December 25, 2011

Ken Lokken vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

Posted in Anthony Buzzard, Ken Lokken tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

A few months ago, I had an e-mail exchange with a group of people, led by Anthony Buzzard and Ken Lokken. What follows is my second post to that e-mail group.


Ken —

First of all, I notice that you utterly *failed* to do the one thing I asked you to do: interact with the *Scripture references* I provided. Was that too hard, or just beneath you, Ken? Your pontifications on what the Kingdom of God is all about are utterly *meaningless* without some grounding in Scripture. Yet that is the one thing you have failed to provide. Disgraceful.

You wrote: “Jesus Christ, the human Messiah began his actual existence on earth.  He is not the so called 2nd person of the trinity and neither was he a pre-existent spirit”

But contrary to this, Jesus said, “And now Father, glorify Me with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the existence of the world. ” (Joh 17:5) and “Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham came into being, I AM.” (Joh 8:58) Either Ken Lokken is right or Jesus Christ is right; it can’t be both.

You also wrote: “Finite man cannot commit infinite sin.”

ALL sins are infinitely heinous, not because of the infinite glory of man, but because of the infinite glory of GOD. When man offends an infinite God, that sin is an infinite sin. The fact that you can’t see that shows that you have absolutely no understanding of God’s glory; your puny little god only needs man’s tears of repentance to be appeased. The true God of the Bible needs the blood of his only begotten Son, the divine mediator between God and Man, to appease his wrath over sin. That is why I say that you have committed blasphemy in preaching that Jesus was merely human, and not God in the flesh. With no understanding of the infinite glory of God, the infinite heinousness of sin, and the need for an infinite atonement for those sins, you show that you have no understanding of the true Gospel. You are lost, Ken, and your deeds are evil; you are dead in your sins. Repent and believe the Gospel.

You wrote: “The Gospel is the good news of the Messiah and his future Kingdom on earth.  It was all Jesus talked about.  Only just before his closing days did he even mention that the son of man must suffer to cleanse his people from their sins. ”

Really? So why was the Christ-child given the name “Jesus” in Mat 1:21? Was it because he would “usher in the Kingdom on earth”? NO. The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves”, and we are specifically told that he would save his people “FROM THEIR SINS”. So, nice try on the obfuscation, but it doesn’t work. Here is the true definition of 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] (Christian Confession of Faith V.B.1, )

Next, you asked: “Can God die? ”

Answer: YES.

17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Rev 1:17-18)

And if you doubt that the speaker is God Almighty, see how he introduces himself in verse 9: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” Compare Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12.

You also wrote: “I am saying a perfect human Jew became our savior.  Tell me just how would God incarnate?  To do so would make him less than God.  Fully God/fully man is neither fully God or fully man. ”

Have you ever even READ a New Testament?! This is basic stuff, Ken!

“41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, “ The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘ The LORD said to my Lord,
“ Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?
45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. ”

The Pharisees couldn’t answer Jesus’ question, and neither can you, Ken.

Jesus was fully God and fully Man because he was begotten by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. He partook of both the human and divine natures. Hebrews 2:9 says that Jesus was “was made a little lower than the angels”. How is that even possible if Jesus is merely a man? ALL men are lower than the angels, so how was Jesus “made” a little lower? Hebrews 2:17 says “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. ” If Jesus was merely human, then he was ALREADY like his brothers; so how was he “made” to be like his brothers?

You also wrote: “I am not as wise as you theologians; but neither am I looking through your lenses which I am most familiar with.  ”

Yeah, you’re just so exceedingly humble, Ken. Keep blowing that trumpet, so the whole world can gather around and see just how wildly humble you are.

Go read the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23. Was Jesus being humble when he called the Pharisees vipers, whitewashed tombs, and sons of the Devil?

(Here’s a hint: YES, he WAS being humble.)

You wrote: “Perhaps you should at least give mine a try? You pride yourself in being a Berean.  To search the scriptures means just that.  It does not mean to uphold a bias.”

Yet, you are perfectly willing to NOT search the Scriptures, and uphold YOUR bias. As long as you’re going to live in that glass house, you should probably keep the stones to yourself. Oh, and please, please, close the curtains, Ken. Please.

As for “Focus on the Kingdom”, yeah, I might have some fun refuting their nonsense. But then, I have already written a pair of articles on the divinity of Jesus Christ: ‘A Christian View of the Messiah‘, and ‘An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness‘. If you are as open minded as you seem to think you are (or as open minded as you expect me to be), you will go read them. Of course I’m not holding my breath.

