March 27, 2011

Alex Aquino vs. the Gospel, pt. 4

Posted in Alex Aquino tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:28 PM 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 a mass e-mail to the group, and what follows is the next round of my debate with one of their members, Alex Aquino (Mr. Aquino’s comments are in blue ):

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Mr. Aquino:

You wrote: <<AA: You add nothing to faith when salvation is by “grace alone” (Sola Gratia). It is grace alone when justification is eternal and is therefore already there prior to the bestowal of faith; when it is given even before eternal times: “the One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace GIVEN to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times” (2 Timothy 1:9). So justification is not only purposed for the elect but also already given when it was purposed in eternity. You might object of course that the apostle says “grace” not justification. If you do that I would assume that you believe that there is a “grace” of God apart from the righteousness (justification) of Christ.>>

Grace was given to the elect before time began in the eternal counsel of God – as was predestination, calling, justification, and even glorification (Rom 8:29-30). These blessings were not actually bestowed on the elect until AFTER time began – and some of the elect STILL have not received all of those blessings. But in God’s eternal purposes, they are as sure and certain to happen as the crucifixion.

You wrote:<<Acts 20:28; Romans 5:10; Galatians 3:13:Why? Why? Why? I have answered that question in my last mail. We are “by nature” children of wrath, under the curse of the law, dead, enemies of God, without God in this world, etc. etc.>>

How can the elect be “under the curse of the law”, and yet ALSO justified? Either they are cursed or justified, it can’t be both (Luk 16:13, 2Co 6:15).

More to the point, does the work of Christ in justifying his people DEMAND God’s favor and fellowship towards them? If yes, then why are the elect (supposedly justified before the foundation of the world) “enemies of God”? If no, then what exactly DOES the work of Christ accomplish?

You wrote:<<As a believer in the Biblical doctrine of eternal justification I wholly agree that God maintains His immutability in eternally loving His Son in His natural “condition” as the perfect eternal Son. I agree that God maintains His immutability in His holiness and justice by judging sin through His Son Who in his “legal status” (not in His natural condition)—One without sin made sin—suffered the wrath of God based on the imputed sins of His elect. I don’t see why this should oppose the truth of the eternal righteousness of Christ for His elect (even in their unregenerate condition). The elect (regenerate or unregenerate) are in their sinful nature—that is in their sinful “condition”—hateful to God. Yet because they are eternally “in Christ” (that is, in “the sphere” of Christ and all His benefits) the elect are by “legal status” eternally and always loved by God. He did not change in His love for His Eternal Son who was without sin made sin to justify all His elect, so that He will not change His love for those elect. God indeed does not change whether it concerns His Son or His own elect.>>

So “The elect (regenerate or unregenerate) are in their sinful nature … hateful to God.” eh?

Then how can the elect be “hateful to God”, and yet ALSO justified? Either they are cursed or justified, it can’t be both (Luk 16:13, 2Co 6:15).

More to the point, does the work of Christ in justifying his people DEMAND God’s favor and fellowship towards them? If yes, then why are the elect (supposedly justified before the foundation of the world) “enemies of God”? If no, then what exactly DOES the work of Christ accomplish?

I wrote: <<So, according to you, when the elect were unregenerate, and believed blasphemous things about God, were enemies with God, hated Christ and his righteousness, and were blasphemously going about to establish a righteousness of their own, they were completely justified, righteous and holy in God’s sight, and under God’s blessing rather than his curse? That says it all. >>

And you responded: <<AA: True. Otherwise, God, in His wrath should purposely and perpetually blind them to the Gospel; draw them away from its sound preaching; cause His Providenceto keep them away from His love. Again the blessing and the curse are “by nature” only. Your Ephesians 2:1-3 is very helpful here. You should know better.>>

God CANNOT bless those who are in rebellion against him (Exo 20:5, Hab 1:13, Rom 2:8-9). This shows that you have NO understanding of what the atonement accomplished.

You wrote:<<I see no problem with your complaint. The eternally justified need to be called to faith and repentance and also need to be given faith and repentance. It is unworthy of God to allow His eternally justified elect to remain in their impenitence and unbelief. The righteous Judge will not pronounce an inmate “not guilty” and then leave him to rot in prison forever.>>

A TRULY righteous judge will not pronounce an inmate “not guilty” and leave him to rot in prison FOR EVEN A SINGLE SECOND. Yet you would have God leaving his justified people to rot in prison for YEARS and DECADES prior to their “conversion”.

You wrote:<<The Bible speaks of two aspects of sonship: (1) God adopted His elect from His eternal counsel: “predestinating us to adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace in which He favored us in the One having been loved” (Eph. 1:5, 6). Now, if you object that this is a mere eternal counsel to be fulfilled only in time future, so that the elect become adopted sons only at conversion you must admit also that God did not love His elect in His eternal counsel, but only when they are converted. >>

This is a total non-sequitur. Saying that the elect become adopted sons only at conversion in no way implies that God did not begin to love them until they were converted.

You wrote: <<Another verse, if you will: “because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). (2) Your verses are magnificent! They tell us that the elect actually experience through regeneration (by faith) their eternally decreed adoption based on Christ’s imputed righteousness through the cross. Eternal justification is a loyal friend to those verses of yours.>>

Interesting! So why can’t you see from THE VERY SAME VERSE that, in time, the elect actually experience their eternally decreed JUSTIFICATION based on Christ’s imputed righteousness through the cross? Eternal justification is an insidious ENEMY of this verse.

You wrote: <<Let’s put this simply. Your doctrine is “NO FAITH: NO JUSTIFICATION (no instrument: no product, or so) and NO JUSTIFICATION: NO FAITH (no cause: no resulting instrument). Your position cannot hold both for they are an absurdity, if not a contradiction. Only eternal justification can honestly and consistently hold both. Not even talking time element here, just logic. There is justification (eternal) prior to resulting faith which “experientially” unites the regenerate elect to Christ and is the instrument so that that precious eternal justification grounded on His cross is put in the consciousness of the regenerate elect.>>

It absolutely IS possible to hold those positions that seem contradictory to you, and here is how: there is NO CONDITION FOR FAITH, the very opposite of what you slanderously accuse us of holding to.

You wrote: <<I know you would mention that. Yet I’m not as indolent as you may think to fail to make my position square with those wonderful clauses in Rom. 8:1. Your exegesis then would twist the inspired text and take it to mean, “No condemnation… WHEN they do not walk according to flesh…” They do not tell us WHEN the elect are never condemned but WHO MANIFEST themselves to be those never condemned on the ground of their being “in (the sphere of) Christ.” Those who walk according to the flesh (whether elect or reprobate) don’t manifest themselves as never ever condemned.>>

Your exegesis hasn’t gotten any better. “They do not tell us WHEN the elect are never condemned…” ?? Then what is the word “now” doing in the text? As in “There is therefore NOW no condemnation …” If the elect were really “never” condemned, how is it even possible to describe “WHEN” they were “never” condemned?

You wrote: <<And don’t you see the connection? “Elected us IN HIM (in [the sphere of] Christ)…” (v. 4) and “IN WHOM (in [the sphere of] Christ) we have redemption…” (v. 7). Do you therefore at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly confess an election or grace or love of God apart from the sphere of the righteousness (justification) of Christ? This is Heresy!>>

The elect are not regenerated by being in the sphere of Christ, but by the blood of Christ. That is the connection here. And, not coincidentally, that is the reason the blood is actually mentioned in Eph 1:7. So your accusation of heresy falls apart, again.

