April 26, 2015

Christian Confession of Faith (with full Scripture quotes) — The Law

Posted in Christian Confession tagged , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

V. SALVATION

A. The Law Read the rest of this entry »

April 29, 2012

bergref vs. the Gospel

Posted in Bergref tagged , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Several years ago, I posted the article “Gospel Atonement” on a discussion board called “theChan”; the site has since been redesigned, and the following discussion was removed. The first section is a reply from someone with the handle “bergref”, followed by my response:
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Hello fellow followers of Christ

Let us assume that every verse in the Bible has some truth, some value. Then we can agree that the verses quoted are true.

I believe they are, but are they complete? Is the doctrine painted complete? Think about the souls that accept this doctrine as complete. Where does “If you do not believe as I a human does, then eternal damnation to you ” come from?

Arminius believed that mans free will was directed by God.

Calvin believed that justification was obtained through faith.

To understand that in the end, atonement will be for his remnent, and then pervert that to take away the universal invitation, and to confuse the two is a clear doctrine of man and ignores the invitation given to all .

My estimation is there are at least a 80 percent more verses directly implying a universal invitation then there are implying being chosen.

I am not implying universal atonement , just the obvious invitation to accept what was done by the blood. Should humans place any credit to themself when God regenerates them to a corect belief ? Your doctrine is amiss in its understanding that God desires a covenant so strong in belief that we forsake all to follow Him.

Now suppose that you had the chance to ask your congregation to stand if their children at a young age commited their life to the Lord. Then ask each parent to sit down if in their heart of hearts believed that every one of their children were living out their calling. Note how many still stand. Those standing gave their best for their children yet The promise they hold on to not yet acomplished. Their children have fallen to our culture, in your doctrine there is not one drop of hope, not even one. there is no incentive to try, denying all the Gospel promises.

I can and will not allow myself to be the Judge of attonement but lay my case to those who can read to have strength that God somehow does call some and not all, and that our commision is to explain the invitation to all and be a kind of person that there is a testimony in their walk, not a finger pointer to all those who do not believe as they do.

In Christian love. John

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Hello again. I have been offline lately, due to a move, but I’m back online now. I would like to respond to some things written by bergref:

1. bergref wrote: <>

[CA] From your imagination. This is not about believing what Chris Adams says or believes, it is about believing the Gospel. The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. [Psa 22:1-18; 32:1; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; Act 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 5:7; 6:20; 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; 2:13-17; Col 1:14,20-22; 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10,17; 9:12-14,26-28; 10:10-18; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jo 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5; 5:9]. As part of believing the gospel, all regenerate persons have repented of dead works and former idolatry. They have repented of ever thinking that salvation was conditioned on themselves. They have repented of ever thinking that anything they did would gain favor with God. They realize that before hearing and believing the true gospel, all their works were evil in the sight of God. [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]

Furthermore, I’m not making judgements about where someone will spend eternity. I can’t and don’t send people to “eternal damnation”. But I DO make judgements about a person’s current spiritual state, whether regenerate or unregenerate [Isa 8:20; 45:20; Mat 7:15-20; Mar 16:16; Luk 6:43-45; Joh 7:24; Rom 10:1-3; 1Co 5:11-12; Ga1 1:8-9; 1Jo 4:1,6; 2Jo 9]

2. bergref also wrote: <>

[CA] bergref, would you be so kind as to provide a *quote* from the article (or anywhere on the website, for that matter) that “take[s] away the universal invitation”? Thanks.

The command to repent and believe the Gospel is preached to all without exception. But that is not because there is some desire on the part of God for the salvation of all without exception. It is because God has not revealed to us who is elect, and who is not, and therefore he commands us to preach the Gospel to all without exception, trusting that the Gospel will be a savor of life to life for the people of God, and a savor of death to death for those who are not (2Co 2:16) “For many are called, but few chosen”(Mat 22:14).