In regard to the section of the Confession dealing with the divinity of Christ, you wrote:”(I do not recognise your confession of faith based on haphazard scripture.  Anyone can take a group of scriptures and make them what they want them to appear.  the OT and the new agree as one.  Hear o’ Isreal the Lord thy God is one Lord.  Tell Moses who knew God face to face that God is 3 persons, or the prophets that the Messiah would be God himself in the flesh.  Paul the great theologian never said grace, mercy and peace from god the father, god the son and god the holy ghost.  It was always grace, mercy peace from God the Father of OUR lord Jesus Christ(Messiah).  In the early church they argued over many issues..the diety of Jesus nor the teaching of trinity ever came up.  salvation is of the Jews and no Jew would have thought Jesus the messiah as God..much less that God was 3 persons in one) “

I don’t care whether you recognize the Confession, Ken; that isn’t why I quoted it. What I was doing was putting forth the truth of this doctrine (the deity of Christ) as it has already been formulated. And if the Scripture references are so haphazard and misinterpreted, then why don’t you SHOW US that, instead of asking us to take your word for it? Show us how the Scripture references are misused or misinterpreted, Ken. Then you might have something resembling an argument. Apparently that’s just to much to ask for.

As for Deuteronomy 6:4 “”, here is what John Gill had to say about the passage:

” In an ancient book of theirs it is said {o} Jehovah, Elohenu, Jehovah (i.e. Jehovah, our God, Jehovah); these are the three degrees with respect to this sublime mystery; “in the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth”; and again {p}, Jehovah, Elohenu, Jehovah, they are one; the three forms (modes or things) which are one; and elsewhere {q} it is observed, there are two, and one is joined to them, and they are three; and when the three are one, he says to (or of) them, these are the two names which Israel heard, Jehovah, Jehovah, and Elohenu (our God) is joined unto them; and it is the seal of the ring of truth, and when they are joined they are one in one unity; which is illustrated by the three names the soul of man is called by, the soul, spirit, and breath; and elsewhere they say {r} the holy blessed God, and his Shechinah, are called one; see Joh 10:30. {o} Zohar in Gen. fol. 1, 3. {p} Ib. in Exod. fol. 18. 3, 4. {q} Ib. in Numb. fol. 67. 3. {r} Tikkune Zohar, Correct. 47. fol. 86. 2.Ç”

So, yeah, I’m pretty sure Moses would have no problem agreeing that God is a triune being (ie. three in ONE).

Here is some of what I wrote in the article ‘An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness‘ :

God is an infinite God and an infinitely righteous God. Therefore, all sin is an infinite offense to him (Exodus 20:5, Habakkuk 1:13). Therefore, any sacrifice that is intended to atone for sin must be an infinite sacrifice. Anything less would be insufficient to turn away God’s wrath against the sins of his people. It is only as Jesus Christ partakes of the two natures, human and divine, that he is able to become the Mediator between God and Man (Job 9:33; Hebrews 2:17), able to “lay his hand” upon both at once. Therefore, the Gospel absolutely requires that Jesus Christ not only be a real human being but also be God incarnate, God in the flesh.

The fact that Jesus is more than a mere “creature” is inferred from the following facts:

1. Several titles applied to Jesus Christ. Jesus is called “Lord”, by Thomas and Stephen (John 20: 28, Acts 7:59-60), and Christians must confess Jesus as “Lord” (Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 12: 3). The Greek word here translated “Lord” is kurios, which is the word used to translate “Jehovah” in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Similarly, Jesus is called “Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23), which means “God with us.” And in Revelation 22:13, Jesus is called “the first and the last,” a title that is given to Jehovah God in Isaiah 44:6. None of these titles could be given to a mere creature.

2. Several attributes of Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as all-knowing (John 1:48; 2:25; 6:64; 16:30; 21:17), all-powerful (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:3), eternal (Micah 5:2), and unchanging (Hebrews 13:8). And Colossians 2:9 states that in Jesus Christ “all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” (NWT). None of these things can be said of a mere creature.

3. Several works of Jesus Christ. Jesus has the power to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7; Luke 5:24; Ephesians 1:7), control nature (Matthew 8:26), give eternal life (John 10:28; 17:2), and judge the world (John 5:22 & 27). None of these things can be done by a mere creature.

4. Jesus Christ received worship. Jesus received worship from men (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38) and angels (Hebrews 1:6, Revelation 5:11-13). Yet worship is due to God alone (Exodus 34:14; Acts 14:11-18; Romans 1:24-25; Revelation 19:10). Jesus himself even taught this (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23). No mere creature can legitimately receive worship.

5. The Patriarchs and Prophets expected a Messiah who would also be Jehovah. The Messiah was expected to be not only David’s son, but his Lord as well (Psalm 110:1). Job said “For I know my Redeemer [is] living, and He shall rise on the earth at the last; and after my skin has been struck off from my flesh, yet this, I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26). John wrote of Jesus in John 12:37-41 that Isaiah “saw His glory, and spoke about Him.” (cf. Isaiah 6:1-5). The Patriarchs and Prophets did not expect that the Messiah would be a mere creature.

Finally, there is Revelation 1: 11-18. In this section, John sees a vision of a person who clearly identifies himself as Jehovah God (vss. 11,14,17). He also has the appearance of a “Son of Man” (v. 13). But this person goes on to say, in v. 18, “I became dead.” So how could Jehovah God die? The only possible explanation is that Jehovah God died on a Roman cross, just outside Jerusalem.