I wrote: <<Romans 8:30 says “But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; but whom He justified, these He also glorified. ” In what way does God call his people? Why does the calling come BETWEEN predestination and justification? And when does God glorify his people? It is true that God’s predetermined plan is so certain to come true that he speaks as if the calling, justifying, and glorifying have already happened. But does that mean that ALL of God’s people are therefore called, justified, and glorified? Of course not.>>

You wrote: <<Why do you trouble yourself too much with these verses for my sake? I have no problem with them. They teach justification (together with calling and glorification) in the aspect of the elect’s experience in time. Remember that I believe in temporal justification also but not in temporal justification exclusively (OTC’s / SRA’s heresy).>>

So why does the verse (in your view) go from discussing God’s work before time began right to the experience of the elect in time? That doesn’t make the least amount of sense. And why does the verse present ALL of these events (predestinating, calling, justifying, glorifying) as occurring in the PAST (predestinated, called, justified, glorified)? The whole verse is talking about God’s work in eternity PAST, and presenting each event (including glorification) as being so sure and certain to happen that God can talk about them as if they had already happened.

You had not mentioned temporal justification before. But so what? The “justification” you see happening in time is only the elect being given an understanding of how they were justified from eternity. It didn’t change their standing before God in any way. So even though you CALL it justification, it is really nothing but an illusion.

I’ll give you this though: you really are a slippery character. If I show you a verse that demonstrates justification happening in time, you can say that you agree, because you also believe in temporal justification. Very convenient. But since your version of “temporal justification” is no justification at all, rest assured that any time I present you with a verse that demonstrates temporal justification, it smashes eternal justification to bits.

I wrote: <<When someone is legally holy and righteous, God’s holiness and righteousness DEMANDS his favor and fellowship toward them (Psa 32:2, Isa 53:11, Rom 3:22, 5:9 & 18). Yet you believe that God’s (unregenerate) elect are LEGALLY righteous, but NATURALLY unrighteous. Therefore, according to this scheme, there are people out there who are unregenerate, walking according to the flesh, believing blasphemous things about God, yet enjoying favor and fellowship with God. Talk about only seeing what you want to in Scripture. >>

You wrote: <<Of course they don’t enjoy a favor and fellowship with God. They are children of wrath “by nature” (remember the key phrase). Being unregenerate, they hate God and they sense the just hatred of God against them. They need to be regenerated in order to actually experience and enjoy those blessings. But that doesn’t mean they are actually hated by God.>>

The work of Christ in justifying his people DEMANDS God’s favor and fellowship towards them. God CANNOT justify his people and then leave them to walk in their sinful nature (Psa 32:2, Isa 42:8 & 53:11, Rom 4:6-8 & 5:11).

You wrote: <<Exactly Mr. Carpenter’s accusation against me: “That I do not believe that I was never a worker of iniquity. How proud of me.” Oh I am a worker of iniquity by nature and I shudder at the thought of it! You are presently and personally a worker of iniquity yourself and you claim that the only reason that God cannot hate you is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The eternal righteousness of Christ is also my reason why God will not legally hate His unregenerate elect, much more when they are regenerated. So what’s the problem?>>

If you are “a worker of iniquity” then does God hate you? This is precisely the reason I quoted Psa 5:5: “The boasters shall not set themselves before Your eyes. You hate all workers of iniquity.” You can’t have it both ways. Either you are a worker of iniquity AND God hates you, or you are NOT a worker of iniquity and God doesn’t hate you.

As for me, I WAS a worker of iniquity, and God hated me. Then he caused me to believe the Gospel, and now he does NOT hate me, because I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Christ’s work on my behalf DEMANDED that I receive all the blessings of God’s favor and fellowship towards me, including my regeneration, faith, and belief of the Gospel.

God says he hates ALL workers of iniquity. You say there are some workers of iniquity he doesn’t hate. You are fighting against God and calling him a liar – THAT is the problem.

You wrote: <<You’re beginning to reveal yourself as a snake winding with your subtle words in order to slip away from your own embarrassment. Eternal justification is not an issue whether God shows favor or fellowship to His elect in their unregenerate condition but whether God actually LOVES them in that condition. It is quite clear that OTC’s position is that God HATES the unregenerate elect. Ephesians 2:4 and 5 says God LOVES (with a great one) His elect even they being dead in deviations. Your heresy is mounting up Mr. Adams. You are now saying that there is a love of God for His elect APART from the righteousness (justification) of Christ. You are in effect saying God can choose and love His elect apart from Christ (contrary to Eph. 1:4). On what ground then does He love them? Their inherent worth? That’s contrary to the Gospel of absolute Grace!>>

JUSTIFICATION certainly IS an issue in regard to God’s favor and fellowship – in fact it is the only issue. (1) God CANNOT show favor and fellowship where there is no justification (Exo 20:5, Hab 1:13, Rom 2:8-9). (2) God MUST show favor and fellowship where there is justification (Psa 32:2, Isa 53:11, Rom 3:22, 5:9 & 18). If either (1) or (2) were not true, God would not be just, and therefore unfit to be God.

But God CAN set his love on his elect people, even before they are justified, purely of his own good pleasure. When God imputed the sins of his people to Jesus Christ, he LOVED Christ, but did NOT show favor and fellowship towards him, because Christ was legally charged with those sins.

You wrote: <<Come on, be honest, Mr. Adams. You devoid the Word of God of its power and relevance. The verse taken from its historical context answers why Isreal (Jacob) did not perish when a paranoid king bent on destroying the nation hired a false prophet to hurl curses upon them. There is a mixture of regenerate and unregenerate (elect and reprobate [I don’t mean that God loves the reprobate]; infants and adults) in that nation who are rebels, idolaters and murmerers. If God would treat only the regenerate as justified, all the unregenerate then and there would have perished through the curses. But there was no reason (in the eyes of Yahweh) why the curses should actually destroy the people. No one can curse whom Yahweh has blessed. He sees no iniquity (in the regenerate and unregenerate elect) in Jacob.>>

Now who is being dishonest? On what basis do you say that God blessed the rebels, idolaters, and murmurers? There is not a shred of evidence for that anywhere in this prophecy (or anywhere else in Scripture, for that matter – Pro 25:21-22, Mat 13:10-15, Joh 15:22)!

When God speaks of blessing “Israel”, he is NOT blessing physical Israel, but SPIRITUAL Israel (Rom 2:28-29 & 9:6)!

You wrote: <<That’s obvious historically. But here’s a case of wasted ink and wasted inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So what’s the author’s point in saying that the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” instead of “the Lamb appointed to be slain (crucified) in the appointed time? You not only rob Scripture of its power but you also rob the elect of their assurance whose names were written in the Book of Life of that Lamb who secured their life (in time oppressed by the God’s enemies) by the fact that He was already slain from the foundation of the world for them. The Lamb slain from eternity just proves that there is justification from before the foundation of the world for God’s elect and even for them as saints in the Old Testament prior to the historical event of the cross.>>

The author’s point is to express the sure and certain promise of God to his people, to save them by the blood of the Lamb; that that salvation was planned by God from eternity past, and was so certain of being executed that their names were already recorded in heaven, even though they themselves had not yet been glorified. Thus the apostle grants them the full assurance you think I am trying to take away.

As for the OT saints, well let’s look at one of them, shall we?

Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

When does it say that Abraham was counted righteous? Before time began? Nope. When he was granted faith.

You wrote: <<There’s OTC’s raw nerve: speaking peace. The REAL heart of the matter is whether you are qualified at all to police Christian orthodoxy. You just have revealed your own heresy, remember.>>

Really? Well then, let’s look into this, what you call the “REAL heart of the matter”: Am I qualified to police Christian orthodoxy?

