May 25, 2014

bible.ca vs. the Gospel, pt. 33

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

Over the past several months, I have been refuting the false doctrine put forth in the e-Sword module “5 Points of Calvinism Refuted”, and we have finally come to the author’s arguments against the doctrine of Preservation. Last week’s post was a sermon by Marc D. Carpenter on the doctrine of Preservation, and today I’ll be looking at Mr. Rudd’s arguments against that doctrine. (To see the rest of the posts in this series, select ‘Steve Rudd’ from the ‘Categories’ drop down list to the right.) Read the rest of this entry »

April 22, 2012

Mark DeYoung vs. the Gospel, pt. 4

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 DeYoung’s final response to me. Note that he outright refused to discuss any biblical issues unless I first spoke peace to him. Note that he also accused me of being “unwilling” to discuss any biblical issues! Talk about hypocrisy.

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

From: Mark DeYoung

To: Chris Adams, Ken Lokken, Vic Sciavone, etc.

January 27, 2012

Re: Emailing: There is One Elohim

Ken and Vic, 

Jesus warned us of people like Christopher…

Because he will not listen, Jesus said there comes a time we must shake the dust off of our feet, take the peace with us that is given by our God and His son Jesus.

There is never a time that such angry belligerence is considered acceptable, especially in the discussion of the Bible, our faith and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Here is Jesus words of instruction and also word of warning!

Matthew 10:13-20  If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  (14)  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.  (15)  Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.  (16)  “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  (17)  Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues;  (18)  and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.  (19)  When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time;  (20)  for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Christopher, I have spent the last few days since your last email that I was aware of being sent out, as to my response.

Your refusal to “Come and let us reason together” concerning the Word of God, and your constantly foul spirited lambasting of anyone that refuses to accept your definition of God and the plan of salvation, has caused me to realize that this is the best time to say, “Good Day to you sir.” 

Mark D.

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

At this point, Chris Duncan (who runs the outstanding blog Agrammatos) jumped in, nicely summarizing the debate to that point:

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

From: Chris Duncan

To: Mark DeYoung, Chris Adams, etc.

January 28, 2012

Re: Emailing: There is One Elohim

It looks to me like Mark DeYoung is exhibiting angry belligerence toward my brother in Christ, Christopher Adams. Initially, DeYoung was willing to count a Trinitarian as his brother in the Lord since, evidently, he believes the true identity of Jesus Christ to be a non-essential doctrine over which true Christians may disagree. What kind of sense does it make to solemnly warn a person over a non-essential or secondary doctrine?

Does Vic Schiavone think the true identity of Jesus Christ is a non-essential doctrine, over which true Christians may disagree? It seems so, since he just wished nothing but blessing upon him, in his last e-mail. DeYoung is belligerently warning Christopher, and Schiavone is “lovingly” blessing Christopher. DeYoung and Schiavone cannot get on the same page regarding someone who stubbornly refuses to relinquish his belief in a doctrine they believe to be non-essential.

In John 8:24, Jesus connects disbelief in His true identity with a person dying in their sins — evidently, a very small hint of mean-spirited and unChrist-like belligerence is being exhibited here.

More angry, impatient belligerence:

“Who is the liar, except the one denying, saying that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son. Everyone denying the Son does not have the Father. The one confessing the Son also has the Father” (1 John 2:22-23; emphasis mine).

Is a Son who merely came into existence at the time of Bethlehem being described here by John? Does it look like John thinks the true identity of the Son is something over which true Christians may disagree? Not unless, you believe John is calling true Christians antichrists, liars, and those who do not have the Father. So, unlike some of the non-Trinitarians on this list, the apostle John does not believe this is a secondary issue.

Do the non-Trinitarians believe that Trinitarians such as Christopher Adams and myself are denying the Son? How about you, Mr. Buzzard? I’ve seen your debate with James White and Michael Brown (both damnable heretics, by the way), where they voiced “concern” for you and your debate partner — but they lacked the spiritual spine to actually go as far the apostle John went (James White even referenced the apostle John’s words). Mr. Buzzard, in the debate, you had seemingly echoed their “concern” as well:

Sir Anthony:  “… same as we. I’ve been told I don’t believe in God because I believe there’s a devil. I’ve been told I don’t speak in tongues enough so I couldn’t be saved. I’ve heard this from every single denomination. This is nothing new….”

Same as we? What does that mean? Are you saying that you, likewise, are “concerned” over the souls of tolerant Calvinist heretic James White and Arminian heretic, Michael Brown? What’s with the lack of certitude on your, James White’s, and Michael Brown’s parts? Why not come right out and say it like the apostle John did? Can’t bring yourselves to be that mean and belligerent?

Chris Duncan

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

Deadly Ignorance

Righteous Judgment

True vs. False Love, pt. 1

True vs. False Love, pt. 2

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

For more information, please see:

Speaking Peace

Answering the God Haters

Some Form of Perfectionism?

True and False Gospel

February 26, 2012

Peter Pike vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

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 I sent to Mr. Pike. The first letter, with his response is posted here.

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

From: “Christopher Adams” <chris_a@*******.net>

To: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 12:23 PM

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

Mr. Pike:

I notice first off, that you have answered only two of my questions. Since you have promised to post this letter and your reply on your website, I will ask you to answer the first two questions before anything else. For your reference, here is what I asked:

<<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?

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?>>

The rest of my questions are posted below. Please answer them this time.

Also I will expect you to furnish PROOF for your accusations of us. Even one quote would be nice. Thanks.

Now for your response. You wrote: “You have called me a child of Satan. I was unaware that Christ had appointed you as the judge of my soul.”

