prevents them from obeying God perfectly.

If You will keep iniquities, O Jehovah, O Lord, who shall stand?But forgiveness is with You that You may be feared. (Psa 130:3-4)

I find then the law, to me the one willing to do the good, that evil is present with me.For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man;but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members. (Rom 7:21-23)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1Jn 1:8)

Their heart may have been changed from one that hates God to one that loves God, but they are still subject to sin in this life.

  1. If baptism removes the depraved nature of man, then why does he continue to sin afterward?

Because baptism doesn’t completely remove sin from a Christian. His nature is changed, so that sin no longer rules over him, and he is no longer Totally Depraved, but he is still subject to the effects of sin. This is reflected in the Christian Confession of Faith:

5. When God regenerates and converts a sinner, indwelling sin is not totally removed from a believer. A believer continues to sin against God all the days of his life, and he continues to be ashamed of and to repent of his sin. But a believer’s sin in no way forfeits his interest in Jesus Christ nor annuls God’s covenant with him. Scripture rejects the lie that man may be freed from indwelling sin in this life; anyone who says he has no sin is an unbeliever. [1Ki_8:46; Psa_32:5; Psa_37:24; Psa_38:18; Psa_41:4; Psa_69:5; Psa_130:3; Rom_7:14-25; Jam_5:16; 1Jo_1:8-10] (Christian Confession of Faith, V.C.5)

Our author continues:

8. If Adam became depraved only after he sinned, then why did he sin before he was depraved? We sin, it is said, because we are “wholly inclined” towards evil and “utterly indisposed” towards good. That may explain why we sin, but why did Adam sin? Adam was totally hereditarily righteous, yet he still sinned!

9. If Adam choose to sin while dead to sin, may we not also choose to do right while dead in sin?

Here is what the Christian Confession of Faith has to say about Adam:

1. On the sixth day of creation, God formed the first man (Adam) out of the dust of the ground. The first woman (Eve) was formed from one of Adam’s ribs. Unlike the other creatures, Adam and Eve were created in God’s own image (that is, with understanding and a will). They were created in a state of innocence. [Gen_1:26-30; Gen_2:7; Gen_2:21-25; Gen_9:6; Exo_20:11; Ecc_7:29; Jam_3:9]” (Christian Confession of Faith, III.A.1)

The Confession teaches that Adam and Eve were “created in a state of innocence”. This follows from Ecclesiastes 7:29, which teaches that “God has made man upright”. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Adam was “dead to sin”. Clearly he was capable of sinning. The truth is that the Bible doesn’t tell us very much about the state of Adam’s soul before he sinned. What we do know is that Adam was capable of sinning, while unregenerate people may not “choose to do good”:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also may do good who have learned to do evil. (Jer 13:23)

A good tree cannot produce evil fruits, nor a corrupt tree produce good fruits. (Mat 7:18)

Our author continues:

10. If “non-elect” infants do not die in infancy (as E.K Garrett, primitive Baptist taught, using Job_21:7 as his proof text) then were all the babies killed in the flood and in Sodom and Gomorrah elect and predestined to be saved?” ”

I’m not familiar with Garrett, so I’m not about to defend his beliefs. What we do know about elect people of all ages is that God will cause them to believe the Gospel before they die. If there were any elect infants who died in the Flood, we know that that they were given faith to believe the Gospel before dying.


For more information, please see also:

Gospel Atonement

Sermon on Romans 3:9-18

Sermon on Romans 5:12-21 (1)

Essential Gospel Doctrine

April 8, 2012

Mark DeYoung vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

Posted in Mark DeYoung tagged , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Recently, I had an email discussion with a man named Mark DeYoung, in response to some things I had written to Ken Lokken. This is my response to DeYoung’s first email.

================================

To: Mark DeYoung

From: Chris Adams

January, 23, 2012

Re: Fw: Demon possesion; a few thoughts

Mr. DeYoung —

Well, I have to hand it to you Mr. DeYoung, at least you have the integrity to include some discussion of Bible verses with your e-mail. Ken Lokken flat out refused to discuss any verses that I offered, then offered me exactly one verse, and even that one I had to drag out of him. Anthony Buzzard refused to discuss even one verse. Let’s see if you fare better than they did.

First, discussing Deu 18:15-16, you wrote:

“So in this passage the Jewish people would understand that the “one” Moses was referring to was a human being, simply a man.”

Well, this is both wrong and right at the same time. SOME of the Jewish people were expecting that the Messiah would be “simply a man”. But the remnant, like Abraham (Joh 8:56-58), Job (Job 19:25-26) and Isaiah (Joh 12:37-41), were expecting a Messiah who was more than human; one who was God in the flesh.

Next, on Psa 2:7, you wrote:

“Nothing in this says that this is the essence of God.  Your jumping through hoops to make it say that.  In fact the definition of “begotten” according to Strong’s #H3205  יָלַד yalad {yaw-lad’} A primitive root; to bear young; causatively to beget; medically to act as midwife; specifically to show lineage. In this case the “causatively to beget” is the part that is applicable.”

Actually, it is the whole definition of ‘yalad’ that is applicable, including the “causatively to beget” and “specifically to show lineage”. God was proclaiming that the Messiah would be his “Son”. Now let’s look at what happened when Jesus claimed to be “the Son of God”:

Joh 5: (18) Because of this, therefore, the Jews lusted the more to kill Him, for not only did He break the sabbath, but also called God His own Father, making Himself equal to God.

Joh 10: (33) The Jews answered Him, saying, We do not stone you concerning a good work, but concerning blasphemy; and because you, being a man, make yourself God.

You are definitely correct to say that the Jews (at least some of them) were expecting a merely human Messiah. But that isn’t what Jesus claimed to be, and the Jews knew it. Note that in claiming to be the “Son of God” the Jews understood that Jesus was not merely claiming to be a ‘ “mighty hero” or “divine hero, reflecting the divine majesty” ‘ as Brown-Driver-Briggs put it in their lexicon — he was “making himself equal with God”.

Of Psa 110, you write:

“God didn’t promise that He in human flesh would appear or be born for that matter”.

True. Which is why that isn’t the point. The point is that David referred to his son as his Lord. I addressed this in my previous correspondence with Ken Lokken, which I linked to, below. Jesus’ own question to the Pharisees, and my question to you, is: “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”

In your discussion of Isa 9:6, you quote from several commentators, and while I don’t endorse any of them, the first one had some interesting points. Grotius says that “not all Trinitarians understand the verse as a reference to Christ only” — in other words some Trinitarians refer the verse to both Hezekiah AND to Christ. Further, he says that “This passage is acknowledged … to relate in the same manner, but in a more excellent sense, to the Messiah.” Saying that the verse refers to BOTH Hezekiah as a type of Christ, AND Jesus as the anti-type, in no way detracts from the truth that Jesus is “the Mighty God”.

As for the word “god”, yes, it is definitely used to refer to some people, such as in Psa 82:6, as the quote from Brown-Driver-Briggs demonstrates. But since you quoted next from John Calvin, let’s see what he had to say on Psa 82:6:

“Christ, with the view of rebutting the calumny with which the Pharisees loaded him, quoted this text, John 10:34, 35, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” By these words Christ did not mean to place himself among the order of judges; but he argues from the less to the greater, that if the name of God is applied to God’s officers, it with much more propriety belongs to his only begotten Son, who is the express image of the Father, in whom the Father’s majesty shines forth, and in whom the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells.”

Again, I am no more endorsing Calvin than Grotius, but it does show what Calvin REALLY thought of the use of the word ‘god’ in Psa 82:6.

As for Calvin and Servetus, please refer to my article about them.

Of Luk 2:7, you wrote:

“there is no mention of a God-Man in this passage!”

Well, no kidding. But what there is in this passage is mention of Jesus’ humanity, a point that is essential to the Gospel. He is both God and Man, and is therefore able to “lay his hand” on both (Job 9:33).

Of Joh 1:1 you wrote:

“The text simply reads, “In the beginning was the word,” not “In the beginning was the Son.””

True, but here’s what the verse does say:

Joh 1: (1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So in what way was the “Word” both with God and at the same time, the Word was God? And in what way was this “Word” (who both was God, and was with God) “made flesh and tabernacled among us”?