1 Jo 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.

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

1 Co 11:19 For there must also be heresies among you, so that the approved ones may become revealed among you.

Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel out of Heaven, should announce a gospel to you beside what we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Wow, it looks like I AM qualified to police Christian orthodoxy!! How about that! Who would have guessed? (Answer: anyone who reads the Bible.)

With that out of the way, I would like to ask what gives YOU the right to complain about us “policing Christian orthodoxy”? Earlier, you said that my soul was in “grave danger” because I denied eternal justification. That sounds like “policing Christian orthodoxy” to me. Not coincidentally, it also sounds like utter hypocrisy.

I also notice that you have completely FAILED to provide so much as a shred of evidence for your accusation that we at OTC damn men.

You wrote “I see that you hold to temporal justification and reject the Biblical truth of eternal justification not much because of the truth itself but because you are too anxious for its consequences which you can capitalize upon to justify your unbridled and relentless damning of men you suspect in the slightest hint of tolerating a tolerant who tolerates a tolerant who tolerates… and so on.

Part of my response was: <<And here is something else you won’t find any proof for: that we damn anyone to Hell (let alone that we do it in a “relentless and unbridled” way). We do NOT judge anyone to be reprobate. If someone confesses a false gospel, I do not judge that person to be predestined for Hell. But I DO judge that person to be UNREGENERATE. And if that person CONTINUES in that unregenerate state until they die, then they will go to Hell. But I do not know if God will grant him or her repentance later in life. >>

If you can’t bring forth any proof for your accusation, then either repent of violating the ninth commandment, or at least admit that you are continuing to do it intentionally.

You wrote: <<The more you become apologetic here, the more and clearer you reveal your slanderous spirit. You slandered Mr. Pedersen based merely on his refusal to answer you. You made his silence say a thousand words. In this context the obviousness of the desired answer makes the question stupid. It’s like asking “Do you eat food?” or “Do you breathe air?” or “Do you think thoughts?” It’s just plain stupid. I’m no defender of Mr. Pedersen at this juncture but I think your rash judgment revealed that he whom you judge an unregenerate proved to be wiser than the one who claims to be regenerate: Proverbs 26:4, “Answer not a fool according to his foolishness, lest you become like him, even you.” I think you should put some sort of a clarification on OTC’s homepage (not hidden in other pages) that by “LOST” you don’t always mean reprobate but unregenerate. If you don’t do this, the more I will be convinced that OTC and Sovereign Redeemer Assembly is a synagogue and pit swarming with slanderous snakes under the sway of that Ancient Serpent and Archslanderer.>>

I’m not the least bit apologetic about what I said about Pedersen. And I didn’t slander him, because I told the truth about him: he refused to answer a question that even you called stupid. Well, if it really is so stupid, then why couldn’t he just answer it?

You don’t seem to grasp the whole nature of “slander”. “Slander” is when someone deliberately tells a lie about someone else. So, for example, when I told the TRUTH about Pedersen, it wasn’t slander; but when you accuse us of “relentlessly damning” people, that is a LIE. And when you see that it is a lie, and you intend to keep spreading it, that is SLANDER. See the difference?

So while I admit you have more familiarity than I do with being “under the sway of that Ancient Serpent”, accusing us of being under the sway of the “Arch slanderer” is pure hypocrisy.

You wrote: <<AA: Come on, come on… You are clutching at thin straws Mr. Adams. The point is NOT whether we now know that Christ LOVED that unregenerate man or that He sent the man away not showing favor and fellowship to him. The issue is whether Christ obeyed or disobeyed His Father Who (as you represent Him) actually shows WRATH to that unregenerate man. So you really admit that Jesus Christ LOVED the person to whom His Father shows WRATH? Your proud article says…

So there is a time in each elect person’s life that he is loved by God as considered in the eternal decree of God and temporally under God’s wrath before the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him… God shows wrath toward His elect people in time before they have the imputed righteousness of Christ, and He shows love when the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them.”>>

OF COURSE Christ obeyed the father; he did it BY sending the rich young man away. God was showing wrath to the rich young man THROUGH the preaching of Christ:

Joh 15:22 If I had not come and had not spoken to them, they had no sin. But now they do not have excuse as to their sin.

You wrote: <<AA: I guess I have said enough to point your absurdity and contradictions. Premise 1 and the whole syllogism are just sound and true. You just don’t have an eye for the Truth.

What do you make of these syllogisms?

 

Syllogism # 1:

 

Premise 1: God HATES the elect in time prior to imputed righteousness

Premise 2: Christ LOVED an elect prior to imputed righteousness

Conclusion: God and Christ contradicted each other>>

OK. Premise #1 is true:

The boasters shall not set themselves before Your eyes. You hate all workers of iniquity. (Psa 5:5)

Unless you are willing to say that the elect prior to regeneration were NOT workers of iniquity, premise #1 is TRUE: God HATES the elect prior to regeneration. His hatred for them is a result of the fact that they are “workers of iniquity”. It is based on their present condition.

Premise #2 is true, but Christ’s love for the man is a result of the fact that that man was one of the elect. It was based on the rich man’s eternal predestination, not his present justification. That is precisely why Christ did not show any favor or fellowship towards the man. So premise 1 is true in a different sense than premise 2. It’s like saying that (1) a Christian is sinful, and deserving of Hell, and (2) a Christian is righteous and deserving of Heaven. Both statements are true, but in different senses. This makes the syllogism false, because in order for a syllogism to be true, both premises must be true in the same sense.

You wrote: <<Syllogism # 2:

 

Premise 1: Christ is qualified to be a saviour if He is a perfectly obedient Son

Premise 2: Christ disobeyed His Father by loving a person whom His Father hates.

Conclusion: Christ is not qualified to be a savior>>

Since your first premise is drawn from the faulty conclusion of your first syllogism, the second syllogism is also faulty.

You wrote: <<Syllogism # 3:

 

Premise 1: Anyone who believes a Christ who cannot save because he contradicts his Father is not saved.

Premise 2: OTC and Sovereign Redeemer Assembly believes a Christ who cannot save because he contradicts his Father.

Conclusion 1: OTC and SRA are not saved.

Conclusion 2: OTC and SRA are hypocrites in damning anyone whom they judge heretics>>

Since Premise 2 is drawn from the faulty conclusion of your first syllogism, both conclusions are faulty.

You wrote: <<I respond by quoting your own words: “We do NOT judge anyone to be reprobate. If someone confesses a false gospel, I do not judge that person to be predestined for Hell. But I DO judge that person to be UNREGENERATE. And if that person CONTINUES in that unregenerate state until they die, then they will go to Hell. But I do not know if God will grant him or her repentance later in life.” Then I add to that: If God does not grant you repentance even to your death, then I judge you not ETERNALLY JUSTIFIED.>>

OK, good. So now you can see why I insisted on that distinction. It wasn’t just me squirming out of the crushing grip of your logic, was it? There is an important distinction between someone who is PRESENTLY unregenerate and someone who is predestined for Hell.

You wrote: <<Just because Satan quotes Scripture doesn’t mean that what he said is truth. In the same way, just because a person like you who holds to a fundamental gospel heresy quotes Scripture and calls upon people to repent doesn’t mean he says the truth and that he is truly sent from God.>>

True. The actual standard to judge an argument is whether it conforms to the whole of Scripture. Notice that when Satan did quote Scripture, he only used a verse that was isolated and out of context (Mat 4:6).

Funny how you can come to this conclusion about me, but won’t even consider it when it comes to Pedersen, Calvin, etc.