Then I guess you must have missed Matthew 7:15-20 and John 7:24. I’ll include them here for your convenience:

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

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

Perhaps you missed what Paul (the author of 1 Cor 13) and John (the so-called “Apostle of Love”) said about judging: see Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5:12, Galatians 1:8, 1 John 4:1, 2 John 1:10, Revelation 18:4.

All these verses are *in addition* to the exhortations to love and be joined with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I simply cannot obey both sets of commands (ie. join with the brothers, and separate from false Christians) without JUDGING.

I notice also that you have not hesitated to JUDGE the souls of Arminians: you have judged them to be SAVED.

You also wrote: “Because you think I am mistaken, you have said that I am a child of Satan. This has serious ramifications. Mistaken theology automatically makes one a child of Satan? “

Nice try, but that’s a non-sequitur. A Christian can certainly be mistaken about theology: ecclesiology or eschatology, for example. But a Christian CANNOT be mistaken about the GOSPEL (Isa 45:20, Mk 16:16, Rom 10:3). And I never said you were mistaken about eschatology. I said: “On the other hand YOUR gospel claims to be the power of God; YOUR gospel claims to glorify God as a just God and a Savior; but your god is STILL powerless to move the almighty human will into believing things that glorify his grace. YOUR god is STILL unable to glorify himself in the hearts of his people.”

Next, you wrote: “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.”

Please provide ONE (1) statement where I put forth this idea. Altenatively, you could provide me with a quote from the web site, newsletter, or Marc Carpenter’s sermon tapes. We have been accused of this MANY times before, but somehow, noone ever provides QUOTES. Very strange.

Then you wrote: “You obviously misunderstand Irresistible Grace by stating: “[H]ow is God able to cause a man to believe the Gospel, but (as you think) UNABLE to prevent him from believing ‘a man-based theology that strips God of His right to be “God” and elevates man above what man should be’?” Irresistible Grace refers only to Regeneration, not Sanctification. “

Irresistible Grace refers only to Regeneration, not Sanctification? Let’s look at some Scripture:

Ezekiel 36: (27) And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.

John 8: (31) Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 10: (4) And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (5) But they will not follow a stranger, never! But they will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of the strangers.

Irresistible Grace refers to God’s ability to turn the human will from hating the Gospel, to loving the Gospel. God’s purpose in doing so is not simply to demonstrate his theoretical power to accomplish it, but to glorify himself in the hearts of his elect.

Next, you wrote: “The question you asked, however, gives us great insight into your beliefs. The question you asked demonstrates that you have not thought out your own theology very well. How is it that God is able to cause you to believe the Gospel and yet not fully sanctify you such that you will never sin again? Do you sin, Christopher Adams? If so, why? Does not God have the power?”

Yes I sin. I sin because it is God’s purpose to glorify Jesus Christ in my heart for forgiving the sins I commit even now, and to make me long for heaven, where I will be perfected. That is the way he has ordained it.

Very well, if you prefer the question that way, let me restate it: If God is capable of glorifying himself in the hearts of Arminians (whom you believe to be already regenerate, provided they are not really Pelagians) why DOESN’T he do so? Especially when he has clearly stated that he DOES will to be glorified in the hearts of his regenerate people.

Next, you wrote: “The above point demonstrates that Sanctification is a seperate process from Justification. The Arminian, though justified, is not fully sanctified (nor is the Reformed believer), and as such will not hold to 100% accurate theology. This does not damn the Arminian, for he has been justified. The process of Sanctification will lead him to the truth.”

On the contrary. Sanctification is about becoming more and more like Christ, but Regeneration is about believing the GOSPEL. And the Gospel is PURE doctrine (Isa 45:20, Mk 16:16, Rom 10:3). Please try to explain to me a gospel that doesn’t involve doctrine.

Next, you wrote: “In your zeal, you have corrupted the Gospel from the Good News about how men are saved by Christ.Rather than salvation by faith, you preach a salvation by full understanding of all the intricate workings of God. Rather than having justification as the determining factor in a person’s salvation, you require advanced sanctification. Rather than Christianity, you promote Gnosticism, whereby a secret knowledge is possessed only by you and everyone who disagrees is damned.”

Really? Would you care to explain what that good news is and precisely HOW “men are saved by Christ.” ? How is it that God desires to be glorified in the hearts of his people but somehow (according to you) he FAILS to do this with some of his people? Again, would you care to provide some PROOF for your accusations? Or will you just stick to slinging mud when all else fails?

Lastly, you wrote: “I am not only going to post your letter and my response on my site, but I will also challenge you to debate these issues and post the debate on your site. I will certainly post it on mine.”

Great. I’m going to hold you to that promise. While you are at it, here are the other questions you failed to answer:

<<5. Where does the Bible teach a difference between a man and his theology? How do you interpret Prov 23:7?

6. In your opinion, what is the difference between Arminianism and Pelagianism? What makes Pelagians lost but Arminians saved (in your opinion)?

7. If Calvinism “is the only system of theology that accurately describes the Gospel”, how is it that Arminians can be saved believing things directly CONTRARY to the Gospel?

8. Did you know that hypercalvinists believe that Arminians are saved? The distinguishing mark of a hypercalvinist is the belief that God regenerates people without the means of the Gospel. They then go on to argue that the Arminian could be regenerate, he just hasn’t heard the Gospel yet. Marc Carpenter has written extensively on this blasphemy: “The Irrelevant Gospel“, Outside The Camp, Vol. 5, No. 2, http://www.outsidethecamp.org/review52.htm Nov 10, 2002.>>

Also please don’t forget to provide proof for your accusations of us.

Christopher Adams.

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

For more information, please see:

The Damnable Heresy of Arminianism

Righteous Judgment

The Christian Confession of Faith

Some Form of Perfectionism?

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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