3.bergref also wrote: <>

[CA] The doctrine put forth in the “Gospel Atonement” article is the ONLY ground of hope. It is the good news that Jesus Christ has accomplished EVERYTHING necessary for the salvation of his people [Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; 27:35-50; Mar 15:24-37; Luk 23:33-46; 24:46; Joh 11:49-52; 19:16-30; Act 17:3; 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 5:7; 6:20; 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; 2:13-17; Col 1:14,20-22; 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10,17; 9:12-14,26-28; 10:10-18; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jo 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5; 5:9]. It is not hope as the world thinks of hope, but a hope based exclusively on the finished work of Jesus Christ, with nothing left over for the sinner to accomplish towards his salvation. This is a hope which can never be disappointed.

4. Last, bergref wrote:

<to be the Judge of attonement but lay my case to those who can read to have strength that God somehow does call some and not all, and that our commision is to explain the invitation to all and be a kind of person that there is a testimony in their walk, not a finger pointer to all those who do not believe as they do.

In Christian love. John>>

[CA] I’m not setting myself up as “the Judge of attonement”. But I AM setting forth the biblical doctrine of the Atonement, and what it accomplishes on behalf of all for whom it is intended.

As far as pointing fingers, yes I am most certainly pointing fingers. The true Gospel is best understood in contrast with the false gospels. Jesus, Paul, and John all pointed fingers (Mat. 16:12; 23:13; 2Ti. 2:17; 3Jo. 1:9; Rev. 2:15, 20).

bergref, you wrote that you were “not implying universal atonement”. Do you believe that any for whom Christ died are in Hell, or will go to Hell? If so, that is not “Christian love” but “Satanic hatred”. It is proclaiming that the work of Jesus Christ accomplished NOTHING of itself, but only becomes effectual when the sinner does his part.

Chris Adams.

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bergref replied with to this post with a single line. Here it is with my response:

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bergref wrote:

<<Why not just say you believe it is heresy, and let everyone decide themselves?….John>>

[CA] I would be willing to call Universal Atonement merely a heresy if it only had reference to, say, Eschatology. But it doesn’t. Universal Atonement rips the heart out of THE GOSPEL. If the blood of Jesus Christ doesn’t atone for ALL for whom it is intended, then you are left with a salvation which is dependent on MAN, and that is no salvation.

Would you make the same objection if I had said that all who deny the deity of Jesus Christ are lost? Would you say: “Why not just say you believe [denying the deity of Christ] is heresy, and let everyone decide themselves?” All who deny the deity of Jesus Christ rip the heart out of the Gospel, also. The doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ is just as fundamental to the Gospel as is the doctrine of his work.

If you “decide for yourself” that you just don’t agree with the doctrine of Jesus’ deity, then you are denying the Gospel. In that case it would not be love, but HATRED, to tell you that everything is well with your soul. The exact same thing is true of those who deny the effectual WORK of Christ.

Christopher Adams. (4/11/06)

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For more information please see:

Righteous Judgment

Shares In His Evil Works

Christian Unity

The Christian Confession of Faith

March 18, 2012

Peter Pike vs. the Gospel, pt. 5

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 fourth round of letters between Mr. Pike and I.

Our 1st exchange;

Our 2nd exchange;

Our 3rd exchange;

Our 4th exchange.

Note that this part of the exchange doesn’t appear at the link given above.

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—– Original Message —–

From: “Christopher Adams”

To: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

Sent: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 11:49 AM

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

—– Original Message —–

From: <debate@thecalvinist.com>

To: <chris_a@shoreham.net>

Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 6:51 PM

Subject: Re: Child of Satan?

[PP] I would love to answer your questions about the Arminian.

[CA] Liar.

[PP] However, I still don’t think the Arminian is relevant at this point in time and therefore it makes no difference what the Arminian believes. Remember, you said *I* was unregenerate. ME PERSONALLY. Let me state the problem I have with what you said.

First of all, you say that I am “unregenerate” and “a child of Satan.”

You are saying that my faith is invalid. You can say all you want about how this is *NOT* really “damning” me, but I see no practical difference. Therefore, I am NOT slandering you by saying you said I was damned; but I OUGHT to take great offense at your slander of my faith.

[CA] Fine, you can take all the offense you want. But you are still not responding to what I said. I said you are speaking peace to lost people. ***THAT*** is why I say you are lost, and therefore unregenerate.

If you see no practical difference between “now unregenerate” and “predestined for Hell” then I don’t know what else to tell you. I think your blindness on that issue is intentional, so you won’t have to deal with what I really believe.