By the way, thanks for admitting that my arguments are based on Scripture!

<<You reveal your ignorance, rashness and pride in your fallacious and impoverished view of the Protestant Reformation. Your fallacy consists in taking the meaning of the word Reformation (as a movement; a mighty and legitimate work of God) from a definition taken from a Webster’s or Oxfords dictionary (“improve by change”; “modify”). What you are doing is like saying that just because a “pineapple” consists of the words “pine” and “apple” you conclude that a pineapple is actually an apple of a nature of that of a pine, or an apple produced from pine trees, and so on. The Reformation is a “coming out” of the false church. In coming out it seeks to return (“reform” = return to the original form) to the Old Paths—to the apostolic teachings.>>

The Reformers SAID they were coming out of the false church, but when you break down their arguments, the GOSPEL they were peddling was essentially the same: Jesus did as much for Judas as he did for Peter, Jesus died sufficiently for all but efficiently for the elect, etc. So they really DIDN’T come out from the whore church.

<<Now OTC and the Sovereign Redeemer Assembly seem to convey an impression that it does not come out at all from a false church. But it actually RESURRECTS a DEAD church. I ask you, where, or rather WHO was the true Church in the whole of history before OTC and SRA came to be? and who judges men in the manner that OTC does? That’s why I asked you whether you have someone you endorse in the past. You only gave a few links by persons who are as proud as you are. If you claim to be the only true church besides that of the apostolic times then you contradict Christ’s Words: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against her: (Matthew 16:18). You’re saying that there was no true Church (what you call Assembly) nearly 2,000 years prior to OTC since apostasy, heresy, death, persecution, etc., “prevailed against” it. Another heresy!>>

Those who were preaching the true Gospel would NEVER have been as popular as the well-known Reformers. Very few people would have wanted to buy their works, so their sermons probably never got printed. They would have been especially unpopular if they dared to condemn compromisers like John Calvin. People might even have accused them of being “under the sway of that Ancient Serpent and Archslanderer.”

<<These are your heresies so far:

1. Theology: God changes

2. Christology: Christ is not perfect (because of His disobedience)

3. Soteriology: (a) You teach a love, election, grace apart from the righteousness of Christ; (b) You believe you are saved by a disobedient Christ (inferred by your own proud doctrine)

4. Bibliology: You make Scripture a vile book of contradictions and therefore not infallible and not trustworthy

5. Ecclesiology: The Church through the ages after the apostles was actually extinguished contrary to the declaration of Christ in Matthew 16:18.

Repent Mr. Adams and believe the Gospel that truly gives God all the glory.

 

Alex>>

Hmm, that sounds suspiciously like “policing Christian orhtodoxy” to me. But of course you would never do that, would you?

Anyway,

  1. God never changes. In his UNCHANGEABLE hatred of sin, he must show wrath towards all who are unrighteous, and grace towards all who are righteous. Your god, however, would UNRIGHTEOUSLY keep justified people in the prison of unregeneracy for years.
  2. I have proven that Christ is not disobedient to the Father. But your christ shed his blood for NOTHING, since his blood utterly FAILS to secure the father’s blessings toward ALL his justified people.
  3. The elect were elected as Christ’s people, but they are not justified until Christ’s righteousness is imputed to them.
  4. You have yet to prove that I have made a single contradiction. Nice try though.
  5. I believe that the church was HIDDEN, not extinguished. You, however, apparently believe that anyone who could spout words like “predestination” and “reformation” were part of the true church. With a standard like that, you can’t even condemn Catholics.

The need for repentance is yours, Mr. Aquino. I would rejoice to see you repent and believe the Gospel.

But until you do, this correspondence is getting us nowhere. Please don’t write back unless you repent of your eternal justification heresy.

Chris Adams.

March 20, 2011

Alex Aquino vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

Posted in Alex Aquino tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:30 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 a mass e-mail to the group, and what follows is the next round of my debate with one of their members, Alex Aquino (Mr. Aquino’s comments are in red):

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You wrote:

Mr. Adams,

I admit that it is weakness on my part to give in to the temptation to make this reply when I already said that I resolve not to continue this correspondence. Nevertheless I still have these things to say:

We have no quarrel with Scripture that a man is justified by faith. We firmly believe this. You believe this, too. But that alone. You believe a half-truth and reject the remaining part of the whole truth of Scripture. Therefore, in believing a half-truth you believe the Lie.

The doctrine that we are justified by “faith alone” is really the point behind the doctrine of “sola fide”. By sheer coincidence, it just happens to mean “faith alone” in Latin. So you are adding an element to the Gospel that is not there. 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,. See: Isa 45:24, Joh 6:40, Act 13:39, Rom 1:16, Rom 3:22-25, Rom 4:3 & 24, 2Co 4:5-6. Here are a few verses that go into some of what the blood of Christ ACCOMPLISHED:

Acts 20:28 refers to “the church of God which He purchased through His own blood.” (See also Rev 5:9) What did the blood of Christ purchase the church FROM? Why was his blood necessary for that purchase?

Romans 5:10 says. “For if [while] being enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life;” Why do the people of God need to be reconciled to God?

Galatians 3:13 says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” (See also Psa 130:8) When were believers under the curse of the law? And why did they need to be redeemed from it?

You wrote: “Dr. Brine (though we don’t know him really) was right: “justification by faith” is merely being made aware by faith that one has already been justified from eternity, as you put it in his mouth.

No, I didn’t put that in his mouth, those are his own words. All I am doing is quoting what he wrote.

You wrote: “He is right because the Bible does teach an eternal justification of the elect which you deliberately reject and so blaspheme God’s eternality and the eternality and immutability of His attributes.

God’s eternality and immutability are cornerstones of the Gospel. They are just as important to the Gospel as his holiness and justice, mercy and compassion.

When the sins of Christ’s people were imputed to Him on the cross, God poured out His wrath on His beloved Son. God forsook Christ when the sins of His people were imputed to Him (Mark 15:34), because God, in His holiness, righteousness, and justice cannot look upon sin, must show wrath toward sin, and must punish sin. What do you say about this? In order to continue pretending that God’s immutability forbids him to deal differently with people at different times, you either have to say that God was always wrathful toward His only begotten Son from before the foundation of the world and continues to pour out His wrath on His only begotten Son even now, or God never showed wrath toward Jesus Christ, and the cross was just an empty show. The truth is that God loved His Son, who remained holy, harmless, and undefiled in His own personal character and conduct even on the cross, and God showed wrath toward His Son based on imputed sin. God shows wrath toward His elect people in time before they have the imputed righteousness of Christ, and He shows love when the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them. Far from showing God’s mutability, this shows God’s immutability, because He is unchangeably holy and must show wrath where there is sin and must show love where there is righteousness.

You wrote: “When the Scriptures refer to being “justified by faith,” “made sons by faith,” or “sanctified by faith” it means that the elect have been united to Christ in their experience (or shall I say also united to Him in their spiritual faculty). All the while the elect are in a justified state (eternal justification) in Christ.

So, according to you, when the elect were unregenerate, and believed blasphemous things about God, were enemies with God, hated Christ and his righteousness, and were blasphemously going about to establish a righteousness of their own, they were completely justified, righteous and holy in God’s sight, and under God’s blessing rather than his curse? That says it all.

While we are on the topic, let’s look at two of the other blessings that flow from justification: remission and adoption.

