October 20, 2013

bible.ca vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

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

Continuing in my refutation of the e-Sword module “5 Points of Calvinsm Refuted”, we next come to a bizarre section that apparently equates the doctrine of Total Depravity with Infant Baptism, Baptismal Regeneration, Mariolatry, Confirmation, and ‘Faith by Proxy’. The implication seems to be that our anonymous author believes that the doctrine of Total Depravity implies the existence of these doctrines, or at least that those who believe in Total Depravity also believe in these doctrines.

Before getting into the supposed implications of the doctrine of Total Depravity, let’s review the true meaning of this doctrine. Here is how the Christian Confession of Faith defines the doctrine:

2. In so doing, Adam and Eve fell from their original state of innocence into a state of spiritual death and depravity. The guilt and defilement of Adam’s sin has been imputed to all whom he represented (all his natural posterity). The spiritual state of total depravity into which Adam fell has been transmitted to all whom he represented, and all whom he represented became physically subject to decay and death.[Gen 3:7-8,16-24; 5:3-5; Psa 51:5; Rom 3:10-18; 5:12-14,19; 8:5-8; Eph2:1-3; 4:17-19]” (Christian Confession of Faith, III.B.2)

1. Infant Baptism:

Most churches practice infant baptism in order to remove inherited depravity, the guilt of Adam’s sin and most importantly to change their eternal destiny from hell to heaven.

First, note that this statement is made with absolutely no documentation. Second, note that if true, it would completely contradict the doctrine of Unconditional Election; no one’s eternal destiny can be changed. Third, whatever the reason that any church practices Infant Baptism, the truth is that baptizing an infant in no way implies that the infant is elect, or even regenerate. All it really signifies is that a child of a believer is set apart from the world, and being raised within the covenant community, and under the sound of the preaching of the Gospel.

Our author goes on to say:

Infants are not candidates for baptism because:

1. They do not believe: Mar_16:16; The Eunuch asked, “What prevents me from being baptized” Philip replied, “If you believe with all your heart you may.” Act_8:36-40 They cannot repent: Act_2:38

Note that our author has in no way proven that infants cannot believe or repent, it is simply assumed. But on the contrary, John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb “for joy” (Luke 1:44). Nevertheless, as I have stated, infants are not baptized for their belief or repentance, but as symbols of the covenant, just as all Jewish infants were circumcised, whether they were children of the promise or not (Gen 17:23-26).

2. Baptismal Regeneration:

Strangely, our anonymous author gives us this ridiculous definition of Baptismal Regeneration:

Definition: Baptizing someone without their consent, knowledge or understanding for the purpose of forgiveness of sins and saving them from the wrath of hell.

Let’s look at a definition of Baptismal Regeneration from someone who actually believed the doctrine, noted Calvinist, John Wesley:

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

Yes, it turns out that, rather than a baptism of non-consenting people, Baptismal Regeneration actually involves regeneration, and apparently through the means of baptism. Who knew? Anyway, regarding Baptismal Regeneration, I have already written:

But this doctrine reveals a dangerously deficient view of regeneration. It does not define regeneration as moving from a state of condemnation to a state of justification, because it does not see human nature as being in a state of condemnation. That is, it does not see human nature as wholly depraved and unable to do anything pleasing to God, or even prepare itself to receive the grace of God. Instead, it sees human nature as something that is essentially good, which only needs to be cleaned up a little; the “guilt of original sin” may be washed away as easily as you wash your hands. Consequently, this doctrine reveals a dangerously deficient view of sin: the insidiously evil nature of it, the deceitfulness of it, and the pervasive influence of it upon the entire soul of man. It sees sin as something bad, but not a thing that utterly defiles the whole man, body and soul.

Note that, in reality, the doctrine of Total Depravity actually exposes Baptismal Regeneration as a heresy.

3. Mariolatry

It seems that our author believes that Roman Catholics believe in Calvinism, because he (or she) goes on to address several Catholic doctrines as part of the refutation of Calvinism.