Here’s a quote from the article I pointed out, which you obviously didn’t read:

“Does this mean that we are saying that they will surely go to hell? No. It is saying that they are currently in an unregenerate state. If these lost people continue in their unregenerate state (i.e., if God does not regenerate them), then they will go to hell. But there have been many who have been lost Arminians or lost tolerant “Calvinists” whom God has saved, showing that they were not reprobate.”

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/fte34.htm

[PP] In any case, let me try to generate more light and less heat here. I can deal with false accusations about my faith. They don’t bother me because *I* know whom I believe.

You have several problems with your theology. First of all, I noticed on your site that there are many people you no longer support whom you once did. For example, A.W. Pink and John Calvin. The article on Pink was entitled: “Why we no longer endorse Arthur W. Pink.” This *CLEARLY* shows you once did endorse him. Further, the opening line says, “Here we are again with a disendorsement of someone whom we previously endorsed.” It further states about Calvin: “In the historical realm, we had to disendorse John Calvin.” Again, clearly demonstrating that you once endorsed these people.

But you wrote to me: “I made the accusation that you are unregenerate because you speak peace to unregenerate people.” You endorsed Calvin and Pink, speaking peace to unregenerate men. Am I justified in saying that you were unregenerate during the time you endorsed Calvin and Pink? After all, did you not write to me (about Arminians): “But if they are unregenerate, then you, as well as they, are lost”? Is it not the case that if Calvin is unregenerate, then at the time you endorsed him you, as well as he, was lost? But why stop there? Maybe one of the people you currently endorse you will later be forced to disendorse, meaning that you are CURRENTLY speaking peace to those an unregenerate, so you are not regenerate yourself!

[CA] Nice try, but the distinction is *knowledge*. If there is someone I speak peace to, who speaks peace to the unregenerate, then I don’t *know* about it. If someone is telling me they don’t speak peace when they really do, I’m not responsible for judging that.

YOU on the other hand, KNOWINGLY speak peace to a group of people who strip God of his rightful glory in the Gospel. You realize they do this, yet you continue to speak peace to them.

[PP] I would imagine that you think you *WERE* regenerate at that time and *ARE* now. The premise “You are unregenerate because you speak peace to unregenerate people” is therefore invalid, for you did this very thing, and MAY BE DOING IT RIGHT NOW, and yet you believe you are regenerate at thattime and in the present.

As you should plainly see, your premise is absurd! It makes yoursalvation dependent, not upon Christ or even on what you believe, but upon what OTHER PEOPLE BELIEVE and whether or not THEY are right. This is not only anti-Biblical, but irrational.

[CA] Let’s see:

A few premises:

A. All saved people believe the Gospel (Mk 16:16, Rom 1:16).

B. All who do not believe the Gospel are lost (Isa 45:20, Rom 10:3).

C. The Gospel gives all the glory to God. (Isa 45:24, Rom 3:21-26)

Combining A and C, we get: D. All saved people (give all the glory to

God).

Combining B and C, we get: E. All who do not (give all the glory to God) are lost.

Two more premises:

F. Arminians do not give all the glory to God (note: you stated this on your website)

G. All who speak peace to those who are lost, are themselves lost (Jer 8:11, 2 Jn 11)

Combining E and F, we get:

E. All who do not (give all the glory to God) are lost.

F. Arminians do not give all the glory to God.

H. Therefore, Arminians are lost.

Combining H and G, we get: I. All who speak peace to (Arminians) are themselves lost.

Now, noting that Peter Pike speaks peace to Arminians we declare him lost, unregenerate, a child of Satan, based on (I.) above.

[PP] I therefore *DEMAND* that you recant your allocation that I am unregenerate because you based it on a faulty premise that I have proven to be false.

[CA] Not until you can show me the problem with the above reasoning.