As for calling you on the phone, I prefer to keep this exchange written. This format is much more conducive to thinking, logic, and study.

Finally, I notice that you have this in your signature:

“Proverbs 22:3, A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

That’s a very appropriate verse, Mark. And I must warn you that you are going on in your simplicity, unaware of the danger to your soul. You do not believe in the deity of Christ, and therefore, you do not believe the Gospel. You are lost, and your deeds are evil. Again, the Gospel is:

The gospel is God’s promise to save His people, giving them all the blessings of salvation from regeneration to final glory, conditioned exclusively on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, totally apart from the sinner’s works and efforts. It reveals the righteousness of God – how God is just to justify the ungodly based on the work of Jesus Christ alone. The gospel is not merely the fact that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, considered apart from the purpose of these truths, which were accomplished to establish a righteousness for all whom Jesus represented.  [Gen 15:5-6; Psa 103:2-12; 130:3-4; Isa 1:18; 45:21-25; Jer 33:14-16; Mat 1:21; Joh 3:16; Act 13:32-39; Rom 1:16-17; 3:21-26; 4:5-8,13-25; 10:4,15; 1Co 15:1-8; 2Co 1:20; 5:21; Eph 1:3-2:22; 3:6; Col 1:5; 2Ti 1:1,9-10; Heb 10:4-17]

I urge you to repent and believe it.

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For more information, please see:

The Christian Confession of Faith

Gospel Atonement

Essential Gospel Doctrine

An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness

September 26, 2011

John Wesley vs. the Gospel, pt. 5

Posted in John Wesley tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:13 PM by chriswadams

IV. Christology – The Doctrine of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ

Having examined Wesley’s view of Scripture, God, and Man, the next doctrine to be examined is Wesley’s view of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The Person of Christ

Here is how The Christian Confession of Faith summarizes the doctrine of the person of Jesus Christ:

There is only one man among the descendants of Adam born without a sinful nature, and this is Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son incarnate. He was born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit, contracting no guilt or defilement from Adam. He was totally and completely without sin. [Isa 7:14; 53:9; Mat 1:25; Luk 1:31-35; 2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26-27; 1Pe 2:22-23; 1Jo 3:5]

Jesus of Nazareth is really and truly God as well as really and truly human. He is the only descendant of Adam with two natures, human and divine. These two natures are continually without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation. Scripture rejects the lie that Jesus Christ was merely human and not fully divine. It likewise rejects the lie that Jesus Christ was a supernatural being but not fully human. [Deu 18:15; Psa 2:7; 110:1; Isa 9:6; Luk 2:7; Joh 1:1,14,18; 3:16,18; 5:18; 8:58; 10:30-33; Act 20:28; Rom 1:3; 1Co 15:47; Gal 4:4; Phi 2:6-8; Col 1:15; 1Ti 3:16; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:1-5; 5:5; 1Jo 4:9, 15; Rev 1:17-18]1

These two sections of the Confession teach that Jesus was both God and Man. The first section teaches that Jesus is “God the Son incarnate”, and that he was born of a virgin, and thus did not receive any “guilt or defilement from Adam”. The second section describes the relationship of his two natures (“without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation”), and refutes the twin heresies that Jesus was either human, but not divine, or divine, but not human.

Anyone who reads the Bible with any seriousness will immediately recognize the great importance of the doctrine of Christ’s person. 1John 2:22-23 displays the life or death issue of believing in the person of Jesus Christ:

1Jo 2: (22) Who is the liar, except the [one] denying, [saying] that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the antichrist, the [one] denying the Father and the Son. (23) Everyone denying the Son does not have the Father. The [one] confessing the Son also has the Father.

Anyone who truly believes in the Jesus of the Bible is saved, while anyone who does not is lost. Wesley himself seemed to understand the vital importance of this doctrine:

Not that I can at all believe the ingenious dream of Dr. Watts concerning “the glorious humanity of Christ,” which he supposes to have existed before the world began, …. And I am afraid it was the grand means of turning that great man aside from the faith once delivered to the saints; — that is, if he was turned aside; if that beautiful [sic] soliloquy be genuine which is printed among his Posthumous Works, wherein he so earnestly beseeches the Son of God not to be displeased because he cannot believe him to be co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. (6:273, Sermon 62 The End Of Christ’s Coming)

Notice that, although he is willing to reserve judgement in case the “soliloquy” is a forgery, Wesley is still able to judge Watts lost if the “soliloquy” was genuine; because in that case, Isaac Watts did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. As far as Wesley was concerned, this fact alone would be enough to judge Isaac Watts lost. And most professing Christians would probably agree with Wesley’s assessment.

But “confessing [the] Son”, as John puts it, involves a lot more than merely confessing that Jesus is both Man and God. It involves believing in the doctrine of his person (both human and divine) and the doctrine of his work of justifying his people on the Cross (Isa 45:24, Jer 9:24, Gal 6:14).

It is exactly at this point that many professing Christians (even those who claim to believe in the Effectual, or Limited, Atonement of Christ) will balk, because it means that those who make a profession of faith in Christ will have to be judged based on their belief of doctrine! And yet this is exactly what the Bible commands in places such as:

Mat 7: (15) But beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are plundering wolves. (16) From their fruits you shall know them. Do they gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? (17) So every good tree produces good fruits, but the corrupt tree produces evil fruits. (18) A good tree cannot produce evil fruits, nor a corrupt tree produce good fruits. (19) Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and is thrown into fire. (20) Then surely from their fruits you shall know them.

Joh 7: (24) Do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment

1Jo 4: (1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world.

Judging a professing Christian according to the doctrine he holds is absolutely essential for judging saved and lost, since it is impossible to believe in a doctrine-less God, a doctrine-less Christ, or a doctrine-less Gospel. Isaac Watts is a perfect example of this; if the so-called “soliloquy” is genuine, Isaac Watts did not believe in the doctrine of the deity of Christ. And Wesley made his judgement of Watts based on this doctrine. It follows then, that when a professing Christian is willing to make judgments of saved and lost based on the doctrine of Christ’s person, but refuses to make judgments of saved and lost based on the doctrine of Christ’s work, that person is not really refusing to make judgments based on doctrine alone, as they often claim. In reality, they are simply making judgments based on selected doctrines; ie. doctrines that they select for themselves, rather than letting themselves be guided by the doctrines that are put forth in Scripture as standards for judgment. And, as we shall see, Scripture puts just as much emphasis on the importance of the effect of Christ’s work as it does on the importance of his divinity.

It must be said that John Wesley was sound in his view of the person of Christ2. He believed that Jesus Christ was both Man and God. Therefore, my judgment of him has nothing to do with his belief in the doctrine of Christ’s person, and everything to do with his view of the doctrine of Christ’s work. What we shall see is that Wesley believed in the doctrine of Universal Atonement (ie. the teaching that the blood of Jesus Christ atones for the sin of all human beings without exception). But before discussing Wesley’s view of the work of Jesus Christ in greater detail, let’s review what the Bible and the Christian Confession of Faith have to say about the work of Christ.

The Work of Christ

The work of Jesus Christ to justify his people is a necessary consequence of the Justice of God. God the Father imputed the sins of his elect people to Jesus Christ, and then poured out the full wrath of his offended Justice upon Christ (2Cor 5:17, 1Pet 3:18). God was therefore just in punishing a man who, in his own character and conduct, was completely innocent (Luk 23:14-15, Heb 7:26, 1Pet 2:22). Furthermore, God imputed the righteousness of Christ to the elect, so that even though they are sinful in their character and conduct, he may bless them justly (Psa 85:10, Rom 5:9, Col 2:13). The righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the blood that symbolizes it, is therefore central to the Gospel message, because according to the Justice of God, the righteousness of Christ demands the salvation of any person to whom it is given (Rom 8:34). If God were to give that righteousness to a person, and then send that person to Hell anyway, he would be unjust in doing so; he would, in effect, be demanding double payment for the same sins. Further, he would also be unjust in requiring that his Son suffer for the sins of a person, and then refusing to give his Son the reward which was promised (Isa 53:12).