1. Jesus was God become flesh, born of a woman-a man: Joh_1:14; Gal_4:4. Inherited sin advocates had to explain why Jesus didn’t inherit the sin of Adam.

2. Britannica #11, “Mary” pg 562, “Attempting to prove the universality of sin against Pelagius,… Augustine (354-430AD)…wrote “We must except the holy Virgin Mary. Out of respect for the Lord, I do not intend to raise a single question of the subject of sin. After all, how do we know what abundance of grace was granted to her who had the merit to conceive and bring forth Him who was unquestionably without sin?”

3. Council of Trent, decreed in 1546 AD, “The doctrine of the conception of all men in sin was not intended to include the Virgin.”

Now, to be fair, Augustine can reasonably be considered a forerunner of John Calvin in proclaiming the doctrines of predestination, election, and Total Depravity. Nevertheless, it is not true that “Inherited sin advocates had to explain why Jesus didn’t inherit the sin of Adam.” Jesus didn’t inherit the sin of Adam because he is God in the flesh, not because of any supposed sinlessness in Mary. If Catholics want to continue to explain the sinlessness of Jesus by appealing to the sinlessness of Mary, that is their problem. It hardly makes them Calvinists.

4. Confirmation

In this, at least, our author gives us a reasonable definition of Confirmation, from an organization that actually believes in it:

“Confirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Ghost comes to us in a special way and enables us to profess faith as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. The word confirmation means a strengthening. We are not certain from Sacred Scripture of the exact time and circumstances of the institution of Confirmation.” (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Pg 265)

But here again, the doctrine of Confirmation, which supposedly goes hand-in-hand with Total Depravity, actually does the opposite. One inference of Total Depravity is that no human action can cause the Spirit to enter a person, because only God can give that gift to one of his elect.

5. Faith by Proxy

Finally, we have the accusation that Calvinism implies the doctrine of ‘Faith by Proxy’. Here is the definition given by our author:

Faith by proxy is where someone else’s faith, saves us when we have no faith of our own.

Now, this is a doctrine I had never heard of before. And the ‘proof’ our author gives for the existence of it simply raises more red flags:

1. “Catholic parents who put off for a long time, or entirely neglect the baptism of their children, commit a mortal sin.” (Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Pg 264)

2. “We (Catholics) promised through our Godparents in baptism to renounce the devil and to live according the teachings of Christ and His church.” (Catechism of Christian Doctrine)

3. A “Dedication ceremony” is where the child is dedicated to God through the parents.

Note how none of the above statements even references a proxy faith. This strongly implies that the author simply made it up out of whole cloth, and just assumed that since it sounded bad, Calvinists must believe it. Note also that, even if Faith by Proxy actually existed, the doctrine of Total Depravity would refute it; since faith is given by God alone, and not produced by the will of man, there is no need for God to accept a proxy faith, since he could simply give the gift of faith to his elect people any time he chose.


For more information, please see:

Gospel Atonement

Sermon on Romans 3:9-18

Sermon on Romans 5:12-21 (1)

Essential Gospel Doctrine

April 8, 2012

Mark DeYoung vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

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

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

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To: Mark DeYoung

From: Chris Adams

January, 23, 2012

Re: Fw: Demon possesion; a few thoughts

Mr. DeYoung —

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

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

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

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

Next, on Psa 2:7, you wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Of Psa 110, you write:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Luk 2:7, you wrote:

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

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

Of Joh 1:1 you wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I urge you to repent and believe it.

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For more information, please see:

The Christian Confession of Faith

Gospel Atonement

Essential Gospel Doctrine

An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness

April 1, 2012

Mark DeYoung vs. the Gospel, pt. 1

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

Recently, I had an email discussion with a man named Mark DeYoung, in response to some things I had written to Ken Lokken. This was our first round of emails; my response will appear next week.

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From: Mark DeYoung

To: Chris Adams

January 20, 2012

Re: Fw: Demon possesion; a few thoughts

Christopher,

I find your position interesting to say the least.

But the Scripture you are using out of context.  In this email I’ll address your first web link Scriptures that were cited.