According to the eternal justification heresy, remission of sins happened from before the foundation of the world; thus, the moment an elect person is conceived, his sins are already remitted. But what does the Bible say? “John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). “And repentance and remission of sins [must] be preached on His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, each of you on the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). “This One God [has] exalted [as] a Ruler and Savior to His right [hand], to give to Israel repentance and remission of sins” (Acts 5:31). “To this One all the Prophets witness, [so that] through His name everyone believing into Him [will] receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “to open their eyes, and to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the authority of Satan to God, in order that they [may] receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among those being sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). It is clear when remission of sins occurs.

According to the eternal justification heresy, adoption happened from before the foundation of the world; thus, the moment an elect person is conceived, he is already a son of God and not of the devil. But what does adoption mean? It means being taken from one family and being made part of a different family. Yet, in the eternal justification scheme, the elect were never in the family of Satan! How, then, could there be an adoption out of the family of Satan and into the family of God in this scheme, unless there is some kind of reasoning like, “He would have been in the family of Satan had he not been elected” or some other kind of hypothetical nonsense?

When does the Bible say that the elect become sons of God? “But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become children of God, to the ones believing into His name, who were born not of blood, nor of [the] will of [the] flesh, nor of [the] will of man, but [were born] of God” (John 1:12-13). “For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:14-16). “But faith coming, we are no longer under a trainer; for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:25-26). It is clear when adoption occurs.

You wrote: “But since they are born unregenerate in this world they have yet to realize that state in their natural condition and experience. In regeneration they are “joined together with Christ” (Romans 6:4) in his death, resurrection, everything that Christ did and achieved for them. Christ’s resurrection life is sown in their soul. They then become participants in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:14). The evidence of that miraculous change is faith. Faith unites the believer to Christ so that it is the instrument through which he experiences all Christ’s benefits. A prisoner has to enjoy two things in order to experience true freedom. First, the court has to officially pardon (justify) him. But that isn’t enough, he has to be freed from the jail and actually experience (regeneration and faith) that status of being pardoned. He doesn’t break jail in order to be pardoned by the courts (or “regeneration and faith in order to be justified). Though you insist otherwise, your view of faith is that it is a “condition.” Your article says, “Yet faith is the result of justification.” But how can faith be the result of justification when justification cannot come unless there is faith? This is absurdity! Where does that justification come from which faith is the result. Eternal justification is inevitably the answer. This is the subtlety of OTC. Damning allegedly conditionalists yet it is itself a conditionalist.

Faith is NOT a condition for justification. There are NO conditions for justification. Faith is a result, or FRUIT of justification. BOTH are given to a regenerate person at the same time. Note the connection between faith and justification in the following verses:

“And everyone believing in this One is justified from all things which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:39) Those who are seeking to be justified by works of the Law do not believe in this One (Christ) and are therefore not justified even if they are elect.

“Then we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law. Or [is He] the God of Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also, since [it is] one God who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:28-30). It can’t get much clearer than that.

“Then being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have had access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we glory on the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2). OK, I guess it can. Not only does a Christian gain justification through faith, but also peace with God, something you insist happened only in eternity past.

“And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham: All the nations will be blessed in you” (Gal. 3:8). The Gospel of justification by faith alone was even preached to Abraham.

“So that the Law has become a trainer of us [until] Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). Even the Law pointed the faithful Jews to justification by faith alone.

Do any of these verses make faith a CONDITION of justification? Of course not. But they do establish the fact that justification is through faith alone, IN TIME, not before time began.

Our Confession of Faith says “Faith is not a condition of or prerequisite to salvation; instead, faith believes that Jesus Christ alone met all the conditions for salvation.” (V.C.4, http://www.outsidthecamp.org/ccfv.htm) Marc Carpenter’s article on Hyper-Calvinism says: “Justification is by faith. What does this mean? It means that faith is the instrument through which a person receives the imputed righteousness of Christ and is justified. Our accusers would say that this is proof that we believe that faith is a condition of or prerequisite to justification. But we strongly deny that faith is some “empty vessel” that is given to a person as a precondition of justification, into which justification is then “poured.” If we continue using the vessel analogy, then the vessel of faith is already filled with the liquid of justification, and this full vessel is given to us by God. (Of course, as with any analogy, it will break down if you go far enough with it.) Yet faith is the result of justification. Faith is both the result of justification and the instrument through which we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ and are justified.” (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/hyperheresy.htm) So when you accuse us of holding to conditions for justification, you are actually slandering and misrepresenting us.

You wrote “Consider these passages. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit” (Romans 8:1). The adverb “now” is not a temporal or chronological modifier but a logical one. Meaning, after all that was argued in the previous sections, the conclusion is that there NEVER, EVER was condemnation to them who are IN CHRIST JESUS. This is THE Good News! Now, since when was anyone “in Christ Jesus?” Only when he believes? Ephesians 1:4 says, “even as He elected us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” There is never any condemnation to anyone ever since he is elected and as long as he is an elect. An elect is an elect IN CHRIST whether he is regenerate or unregenerate. Therefore God never condemned His elect even prior to faith. Since the elect is never condemned by God he is always in a justified state. This is true grace! THE Gospel. Grand!

Your exegesis here is horrible. Romans 8:1 says “ [There is] therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus” and you come to the conclusion that “there NEVER, EVER was condemnation to them”?! Talk about twisting Scripture. And you very conveniently ignore the last words of the verse: “who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit” Those who are under the dominion of sin and walk according to the flesh are NOT the people Paul is talking about here. He is talking about those people who have been freed from the law of sin and death; that is, the REGENERATE elect (see Rom 7:25).

As for Ephesians 1:4, you correctly point out that God the Father has predestinated his people “in Christ”. But the verse does NOT say that his people were JUSTIFIED in any way. Paul’s purpose here is to show the Ephesians all of the blessings that flow from the Father’s work of election, but he doesn’t begin talking about justification until verse 7.

Romans 8:30 says “But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; but whom He justified, these He also glorified. ” In what way does God call his people? Why does the calling come BETWEEN predestination and justification? And when does God glorify his people? It is true that God’s predetermined plan is so certain to come true that he speaks as if the calling, justifying, and glorifying have already happened. But does that mean that ALL of God’s people are therefore called, justified, and glorified? Of course not.

You wrote “You have twice mentioned Ephesians 2:1-3 in this correspondence yet you deliberately refuse to see the other side of the coin. You see what you only want to see in Scripture and thus do injustice to it. We do believe that the elect in their unregenerate state are “by nature,” (as with all who came from Adam) but not by legal status, children of God’s wrath. “Wrath” cannot be the mother of the elect. The “Promise” gave birth to them and therefore they are children of the Promise. “Wrath” gives birth to the reprobate alone so that they are called children of “Wrath” both in their natural condition (“by nature”) and in their legal status before God.”

When someone is legally holy and righteous, God’s holiness and righteousness DEMANDS his favor and fellowship toward them (Psa 32:2, Isa 53:11, Rom 3:22, 5:9 & 18). Yet you believe that God’s (unregenerate) elect are LEGALLY righteous, but NATURALLY unrighteous. Therefore, according to this scheme, there are people out there who are unregenerate, walking according to the flesh, believing blasphemous things about God, yet enjoying favor and fellowship with God. Talk about only seeing what you want to in Scripture.

Consider Psalm 5:5: “The boasters shall not set themselves before Your eyes. You hate all workers of iniquity.” Since you believe that God never hated you, then you must believe that you were never a worker of iniquity. Contrary to this damnable denial of total depravity, God describes the elect before regeneration in Ephesians 2:1-3: “And you being dead in deviations and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom we also all conducted ourselves in times past in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed of the flesh and of the understanding, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest.” I keep quoting Eph 2:1-3, because you keep ignoring what it plainly says: that even God’s people were children of wrath, hated by God, that they were without a righteousness that answered the demands of God’s law and justice, and that they walked in disobedience.