You wrote: “Your very statement tells me you have absolutely no idea what the gospel is all about.  the death, buriel, ressurrection are one of the primary things concerning the Kingdom Of God.”

Oh, so I “have absolutely no idea what the gospel is all about”, eh? Does this mean that I am LOST, Ken? But since I know you don’t have the spine to judge me lost, what is the point of telling me about your view of the Kingdom? If I will be going to heaven no matter what I believe about the Gospel, what is the point of preaching it, or correcting me on my misunderstanding of it?

You are lost, Ken, and so is everyone who believes this damnable heresy. I can say that with absolute certainty because of Mat 7:20. Repent and believe the Gospel.

December 11, 2011

John Wesley vs. the Gospel, pt 11

Posted in John Calvin, John Wesley, Servetus tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Appendix B:The Church & The State

Despite his apparent desire to be named as a bishop in America, Wesley did not say very much about the relationship of Church and State. However, he did have some words of criticism for John Calvin’s view of the relationship of Church and State:

I dare not insist upon any one’s using the word Trinity, or Person. …. I cannot: Much less would I burn a man alive, and that with moist, green wood, for saying, ” Though I believe the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; yet I scruple using the words Trinity and Persons, because I do not find those terms in the Bible.” These are the words which merciful John Calvin cites as wrote by Servetus in a letter to himself. (6:201, Sermon 55 On The Trinity, May 8, 1775)

Those who can’t logically refute predestination will often run to this episode in Calvin’s life as seemingly irrefutable proof that predestination is false. Their view seems to be that Calvin taught predestination because he was just plain mean. Obviously the conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow. But it is worth examining Calvin’s rationalization for the use of the death penalty against Servetus, because it offers a very revealing look at the whole relationship of Church and State.

There is an amazing amount of literature on this subject, but it all falls into two distinct categories: that which depicts Servetus as a paragon of virtue, filled with all humility, temperance, patience, and meekness, and a selfless martyr for freedom of conscience under the cruel, tyrannical, bloodthirsty,merciless, iron hand of petty, vindictive John Calvin1; and that which presents a much more realistic picture of the two men and their times, but presents Calvin as merely being influenced by the vestiges of an archaic view of the role of politics in the service of religion2. Neither type has the slightest interest in what specifically motivated Calvin to support the use of capital punishment against heretics.

First, a few of the facts3. Miguel Serveto was a doctor from Spain, studying in Vienne, France. In 1531, he published a book called Errors on the Trinity , that was openly anti-Trinitarian. In 1545, he had some correspondence with Calvin, and continued to defend his anti-Trinitarian views. But Calvin became so frustrated with Servetus’ heresies and personal pride4 that he finally broke off correspondence with Servetus. Soon thereafter, Calvin wrote a letter to his friend William Farel, which contains the infamous passage “But I am unwilling to pledge my word for his safety, for if he shall come, I shall never permit him to depart alive, provided my authority be of any avail.”5

Servetus published a second book, Christianity Restored, and was subsequently arrested by the Inquisition in April, 1553, at Vienne. He was sentenced to death by burning, but escaped. He was then burned in effigy, along with most of his books. In July of 1553, Servetus went to Geneva, apparently to join Calvin’s enemies there, a party called the Libertines. In August, he attended one of Calvin’s sermons, was recognized, and arrested. The Inquisition demanded that Servetus be returned to Vienne, to be executed there, but the Geneva council refused. (When asked, Servetus himself preferred to remain in Geneva.)

On Sept. 22, 1553, Servetus submitted a petition to the Genevan Council. Schaff says “He declared in his petition that Calvin, like a magician, ought to be exterminated, and his goods be confiscated and given to Servetus, in compensation for the loss he had sustained through Calvin … But the Council took no notice of his petition.”6 The Council sentenced Servetus to death, by being burned alive. Calvin concurred with the death penalty, but requested that the form be changed to beheading, as it was quicker and less painful7. The Council refused. At Servetus’ request, Calvin visited Servetus before the execution, and urged him to repent, but Servetus would not.

At the execution, Servetus cried out “Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me!” This prompted Farel to remark that Servetus had been killed for a single adjective; meaning that if Servetus had called Jesus “the eternal Son of God”, he would have been spared. Nevertheless, Farel’s remark has provided much ammunition for Free Willers to accuse Calvin of ‘making Servetus an offender for a word’. But almost every contemporary Reformer supported the execution, including Melancthon, Bucer, and Bullinger in Germany, and Farel and Beza in Switzerland8. As a historical footnote, however, a statue was erected by Swiss Calvinists in 1912, bearing the inscription “In memory of Michael Servetus – victim of religious intolerance of his time, and burned for his convictions at Champel, on September 27, 1553. Erected by the followers of John Calvin, three hundred and fifty years later, as “expiation” for that act, and to repudiate all coercion in matters of faith.”9

Obviously, Wesley, in his reference to Calvin’s supposed use of “moist, green wood” intended to imply that persecution of dissenters is the natural fruit of the doctrine of predestination. Not only was the situation a lot more complicated than that, but Wesley conveniently ignored all the evidence to the contrary; that it is actually the doctrine of Free-Will that produces the fruit of persecution.