The Biblical doctrine of the work of Christ is summarized in the Christian Confession of Faith:

When He became incarnate, Jesus Christ was made subject to the law of God and obliged to obey all its precepts. He did this perfectly, to the minutest detail. [Psalm 40:8; Isa 50:5; Mat 3:15; 2Co 5:21; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14-15; 4:15; 7:26; 1Pe 2:22-23; 1Jo 3:4-5]

The consummate act of obedience that Jesus Christ paid to the law was in suffering the ultimate penalty for the disobedience of His people that the law demanded. Thus, while upon the cross, Jesus Christ, as a perfect representative, substitute, and sacrifice for His people, became a curse for His people and suffered the unmitigated fury of God the Father, which was equivalent to suffering the very pains of hell. This was not for any guilt He had contracted Himself but for the sins of His people. Their guilt was imputed to Him, and He suffered the penalty their sins deserved. His finished work on the cross appeased God’s wrath in full toward all for whom He died and paid the ransom price in full for all for whom He died, guaranteeing the salvation of all for whom He died. [Gen 22:13; Exo 12:3-13; Lev 16:21-22; 17:11; Psa 22:1-18; 32:1; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; 27:35-50; Mar 15:24-37; Luk 23:33-46; 24:46; Joh 11:49-52; 19:16-30; Act 17:3; 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 5:7; 6:20; 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; 2:13-17; Col 1:14,20-22; 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10,17; 9:12-14,26-28; 10:10-18; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jo 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5; 5:9]3

Let’s look at some of the verses that the Confession refers to, and notice what they have to say about the work of Jesus Christ. In particular pay close attention to what the Bible has to say about what the work of Jesus Christ accomplishes on behalf of all people for whom it was intended:

Exo 12: (13) And the blood shall be a sign to you, on the houses where you [are]. And I will see the blood, and I will pass over you. And the plague shall not be on you to destroy, when I strike in the land of Egypt.

The blood of the lamb, which typifies the blood of Jesus Christ, caused God to pass over the house. The blood was not put on every house in Egypt, but only on the houses of Israelites. And the blood did not fail to cause God to pass over the house; no Israelite had to add his works or decisions to the blood on the doorposts, because the blood alone was sufficient to cause God to pass over the house. Each and every house that had the blood of a lamb on the doorposts was saved from destruction; there were no exceptions.

Now consider how this verse relates to the doctrine of Universal Atonement. If Universal Atonement were true, then the blood of Jesus Christ ought to cause the wrath of God to “pass over” the sins of all human beings without exception! Yet, as even Wesley would admit4, it manifestly does not.

Isa 53: (11) He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities.

The work of Jesus Christ caused many people to be justified. It did not potentiallyjustify a people, if only they would do their part; it actually justified many people, just as Jesus actually bore their sins. Each and every person whose sins were borne by Jesus Christ was justified by his work.

Now consider how this verse relates to the doctrine of Universal Atonement. If Universal Atonement were true, and the work of Jesus Christ were intended for all people without exception, then the work of Jesus Christ ought to have justified all people without exception. But again, as even Wesley would admit, it manifestly does not

Rom 5: (9) Much more then, being justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him.

The blood of Jesus Christ justifies his people, and saves them from the wrath of God. Each and every person who is justified by the blood of Christ is saved from the wrath of God. And again, if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended to justify every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “saved from the wrath” of God. Yet they are not.

2Co 5: (18) And all things [are] from God, the [One] having reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and having given to us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) as, that God was in Christ reconciling [the] world to Himself, not charging their deviations to them, and having put the Word of reconciliation in us.

Jesus Christ reconciles his people to God. Each and every person for whom the blood of Christ was poured out, is reconciled to God, and does not have their deviations charged to them. If Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended to justify every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “reconciled to God”. Yet they are not.

Gal 1: (4) who gave Himself for our sins, so that He might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

All for whom Jesus Christ gave himself for their sins are delivered from the present evil age. And if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended for every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “delivered out of the present evil age”. Yet they are not.

Heb 5: (9) and having been perfected, He came to be [the] Author of eternal salvation to all the [ones] obeying Him,

All for whom Jesus Christ died receive eternal salvation. And again, if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended for every person without exception, then every person without exception would “receive eternal salvation”. Yet they do not.

This selection of verses is only a small fraction of the verses which show the effectual benefits of the blood of Jesus Christ towards all for whom his blood was intended. Every one of those verses gives the lie to the doctrine of Universal Atonement, because those benefits are plainly intended for all people for whom Christ died, yet they plainly do not extend to all people without exception.

This goes back to what the work of Christ shows us about the justice of God revealed in the Gospel: the righteousness of Christ demands the salvation of all for whom Christ died (Rom 8:34). Any doctrine that denies this basic truth is a denial of the Gospel.

Wesley’s Doctrine of the Work of Christ

So exactly what did Wesley believe about the work of Jesus Christ? What did he believe about the blood and righteousness of Christ? Did his views glorify or deny the justice of God? Did he believe it secures full remission of sins, fellowship with God, and final glory in Heaven, for all whom Christ represented? Or did he consider it worthless, securing only a conditional pardon for those who exercise their Free Will?

Wesley obviously believed that the Grace of God was “bought for every child of man,” but not given to every child of Man, as the justice of God would require. He believed that Jesus Christ suffered the unmitigated fury of God against the sins of all men without exception, but that God refuses to accept this suffering on behalf of millions of people for whom it was intended. He believed that Jesus Christ suffered the just penalty that God’s law and justice demanded for the sins of all people without exception, but then God refuses to reward Jesus with the souls of the people he (supposedly) redeemed. Wesley believed that the Grace of God is “actually given to every one that believeth” and withheld from every one that believes not, regardless of the fact that Jesus (supposedly) already purchased the gift of God’s grace on their behalf. Wesley’s blasphemous doctrine of Universal Atonement utterly denies the justice of God revealed in the work of Jesus Christ.

Justification & Imputation

This brings us to the twin doctrines of Justification and Imputation. The Christian Confession of Faith describes imputation in this way:

The perfect righteousness that Jesus Christ established is imputed to every one of God’s people in time. Because of this imputed righteousness, they are declared blameless before God and reconciled to God. Christ’s righteousness imputed demands God’s favor and fellowship toward them. [Job 29:14; Psa 32:2; 85:10-11; Isa 53:11; 61:10; Jer 23:5-6; Rom 3:21-22; 4:6-8; 5:9-11,17-19; 8:1,31-39; 1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:18-21; Eph 5:25-27; Col 1:21-22; Tit 3:6-7]5

Imputation is a legal term, meaning “to charge to the account of another”. It is a legal concept, denoting the “counting” or “attributing” of something to a person. This concept can be seen in the following verses:

Mar 15: (28) And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with [the] lawless.”

Rom 8: (36) Even as it has been written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day; we are counted as sheep of slaughter.”

Mark 15:28 says that Jesus Christ was “numbered” or “counted” with transgressors. While Jesus was never a transgressor himself (1Pe 2:22), he was legally “numbered” or “counted” with transgressors in the light of God’s law and justice. Romans 8:36 says that Christians are “numbered” or “counted” as sheep for the slaughter. While Christians are the people that God loves and cherishes, they do not hold their own lives as more important than the glory of God, and are willing to “count” themselves as sheep to be slaughtered. This is what it means to “impute” or “attribute” or “charge to the account of” a person.

Similarly, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the account of his people is shown in the following verses:

Psa 32: (2) Blessed [is] the man to whom Jehovah does not charge iniquity, and in whose spirit there [is] no guile.

Rom 4: (6) Even as also David says of the blessedness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

2Co 5: (21) For He made the [One] who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become [the] righteousness of God in Him.

The perfect righteousness which Jesus Christ established on the cross is “imputed”, or “charged to the account of” every single believer. It is because of this righteousness that God “does not charge iniquity”, and “counts righteousness apart from works”. It is because of this righteousness that Christians “become [the] righteousness of God in Him”.

