March 4, 2012

Peter Pike vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

Posted in Peter Pike tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Back in 2002 I had an e-mail exchange with Peter Pike, known as “CalvinDude”. He posted the first exchange on his site, thecalvinist.com, which is now defunct; but the exchange has been reposted.

This is the second letter Mr. Pike sent to me, along with the third and fourth letters I sent to him. The first letter, with his response is posted here, and the second letter is here. Note that this part of the exchange doesn’t appear at the link given above.

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From: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

To: <Christopher Adams>

Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 2:55 PM

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

YOU WROTE:

<<<I notice first off, that you have answered only two of my questions.>>>

That’s because my response wasn’t in response to your questions, but a response to your entire post. It wasn’t meant to be a line-by-line answer.

Let me give you my basic postion:

God the Father, in eternity past, did foreordain all things that come to pass. He chose a certain people, not on the basis of anything found in them, but solely on His good pleasure. Christ was slain (before the foundation of the earth) for their sins, meaning both Christ’s death and all whom God intended to save were in mind before the earth was even created.

Christ came to accomplish that purpose. He lived a perfect life so His righteousness would be imputed to the Elect. He died to take the penalty of sin in place of the Elect.

Since God ordains the means as well as the end, He ordains that the Elect shall be justifed by faith (alone) in the Gospel (justification being the actual judicial declaration by which God declares a sinner just) . He then appoints preachers, etc, to proclaim the Gospel and brings them to the Elect. When the Elect hear the Gospel, the Spirit regenerates them because, like all men, the Elect are born depraved. The regenerated man responds in faith to the Gospel, whereby the Father justifies him. The act of Justification does *NOT* subjectively change the person–it is a purely legal action. Thus, there is no condemnation for those who are justified even though there is no subjective change in the person at this point! The Spirit then works in the life of a justified person to sanctify that person and conform him to Christ.

Now, where am I wrong?

PWP

http://www.thecalvinist.com

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From: “Christopher Adams”

To: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 11:49:37 -0500

Mr. Pike:

Well, this is at least a partial answer to my 2nd question:

<<2. What did the Atonement actually accomplish? What does the BIBLE say the Atonement accomplished? (Acts 20:28, Rom 5:9, Gal 1:4, Tit 3:5, Heb 10:10, Rev 5:9) Is this what Arminians believe the Atonement accomplished? Is this what YOU believe the Atonement accommplished?>>

In response you wrote: “He lived a perfect life so His righteousness would be imputed to the Elect. He died to take the penalty of sin in place of the Elect. “

Now would you kindly answer the rest of that question, as well as this:

<<1. Do Arminians believe in the atonement? Do they believe in the same KIND of Atonement that the Bible teaches (ie. one that takes away the sin of all for whom it is intended — Isa 45:25, Rom 3:22-26, Rom 8:1, 2Cor 5:21)? Do YOU believe in this kind of Atonement?>>

And now, I’m asking you again, for proof of your accusations: “Your statements make an understanding of Reformed Doctrine a prerequisite for salvation. That is, unless one understands total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints EXACTLY as YOU understand these points, that person is damned.” (11/12/02)

Thanks.

Christopher Adams.

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From: “Christopher Adams”

To: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 11:38 PM

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

Mr. Pike:

I wrote on 11/15/02:

<<I’m asking you again, for proof of your accusations: “Your statements make an understanding of Reformed Doctrine a prerequisite for salvation. That is, unless one understands total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints EXACTLY as YOU understand these points, that person is damned.” (11/12/02)>>

Your post is STILL lacking such proof. While you are digging around for something vaguely resembling your accusations, be sure to check out the article which Marc Carpenter already wrote on this issue: www.outsidethecamp.org/doctregen.htm

You wrote: “Since you did not state anything in disagreement with my soteriology, I have to assume that you agree with everything I wrote.” As written, I agree with your post on 11/14/02. The problem is that you don’t think a person has to believe it to be considered regenerate. This makes the entire post irrelevant in terms of whether Arminians are saved. On 11/14/02, you wrote: “He [Christ] died to take the penalty of sin in place of the Elect.” Do ARMINIANS believe this?