Let’s look first at the institution that originally arrested and tried Servetus: the Inquisition. It was created in the fifteenth century after Spanish Jews were forcibly converted to Catholicism. When many of those Jews converted publicly, but continued to practice Judaism privately, the Inquisition was created to find and eliminate them. Later, the full force of the Inquisition would be brought to bear on thousands, if not millions of Reformers, Anabaptists, and various non-Catholics, in Holland, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, with much the same object as that for which it was originally created: conversion of ‘heretics’ to Catholicism by the power of the sword. Now there is really only one reason to forcibly convert someone, and that reason is the doctrine of free-will. After all, if faith is given exclusively by the grace of God, then sword-point conversions are rendered meaningless. They cannot produce true, saving faith. On the other hand, if faith is produced by the free-will of man, then a sword-point conversion can actually convert someone. In fact, it becomes a great way of forcibly converting large numbers of people to your religion.10 So, contrary to popular belief, the great impulse for religious persecution is in fact free-will, while the great impulse for religious and political toleration is predestination.

It is worth noting that the early Arminians (also called ‘Remonstrants’) learned this lesson well, from their Catholic predecessors in Holland. The Acts of the Synod of Dordrecht were originally published with a lengthy foreword, describing some of the events leading up to the Synod, and it includes some of the persecutions Arminians inflicted on their opponents11:

For Adolphus Venator, the Minister [of the Church of Alkmaar] was suspended from his ministry by the North-Holland Churches on account of his unsound life and thoroughly unsound doctrine. But he, appealing to the Magistrate there and despising ecclesiastical censures, nevertheless continued in the office of Minister. …. These [Magistrates] … first forced the elders and deacons to lay down their office; then they did the same thing to the two Ministers because they had taken position against the errors of Venator. And when the Ministers had been deposed from their office, they were scandalously driven out of the city. The one was Pieter Cornelissen, who had been minister for some fifty years with great edification; and the other was Cornelius Hillenius, a bright and pious man, both of them earnest defenders of the pure doctrine.”12

There were also many churches in the villages on whom, against their will, were imposed Remonstrant Ministers, or Ministers who were favorable to the Remonstrants. And seeing that they could not without the greatest offense, grief, and unrest listen to those terrible slanders against sound doctrine which were daily heard in their sermons, the people of these congregations forsook their churches and went to hear the sermons of neighboring sound Ministers; …. When the Remonstrants sought in vain to prevent this by strict prohibitions by the Magistrates, they aroused no little persecution against those churches. …. In the province of Utrecht … [Johannes] Uitenbogaard, August 24, introduced certain Remonstrant ministers, …. Thereafter these men were very zealous and diligent that not only in the City, but in the entire Province, everywhere where they could, the sound Ministers were driven out and replaced by Remonstrants, so that only the doctrine of the Remonstrance was openly taught.”13

“Meanwhile, Uitenbogaard brought it about through the authority of certain Leaders, his Fellow-Ministers were ordered to obey these resolutions [ie. new laws regarding the installment of Church Ministers, favorable to the Remonstrants]….. When because of this many pious people were punished by confiscation of goods and with imprisonments and exile, they appealed to the highest Court of Justice and sought help against this violence. And now the honorable Lord Counsellors of the High Council sought to come to the help of the oppressed; but the Remonstrants saw to it, through the Advocate [ie. Uitenbogaard], that the High Council was forbidden to help, and that the hands of the High Court of Justice were tied.”14

Remonstrant persecution of their opponents did not end in Holland, or even with the Synod of Dordt. It continued to spread into England, where it was heavily promoted by Archbishop Laud. An example of Laud’s persecution of Calvinists is seen in his reaction to the trial of Dr. Thomas Jackson. Jackson was arrested for writing a book against the ceremonies of the Church of England. He was kept in prison for sixteen weeks before his trial, and this imprisonment had deteriorated his health to the point that he could not even attend the trial. Horatius Bonar writes that Star Chamber “condemned the afflicted and aged divine to be degraded as a minister, to have one of his ears cut off, and one side of his nose slit, to be branded on the face with a red-hot iron, to stand in the pillory, to be whipped at a post, to pay a fine of £1000, and to suffer imprisonment until the fine was paid. When this inhuman sentence was pronounced, Laud took off his hat, and holding up his hands, gave thanks to God who had given the Church victory over her enemies! The sentence was executed without mercy, and Leighton lay in prison till upward of ten years.”15

To his credit, Wesley himself never advocated such persecution of predestinarians. His style was more along the lines of having a massive ‘revival’, with lots of emotional frenzy, and thousands of people ‘saved’; and later Methodists would take this line of thinking to even greater heights, or depths, of silliness. But the great principle behind both the persecutions and the ‘revivals’ is free-will. So far from persecution being a fruit of predestination, we see that persecution is, in reality, a fruit that springs from the tree of free-will! (Mat 6:16-18)

But here we run into a problem. John Calvin was one of the greatest champions of predestination, and one of the most eloquent opponents of free will, in all of history. But we have already seen that Calvin concurred with the death penalty ordered against Servetus. How is it that John Calvin, whose name is practically synonymous with predestination, seems to have endorsed a practice so thoroughly grounded in free-will?