We have already seen that God is so holy that he cannot have fellowship with anyone who has the slightest taint of sin; therefore sinful human beings can only enjoy fellowship with God if righteousness is charged, or imputed, to their account by someone else. That righteousness can only be established by someone who is himself completely without sin. The only human being who could possibly establish such a righteousness is Jesus Christ. The imputation of his perfect righteousness is effectual to secure the favor and fellowship of God, for all to whom it is given. This is taught in the Christian Confessionof Faith:

At the same time a sinner is regenerated, he is adopted into God’s family and set apart from the world. He is counted to be as holy and acceptable before God as Jesus Christ Himself, is made to be at peace with God, and enters into fellowship with God based on the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. [Job 29:14; Psa 85:8; Isa 26:3; Isa 32:17; Isa 61:10; Joh 1:12; Joh 17:21-23; Rom 3:22; Rom 4:6-8; Rom 5:1-2; Rom 5:19; Rom 8:14-17; Rom 8:33-39; 1Co 1:30; 1Co 6:11; 2Co 5:21; Gal 3:26; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:4-5; Eph 2:14-19; Eph 3:11-12; Eph 5:25-27; Col 1:20-22; 2Th 2:13; Tit 3:7; Heb 2:10-11; 1Jo 1:3; 1Jo 3:1; Rev 21:7]6

Just as the righteousness of God demands that he show wrath and judgment towards those who have sin charged to their account, so also his righteousness demands that he show favor and fellowship towards those who have righteousness charged to their account. Once the righteousness of Jesus Christ is charged to the account of a person, those sins can never again bring him under the wrath and condemnation of God. The justice of God demands that that person cannot be punished for those sins, because Jesus Christ has already been punished in that person’s place, and satisfied the requirements of the justice of God on the sinner’s behalf. This imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the account of the believer is therefore the effectual means of the justification of a believer. It is this imputation, and subsequent justification, which establishes peace and fellowship between the believer and God, because the believer is cleared from the sin that is charged to his account by the law of God.

But even this imputation could not happen without a second imputation, the imputation of the sins of the believer to the account of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus was completely sinless in his own character and conduct, he was, in the eyes of God’s law and justice, charged with the guilt and defilement of the sins of his people. It was for this reason that the only man who was ever truly and completely innocent in his own character and conduct, could suffer the just wrath and fury of God, and die the death of a criminal. God’s righteousness demands that no innocent person should suffer the just penalty which sin deserves. Yet Jesus suffered the penalty which sin deserves, and died upon the cross, not for his own sins, but for the sins of his people which were charged to his account. The only way in which the suffering of Jesus Christ could be consistent with the justice of God is if the sins of his people were imputed to him. This is taught in the Christian Confessionof Faith:

 The consummate act of obedience that Jesus Christ paid to the law was in suffering the ultimate penalty for the disobedience of His people that the law demanded. Thus, while upon the cross, Jesus Christ, as a perfect representative, substitute, and sacrifice for His people, became a curse for His people and suffered the unmitigated fury of God the Father, which was equivalent to suffering the very pains of hell. This was not for any guilt He had contracted Himself but for the sins of His people. Their guilt was imputed to Him, and He suffered the penalty their sins deserved. His finished work on the cross appeased God’s wrath in full toward all for whom He died and paid the ransom price in full for all for whom He died, guaranteeing the salvation of all for whom He died. [Gen 22:13; Exo 12:3-13; Lev 16:21-22; 17:11; Psa 22:1-18; 32:1; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; 27:35-50; Mar 15:24-37; Luk 23:33-46; 24:46; Joh 11:49-52; 19:16-30; Act 17:3; 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 5:7; 6:20; 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; 2:13-17; Col 1:14,20-22; 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10,17; 9:12-14,26-28; 10:10-18; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jo 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5; 5:9]7

It is here that we can most vividly understand the justice and righteousness of God. His holiness and righteousness demands that all sin and rebellion against him should be punished to the fullest. God hates sin with the utmost hatred, and will never allow it to go unpunished, even when it is charged to the account of the son whom he loves (Joh 3:35). Jesus suffered in indescribable agony (Mar 15:34) to propitiate the wrath of God against the sins of his people, which were charged to his account.

Wesley’s Doctrine of Imputation& Justification

The doctrines of Imputation and Justification that Wesley preached were very different from the kind which the Bible teaches. But rather than teaching an outright denial of the Scriptural doctrines of Imputation and Justification, Wesley taught that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness was given to all human beings, but that the blessing of justification did not necessarily follow from that imputation.


Wesley believed that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to all men without exception, but the blessing of justification would not be given to all men without exception. This, of course, is impossible. If God were to impute the righteousness of Christ to the account of a sinner without justifying that sinner, then he would be unjust himself, and so would cease to be God. The justice of God demands that all who have the righteousness of Christ charged to their account be justified in the sight of God.

Furthermore, it is simply not possible that the righteousness of Christ could be imputed to a person, and atone merely for the sin of Adam, while leaving the actual sins of that person untouched. Either the blood of Christ is effectual to atone for all the guilt of a sinner, or it is powerless to atone for all the guilt of a sinner. It cannot merely atone for part of the guilt that is charged to a sinner’s account. The justice of God demands that all who have the righteousness of Christ charged to their account be justified and declared wholly righteous in the sight of God.

The impossibility of God’s imputing the righteousness of Christ to the account of sinners, and then failing to justify those same sinners can be seen from Wesley’s answer to the question, why do some sinners go to Hell?

How came this rich man to be in hell? It does not appear that he was a wicked man, in the common sense of the word; that he was a drunkard, a common swearer, a Sabbath-breaker, or that he lived in any known sin. It is probable he was a Pharisee; and as such was, in all the outward parts of religion, blameless. How then did he come into “the place of torment?” If there was no other reason to be assigned, there is a sufficient one implied in those words, (“he that hath ears to hear, let him hear!”) “Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things;” — the things which thou hadst chosen for thy happiness. Thou hadst set thy affection on things beneath: And thou hadst thy reward: Thou didst receive the portion which thou hadst chosen, and canst have no portion above. ” (6:248-9, Sermon 112 Dives And Lazarus)

9. If then you fear bringing damnation on yourself by this, you fear where no fear is. Fear it not for eating and drinking unworthily; for that, in St. Paul’s sense, ye cannot do. But I will tell you for what you shall fear damnation;– for not eating and drinking at all; for not obeying your Maker and Redeemer; for disobeying his plain command; for thus setting at nought both his mercy and authority. Fear ye this; for hear what his Apostle saith: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.” (James 2:10.) (Sermon 101)

The problem with that answer is that unbelief is a sin; but according to the theory of Universal Atonement, that sin is already paid for, so it shouldn’t be a barrier to justification at all. So Wesley, and every other advocate of Universal Atonement must either admit that all people will eventually go to heaven, or Jesus did not die for the sins of all people without exception.

The imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the account of the believer is the effectual means of the justification of a believer. Therefore, without the twin doctrines of Imputation and Justification, the Gospel simply would not be good news. It would be no “Gospel” at all. And that is a perfect description of Wesley’s false gospel. It is not good news at all, but the filthy rags of self-righteousness, disguised as Christianity.

The State of Those Who Deny the Effectual Work of Christ

The Christian Confession of Faith goes on to describe the terrible state of those who deny the biblical teaching of the effectual work of Christ:

Those who deny the effectual work of Jesus Christ, claiming instead that the blood of Jesus Christ atoned for everyone without exception, including those in hell, deny the very heart of the gospel. They do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; instead, these self-righteous boasters believe that it is the effort of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. These blasphemers deny that Jesus Christ made full satisfaction for sins and that Jesus Christ accomplished and ensured salvation for all whom He represented. They trample underfoot the precious blood of Jesus Christ, treating it as something of no value. They glory and boast in themselves, for whatever one believes makes the difference between salvation and damnation is what one boasts and glories in. There is not a single one of these blasphemers who is a child of God. [Psa 25:14; 74:18; 94:4; 139:20; Pro 30:12-13; Isa 28:14-18; 42:8; 48:11; Joh 16:8-14; Rom 3:27-28; 4:2; 10:3; 16:17-18; 1Co 2:12; 2Co 10:3-6; Gal 1:8-9; 6:14; Eph 2:8-9; Phi 3:18-19; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:2-5; 4:3-4; Heb 10:29; 1Jo 2:22-23; 4:6; 2Jo 9]8

The gospel is not merely the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If it were, then the death, burial, and resurrection of any mere man would have sufficed. What makes the death of Jesus Christ so important is not the fact of it, but what was accomplished by it. The death of Jesus Christ secured the salvation of all for whom it was intended. The Atonement atones. It doesn’t just make sinners saveable, it saves. To say that Jesus poured out his life blood for someone who goes to Hell anyway is intolerable blasphemy of the first order. It insinuates that Jesus Christ is powerless in bringing about what he desires. It shamelessly teaches that Jesus endured the torment which the wicked deserve, only to have God refuse to pass over them, even though the blood of the Lamb (supposedly) covers them. Thus, rather than Limited Atonement, it is really Universal Atonement that makes God unjust; he requires the penalty for sin first from the hand of Jesus Christ, then at the sinner’s hand as well. Wesley saw the blood of Jesus Christ as virtually worthless. It only secured the possibility of any sinner being saved. It only made sinners savable. It certainly did not mean the difference between Heaven and Hell. The vast majority of those for whom it was intended eventually go to Hell. It was poured out for all without exception, and was only made effectual by the will of Man. To put it simply, this is blasphemy. And the state of those who deny the effectual work of Christ in saving all those for whom he died is the same as those who deny that Jesus is God in the flesh: they are lost, unregenerate, and without God. If they die in this horrible state, as Wesley apparently did, then their reward will not be eternity in heaven, but in the torments of Hell, along with all the other unrepentant enemies of God.