You wrote “You see the wisdom of the verbal inspiration of Scripture? Every letter, word, phrase, sentence of God’s inspired Word counts! When Paul by inspiration wrote “by nature” he meant “by nature.” You are going beyond this and interpret it to mean as by “legal status” also so that God can and does hate His elect in Christ at a certain point!

What I see is that you are going beyond Scripture. You take the truth that God loves his people from before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:29) and then take it to mean that the righteousness of Christ must have been imputed to them before the foundation of the world. But God can love his people even BEFORE the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, just as he loved Christ while pouring out his wrath on him. The sins of Christ’s people were imputed to him, so God’s immutable holiness DEMANDED that God NOT show favor and fellowship toward Christ during that time, even though he continued to love Christ.. The change in God’s attitude towards Christ was not due to any change in God, but a change in Jesus’ LEGAL standing before God.

You wrote “I said that you twice mentioned Ephesians 2:1-3 proving that the elect prior to faith are hated by God. But you deliberately ignore verses 4 and 5 which say, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even we being dead in deviations, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are being saved).” He loved His elect even when they were dead in transgressions!

Yes, exactly! As I said, God can love his elect, even before they are justified. What he CANNOT do is show them favor and fellowship.

You wrote “It is in this light that the Hebrews passage, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6) is to be explained. I am aware how this chapter in Hebrews emphasizes the preciousness and importance of faith. “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). The sinful condition simply does not please God. This God-displeasing condition in the unregenerate elect is only “by nature” since God never sees iniquity in them as proved by Numbers 23:21: “He has seen no iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen mischief in Israel. Jehovah his God is with him, and the shout of a king is in him.”

This verse has no bearing at all on WHEN God took away the iniquity of Jacob. God looks at his justified elect, and sees only the righteousness of Christ. Whether that righteousness was imputed to them before time began, or at regeneration, this verse does not resolve.

You wrote “This is because God loved His elect not with an intermittent love (with a silly temporary wrath in between) but, “Jehovah has appeared to me from far away, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love! On account of this, with loving kindness I have drawn you.” The elect are justified in eternity because Christ the ground of their justification is the Lamb slain “from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). The efficacy of the cross is eternal. This is THE Gospel!

“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]” (CCF V.B.2, http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfv.htm)

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was not slain in eternity, he was slain in time. Revelation 13:8 is talking about God’s predetermination of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not his actual crucifixion, which happened IN TIME.

You wrote “Do you see now your sheer blasphemy, idolatry and heresy in denying God’s simplicity, eternality and immutability (which you hold only confessionally but deny in reality) in light of these Mr. Adams?

No, what I see is that you have falsely accused us of denying these things, and I have proven that we actually uphold them.

You wrote “I see that you hold to temporal justification and reject the Biblical truth of eternal justification not much because of the truth itself but because you are too anxious for its consequences which you can capitalize upon to justify your unbridled and relentless damning of men you suspect in the slightest hint of tolerating a tolerant who tolerates a tolerant who tolerates… and so on.

Ah, now we get to the REAL heart of the matter. It’s not about whether justification is temporal or eternal at all. It is really about SPEAKING PEACE! Because if you start by saying that someone is LOST based on the fact that they don’t believe the Gospel, then you have to start applying that SAME STANDARD to all the supposed “church fathers” and “stalwarts of the faith” who ALSO believed heretical things! And if that happens, why, you end up being as reviled and hated as … (gasp!) … OUTSIDE THE CAMP!!! Why, people might even accuse you of being … (gulp!) … INTOLERANT!! Oh the humanity!

“You people ENJOY sending people to Hell! You LIKE being mean and nasty! Yada, yada, yada, yada, yada!” How many times have I heard this accusation? Too often to count. But interestingly, I notice that you, like everyone else who accuses us this way, mysteriously fails to provide something important ……… PROOF!! Yes, for all that we supposedly enjoy being mean and intolerant, no one ever seems able to provide PROOF that we are mean and intolerant. Hmmmmmmmm……………………

And here is something else you won’t find any proof for: that we damn anyone to Hell (let alone that we do it in a “relentless and unbridled” way). We do NOT judge anyone to be reprobate. If someone confesses a false gospel, I do not judge that person to be predestined for Hell. But I DO judge that person to be UNREGENERATE. And if that person CONTINUES in that unregenerate state until they die, then they will go to Hell. But I do not know if God will grant him or her repentance later in life.

Similarly, if I see something written by someone who is already dead, that confesses a false gospel, I do not know if that person is in Hell because God may have granted him or her repentance later in life. So if someone shows by what they confess that they are unregenerate, we do not judge them to be elect or reprobate, but we do judge them unregenerate. Marc has written on this subject extensively:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/fte34

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm

You wrote “I never had any single communication with Mr. Pedersen. I posted his writings without his knowledge as with the rest, sort of similar to OTC’s style of disendorsing someone who never sought OTC’s endorsement in the first place. You reveal your slanderous spirit by telling me those short remarks (he not being sure whether Bin Laden is lost—I judge him to be lost, unless the military finds him in his secret hideout) without your qualifying them. To me that’s just deliberate slander.

First of all, we HAVE dis-endorsed people whom we had previously endorsed, thinking that they were solid and biblical. When we found out more about what those people believed, we didn’t want people to think we still endorsed them. We have also exposed people whom we had never endorsed, because false prophets need to be exposed (Mat 7:15-20, Joh 7:24, 1Co 5:12, 1Jo 4:1). I find it very interesting that you are offended by our obedience to these very obvious commands from Scripture. What God calls good, you call evil.

Second, I should add here that I may not have been clear enough when I said Marc wanted to know if bin Laden was “lost”. The English word “lost” has a lot of meanings, especially in the context of salvation. What I meant was that Marc wanted to know whether Pedersen judged bin Laden to be UNREGENERATE.

Third, I should also add that, after going back and looking up the original correspondence (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/efl29.htm) I realize that I was wrong. The question wasn’t about bin Laden, it was actually about Saddam Hussein (this was while Hussein was still alive).

Fourth, I never slandered Pedersen by telling you that Pedersen “wasn’t sure” whether Hussein was unregenerate. The point is that Pedersen NEVER ANSWERED THE QUESTION. Now come on – how hard is it to say that Saddam Hussein was unregenerate? Yet Pedersen declined to answer.

You wrote “Finally, Mr. Adams, please consider Jesus Christ’s sentiment on the rich young ruler who inquired how he may inherit eternal life. After giving the answer, Mark 10:20-22 goes on to tell us, “And answering, he said to Him, Teacher, I observed all these from my youth. And looking at him, Jesus loved him, and said to him, One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell what things you have, and give to the poor. And you will have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me, taking up the cross. But being sad at the Word, he went away grieving; for he had many possessions.” Jesus actually loved an unregenerate! He loved him with a divine love! Jesus loved a believer in a false gospel of works- and self-righteousness, an unregenerate covetous man, a God-hater since he preferred his possessions over Christ’s Words.

Yes he did. But notice that Jesus didn’t show any FAVOR or FELLOWSHIP towards this man. In fact, he sent the man AWAY. Now since we know that Jesus loved that man, then we KNOW that the man would EVENTUALLY be regenerated, and believe the Gospel, because God has determined to bring ALL his elect to saving faith eventually. But it is not for us to judge a man’s EVENTUAL fate. What we ARE commanded to do is judge a man’s CURRENT spiritual state, whether he is regenerate or unregenerate.