Deut. 18:15-16  The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;  (16)  According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

In this first passage cited, “the one that shall be like me” (NKJV) Is Moses, not God.  Look at verse 16 for this clarification, the Hebrew people didn’t want to hear the voice of God again, because they feared death at hearing the voice of God.  Check out the story in Exodus 19, the children of Israel are at the base of Mt. Sinai when God speaks to them and they tell Moses to speak to God and ask him to only speak to and through Moses, because they feared death.

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

Psalms 2:7  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

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

In this case the “causatively to beget” is the part that is applicable. Causatively caus·a·tive/ˈkôzətiv/ Adjective: Acting as a cause.  Noun: A causative suffix Synonyms: Casual – Factitive

This definition was supplied by Dictionary.com

Literally God said I will cause Mary to become pregnant!  Any Jew would reject the idea of a baby sired by God.  This is idolatrous in nature that flourished in every society around Israel, and which Israel took part in throughout it’s history. 

So your premise once again is faulty on Psalms 2.

For Psalms 110, I’m going to show the whole chapter… Psalms 110:1-7  A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  (2)  The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.  (3)  Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.  (4)  The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.  (5)  The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.  (6)  He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.  (7)  He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

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

Once again the Jewish people would have taken this to speak of a man, a human being, look at the story of Melchizedek, the fellow was a human being!  This is what the Jewish people would have understood. You will find it in Genesis 14.

Once again, no God-Man here, just a human, but a special act of creation!

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I hope you do not mind I just use some quotes from some widely accepted authors to answer this, and yes there is a good bit of detail on this one.

Ancient and modern Jews, as well as others, believe the text describes a mortal human ruler. They have included in its reference Judah’s King Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz. The following quotations show that not all Trinitarians understand the verse as a reference to Christ only. Many of them accept a possible application initially to Hezekiah and ultimately to Christ. They refer to “Hezekiah, who was very unlike his father Ahaz. This passage is acknowledged, not only by Christians, but by the Chaldee interpreter, to relate in the same manner, but in a more excellent sense, to the Messiah” (Annotationes ad Vetus et Novum Testamentum, by Hugo Grotius, a Dutch Arminian Christian, 1583-1645).

Whether applied to Hezekiah or to Christ or to both, the title “Mighty God” does not, of course, identify the person as God the Father (nor as “God the Son”). Jesus is certainly not his own Father! Others in the Bible are called “gods” because God the Father Himself conferred that title on them. The term “Mighty God” is defined by the leading Hebrew lexicon as a “mighty hero” or “divine hero, reflecting the divine majesty” (Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver and Briggs, p. 42). 

This mighty hero is “a warrior and defender of his people, like God himself” (The Catholic Study Bible, p. 888). It is interesting that the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, who was responsible for the execution of the unitarian scholar Michael Servetus, gave the following reasonable and Scriptural explanation of God’s appointment of other “gods”: “‘I said you are gods.’ Scripture gives the name of ‘gods’ to those on whom God has conferred an honorable office. He whom God has separated to be distinguished above all others [His Son] is far more worthy of this honorable title…The passage which Christ quotes [in John 10:34] is in Psalm 82:6, ‘I have said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High,”’ where God expostulates with the kings and judges of the earth, who tyrannically abuse the authority and power for their own sinful passions, for oppressing the poor, and for every evil action…Christ applies this to the case in hand, that they receive the name of gods, because they are God’s ministers for governing the world. For the same reason Scripture calls the angels gods, because by them the glory of God beams forth on the world…In short, let us know that magistrates are called gods, because God has given them authority” (Commentary on the Gospel According to John, by John Calvin, pp. 419-20).

I’m not sure you listed Luke 2:7, but folks there is no mention of a God-Man in this passage!  There isn’t even any mention in the rest of the chapter!

Luke 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

I know this is the smoking gun so to speak for Trinitarian thought, I was raised knowing this in the Independent Baptist church, but I will qt great lengths go on to refute this idea and give an answer that would be acceptable to the Apostle John, who rested on the shoulder of Jesus, the Christ. You will see my response at the end of the reciting of the verses.