1Christian Confession of Faith IV.A.1-2;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiv.htm

2See for example, Sermon 77 (Spiritual Worship), Notes on the Old Testament (Isa 7:14, in loc), and Notes on the New Testament (Joh 1:30, Rom 1:3, 1Ti 3:16, Heb 7:26, in loc)

3Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.1-2;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiv.htm

4See the first two quotes from Wesley, below.

5Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.3;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiv.htm

6Christian Confession of Faith V.C.2;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfv.htm

7Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.2;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiv.htm

8Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.6;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiv.htm

September 13, 2011

John Wesley vs. the Gospel, pt. 4

Posted in John Wesley tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:33 AM by chriswadams

III. Anthropology – The Doctrine of Man

In the preceding section, I described how John Wesley’s theology properly began with the Responsibility of Man as it’s foundational doctrine, rather than the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, or the divine inspiration of the Bible. In this section, I will show how Wesley constructed an unbiblical view of the nature of Man on that unbiblical foundation.

TheChristian Confession of Faith describes the biblical view of the nature of Man in this way:

Adam and Eve sinned by believing the devil’s lie and eating the forbidden fruit. [Gen 3:1-6] In so doing, Adam and Eve fell from their original state of innocence into a state of spiritual death and depravity. The guilt and defilement of Adam’s sin has been imputed to all whom he represented (all his natural posterity). The spiritual state of total depravity into which Adam fell has been transmitted to all whom he represented, and all whom he represented became physically subject to decay and death. [Gen 3:7-8; Gen 3:16-24; Gen 5:3-5; Psa 51:5; Rom 3:10-18; Rom 5:12-14; Rom 5:19; Rom 8:5-8; Eph 2:1-3; Eph 4:17-19]1

Here, the Confession is teaching that the sin of our first parents was legally imputed to all their natural descendants (Rom 5:19), causing all their natural descendants to be born spiritually dead, in sin and rebellion against God (Gen 5:3; Psa 51:5). This is the doctrine of Original Sin, which is the origin of the doctrine of Total Depravity (Rom 8:7).

Here is what the Christian Confession of Faith has to say about the biblical doctrine of Total Depravity:

The truth of total depravity does not mean that all men are as outwardly immoral as they possibly could be. It means that every faculty of the soul of every natural (that is, unregenerate) descendant of Adam is completely polluted with hatred to the true and living God, and all of the natural man’s thoughts, words, and deeds (even his kindness, morality, and religion) are dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. It means that every natural descendent of Adam owes a debt to God’s law and justice that he cannot pay. It means that every natural descendent of Adam is spiritually dead, having no spiritual understanding, a lover of darkness rather than light, a slave of sin, unable and unwilling to obey God and come to Jesus Christ for salvation. This truth is contrary to the damnable poison known as “free will,” which seeks to make the creature independent of the Creator and seeks to make the Potter depend on the clay, according to the devil’s lie, “You shall be as God.” [Gen 3:5; Psa 14:2-3; Pro 12:10; 15:8; Isa 45:20; 64:6; Jer 13:23; 17:9; Mat 7:18; Joh 3:19-20; 6:44-45; Rom 1:20-23; 3:9-12,20; 5:12; 6:16-23; 7:5; 8:5-8; 10:2-3; 1Co 2:14; 2Co 4:3-4; Eph 2:5; 4:18; Col 1:21; 2:13; Heb 9:14; 11:6]2

This section of the Confession sets forth the doctrine of Total Depravity in positive and negative ways – first explaining the true doctrine, then exposing the erroneous doctrine.The true doctrine is that the natural man is “completely polluted with hatred to the true and living God” and “unable and unwilling to obey God and come to Jesus Christ for salvation” (Rom 10:2-3). The natural, unregenerate man is thus so defiled with sin that he hates God from the very moment of conception, and cannot do the first thing to please God by his own efforts (Heb 11:6). But conversely, and just as importantly, the Confession exposes the error that Wesley held in such esteem: “the damnable poison known as “free will,” which seeks to make the creature independent of the Creator” (Joh 6:44; Rom 8:7-8).

We have already seen that Wesley’s theology took God off from the throne of heaven, by removing from him the ultimate choice concerning who will be saved and who will not. Now, we see how Wesley exalted Man to the place which Scripture reserves for God alone.  

These next quotes show how much of Salvation was, according to Wesley, dependent on the sinner’s exercise of his Free Will:

The very cornerstone of Wesley’s theology was the belief that the natural Man possesses a Free Will, capable of fulfilling conditions and sincerely seeking the Will of God. The foundational support for this doctrine of Free Will, was the doctrine that God would never give us a command that we could not follow.

As he has called us to holiness, he is undoubtedly willing as well as able, to work this holiness in us. For he cannot mock his helpless creatures, calling us to receive what he never intends to give. (6:416, Sermon 76 On Perfection)

Men are as free in believing or not believing as if he [God] did not know it at all. Indeed, if man were not free, he could not be held accountable… (6:227, Sermon 58 On Predestination)

Were human liberty taken away, men would be as incapable of virtue as stones. Therefore, (with reverence [sic] be it spoken,) the Almighty himself cannot do this thing. (6:318, Sermon 67 On Divine Providence)

In reality, however, the Responsibility of Man is not based on his supposed Free Will, but on the Sovereignty of God. The preface to the Ten Commandments is not “You really ought to do this …”, nor “These are ten great ideas …” The preface to the Ten Commandments is “I [am] Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, …” (Exo 20:2) Before giving his Law, God establishes his own divine authority to enact such laws. Whether the Israelites had the power to obey was immaterial. The Christian Confession of Faith teaches this doctrine:

Yet all men are responsible to obey the commands of God, because God, as the sovereign King of creation, has the right to command obedience from His creatures, regardless of their ability to obey. [Deu 10:16; Mat 12:13; 28:18; Joh 11:43; Act 17:30-31; Rom 2:12-16; 2Th 1:8]3

The old Arminian motto that “responsibility implies ability” simply isn’t logical. The dry bones of Ezekiel 38 had no ability to obey the command “Dry bones, live!”, yet they had a responsibility to obey. Lazarus had no ability to obey the command “Lazarus, come forth!”, yet he had a responsibility to obey. Their responsibility to obey did not come from their ability to obey (for they had none). Rather it came from the authority of the One giving the command. God has every right to command us to do that which pleases him, even if we have no power to do so. Therefore, when he commands us to believe the Gospel, we have a responsibility to do so. But this by no means implies the ability to obey that command. Notice that both of the above examples included commands that the subjects (Lazarus and the Dry Bones) obviously couldn’t obey. It was simply beyond their ability; yet they both had a responsibility to obey. So it is with the natural man.