[PP] And what about “blasphemous” theology? Have you read Galatians 2, specifically verses 14-21? Peter denied Justification by Faith Alone by withdrawing from fellowship with the Gentiles. Paul rightly pointed out his hypocrisy, for Peter denied the very BASIS of the Gospel. But the question *YOU* have to ask yourself is: Was Peter unregenerate at that point? I ask you to read Acts 2 and ask yourself if Peter was saved when he made that speech, and then realize that it came *LONG* before Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul, so it was WELL before Peter denied the Gospel to be rebuked by Paul! So either Peter’s denial of salvation by faith alone was done DESPITE the fact that Peter was regenerate (and therefore regenerate people *CAN* teach blasphemous thelogy) or else Peter was unregenerate when he gave the speech in Acts 2 (in which case unregenerate people can give divine instruction about how to be saved). Which is it to be?

[CA] At the risk of having you ignore this one too, I’ll point you to an article that already dealt with your accusation: http://www.outsidethecamp.org/galatians.htm

[PP] You ask: <<< Why in the world would God regenerate a person, and then cause that person to believe that the Christ did *not* die specifically for the elect, that it is *not* all settled, that he did *not* have the elect in mind, etc. etc.? In short, why would God regenerate a person WITHOUT glorifying himself in that person’s heart? >>>

Well, why in the world would God regenerate the Apostle Peter and allow him to deny Sola Fide and earn the condemnation of Paul?

The error you are falling into is assuming that there is only ONE WAY for God to glorify Himself in a person’s heart, and that way is by illuminating them to the knowledge of the doctrines of grace. The fact is, God glorifies Himself even through errors in a person’s theology.

[CA] Please explain to me how God glorifies himself in a person’s heart by having that person give glory to Man. This I’ve got to hear. (Please include Scripture references. Thanks.)

[PP]Your question here ultimatley makes no sense. If God is most glorifiedwhen we understand salvation fully, then why doesn’t God grant everyone 100% understanding of Him when they are saved? Is it not the case that you yourself need sanctification? Using your argumentation, every time you sin God is shown to *NOT* be glorified fully in your life, and therefore you are damned. Yet you know this is not the case, because you know that God will be glorified *THROUGH* your repentance. Why is it that you deny God can be glorified through the Arminian?

[CA] I am *not* talking about any old sin. I *AM* talking about the sin of not believing the GOSPEL. This is the sin Arminians commit, and I DON’T.

[PP] You cannot make an issue of glorification equivalent with salvation in the first place. Did not God glorify Himself through Pharaoh? And yet

Pharaoh was *DAMNED*. Is it not the case that the just punishment of the wicked glorifies God? How can you use God’s glory to determine if someone is saved? God is glorified *EITHER* way!

[CA] Interesting analogy. What did Pharoah BELIEVE? He believed he could make a decision whether to obey God INDEPENDENTLY from what God wanted. Sound familiar? God was not glorified in what Pharaoh believed, was he? Therefore, God was glorified by Pharaoh in his DESTRUCTION.

But wait a minute. Do you really mean to say that God sent Pharaoh to Hell, just because Pharaoh’s theology wasn’t 100% accurate? Just because he didn’t give all the glory to God? Just because he tried to reserve some glory for himself? Do you really mean a person’s knowledge of God has to be perfect in order for him to go to heaven? I thought you said salvation was dependent on what Christ did for that person, not on what they believe? What are you trying to say here, Mr. Pike?

[CA] <<< Mr. Pike, noone is saved BECAUSE of what they believe, but God ***ALWAYS*** glorifies himself in the hearts of his regenerate people, by causing them to believe the GOSPEL, a Gospel which glorifies him as a just God and a Savior. >>>

[PP] I agree. No one is saved because of what they believe but because of what Christ did. We are saved by *GRACE* applied through faith (also given by God). Furthermore, I agree that God *DOES* glorify Himself in the hearts of His Elect by regenerating them and giving them faith in the Gospel—a Gospel that *DOES* glorify God as a just God and Savior.

[CA] SO WHAT??? No matter what you profess to believe, you also believe a person can be saved believing the OPPOSITE of the Gospel. This shows that you place NO SAVING VALUE on the Gospel.

Let me put it to you this like this:

If you changed from believing Calvinism, to believing Arminianism, you would still consider yourself saved. Correct? If so, then it shows that you do not believe that it is necessary to believe the Gospel in order to be saved.

[PP] But you have *NOT* demonstrated where *MY* faith in God does not do this, even if the Arminian is damned. Why do you think *I MYSELF* cannot glorify God in my heart even though I believe a theological error (according to you, anyway)?