“For these reasons, as well as to witness the gospel to the lost, it is necessary for believers to make judgments concerning who is unregenerate (including who are false Christians) and who is regenerate. The standard by which believers are to make these judgments is whether or not the person being considered believes the gospel. [Isa 8:20; 45:20; Mat 7:15-20; Mar 16:16; Luk 6:43-45; Joh 7:24; Rom 10:1-3; 1Co 5:11-12; Ga1 1:8-9; 1Jo 4:1,6; 2Jo 9]”

(CCF V.E.3, http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfv.htm)

You wrote: “I do not mean to be irreverent with my Redeemer and it grieves me deep within that God’s Name is taken so many times in vain in this sort of discussions, but I think Outside the Camp should now disendorse Jesus for tolerating an unregenerate God-hated and God-hater. It is wise also that you should disendorse all the apostles and the rest of all the disciples for tolerating this act. You must of course disendorse the Bible to be consistent. There could be explanations of course: (1) Someone altered the word “hated” and replaced “loved” in the early manuscripts, (2) the Bible does teach a universal love of God, (3) Mark must have felt tired and drowsy while listening to Peter’s account of the Gospel so there was some slip of the pen, (4) only Mark inserted this “Jesus loved him” phrase unlike the other synoptists, so Mark must have deviated from the rest in orthodoxy, (5) the supposed heresy of the Church Fathers prompted them to add this spurious book in the canon of Scripture (6) there is just no single saved person who is equipped to correctly translate the Bible into English, (7) worst, Jesus contradicted His Father’s hatred of His elect in their unregenerate state by loving them. He is therefore a disobedient son, and therefore is disqualified to save even a single person, and is Himself unsaved! Blasphemous! you say. Exactly my point. There is only one correct reason. Christ was right and OTC is promoting heresy and blasphemy. The guy was unregenerate but he was certainly elect (John 10:14) for Christ LOVED HIM. The Bible doesn’t tell us but he must have been converted sooner or later after that encounter. Christ LOVED HIM because he is eternally justified.

Yeah, I’ve heard this accusation a lot, too. You have put a lot of effort into expressing your conclusion as thoroughly as possible, but the problem is that your premise is wrong. Let me illustrate:

The syllogism you are putting forth is:

Premise 1: God loves those who are eternally justified.

Premise 2: God loves this man.

Conslusion: This man was eternally justified.

Your conclusion would be true if the premises were true. But premise 1 is NOT true, as I have demonstrated.

You said “I call for you to repent Mr. Adams. You’re soul is in grave danger. Come out from this slanderous and blasphemous subtle modern counter-Reformation.

Alex Aquino

Now this is interesting! How can you possibly make this judgment? Sure I might (in your view) be saying blasphemous things that deny the Gospel, but how can you possibly know if my soul is in danger? After all, I might still be one of the elect, correct? And if so, then you would have to say that God NEVER hated me, was NEVER my enemy, and thus my soul was NEVER in danger. So you should be careful to NEVER make this judgment about anyone (which, as I have also demonstrated, is the REAL reason behind the doctrine of eternal justification).

And as for the reformation, you are absolutely right that I am against reforming the visible church. Instead I call upon all who are a part of it (including you) to COME OUT from among them, “that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues” (Rev 18:4).

Chris Adams.

March 13, 2011

Alex Aquino vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

Posted in Alex Aquino tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:50 PM 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 a mass e-mail to the group, and what follows is the next round of my debate with one of their members, Alex Aquino (Mr. Aquino’s comments are in angle brackets like << this >>):

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

Mr. Aquino,

You wrote:

On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 9:10 AM, Alex M. Aquino wrote:

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

CA: Actually, I often run across people and organizations that seem to stand boldly for the truths of the Gospel, but when it comes time to make judgments (based on the Gospel) about who is saved and who is lost, they quickly backtrack, and defend the heretical teachers based on the good works and the sound parts of the teachings of those heretics. I’m used to it.

<<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.>>

CA: I believe it. When we promoted John Pedersen, the PRC, John Calvin, and similar writers, we were very unpopular. And when we disendorsed these people, we became far less popular. And that’s fine as far as we are concerned. Numbers don’t mean a thing in God’s eyes (Judg 7:2-4).

<<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?>>

CA: No it isn’t. I certainly don’t want to be associated with anyone promoting heretics like Pedersen, Moreno Dal Bello, the PRC, John Calvin, Arthur Pink, and so on. Despite their reputations, these people were and are compromisers to the core. John Pedersen couldn’t even tell us whether OSAMA BIN LADEN was lost! And you are promoting him.

<<Most interesting though is that now OTC itself adds to the crowd disturbed and displeased by us!>>

CA: Good. So are you now going to tell people that we don’t endorse your ministry? And, specifically, will you tell them WHY we don’t support your ministry? Even better, since I have sent you the relevant links, you can direct people to our website and SHOW them where we have disendorsed and exposed those heretics, and refuted their arguments.

<<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. >>

CA: Yes, and I have been told that rat poison is 95% good food, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to eat it.

<<Add to that our inability (being average Filipinos) to articulate on our own our Gospel convictions in English.>>

CA: Your English is fine, and so is your articulation of what you believe. I have learned just enough to know that you speak peace to people who confess a false gospel.

<<If those persons did believe a false gospel their own writings shall testify against them>>

CA: This is exactly my point. Their writings DO testify against them, but you claim to not want to talk about it! I have given you many links to pages with exact quotes from these people, exposing their false gospel, peace speaking, and hypocrisy, and yet you continue to judge these people based on their reputations.

<<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.>>

CA: Yet you ignore the fact that we once promoted ALL of the people BTRC is now promoting. We later disendorsed them when we found out more about what they believed. That is the reason I wrote to you: I wanted to give you the opportunity to find out what they REALLY believe, and exactly why we disendorsed them. Yet you refuse to judge them based on the gospel doctrine they confess. This tells me a lot about you.

<<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.>>

CA: No, you don’t understand us correctly. And if you had actually checked on the links I sent you, you would have known that.

The following quotes are from our Confession of Faith. Note especially the words in red:

1. God is all-knowing, everywhere present, unchangeable, and not able to be limited. He existed before time began and will exist forever. Because of His infinite holiness, He is infinite in justice, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. His infinite glory is manifested in these attributes. [Exo 20:5-6; Num 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; 1Ki 8:27; Job 26:6-14; Psa 44:21; 90:2-4; 103:17; 136:1-26; Pro 8:22-31; Isa 6:3; 57:15; Lam 3:22-23; Hab 1:12-13; Mal 3:6; Jam 1:17; 1Jo 4:8]

a. In eternity past, God the Father covenanted with God the Son, Jesus Christ, to glorify Himself by saving a particular, elect people, and those only, from the guilt and defilement of sin, by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. [Psa 89:19-37; Isa 49:5-6; 53:11-12; Luk 22:29; Joh 6:37-40; 10:29; 17:2,9; Gal 3:16-18; 2Ti 1:9]

b. In covenanting with Jesus Christ, God the Father covenanted with all the elect in Jesus Christ, to be their God and to reveal His divine love, mercy, grace, and wisdom to them by saving them through the work of Jesus Christ their Redeemer. [Gen 13:14-16; 17:4-8,19; Deu 4:35; 7:9; 2Sa 23:5; Psa 65:4; 67:2; 105:8-10; 111:9; 132:11; Isa 43:10-12; 55:3-4; 61:6-9; Mat 13:11; Mat 24:22,24,31; Mar 13:20,22,27; Luk 1:68-75; 18:7; Joh 17:2-3; Act 13:48; Rom 8:28-30,33; 9:11-16,23; 11:26-27; Eph 1:4-14; Col 3:12; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:10; Tit 1:1; Heb 6:13-14; 8:6-12; 1Pe 1:1; 2:9

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfii.htm

CA: You should also consider this refutation of eternal justification:

The following are some necessary implications of eternal justification (or any justification that is not connected with faith) that show this heresy to be damnable. These heretics necessarily believe the following:

(1) While they were going about to establish a righteousness of their own and bringing forth dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death, they were pleasing to God.