Baptismal Regeneration

We have already seen that Wesley had a thoroughly deficient and unbiblical view of the nature of God. It naturally follows that he would have a thoroughly deficient and unbiblical view of the nature of sin, because sin is an act of rebellion against God. Therefore, anything that diminishes the sovereignty and glory of God automatically diminishes the heinousness of sin. And in fact, Wesley had a thoroughly deficient and unbiblical view of the nature of sin, which manifested itself, first, as a belief in the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration:

It is certain our Church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole Office for the Baptism of Infants proceeds on this supposition. (6:74, Sermon 45, The New Birth)

… the benefits we receive by baptism is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is, the washing away the guilt of original sin, by the application of the merits of Christ’s death. …. By baptism, we who were by nature “children of wrath” are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being admitted into the Church, …. By water then, as a means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again; whence it is called by the Apostle, “the washing of regeneration.” …. Herein a principle of grace is infused, which will not be wholly taken away, unless we quench the Holy Spirit of God by long-continued wickedness. (10:192, Treatise On Baptism, Nov. 11, 1756)4

To be sure, Wesley saw the water of baptism only as a “means” by which regeneration occurs. But this doctrine reveals a dangerously deficient view of regeneration. It does not define regeneration as moving from a state of condemnation to a state of justification, because it does not see human nature as being in a state of condemnation. That is, it does not see human nature as wholly depraved and unable to do anything pleasing to God, or even prepare itself to receive the grace of God. Instead, it sees human nature as something that is essentially good, which only needs to be cleaned up a little; the “guilt of original sin” may be washed away as easily as you wash your hands. Consequently, this doctrine reveals a dangerously deficient view of sin: the insidiously evil nature of it, the deceitfulness of it, and the pervasive influence of it upon the entire soul of man. It sees sin as something bad, but not a thing that utterly defiles the whole man, body and soul. This is a direct result of Wesley’s deficient view of the glory of God, addressed in the previous chapter. When you have a god made in your own image, he is finite, and therefore neither infinitely glorious, nor infinitely righteous. Consequently, rebellion against him is not really infinite wickedness, nor could God have legitimately condemned all men to eternal destruction, because it is not infinitely deserved.

Do you think it will cut the knot to say, “… But God might justly have passed by all men?” Are you sure he might? Where is it written? I cannot find it in the word of God. (10:217, Predestination Calmly Considered)

Perfection

But Wesley’s deficient view of sin did not end with Baptismal Regeneration. It also included the doctrine that Wesley is most famous for: the doctrine of Perfectionism. He defined it as, not merely the pursuit, but the actual attaining, of perfect holiness, prior to death.

1. By perfection, I mean the humble, gentle, patient love of God, and our neighbour, ruling our tempers, words, and actions. I do not include an impossibility of falling from it, either in part or in whole. …. And I do not contend for the term sinless, though I do not object against it. 2. As to the manner, I believe this perfection is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently in an instant5. 3. As to the time, I believe this instant generally is the instant of death, the moment before the soul leaves the body6. But I believe it may be ten, twenty, or forty years before. (11:446, Brief Thoughts On Christian Perfection, Jan 27, 1767)

Christian perfection, therefore, does not imply … an exemption either from ignorance, or mistake, or infirmities, or temptations. Indeed, it is only another term for holiness. They are two names for the same thing. (6:5, Sermon 40 Christian Perfection )

We have seen that Wesley had a deficient view, both of the true nature of sin, and also of the defiled nature of Man. We have also seen that Wesley believed Man has a Free Will, with the power to choose to obey God. Here, we see that view taken to its logical conclusion: if Man has the power to choose to obey God, he has the power to choose to obey God every single time he is faced with a moral decision. Theoretically, someone could choose to obey God perfectly for years on end.

Several persons have enjoyed this blessing, without any interruption, for many years. (6:420, Sermon 76 On Perfection)

And, indeed, whence should evil thoughts proceed, in the servant who is as his Master? “Out of the heart of man” (if at all) “proceed evil thoughts.” (Mark vii. 21.) If, therefore, his heart be no longer evil, then evil thoughts can no longer proceed out of it. (6:16, Sermon 40 Christian Perfection, emph. in orig.)

The doctrine of Perfection, then, is a logical implication of Wesley’s deficient view of sin. Consistent with his view that the nature of the unregenerate man is not wholly defiled, Wesley saw the regenerate man as capable of being wholly pure, even in his character and conduct. The sin nature, which could be so easily washed away by the water of baptism, left no trace of its existence once it was gone.

We should by no means misrepresent Wesley’s position. He never claimed that Perfection makes a Christian infallible or omniscient, or that it rendered the Atonement unnecessary. He would never have admitted the possibility that a person could have gone his whole life without sinning. He held that even those who had achieved Perfection still needed the blood of the Savior to cover the sins they committed before becoming Perfected7. Furthermore, Wesley himself never claimed to have experienced this Perfection. But, consistent with his Arminianism, he had to admit the possibility that it could happen, long before death. Once again, he represents sin as something bad, but not as something that utterly defiles the whole man. The doctrine of Perfection is, therefore, really just the logical implication of the doctrine of Free Will.

The Christian Confession of Faith describes the effect of the sin nature remaining within a regenerated Christian:

When God regenerates and converts a sinner, indwelling sin is not totally removed from a believer. A believer continues to sin against God all the days of his life, and he continues to be ashamed of and to repent of his sin. But a believer’s sin in no way forfeits his interest in Jesus Christ nor annuls God’s covenant with him. Scripture rejects the lie that man may be freed from indwelling sin in this life; anyone who says he has no sin is an unbeliever. [1Ki 8:46; Psa 32:5; 37:24; 38:18; 41:4; 69:5; 130:3; Rom 7:14-25; Jam 5:16; 1Jo 1:8-10]8

This section of the Confession also sets forth positive and negative aspects of the doctrine of Total Depravity, first explaining the true doctrine and then exposing the erroneous doctrine.First, it states that “indwelling sin is not totally removed from a believer”, but “A believer continues to sin against God all the days of his life” (1Jo 1:8-10). Then the Confession goes on to teach that “Scripture rejects the lie that man may be freed from indwelling sin in this life” (1Ki 8:46; Psa 130:3), categorically rejecting the Wesleyan view of the nature of Man, and any notion of Perfection along with it.

Wesley’s view of Perfection in Holiness was entirely unbiblical, because it rested on an unbiblical view of Sin, its nature and its consequences. Perfection was really nothing more than a natural and logical consequence of the doctrine of Free Will. Therefore, a denial of the doctrine of Free Will naturally dealt a death blow to Wesley’s whole scheme of Perfection, Baptismal Regeneration, and Man-centered theology. Wesley himself understood this:

Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness? A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation from sin [ie. perfection – CA], putting the matter on quite another issue. (8:337, Minutes of Several Conversations, 1789)

That is, the doctrine of Total Depravity denies the very possibility of Perfection in this life, teaching instead that the natural Man has no Free Will, but rather a Will enslaved to sin. The sin principle in Man, even in a regenerate person, still resists and struggles against the sanctifying work of the Spirit. Little wonder, then, that Wesley so consistently opposed the doctrines of Grace.

Wesley used four main arguments in support of the doctrine of Perfection. First, He appealed to commands to be “perfected” in holiness.

Q. 6. Does the New Testament afford any farther ground for expecting to be saved from all sin? A. Undoubtedly it does, both in those prayers and commands which are equivalent to the strongest assertions . . . Q. 8. What command is there to the same effect? A.(1.) “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. v. 48.) (2.) “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” (Matt. xxii. 37.) But if the love of God fill all the heart, there can be no sin there. Q. 9. But how does it appear that this is to be done before the article of death? A. First. From the very nature of a command, which is not given to the dead, but to the living. Therefore, “Thou shalt love God with all thy heart,” cannot mean, Thou shalt do this when thou diest, but [not] while thou livest. (8:296-7, Minutes Of Some Late Conversations, 1747)

We have already seen that a command to obey by no means implies the ability to obey. When God commands his people to be “perfect” in holiness, it doesn’t imply the ability to do so. It is consistent with the holiness of God to command that his people be perfect in holiness, but that command cannot be fulfilled by them, except in the person of their Substitute.

2nd, Wesley appealed to promises that Christians would be “perfected” in holiness.