On 11/15/02, you asked: “Is a person saved the moment he is justified?” If by “saved” you mean “regenerated”, I would say yes.

Christopher Adams.

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For more information, please see:

Speaking Peace

Answering the God Haters

Some Form of Perfectionism?

True and False Gospel

February 5, 2012

Charles H. Spurgeon vs. the Gospel, pt. 4

Posted in Charles H. Spurgeon tagged , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Previously, I have looked at how Spurgeon was able to speak peace to Arminians and Catholics, based on his false Gospel. I also looked at how Spurgeon theorized about God abandoning some of his own sovereignty, and how he made himself the objector to Paul’s doctrine of active reprobation. Today, I want to look at Spurgeon’s doctrine of Creation.

Did you know that Spurgeon advocated the “old Earth” theory of Creation? This quote comes from a sermon entitled “Election”, delivered September 22, 1855:

Can any man tell me when the beginning was? Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvellous skill, before he tried his hand at man.” (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0041.htm)

Notice that this is a complete denial that God created the heavens and earth in six days (Gen 1:31, Exo 20:11). By positing the existence of thousands or millions of years as corresponding to the “days” of Genesis ch.1, Spurgeon makes the phrase “morning and evening”, which occurs six times in Genesis, chapter 1, meaningless. (Very ironic, for the guy who published a popular devotional named “Morning and Evening”.)

This, in turn, makes the fourth commandment meaningless as well:

Exo 20: (11) For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all which is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; on account of this Jehovah blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.

This brings Spurgeon’s view of the inspiration of Scripture into serious question.

But there is more. Notice that Spurgeon explicitly said that God not only formed the earth “thousands of years” before creating man, but also that God put “races of creatures upon it, who might die …”. In other words, Spurgeon believed that death existed before the first sin of Adam!

Rom 5: (12) Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned. (13) For sin was in the world until Law, but sin is not charged where there is no law; (14) but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even on those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the coming One.

Rom 6: (23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1Co 15: (21) For since death is through man, also through a Man is a resurrection of the dead; (22) for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Heb 2: (14) Since, then, the children have partaken of flesh and blood, in like manner He Himself also shared the same things, that through death He might cause to cease the one having the power of death, (that is, the Devil);

If death actually preceded sin, then sin and death did not enter the world through one man, sin was in the world before law, death reigned before Adam, the wages of sin is not death, all do not die in Adam, and it was not the devil who had the power of death. In this view, the concepts of sin and death are completely separated, and therefore, righteousness entering the world through one man is meaningless; death is not the wages of sin, but a natural part of life that cannot be changed, even by the death of Christ; and the death of Christ did not destroy the work of the devil. The very need for Christ’s work would have been meaningless. The “old Earth” view of creation thus overthrows the entire Gospel.

And Spurgeon believed in it. Again, we see that Spurgeon consistently stood opposed to the true Gospel, an unregenerate enemy of God and Christ.

For more information, please see:

The Heterodoxy Hall of Shame

Common Grace?

Gospel Atonement

Sermon on Rom 10:1-4 (1)

January 15, 2012

Charles H. Spurgeon vs. the Gospel, pt. 1

Posted in Charles H. Spurgeon tagged , , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Charles H. Spurgeon was one of the most popular preachers of his time, indeed of all time. He was at least as popular in his day as Billy Graham is in our day, a fact which should at least be a little troubling to anyone who shares Spurgeon’s belief in the doctrines of Grace. Have you ever wondered how Spurgeon could believe in and preach about doctrines like Unconditional Election, Effectual Calling, and Perseverance, all while drawing crowds consisting of thousands of people at a time? Well, let’s take a closer look at what Spurgeon really believed and preached about, in his own words.