[CA] I have answered this so many times, it’s getting redundant. As I said above, No matter what you profess to believe, you also believe a person can be saved believing the OPPOSITE of the Gospel. This shows that you place NO SAVING VALUE on the Gospel.

Christopher Adams.

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For more information, please see:

Three Reasons Why Arminians Are Not Saved

Shares In His Evil Works

Are All Arminians Unsaved?

Gospel Repentance and Judgment

June 22, 2010

John MacArthur vs. the Gospel, pt. 4

Posted in John MacArthur tagged , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Yesterday, I went over John MacArthur’s promotion of a universal love of God for the reprobate. Today, I’ll go over his arguments for this view.

MacArthur quotes the writings of Errol Hulse to support his view:

Yet Hulse realizes that if we take Scripture at face value, there is no escaping the conclusion that God’s love extends even to sinners whom He ultimately will condemn. “The will of God is expressed in unmistakable terms,” Hulse writes. “He has no pleasure in the destruction and punishment of the wicked” (Ez. 18:32; 33:11). Hulse also cites Matthew 23:37, where Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem, then says, “We are left in no doubt that the desire and will of God is for man’s highest good, that is his eternal salvation through heeding the gospel of Christ.” (Ibid., 21–22) (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA193 , June 12, 2010)

Ezekiel indeed says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Even so, we are never told that this is because of any love that God has for the wicked. Inserting a universal love of God here is conjecture, at best.

And while Jesus certainly wept over Jerusalem, and expressed a frequent desire to gather her children, Scripture does not say that that desire was because of any love that he had toward Jerusalem. On the contrary, the love he expresses is toward her children. His complaint is not towards a group of people whom he loved, but who spurned and refused his love; his complaint is towards the leaders of Jerusalem who refused to tolerate his presence and preaching. They would not allow him to enter Jerusalem and gather his beloved children.

MacArthur also cites the story of the rich young ruler:

Mark 10 relates a familiar story that illustrates God’s love for the lost. It is the account of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and began asking Him a great question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” … That is the last we ever see of this man in the New Testament. As far as the biblical record is concerned, he remained in unbelief. But notice this significant phrase, tucked away in Mark 10:21: “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him.” Here we are explicitly told that Jesus loved an overt, open, non-repentant, non-submissive Christ-rejector. He loved him. (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA193 , June 12, 2010)

We aren’t told anything more about that rich young ruler, but we do know this: God saves those whom he loves. Consequently, this man had to have been saved later in life. We cannot  assume that Jesus is here expressing a helpless, ineffectual love for that man, simply because we hope it is true.

The doctrine of God’s Universal Love is a lie that cheapens the love that he has for his beloved bride. Imagine a man who tells his wife that he certainly loves her, and is willing to lay down his life for her, but just happens to have a similar, though totally ineffective, love for all the women in the world. Should she be pleased with such a pathetic, offensive expression of marital love? Yet this is exactly the kind of love that people like MacArthur ascribe to Jesus Christ.

Finally, if God has a universal love for all mankind, what happens to that love when a person goes to Hell? Does it change into hatred? Or is God eternally sad that someone he loves went to Hell?

Praise God that his love never changes; it is as eternal and unchangeable as he is himself. After all, if his “love” for the non-elect could change, then his love for the elect could change as well; but he has promised us that that is impossible.

And praise God that he saves everyone whom he loves, not one of them can be lost. Since the righteousness of Christ is imputed to every one of God’s people in time, their salvation is as sure and certain as the crucifixion. “He shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.” (Isa 53:11)

For more on this topic, please see the articles Common Grace?,  and Christ Crucified: God’s Love Manifested, by Marc D. Carpenter.

June 21, 2010

John MacArthur vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

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

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

God’s love for mankind reaches fruition in the election of those whom He saves. And not every aspect of divine love is extended to all sinners without exception. Otherwise, all would be elect, and all would ultimately be saved. But Scripture clearly teaches that many will not be saved (Matt. 7:22–23). Can God sincerely love those whom He does not intervene to save? (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA193 , June 12, 2010)

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

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

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

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

But, inconsistently, he goes on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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