Q. 4. Is there any clear scripture promise of this; that God will save us from all sin? A. There is: “He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.” (Psalm cxxx.8.) This is more largely expressed in the prophecy of Ezekiel: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses. (xxxvi. 25,29.) No promise can be more clear. (8:294, Minutes Of Some Late Conversations, 1747)

We have seen that we have a responsibility, but no ability to be perfect in holiness. But these promises seem to teach that God himself would perfect his people by the Holy Spirit before death. Can Christians be brought to perfection by grace? The answer is again no, because of the nature of the work performed by the Holy Spirit. His office is not to glorify his own work, or even himself, but to glorify Christ (Joh 16:14). His work is to magnify the redemptive work of the Son. His work of conforming his people to the image of the Son (Rom 8:29) is secondary. Were the Spirit to perfect his people at any time before death, he would be magnifying and glorifying his own work in them. The satisfaction which Christ paid to God’s law and justice would lose its central emphasis and importance for a Christian, which is the very opposite of magnifying the work of Christ. These promises are not, therefore, given to assure God’s people that they will be saved from their fallen sinful nature, before the time of death. Rather, the promises are given to sustain Christians in hope, until they are brought to that blessed condition.

Furthermore, let it be noted that 1 John 3:9 (“Everyone who has been begotten of God does not sin….”) is speaking of every Christian without exception. This fact is borne out by the last clause of the verse: “… and he is not able to sin because he has been born of God.” If this verse is referring to Perfection in holiness, then it must apply to every Christian without exception, not excluding the “babes in Christ”, nor the Old Testament saints, as Wesley contends (11:374-5). In fact, anyone who was not perfected in holiness would have to be considered lost!

3rd, Wesley re-interpreted Romans chapter 7 so it would apply only to the unregenerate:

What shall we say then – This is a kind of a digression, to the beginning of the next chapter, wherein the apostle, in order to show in the most lively manner the weakness and inefficacy of the law, changes the person and speaks as of himself, concerning the misery of one under the law. This St. Paul frequently does, when he is not speaking of his own person, but only assuming another character, Rom 3:5, 1Co 10:30, 1Co 4:6. (Notes On The New Testament; Romans 7:5 in loc, emph. mine)

St. Paul, having compared together the past and present state of believers, that “in the flesh,” (Romans 7:5), and that “in the spirit,” (Romans 7:6), in answering two objections, … interweaves the whole process of a man reasoning, groaning, striving, and escaping from the legal to the evangelical state. (Notes On The New Testament; Romans 7:14 in loc; emph. mine)

In other words, according to Wesley, Romans 7 is not a description of the daily struggles each and every believer has with the flesh. Rather, it describes the struggle which an unregenerate person has in coming to belief in Christ.

But the text simply will not bear this interpretation. Paul gives absolutely no indication that he has ‘changed characters’, so to speak, as Wesley contends in his note on Romans 7:5, quoted above. Paul does occasionally restate the arguments of his opponents, but he always gives some indication that he is doing it (eg, Rom 3:5 or Rom 9:19-20). Here, there is no such indication. There is absolutely no basis for believing that Paul is expressing the arguments of anyone other than himself. The experience with sin that Paul describes (eg: “I am fleshly, having been sold under sin … what I do not will, this I do … evil is present with me.” etc.) is his own experience, and therefore, it should be viewed as the experience of every Christian.

This fact is reinforced by the last verse of the chapter (v. 25), where Paul speaks of himself as serving the Law of God with his mind, but the law of sin with his flesh. This dichotomy remains true for Paul even after he has found deliverance (in the previous verse, v. 24), from the “body of death” through the work of Jesus Christ.

In fact, the language that Paul uses in Romans 7 can only be used by a regenerate man. Paul says that he “agrees with the Law” (v. 16), “desire[s] the good” (v. 19), and “delights in the Law” (v. 22). While it is true that Pharisees and other legalists claim to find delight in the Law of God, their obedience to the Law is not from delight, but from fear of its threatened punishments. Only the regenerate person can see how the righteous demands and threatened punishments of the Law are fulfilled on his behalf by the work of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:4, Gal 3:13). Therefore, only the regenerate person can truly find delight in the Law of God.

Wesley, of course, disagrees, and writes:

To have spoken this of himself, or any true believer, would have been foreign to the whole scope of his discourse; nay, utterly contrary thereto, as well as to what is expressly asserted, Rom 8:2. (Notes On The New Testament; Romans 7:7 in loc)

But the “scope” of Paul’s discourse in Romans 5-8, is the believer’s relationship with the Law (Rom 5:14, 20; 6:15; 7:1-6) and its power to condemn (Rom 7:11, 14; 8:1-4, 33-34). When he says that Christians are “fleshly”, “sold under sin”, and “captive to sin”, he is not talking about outward immorality (Rom 7:5, 21, 25). He is talking bout how a Christian’s remaining sin causes him to fall far short of the absolute moral perfection which God’s Law requires (Rom 5:20). Even a Christian’s best works are tainted with sin (Rom 7:18, 21; Gal 5:17). The person who sets a Christian free from this “law of sin” is Jesus Christ. The remaining influence of sin on a believer is never completely removed from him in this life (Rom 8:10), but Paul can still rejoice that he has been freed from the absolute dominance which the “sinful passions” had over him before he became a believer (Rom 8:2).

4th, Wesley tried to redefine sin.

… according to that definition of sin (which I apprehend to be the scriptural definition of it,) a voluntary transgression of a known law. “Nay but all the transgressions of the law of God, whether voluntary or involuntary, are sin: For St. John says, ‘All sin is a transgression of the law.’” True, but he does not say, All transgression of the law is sin. This I deny: Let him prove it that can. (6:417, Sermon 76 On Perfection, emph. in orig.)

Wesley is trying to show that transgression of a law is sin only when that law is known. Therefore, it would not be sin to violate a law you know nothing about, and consequently, one could legitimately claim to be Perfected from Sin, because no known law was being violated. But that it is possible to sin in ignorance is shown in the following passages:

Lev 4: (2) Speak to the sons of Israel saying, When a person sins against any of the commands of Jehovah through ignorance, which [is] not to be done, ….

Acts 3: (17) And now, brothers, I know that you acted according to ignorance, as also [did] your rulers.

1 Tim 1: (13) the [one] who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did [it] in unbelief.

Heb 9: (7) But into the second [tabernacle – CA] the high priest [goes] alone once [in] the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and the ignorances of the people;

When it comes to sinning against the Law of God, ignorance is no excuse. It is indeed true that “All transgression of the law is sin”, the statement which Wesley above denied and challenged anyone to prove.

Does Love Fulfill the Law?

This brings us back to Wesley’s original definition of perfection: “the humble, gentle, patient love of God, and our neighbour”. Notice the great emphasis Wesley places on “love”:

What is then the perfection of which man is capable while he dwells in a corruptible body? It is the complying with that kind command, “My son, give me thy heart.” It is the “loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind.” This is the sum of Christian perfection: It is all comprised in that one word, Love. (6:413, Sermon 76 On Perfection)

Two points need to be made about the so-called “Summary of the Law” that Jesus formulated in Matthew 22:37-40. The first point is that, while Jesus does indeed summarize the demands of God’s Law as “loving God and one’s neighbor”, he never implies that “love” will be accepted as a substitute for obedience to God’s Law. God’s absolute holiness demands that he require perfect obedience from his creatures; even disobedient thoughts require eternal punishment at God’s hands. This means that God can never accept warm, fuzzy feelings as anything approaching a substitute for obedience to his Law. Only perfect obedience to his Law is acceptable.

The second point that needs to be made about the so-called “Summary of the Law”, is that human beings are so polluted by the presence of a sin principle in their hearts, that they can never perfectly obey even a summary of the Law! A Christian’s love for “God and one’s neighbor” is always polluted with at least some of the love of self. Even if God were to accept love as a substitute for obedience to his Law, a Christian’s love still wouldn’t measure up to the perfection which God’s holiness requires.