John Calvin held to several doctrines that would today be reviled as hyper-Calvinist. These include supralapsarianism19, double imputation20, and double predestination21. But he also held to some doctrines that seem rather at odds with predestination. Advocates of Common Grace often point to passages in Calvin’s writing to support their theory, but it is more correct to say that he held to common aspects of grace:

The power of human acuteness also appears in learning these [ie the arts] because all of us have a certain aptitude. . . . Hence, with good reason we are compelled to confess that its beginning is inborn in human nature. Therefore this evidence clearly testifies to a universal apprehension of reason and understanding by nature implanted in men. Yet so universal is this good that every man ought to recognize for himself in it the peculiar grace of God.”22

“…how unworthy soever we be and straight, yet the fatherly love of God breaketh through even unto the unworthy. Especially the generality of mankind doth testify that the benefits of God do never cease, wherein heappeareth to be our Father.”23

So, according to Calvin, the knowledge of arts and sciences which people possess is a “peculiar grace” of God, while the “sun and rain on the evil and the good” shows that God is, in some sense, a Father to the entire human race. This, indeed, is a far cry from the idea that God is waiting, pleading, and yearning over every sinner in the world, as promoted by the Marrow Men, certain Puritans, and assorted tolerant Calvinists.24 But it is certainly a tentative step in that direction.

Calvin, however, does not seem to have held the theory of common aspects of grace in isolation. It seems that he also held to a theory of universal aspects of the Atonement:

True it is that the effect of His death comes not to the whole world. Nevertheless, forasmuch as it is not in us to discern between the righteous and the sinners that go to destruction, but that Jesus Christ has suffered His death and passion as well for them as for us, therefore it behoves us to labour to bring every man to salvation, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be available to them…”25

And, indeed, in the Second Epistle of Peter, Christ alone is mentioned, and there he is called Lord. But He means that Christ is denied, when they who had been redeemed by his blood, become again the vassals of the Devil, and thus render void as far as they can that incomparable price.”26

The four reasons, whereby Paul doth carefully prick forward the pastors to do their duty diligently, because the Lord hath given no small pledge of his love toward the Church in shedding his own blood for it. Whereby it appeareth how precious it is to him; and surely there is nothing which ought more vehemently to urge pastors to do their duty joyfully, than if they consider that the price of the blood of Christ is committed to them. For hereupon it followeth, that unless they take pains in the Church, the lost souls are not only imputed to them, but they be also guilty of sacrilege, because they have profaned the holy blood of the Son of God, and have made the redemption gotten by him to be of none effect, so much as in them lieth. And this is a most cruel offense, if, through our sluggishness, the death of Christ do not only become vile or base, but the fruit thereof be also abolished and perish …”27

These quotes alone prove that Calvin was not even a Christian, for it shows that he believed that the Atonement was intended to accomplish something which it failed to do (Psa 115:3, Isa 46:10, Eph 1:11). This kind of blasphemy is never taught by the Holy Spirit; it is only taught by Satan and his children.

But thus the stage was set for Calvin to do a theological end-run around the doctrine of predestination, retaining all the man-centered qualities of free-will, without discarding the biblical truth of predestination. That is to say, universal aspects of the atonement and common aspects of grace add up to free aspects of the will. Calvin could therefore go on at length about the wickedness of free will, while still maintaining that God will nevertheless reward even the wicked when they obey his Law:

The reward, that the days of children who have behaved themselves piously to their parents shall be prolonged, aptly corresponds with the observance of the commandment, since in this manner God gives us a proof of His favor in this life, when we have been grateful to those to whom we are indebted for it; whilst it is by no means just that they should greatly prolong their life who despise those progenitors by whom they have been brought into it. … But inasmuch as long life is not vouchsafed to all who have discharged the duties of piety towards their parents, it must be remembered that, with respect to temporal rewards, an infallible law is by no means laid down; and still, where God works variously and unequally, His promises are not made void, because abetter compensation is secured in heaven for believers, who have been deprived on earth of transitory blessings.”28

It was Calvin’s doctrine of common aspects of grace that laid the foundation for Reconstructionism. Gary North writes:

The working out of the principle of covenantal blessing can lead to the positive feedback operation: historical blessing to covenantal reaffirmation to greater historical blessing.” “The law of God is a tool of dominion. There can be no long-term dominion in defiance of it. When men adhere to its principles externally, they receive God’s external blessings. This is common grace. … This common grace obedience brings external blessings. It may also bring external influence. These blessings do not point to the salvation of unregenerate people; if anything, they point to their coming destruction, for reprobates always grow arrogant when they receive God’s covenantal blessings. … The positive feedback between faith and blessings requires additional faith to sustain the growth process. … The law is the basis of affirming the covenant. It is the basis of positive feedback culturally. … God’s law is the primary manifestation of common grace.”29

Notice the recurring theme that “external obedience to God brings external blessings”, and the use of the word “feedback”. This is essentially “free aspects of the will”: God responding to what the unregenerate do, rewarding them for their external obedience, even though they do not have faith (Heb 11:6).