(2) A justified person can commit sins such as believing and confessing a false gospel.

(3) They had the imputed righteousness of Christ while remaining ignorant of that imputed righteousness.

(4) Without faith it is possible to please God, and some who are in the flesh are able to please God.

(5) When they were dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, conducting themselves according to the lusts of their flesh, acting out the things, the wills of the flesh and of the understandings, they were not children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3).

(6) There are some who are redeemed, who are God-pleasers, who are friends of God, who also walk as the rest of the nations walk, in the vanity of their mind, having been darkened in the intellect, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the hardness of their heart, who, having cast off all feeling, gave themselves up to lust, to the working of all uncleanness with greediness (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Consider Psalm 5:5: “The boasters shall not set themselves before Your eyes. You hate all workers of iniquity.” Since these heretics believe that God never hated them, then they must believe that they were never workers of iniquity. Contrary to this damnable denial of total depravity, God describes the elect before regeneration in Ephesians 2:1-3: “And you being dead in deviations and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom we also all conducted ourselves in times past in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed of the flesh and of the understanding, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest.” We were children of wrath, hated by God. We were without a righteousness that answered the demands of God’s law and justice, and we walked in disobedience.

Some might ask: But didn’t God love His people in Christ before the foundation of the world? Romans 8:29-30 answers this question: “Because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be [the] Firstborn among many brothers. But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” “Foreknew” means “loved beforehand.” In the eternal decree of God, God loved His people in Christ from before the foundation of the world. Note that in this verse God’s people are called, justified, and glorified. This does not mean that they were already called, justified, and glorified temporally in their persons. So there is a time in each elect person’s life that he is loved by God as considered in the eternal decree of God and temporally under God’s wrath before the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him.

Eternal justification advocates would accuse us of holding to a contradiction or of believing that God is mutable. They would say that in order for God to be immutable, He must either always show love for a person or always show wrath toward a person. But consider this: When the sins of Christ’s people were imputed to Him on the cross, God poured out His wrath on His beloved Son. God forsook Christ when the sins of His people were imputed to Him (Mark 15:34), because God, in His holiness, righteousness, and justice cannot look upon sin, must show wrath toward sin, and must punish sin. What would the accusers say about this? They would either have to say that God was always wrathful toward His only begotten Son from before the foundation of the world and continues to pour out His wrath on His only begotten Son even now, or God never showed wrath toward Jesus Christ, and the cross was just an empty show. The truth is that God loved His Son, who remained holy, harmless, and undefiled in His own personal character and conduct even on the cross, and God showed wrath toward His Son based on imputed sin. God shows wrath toward His elect people in time before they have the imputed righteousness of Christ, and He shows love when the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them. Far from showing God’s mutability, this shows God’s immutability, because He is unchangeably holy and must show wrath where there is sin and must show love where there is righteousness.

When does justification happen? The Bible is clear: “And everyone believing in this One is justified from all things which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:39). “Then we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law. Or [is He] the God of Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also, since [it is] one God who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:28-30). “Then being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have had access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we glory on the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2). “And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham: All the nations will be blessed in you” (Gal. 3:8). “So that the Law has become a trainer of us [until] Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).

Justification is by faith. What does this mean? It means that faith is the instrument through which a person receives the imputed righteousness of Christ and is justified. Our accusers would say that this is proof that we believe that faith is a condition of or prerequisite to justification. But we strongly deny that faith is some “empty vessel” that is given to a person as a precondition of justification, into which justification is then “poured.” If we continue using the vessel analogy, then the vessel of faith is already filled with the liquid of justification, and this full vessel is given to us by God. (Of course, as with any analogy, it will break down if you go far enough with it.) Yet faith is the result of justification. Faith is both the result of justification and the instrument through which we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ and are justified.

Considering that the Bible clearly connects faith and justification, what do these Hyper-Calvinists have to say about faith? John Brine, in A Defence of the Doctrine of Eternal Justification, says this: “Justification by faith, is only the comfortable knowledge or perception of that gracious privilege. … knowledge of this benefit is intended when it is said we are justified by faith.” In other words, “justification by faith” is merely being made aware by faith that one has already been justified from eternity! Faith is not an indication that there has been a change of standing before God at all! It is just the realization that God has always been pleased with the person! Yet “without faith [it is] impossible to please [God]” (Heb. 11:6a). These heretics would say just the opposite!

Romans 8:8 says, “And those being in the flesh are not able to please God.” Yet these heretics would say that there are some who are yet in the flesh but who are pleasing to God!

Romans 1:17 says, “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, But the just shall live by faith.” Yet these heretics would say that a just (or justified) one can go for a time without faith!

It is very telling how Brine eliminates the connection between faith and justification: “[N]ow if Christ’s righteousness is to or upon us, in a way of believing, and it cannot be ours till actually received by faith, … how come elect infants, who die in infancy, to be actually interested in that righteousness, seeing they cannot act in faith, and consequently are incapable of receiving Christ’s righteousness?” Those of you who believe that God saves those who die in infancy without causing them to believe the gospel are just as heretical as the eternal justification Hyper-Calvinists.

According to the eternal justification heresy, remission of sins happened from before the foundation of the world; thus, the moment an elect person is conceived, his sins are already remitted. But what does the Bible say? “John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). “And repentance and remission of sins [must] be preached on His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, each of you on the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). “This One God [has] exalted [as] a Ruler and Savior to His right [hand], to give to Israel repentance and remission of sins” (Acts 5:31). “To this One all the Prophets witness, [so that] through His name everyone believing into Him [will] receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “to open their eyes, and to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the authority of Satan to God, in order that they [may] receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among those being sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). It is clear when remission of sins occurs.

According to the eternal justification heresy, adoption happened from before the foundation of the world; thus, the moment an elect person is conceived, he is already a son of God and not of the devil. But what does adoption mean? It means being taken from one family and being made part of a different family. Yet, in the eternal justification scheme, the elect were never in the family of Satan! How, then, could there be an adoption out of the family of Satan and into the family of God in this scheme, unless there is some kind of reasoning like, “He would have been in the family of Satan had he not been elected” or some other kind of hypothetical nonsense?
When does the Bible say that the elect become sons of God? “But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become children of God, to the ones believing into His name, who were born not of blood, nor of [the] will of [the] flesh, nor of [the] will of man, but [were born] of God” (John 1:12-13). “For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:14-16). “But faith coming, we are no longer under a trainer; for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:25-26).

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/hyperheresy.htm

<<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.>>

CA: It is disappointing. Typical, but disappointing

<<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.>>

CA: There is a links page on our site. Not as big as yours, I’ll admit, but that is what happens when you won’t endorse the enemies of God — your links page gets very, *very* small.

In all seriousness, I must warn you that your soul is in great danger. You are not under God’s pleasure, but his wrath. Above, you confessed a belief in eternal justification, which puts forth a God who is pleased with his people APART from the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is blasphemy. Repent, and believe the Gospel, which is the good news of salvation based ONLY on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone.

Chris Adams.

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

To Be Continued …

Christopher Adams.

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