In summarizing the Law, therefore, Jesus was neither lowering the standards of the Law, nor teaching that Man could meet the standards of the Law. In fact, quite the opposite; he was showing how impossible it is to perfectly obey the Law of God even in summary form. This is exactly what the Christian Confession of Faith teaches about the Law of God:

The function of God’s law is to show forth God’s perfect standard of righteousness that His people may … Learn their natural inability to meet that standard, [Deu 9:4-6; Psa 130:3; Isa 64:6; Dan 9:5-11; Rom 3:19-20; 5:13, 20; 7:7-13; Gal 3:10-12; 4:24-25; Jam 2:10-11]

The “Select Regiment”

In an interesting twist, one of the most eloquent refutations of Perfectionism actually comes from John Wesley himself. It seems that at one point, he gathered together a number of Methodists who had achieved “Perfection”, with the intention of having them all live in one house. The report given by Augustus Toplady is very telling:

You formed a scheme of collecting as many perfect ones as you could, to live together under one roof. A number of these flowers were accordingly transplanted from some of your nursery-beds to the hot-house. And a hot-house it soon proved. For would we believe it? the sinless people quarelled in a short time at so violent a rate that you found yourself forced to disband the select regiment.9

Now it could be argued that just because someone, or even a large group of people, claimed to be Perfected, it doesn’t automatically follow that they really are Perfected. But this was a group which was selected by John Wesley himself, professing to be his followers, in which he seemed to have great confidence that their confession was genuine. There seems to be no reference to this event anywhere in his collected works, so it is difficult to ascertain Wesley’s reaction. But, why no mention of it? Why no comment on it? Why no response to it at all? The silence is deafening.

How Sinful is Sin?

We have seen that, notwithstanding the lip-service he paid to the doctrine of Original Sin, Wesley had only a superficial view of the sin nature. Despite believing that the nature of Man is corrupted by sin, Wesley did not see that corruption as being nearly as pervasive as Scripture teaches. Again, sin is a bad thing, but it doesn’t corrupt the whole man, body and soul. This in itself tells us that Wesley was an unregenerate man. The ministry of the Holy Spirit involves “convicting the world of sin”; it should be obvious that Wesley was utterly lacking in such a conviction. While he verbally agreed to the idea that Man is sinful, the Bible describes a very different kind of Sin than the kind Wesley believed.

In a very telling passage from a document entitled Minutes Of Several Conversations, written merely two years before Wesley’s death, we see an interesting precursor to the Freudian doctrine of Self-Esteem:

The grand objection to one of the proceeding propositions [regarding perfection – CA] is drawn from matter of fact. God does in fact justify those who, by their own confession, neither “feared God” nor “wrought righteousness.” Is this an exception to the general rule?

It is a doubt whether God makes any exception at all. But how are we sure that the person in question never did fear God and work righteousness? His own thinking so is no proof. For we know how all that are convinced of sin under-value themselves in every respect. (8:338, Minutes Of Several Conversations, 1789)

Small wonder, then, that Freudian psychology has become so incredibly popular with modern Churchianity; yes, even Calvinistic Churchianity. Essentially, they have adopted the same deficient view of sin as Wesley.

1Christian Confession of Faith III.B.1-2;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiii.htm

2Christian Confession of Faith III.B.3;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiii.htm

3Christian Confession of Faith III.B.4;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfiii.htm

4This article was copied from a tract by his father; see Preface, Vol 1, p. xi The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI; 1996)

5The idea of Perfection being accomplished in an instant is what eventually led Pentecostals, and later Charismatics, to the teaching of the “Second Blessing”, or “Baptism of Fire”.

6Note that Wesley believed that the moment of perfection was generally the moment before death. His theology simply could not allow him to see death as putting off a body polluted with sin. As has been said, his view of sin was deficient: it was a bad thing, but did not wholly defile a man.

7However, he did admit the possibility that someone could be born sinless: “Q. But if two perfect Christians had children, how could they be born in sin, since there was none in the parents? A. It is a possible, but not a probable, case;” (11:400, Plain Account Of Christian Perfection) But this startling admission involves Wesley in a sticky problem; someone born without sin would never need the blood of Christ to be qualified for fellowship with God; his own perfect character and conduct would be sufficient to merit God’s favor towards him.Thus the salvation of God’s people could be accomplished without the blood of Christ.

8Christian Confession of Faith V.C.5;http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfv.htm

9A Letter To The Rev. Mr. John Wesley &c (The Complete Works Of Augustus Toplady, Sprinkle Publ., 1987 [1794]) p. 725 ( http://grace-for-today.com/357.htm , 9/20/03)

February 22, 2011

Alex Aquino vs. the Gospel, pt. 1

Posted in Alex Aquino tagged , , , , , , , at 11:20 AM by chriswadams

A few months ago, I came across a website of a group in the Philippines called “Bastion of Truth Reformed Church”. I sent the following mass e-mail to the group, and what follows is my debate with one of their members, Alex Aquino:

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To Whom It May Concern:

I recently came upon the BTRC website, and I found it very interesting. I am curious to know what anyone associated with the BTRC thinks of the following website:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/gospatone.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfindex.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/rpg.htm

Also note that we have had past associations with John Pedersen, Ron Hanko, Moreno Dal Bello, and others promoted on your site. We have also promoted John Calvin, Arthur Pink, and many other historical figures who are also promoted on the BTRC website, but have since learned more about their views — to the point that we cannot promote them any more, because they did not believe the Gospel.

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/noprcsgceagc.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/nohoeksema.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/nopink.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/norefcal.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/efl214.htm
http://www.outsidethecamp.org/efl134.htm

There are many more articles addressing these issues on the website (www.outsidethecamp.org), but if any of you would be interested in discussing these things, I would be willing to correspond.

Chris Adams
christopher.w.adams@gmail.com

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Sir:

I am a member of the BTRC. It is strange for me that someone could search the BTRC website that easy since our site does not appear on the earlier entries of search engines like Google. A meeting related to our churches took place recently wherein your site was mentioned in passing and so I wonder if someone had recently informed you of our existence and our website. Could you please inform us who that person might be?

With due respect sir I personally decline to discuss these things with you. Thank you for your concern.

Cordially,
Alex Aquino

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Mr. Aquino

Actually, I came upon your website while using Google. I was searching for “Tagalog Psalter”. After I found the BTRC site, I started poking around, and found the other articles.

But now I’m curious about what was said about the OTC site! What have people been saying about us? And if it was something negative (which wouldn’t surprise me at all) did you find that what you heard was true?

It’s disappointing that you don’t want to discuss these things. Your website promotes John Pedersen, Moreno Dal Bello, and others, yet you are not even interested that they might be promoting heresy? That’s disturbing, to say the least.

Chris Adams.

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Mr. Adams,

I’m sure you were very much excited to have “accidentally” found another prey for your illustrious ministry after doing that search.

Interestingly, the materials and authors we post on our website (whom your illustrious ministry excitedly condemns) have contributed much to make us less and less popular. More interestingly, because of our stance reflected in those authors’ writings we are even often associated and identified with OTC! Of course, that isn’t fair with OTC, is it Mr. Adams? Most interesting though is that now OTC itself adds to the crowd disturbed and displeased by us!

We post those materials in our website because we believe the messages by themselves are true and that they express what we wish to convey. Add to that our inability (being average Filipinos) to articulate on our own our Gospel convictions in English. If those persons did believe a false gospel their own writings shall testify against them.

Suppose we adopt and promote OTC’s stance, can we be truly assured? I mean, who can tell if OTC itself will in the future promote heresy (I believe it already does)? If that happens all that OTC wrote and stood for are the Lie.

Talking about heresy, I personally think that OTC promotes the heresy of a “mutable” idol-god in its denial of eternal justification. If I understand you correctly, you believe that god loved his elect in eternity, then he changed his attitude on them, from that of love to that of wrath, when they are born in time (using Ephesians 2:4 detached from verses 5 and 6), and mutates again from being a wrathful god to being a loving god from the moment the supposed elect believe. This is obviously not the Immutable God of the Bible (Malachi 3:6). It is an accursed idol.

Pardon me if I cannot express myself in fluent English. It’s not that I am not interested to discuss these things at all. It’s that I do not want to discuss these things with OTC. I resolve not to continue this correspondence (perhaps when extended may be potential to add to your OTC web posts, right Mr. Adams? Nah, this won’t be worth that). Sorry to disappoint you… again.

Farewell, Mr. Adams.
Alex Aquino

PS Just curious: we’ve known OTC for passionately disendorsing historical church figures. Do you have anyone at all (from the past or present) beside yourselves you positively endorse? You may treat the question as a rhetorical one. I would understand.

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To Be Continued …

Christopher Adams.

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