Reconstructionists, in their turn, have taken the doctrines of common aspects of grace, and free aspects of the will, and constructed a theology which allows for cooperation between Calvinists and Roman Catholics. Take a moment to think about these two astounding quotes, found recently on the World Wide Web:

 So let us reconsider the biblical basis for a truly Christian doctrine of natural law. … it will show us the basis on which those of us who are Evangelical or Reformed can cooperate with our Catholic brothers in opposing the common foe.”30

 …vital to ECT’s success is an ecumenical dialogue based on the self-evident truths of Catholic Natural Law Theory and Calvin’s insights on common grace.”31

Ironically, it has come to this. John Calvin, who so vehemently opposed the Roman Catholic church, along with all its will worship, superstition, and idolatry, himself set down the principles upon which his followers could cooperate, and eventually fellowship, with Roman Catholics. After all, most Catholics outwardly obey the Law of God, so (according to Gary North’s “feedback” theory) God should provide them with outward blessings, right? And if the blood of Jesus was, in some sense, intended for them as well, we should have no problem cooperating with them against an ungodly world, right?

Against all this filth, we maintain that the church in this world is not called to works of cooperation with the world, or the whore church. She is called to preach the antithesis: to oppose the evil works of the world, and expose the wickedness of the whore church, especially when that wickedness is hidden behind a facade of godliness, and outward obedience to the Law. She is called to do this because she has absolutely nothing in common with world or the false church. In no sense does the grace of God extend to them, in no sense did Jesus die for them, and in no sense are they able to choose obedience to God (Pro 16:4 & 21:1, John 1:12-13 & 15:21-25, Rom 9:16).

Furthermore, in no sense is the church called to use the sword as a means of conversion, let alone the prosecution of heretics. Faith does not come by the free will of man, but by the grace of God alone (Eph 2:8-9). It is God alone who determines when and where a conversion will take place, not the use of force (Jms 1:20). It is also God alone who determines how a sinner will be hardened against the Gospel (Psa 105:25, 2 Cor 2:15-16, Rev 17:17). If a sinner is predestined to hate the Gospel, God can as easily use the true preaching of the Gospel, as the preaching of a heretic, so it is no excuse to argue that a heretic murders the soul of his hearers. The election of God can neither be increased nor diminished by dispatching a heretic off to hell. The church in this world is most certainly called to remove heretics and ungodly men from her midst (1 Cor 5:4-5, Eph 5:11, Tit 3:10) in the hope that their removal will cause them to repent, and believe the Gospel. But the church does not safeguard her members by executing heretics, any more than she increases her membership with forced conversions. The power of God is not in the sword, but in the Gospel (John 18:36, Rom 1:16-17, 2 Cor 10:3-5); specifically in the true preaching of the Gospel, a preaching that involves pointing fingers at heretics, naming their names and warning the sheep about the wolves (Mt 23:13ff, Ac 20:28-31, Gal 1:8-10, 2 Tim 2:16-18, 1 Jn 4:1-3).

This section has necessarily gone into some of the larger issues relevant to the trial and execution of Servetus. To conclude, therefore, let it be understood that Calvin’s participation in the execution of Miguel Serveto was, historically, a very complicated matter, not the stark, good-Servetus/evil-Calvin dichotomy we are led to believe. However, it is still true that Calvin did support the use of the death penalty against heretics like Servetus.

But against the insinuations of Free-Will advocates like John Wesley, we maintain that this was not the fruit of predestination, but the vestiges of Free-Will that Calvin still clung to. Therefore, let every Arminian, Unitarian, Roman Catholic, and every other defender of Free-Will take note of the spirit of intolerance and persecution inherent in their own system.

And further, let every Reconstructionist and tolerant Calvinist take note of the logical direction their theology of common grace will eventually take them. Let them also take note how the doctrine of common grace goes hand in hand with the blasphemous doctrines of universal (aspects of the) atonement, and free (aspects of the) will.

1One claimed that Calvin “had a prolonged, murderous hate in his heart” and another claimed “A book printer who had railed at Calvin had his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron”. Neither author offered proof of these accusations. But the editor of Calvin’s letters notes: “ Calvin shewed himself, on more than one occasion, disposed to forgive personal injuries, as the Registers of Council testify: — “A woman having abused M. Calvin, it is directed that she be consigned to prison. Liberated at the request of the said M. Calvin, and discharged with a reproof.” — 12th December 1545.” Calvin’s Letters, #154, 13thFebruary1546, fn 27.