“A man may be evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold that there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe in the doctrine of perseverance. We hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any wilful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus.” (Effects of Sound Doctrine, April 22, 1860)

Well, here’s one reason Spurgeon might have been able to draw those huge crowds: he didn’t believe that those doctrines like Unconditional Election, Effectual Calling, and Perseverance, were essential parts of the Gospel. Oh, he still believed those doctrines were true, of course, but not that they were essential to the Gospel itself. This effectively removes the offensiveness of those doctrines from the mind of the audience, an approach which is noticeably different from the approach taken by Christ and the apostles (Mat 23; Gal 6:12-14).

Let’s look a little closer at Spurgeon’s arguments.

First, are there “many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling”? The Christian Confession of Faith has this to say about all those who believe the Gospel:

3. Conversion is that grace in which the Holy Spirit causes the sinner to repent and believe the gospel. The regenerate person is given a knowledge and understanding of the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and the realization that he was unregenerate when he believed a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. He counts all of his former life and deeds, whether religious or irreligious, as dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. Conversion is the immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration; therefore, a person may not be regenerated without being converted. There has never existed and will never exist a regenerate person who is ignorant of the gospel. Scripture rejects the lie that an unregenerate person can be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit only leads people to Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation. [Deu 4:34-35; Isa 45:6,20-25; Mat 13:23; Mar 16:16; Joh 6:40; 8:32; 16:8-11; 17:3; Act 16:14-15; Rom 1:16-17; 3:26; 6:17,21; 7:6; 1Co 2:10-12; 2Co 4:2-6; Eph 1:13; Phi 3:7-8; 2Th 2:13-14; Heb 9:14; 1Jo 5:20]

Here are some of the verses that the Confession refers to:

Isa 45:(22) Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (23) I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) He shall say, Only in Jehovah do I have righteousness and strength; to Him he comes; and they are ashamed, all who are angry with Him. (25) In Jehovah all of the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.

Joh 6:(40) And this is the will of the One sending Me, that everyone seeing the Son and believing into Him should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 8:(32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Rom 6:(17) But thanks be to God that you were slaves of sin, but you obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

1Co 2: (10) But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (11) For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. (12) But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.

A sinner is caused to believe the Gospel by a work of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of glorifying Christ, not the sinner. Thus, it is impossible that the Holy Spirit would cause a regenerate person to believe doctrines that glorify the sinner’s role in his own salvation. Conditional Election, and Ineffectual Calling are doctrines that glorify the sinner’s role in his own salvation; therefore, it is impossible that a regenerate person would believe in Conditional Election, Ineffectual Calling, or any other doctrine that denies the Gospel, or glorifies the sinner in any way. So, contrary to Spurgeon, all who are savingly called really do believe in effectual calling.

Second, Spurgeon argues that “the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads”. Now, this head/heart distinction is simply foreign to Scripture; the heart is what thinks, plans, and meditates (Psa 4:4, Psa 77:6, Pro 16:9, Pro 23:7). But more importantly, what Spurgeon is really putting forth here is the idea that there is more to the Gospel than merely knowledge or doctrine, and that this something more is what really separates the saved from the lost. Notice that Spurgeon makes precisely zero effort to define what that something more actually is, but apparently it cannot possibly be doctrine. This of course, is completely anti-Scriptural:

Joh 7: (16) Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but of the One who sent Me. (17) If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the doctrine, whether it is of God, or I speak from Myself.

Rom 6:(17) But thanks be to God that you were slaves of sin, but you obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

Rom 10:(1) Brothers, truly my heart’s pleasure and supplication to God on behalf of Israel is for it to be saved. (2) For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone that believes.

2Jo (9) Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son.

The Gospel is pure doctrine, and nothing else but doctrine. Thus if a person believes doctrines that are contrary to the Gospel, then we do not simply assume the best about them. A Christian must judge them to be lost, and absolutely must “set their fallacies down to … wilful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus”.