John 1:1,14&18  (1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (14)  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (18)  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

The text simply reads, “In the beginning was the word,” not “In the beginning was the Son.” The substitution of “Son” for “word,” which for millions of readers appears to be an automatic reflex, has had dramatic consequences. It has exercised a powerful, even mesmerizing influence on Bible readers. But the text does not warrant the switch. Again, John wrote: “In the beginning wasthe word.” He did not say, “In the beginning was the Son of God.” There is, in fact, no direct mention of the Son of God until we come to verse 14, where “the word [not the Son] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of a unique Son, full of grace and truth.” Until verse 14 there is no mention of a Son. The Son is what the word became, but what is the word?  

Imagine I told my child, “Our car was once in the head of its designer, and now here it is in our garage.” The child might respond: “How could that car fit into the head of the designer? It would be too big.” Fair point, but based on a large misunderstanding. The application to our problem in John 1:1 is simply this: The fact that the word became the man Jesus, the Son of God, does not necessarily or automatically imply that Jesus, the Son of Godis one-to-one equivalent to the word before Jesus’ birth. What if the word, the self-expression of God, became embodied in, was manifested in, the man Jesus? That makes very good sense of John 1:14. It also avoids the fearful, never-resolved complexities of Trinitarianism by which there are two or three who are fully and equally God. If our theory is right, John will have been speaking about a preexisting divine Purpose, not a second divine person.

 It is commonly known to Bible readers that in Proverbs 8 wisdom was “with [Hebrew, etzel; LXX, para] God.” That is to say, God’s wisdom is personified. It is treated as if it were a person, not that Lady Wisdom was really a female personage alongside God. We accept this sort of language, usually without any confusion. We do not suppose that Prudence, who is said to be dwelling with Wisdom (Prov. 8:12), was herself literally a person. When the famous St. Louis Arch was finally completed after several years of construction a documentary film announced that “the plan had become flesh.” The plan, in other words, was now in physical form. But the arch is not one-to-one equivalent with the plans on the drawing board. The arch is made of concrete; the plans were drawn on paper.

Here is a very remarkable and informative fact: If one had a copy of an English Bible in any of the eight English versions available prior to 1582, one would gain a very different sense from the opening verses of John: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. All things came into being through it, and without it nothing was made that was made.”

  “All things came into being through it [the word],” not “through him.” And so those English versions did not rush to the conclusion, as does the King James Version of 1611 (influenced by the Roman Catholic Rheims version, 1582) and its followers, that the word was a person, the Son, before the birth of Jesus. If all things were made through “the word,” as an “it,” a quite different meaning emerges. The “word” would not be a second personexisting alongside God the Father from eternity. The result: one of the main planks of traditional systems about members in the Godhead would be removed.

 There is more to be said about that innocent sentence: “In the beginning was the word.” There is no justification in the original Greek for placing a capital “W” on “word,” and thus inviting readers to think of a person. That is an interpretation imposed on the text, added to what John wrote. But was that what he intended? The question is, what would John and his readers understand by “word”? Quite obviously there are echoes of Genesis 1:1ff here: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and God said [using His word], ‘Let there be light.’ ” “God said” means “God uttered His word,” the medium of His creative activity, His powerful utterance. Psalm 33:6 had provided commentary on Genesis: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.” And so in John 1:1 God expressed His intention, His word, His self-revealing, creative utterance. But absolutely nothing in the text, apart from the intrusive capital letter on “word” in our versions, turning word into a proper noun, would make us think that God was in company with another person or Son. The word which God spoke was in fact just “the word of God,” the expression of Himself. And one’s word is not another person, obviously.

Sensible Bible study would require that we attempt to understand what “word” would mean in the background of John’s thinking. Commentators have long recognized that John is thoroughly Hebrew in his approach to theology. He is steeped in the Hebrew Bible. “Word” had appeared some 1,450 times (plus the verb “to speak” 1,140 times) in the Hebrew Bible known so well to John and Jesus. The standard meaning of “word” is utterance, promise, command, etc. It never meant a personal being — never “the Son of God.” Never did it mean a spokesman. Rather, word generally signified the index of the mind — an expression, a word. There is a wide range of meanings for “word” according to a standard source. “Person,” however, is not among these meanings.  http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/articles/john1.htm

Christopher I hope you don’t mind the copy and paste, but why should the wheel be reinvented?  Right?