2Phillip Schaff says “Calvin’s [participation in the] arrest of Servetus admit of no proper justification, and are due to an excess of zeal for orthodoxy.” Scaff, History of the Christian Church, vol VIII, ch. 16, , June 21, 2001

3For a thorough and detailed discussion of the events surrounding the trial, see Schaff, ibid. Schaff includes an extensive discussion of Servetus’ life and theology, his invectives against Calvin, his behavior before the Inquisition, and a general discussion of religious liberty before and after Servetus’ execution. See also Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932), p. 412-419. , June 5, 2001.

4See Calvin’s Letters, #153, Feb 13, 1546.

5Calvin’s Letters, #154, Feb 13, 1546. It should be noted, however, that Calvin did not have any such authority; he was never a member of the city Council, and was not even a citizen of Geneva until years later. The only real authority he had was as pastor of the French refugees in Geneva. Furthermore, his influence over the Geneva city council was tenuous at best. Indeed, the President of the Court and many influential members of the court were Calvin’s avowed enemies.

6Schaff, ibid.

7Calvin’s Letters, #322, August 20, 1553. Interestingly, Farel rebuked Calvin for this action: “In

desiring to mitigate the severity of his punishment, you act the part of a friend to a man who is most hostile to you.” Calvin’s Letters, #322, fn 395

8Boettner,ibid. See also Calvin’s Letters,#331

9 , June 21, 2001. Note, however, that the date of Servetus’ execution was October 27, not September 27, of 1553.

10Let the reader note that, although the name has been changed, the Inquisition is still in existence; it even has its own web site ( , May 15, 2001). But even if the Inquisition were not around, the principle of free-will is still a foundational element of the Roman Catholic system, so that the horrors of the Inquisition could be brought back at any time, if necessary. I note in passing, that the Roman Catholic Church has never erected any statues repudiating the massacre of thousands upon thousands of Dutch, German, French, Scottish, and English Reformers.

11Reprinted in Homer C. Hoekserma, The Voice of Our Fathers (Reformed Free Publishing Assoc., Grand Rapids, MI, 1980), p. 45-102

12Ibid, p. 78-79

13Ibid., p. 79-80

14Ibid., p. 89. The Foreword goes on to describe how Uitenbogaard raised his own militia to defend the Remonstrant ministers in the event that a national Synod were called, and the Remonstrant doctrines condemned.

15Horatius Bonar, The Letters of Samuel Rutherford, quoted in Arminianism – Another Gospel, by Donald MacLean, 1976 (Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Glasgow).

16Ibid. p. 34

17Ibid. p. 34

18Ibid. p.37-8

19Inst II:12:5 , June 5, 2001;

Comm. on Malachi, Lecture 170 , June 5, 2001.

20Inst II:16:5+6, June 5, 2001;

Comm. on II Cor 5:21 , June 5, 2001.

21Inst II:4:3, June 5, 2001;

Inst III:21:8, June 5, 2001;

Inst III:23:1+8 , June 5, 2001.

22Institutes II:2:14 , June 5, 2001 (emph mine).

23Comm on Acts 14:17 , June 5, 2001(emph mine)

24“Christ invites sinners with an enlarged heart. Joy enlarges it. His heart is open to you, his arms are stretched wide. … Would you do Christ a pleasure? then come to him. … Would you content and ease his heart? Then come.” [Thomas Boston,from his sermon, Come Unto Me, All Ye That Labour, distributed in booklet form by Chapel Library, Pensacola, Florida , June 5, 2001].

25Sermon CXVI on the Book of Job (31:29-32) XXX

26Comm. on Jude 4, , June 5, 2001.

27Comm. on Ac 20:28, , June 5, 2001.

28Commentary on the Harmony of the Law, vol. 3, Exodus 20:12, , June 5, 2001; emph. added

29Dominion and Common Grace, , June 5, 2001.

30J. Budziszewski, “Apostles of Common Grace” , June 5, 2001; emph. in orig.

31Rev. Richard M. Nardone, Book review of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Commission”, Edited by C. Colson and R. J. Neuhaus (Word Publishing, Dallas, Tex., 1995), 236pp , June 5, 2001.

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;

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;

4See the first two quotes from Wesley, below.

5Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.3;

6Christian Confession of Faith V.C.2;

7Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.2;

8Christian Confession of Faith IV.C.6;

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):


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, 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.” ( 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,

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:

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 ( 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,

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.

June 21, 2010

John MacArthur vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

Posted in John MacArthur tagged , , , , , , , at 5:05 PM by chriswadams

Previously, I have written about John MacArthur’s promotion of ‘Common Grace’, which is the doctrine that God blesses people apart from the finished work of Jesus Christ. Of course, that blessing has to be based on something, and predictably, MacArthur teaches that it is based on God’s universal love for Mankind:

God’s love for mankind reaches fruition in the election of those whom He saves. And not every aspect of divine love is extended to all sinners without exception. Otherwise, all would be elect, and all would ultimately be saved. But Scripture clearly teaches that many will not be saved (Matt. 7:22–23). Can God sincerely love those whom He does not intervene to save? ( , June 12, 2010)

MacArthur is certainly correct in teaching that if God extended “every aspect of divine love … to all sinners without exception” then all sinners without exception would be saved. But that fact alone should be enough to show that God cannot “sincerely love those whom He does not intervene to save”. After all, what kind of love does not intervene to save the objects of that love? An insincere love?