Thus we see that Spurgeon was able to gather huge numbers of people to hear him, not in spite of the doctrine he preached, but because of his speaking peace to them, precisely when he should have been telling them that they were lost, and their deeds were evil.

“The controversy which has been carried on between the Calvinist and the Arminian is extremely important, but it does not involve the vital point of personal godliness as to make eternal life depend on our holding either system of theology. … But, I think we are all free to admit, that while John Wesley, for instance, in modern times zealously defended Arminianism, and on the other hand, George Whitefield with equal fervor fought for Calvinism, we should not be prepared either of us, on either side of the question, to deny the vital godliness of either the one or the other. … We are willing to admit, in fact, we dare not do otherwise, that opinion upon this controversy does not determine the future or even the present state of any man; but still, we think it to be so important, that in maintaining our views, we advance with all courage and fervency of spirit, believing that we are doing God’s work and upholding most important truth.” (Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace, April 11, 1861)

Here, Spurgeon makes it explicit that the element he sees as most important in judging the state of a soul is “the vital point of personal godliness”, ie. good works. Notice that at this point, Spurgeon could not even resort to the evasion that Christians are not to judge the spiritual state of others, because he has already judged the spiritual state of Wesley and his fellow Arminians: he has judged them to be saved.

“Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’ I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see the truths, or at least, cannot see them in the way in which we see them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.” (The Man With the Measuring Line, December 11, 1864)

I have already had much to say about the “personal godliness” of John Wesley, but even if his “personal godliness” were as sterling as Spurgeon makes it out to be, he would still be judging Wesley by the wrong standard. The correct standard is doctrine, specifically the doctrine of the Gospel. Without that standard, there is really no limit to the kinds of people Spurgeon could speak peace to:

“In Brussels, I heard a good sermon in a Romish church. The place was crowded with people, many of them standing, though they might have had a seat for a halfpenny or a farthing; and I stood, too; and the good priest — for I believe he is a good man, — preached the Lord Jesus with all his might. He spoke of the love of Christ, so that I, a very poor hand at the French language, could fully understand him, and my heart kept beating within me as he told of the beauties of Christ, and the preciousness of His blood, and of His power to save the chief of sinners. He did not say, ‘justification by faith,’ but he did say, ‘efficacy of the blood,’ which comes to very much the same thing. He did not tell us we were saved by grace, and not by our works; but he did say that all the works of men were less than nothing when brought into competition with the blood of Christ, and that the blood of Jesus alone could save. True, there were objectionable sentences, as naturally there must be in a discourse delivered under such circumstances; but I could have gone to the preacher, and have said to him, ‘Brother, you have spoken the truth;’ and if I had been handling the text, I must have treated it in the same way that he did, if I could have done it as well. I was pleased to find my own opinion verified, in his case, that there are, even in the apostate church, some who cleave unto the Lord, — some sparks of Heavenly fire that flicker amidst the rubbish of old superstition, some lights that are not blown out, even by the strong wind of Popery, but still cast a feeble gleam across the waters sufficient to guide the soul to the rock Christ Jesus. I saw, in that church, a box for contributions for the Pope; he will never grow rich with what I put into it.” (The Proceedings of the Great Meeting in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, August 21, 1860)

Here is the logical conclusion of Spurgeon’s wicked practice of speaking peace to anyone with a form of “personal godliness”. Yes, Spurgeon denounces certain “objectionable sentences” coming from “the strong wind of Popery”, but no actual papists. This is as uncertain a sound as it is possible to make (1Co 14:8), and it all comes down to Spurgeon’s unwillingness to judge according to doctrine.

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For more information about the Gospel as the standard for Right Judgment, please see:

Righteous Judgment

Some Form of Perfectionism?

Speaking Peace to God-Haters

Essential Gospel Doctrine

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