I have quite a bit to do today, well, the rest of the weekend for that matter, I hope this sampling of the first  few passages you had listed proves if anything that Jesus was a special act of creation, but fully human, but minus the shared essence of the Father.

Now if you would like to call and discuss this further by phone or Skype, let’s set up a time that we can do that!  Or anyone for that matter that is listed in the CC’ed section.

I would love to chat!

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For more information, please see:

The Christian Confession of Faith

Gospel Atonement

Essential Gospel Doctrine

An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness

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To: Mark DeYoung

From: Chris Adams

January, 23, 2012

Re: Fw: Demon possesion; a few thoughts

Mr. DeYoung —

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

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

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

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

Next, on Psa 2:7, you wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Of Psa 110, you write:

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Of Luk 2:7, you wrote:

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

Of Joh 1:1 you wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I urge you to repent and believe it.

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

For more information, please see:

The Christian Confession of Faith

Gospel Atonement

Essential Gospel Doctrine

An Open Letter to a Jehovah’s Witness

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, http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history/8_ch16.htm , 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.http://www.ccel.org/b/boettner/predest/2.htm , 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

9http://www.biblestudents.org/absco/photodrama/pd0009.htm#Calvin%20and%20Servetus , 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 ( http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_pro_14071997_en.html , 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:12:5http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk2ch12.html , June 5, 2001;

Comm. on Malachi, Lecture 170 http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol30/htm/iv.ii.ii.htm , June 5, 2001.

20Inst II:16:5+6 http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk2ch16.html, June 5, 2001;

Comm. on II Cor 5:21http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol40/htm/xi.iv.htm , June 5, 2001.

21Inst II:4:3 http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk2ch04.html, June 5, 2001;

Inst III:21:8 http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk3ch21.html, June 5, 2001;

Inst III:23:1+8http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk3ch23.html , June 5, 2001.

22Institutes II:2:14 http://www.smartlink.net/~douglas/calvin/bk2ch14.html , June 5, 2001 (emph mine).

23Comm on Acts 14:17http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol37/htm/ii.iv.htm , 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, Floridahttp://www.mountzion.org/text/comeunto.rtf , June 5, 2001].

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

26Comm. on Jude 4, http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol45/htm/viii.iii.htm , June 5, 2001.

27Comm. on Ac 20:28,http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol37/htm/viii.v.htm , June 5, 2001.

28Commentary on the Harmony of the Law, vol. 3, Exodus 20:12, http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_vol05/htm/ii.htm , June 5, 2001; emph. added

29Dominion and Common Grace, http://freebooks.commentary.net/freebooks/sidefrm2.htm , June 5, 2001.

30J. Budziszewski, “Apostles of Common Grace” http://www.calvin.edu/henry/budlect.htm , 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 http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/07-96/12/12.html , June 5, 2001.

March 13, 2011

Alex Aquino vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

Posted in Alex Aquino tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:50 PM by chriswadams

A few months ago, I came across a website of a group in the Philippines called “Bastion of Truth Reformed Church”. I sent a mass e-mail to the group, and what follows is the next round of my debate with one of their members, Alex Aquino (Mr. Aquino’s comments are in angle brackets like << this >>):

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

Mr. Aquino,

You wrote:

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

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

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

<<Interestingly, the materials and authors we post on our website (whom your illustrious ministry excitedly condemns) have contributed much to make us less and less popular.>>

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

<<More interestingly, because of our stance reflected in those authors’ writings we are even often associated and identified with OTC! Of course, that isn’t fair with OTC, is it Mr. Adams?>>

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

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

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

<<We post those materials in our website because we believe the messages by themselves are true and that they express what we wish to convey. >>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CA: It is disappointing. Typical, but disappointing

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

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

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

Chris Adams.

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