God is a God of truth, and therefore he cannot love anyone with an insincere love. Moreover, God is an infinite God, and he cannot love anyone with a love that is less than infinite. Therefore, the entire doctrine of God’s Universal Love has no foundation but sand, and collapses under its own weight.

Unlike most who teach a Universal Love of God, MacArthur teaches that God does actually hate the wicked:

I want to acknowledge, however, that explaining God’s love toward the reprobate is not as simple as most modern evangelicals want to make it. Clearly there is a sense in which the psalmist’s expression, “I hate the assembly of evildoers” (Ps. 26:5) is a reflection of the mind of God. “Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee? I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies” (Ps. 139:21-22). Such hatred as the psalmist expressed is a virtue, and we have every reason to conclude that it is a hatred God Himself shares. After all, He did say, “I have hated Esau” (Mal. 1:3; Rom. 9:13).( , June 12, 2010)

But, inconsistently, he goes on to say:

The context [of Romans 9:13 – CA] reveals God was speaking of a whole race of wicked people. So there is a true and real sense in which Scripture teaches that God hates the wicked.

Actually, the context says the exact opposite. We know this because in Romans 9, even though he quoted a passage from Malachi that referred to the nations of Israel and Edom, Paul was writing specifically about Jacob and Esau, and the circumstances of their birth. The hatred that God bears toward the wicked is not merely a theoretical hatred that only extends to certain nations. It is a real hatred that extends to individuals within those nations.

The Bible teaches that God is not desperately hoping the reprobate will come to him for salvation, nor will he be eternally saddened by their everlasting damnation. He is in complete control of the universe, and brings about all that he desires. He is fully capable of bringing everyone whom he loves to eternal salvation.

Reprobation is therefore a monument to God’s complete sovereignty in salvation. God saves whomever he wishes to save, and damns whomever he wishes to damn. This truth is so offensive to men like MacArthur, that the apostle Paul took the time to preemptively answer their objection in Romans 9:18-20:

18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

If MacArthur’s theory of God’s universal love were correct, this would have been the perfect place for the apostle to say so. This quote from Marc D. Carpenter’s sermon on Romans 9:20 sums it up perfectly:

Wait a minute, Paul. Where’s your exposition of “judicial hardening” in which you say that God only hardens people who first harden themselves? Where’s your answer that “God withholds His restraining grace” or that “God withdraws His gracious influences” or that “God leaves men to their natural blindness, to the hardness and unrestrained tendencies of their hearts, to the corruptions of their nature, to their own depraved wills and desires so they are free to act according to their own inclinations and the free exercise of their evil dispositions”? There’s something seriously wrong here, if you would believe Calvinists like Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Robert Haldane, W.G.T. Shedd, Robert Dabney, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Loraine Boettner, John Murray, and all who agree with them. If there were one place in the Bible for the Holy Spirit through Paul to put forth these doctrines, this would be it. After all, the objector has just said that God can’t find fault if He causes the sin. Now would be the time to say that God doesn’t cause the sin but merely permits it to happen by withdrawing restraints and leaving men to their own depraved free wills. Why isn’t it here? Why does Paul respond by saying that the thing formed has no business asking the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” And why does Paul respond by saying that the potter has authority to make one vessel to honor and one to dishonor, instead of saying that the vessel to dishonor makes himself that way and fits himself out for destruction when God withdraws restraining grace or judicially hardens him? Now’s the time to do it, Paul. Now’s the time to make these Calvinists and their Arminian brothers happy. Now’s the time to give them that proof text that they’ve been yearning for. Then they wouldn’t have to make up theories in which God lets go of some of His sovereignty – they could just point to Paul’s response to the objector and say, “See, here it is. God CAN find fault with the sinner because God ISN’T the one who made people like this.” That actually would be a good response to the objector according to these Calvinists, wouldn’t it? So the objector says, “Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?” And a good response for Paul to have, according to these Calvinists, would be, “Well, the reason God can find fault is because God did NOT make you like this. Had He made you like this, you’re right – He could not find fault. But GOD didn’t make you like this – you made YOURSELVES like this, you made YOURSELVES into vessels of dishonor, and thus God CAN find fault, because He didn’t actively do anything to make you this way. He was just letting your nature do what it is naturally inclined to do.” To them, that sounds a lot more kind to God, doesn’t it? Yes, and not only that, but these Calvinists would say that to say otherwise – to say that God actually MADE people into vessels of dishonor — is to think meanly of God, to libel and dishonor Him, and even to blaspheme Him.

For more on this topic please see the Christian Confession of Faith (II.D.2), and the sermons God Hates Certain People, Romans (73), Romans (74), and Romans (75).

that is taught by

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