Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some Twisted Logic

It really annoys me to observe the profound prejudice against the Doctrines of Grace, God’s sovereign election of individuals to salvation, or what is simply referred to as Calvinism. There were certainly some disagreements here and there over certain points of theology amongst the reformers. Yet deeply rooted in the teaching of the Reformers was the recognition that the gift of Salvation is wrought purely by the work of the Holy Spirit through the regeneration of man’s heart, not the efforts of man. I have observed this extreme prejudice over the years to be particularly prevalent in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches, especially in those who hold very strongly to the KJVOnly position concerning Bible translations. But the prejudice is certainly not limited to IFB churches. In fact, just observe the controversy within the SBC today over the doctrines of grace. Yet I find the prejudice to be founded upon ignorance of the biblical teaching of the doctrines of grace, and often seem to be rooted in fears over hyper-Calvinism, which does not represent the biblical teaching of God’s sovereign grace. For a good article on the issue of hyper-Calvinism, read Phil Johnson's "A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism". I too am staunchly opposed to hyper-Calvinism; it is a very unbiblical view. But the biblical teaching of God’s sovereignty in election is in no way connected with this error.

But I happened to be visiting the website of a church I am familiar with located deep in the Midwest. I happened to notice a list of recommended books. Of the books listed was one of Dave Hunt’s books, “What Love is This?” which is his attack on Calvinism. For a good critique and information on Hunt’s book, you may want to read about it on James White’s website, in particular his article, “The Great Calvinistic Conspiracy”.

In a list of recommended books, they had Hunt’s book listed, claiming that it is a “must read” for anyone inclined to stand in defense of the Gospel against “the poison of Calvinistic influences”. They even wrote - as Dave Hunt has so falsely claimed - that it is “rooted in Roman Catholicism”. But what really got me was that while they took shots at Calvinism, they also recommended a couple of books written by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who was a devoted 5-point Calvinist. Talk about twisted logic! First they side with Dave Hunt, giving his book “What Love is This?” a glowing endorsement, then recommend the writing of a man who embraces the very teaching that they (and wrongly so) deem as a “poison”. But then again, they may be wrongly claiming, as Hunt does, that Spurgeon denied such things a particular redemption. Let me assure you, Spurgeon affirmed particular redemption. (Read the article by James White, “Dave Hunt vs. Charles Haddon Spurgeon”)

I am familiar with this particular church, and for the most part they have a good ministry that has touched the lives of multitudes of people over many years. They are not a legalistic IFB church by any means, but I do take issue over a couple of issues including this one as well as the Bible translation issue (they do “hold to”, as they put it, the King James Version as the standard for English speaking people). They were instrumental (as well as a few others) in leading me down the unfortunate path of KJVOnlyism a number of years ago. They are not belligerent toward people who use other translations outside of their church, but they are insistent on its use within the ministry of theirs. However, unlike many IFB churches that feel strongly about the KJV, they are fortunately not of the legalistic vein.

I just find it amazing that there is so much confusion, misunderstanding and downright misrepresentation of the doctrines of grace. I certainly wish people would look into the matter, seeking credible sources and take the time to study more in depth, rather than turning to grossly misinformed men like Dave Hunt.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Well I finally finished up with my school project and I am thankful that it is finally over. It may be awhile though before I get up to speed with posting again, especially with Christmas coming up. Since my school project took an extraordinarily large amount of my time and energy, I have not had much time to spend with my wife and kids, so we are making up for lost time.

I want to start writing some articles on the biblical role of a pastor and what constitutes a healthy church. Since our church is currently in the process of looking for a pastor, this subject is near and dear to my heart. I believe our church is at a critical turning point, and I hope the events of the last thirty days are going to be a wake-up call and an opportunity to get serious about biblical ministry. I am not going to go into details right now, but this month has certainly been rough. I see many glaring weaknesses in our church that I have been warning many about for the past few years, and I think that we are seeing the result of not sticking to Scripture in our approach to ministry. There has been a continual drift toward pragmatism and in particular, an influx of the influence of postmodernism. I certainly hope that there will be a correction that will lead us back to a biblical model for the church. We are in dire need of a well seasoned pastor who is serious about the Word of God. I just hope that all who are involved in the process of the search take things from a biblical standpoint. I know that there are several godly men who love God’s Word who are involved in this decision, but I also question the wisdom of some others. I hope that you will keep us in your prayers as we go through the process of searching for a pastor. Please pray that the solid, biblically grounded men will have a strong influence in making the right choice.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spurgeon on Grace

Excerpt from: The Doctrines of Grace Do Not Lead to Sin

August 19th, 1883

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."--Romans 6:14, 15.

Last Sabbath morning I tried to show that the substance and essence of the
true gospel is the doctrine of God's grace--that, in fact, if you take away
the grace of God from the gospel you have extracted from it its very life-
blood, and there is nothing left worth preaching, worth believing, or worth
contending for. Grace is the soul of the gospel: without it the gospel is
dead. Grace is the music of the gospel: without it the gospel is silent as to
all comfort. I endeavoured also to set forth the doctrine of grace in brief
terms, teaching that God deals with sinful men upon the footing of pure
mercy: finding them guilty and condemned, he gives free pardons,
altogether irrespective of past character, or of any good works which may
be foreseen. Moved only by pity he devises a plan for their rescue from sin
and its consequences--a plan in which grace is the leading feature. Out of
free favour he has provided, in the death of his dear Son, an atonement by
means of which his mercy can be justly bestowed. He accepts all those who
place their trust in this atonement, selecting faith as the way of salvation,
that it may be all of grace. In this he acts, from a motive found within
himself, and not because of any reason found in the sinner's conduct, past,
present, or future. I tried to show that this grace of God flows towards the
sinner from of old, and begins its operations upon him when there is
nothing good in him: it works in him that which is good and acceptable,
and continues so to work in him till the deed of grace is complete, and the
believer is received up into the glory for which he is made meet. Grace
commences to save, and it perseveres till all is done. From first to last,
from the "A" to the "Z" of the heavenly alphabet, everything in salvation is
of grace, and grace alone; all is of free favour, nothing of merit. "By grace
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of
God," "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but
of God that sheweth mercy."

No sooner is this doctrine set forth in a clear light than men begin to cavil
at it. It is the target for all carnal logic to shoot at. Unrenewed minds
never did like it, and they never will; it is so humbling to human pride,
making so light of the nobility of human nature. That men are to be saved
by divine charity, that they must as condemned criminals receive pardon by
the exercise of the royal prerogative, or else perish in their sins, is a
teaching which they cannot endure. God alone is exalted in the sovereignty
of his mercy; and the sinner can do no better than meekly touch the silver
scepter, and accept undeserved favour just because God wills to give it:--
this is not pleasant to the great minds of our philosophers, and the broad
phylacteries of our moralists, and therefore they turn aside, and fight
against the empire of grace. Straightway the unrenewed man seeks out
artillery with which to fight against the gospel of the grace of God, and one
of the biggest guns he has ever brought to the front is the declaration that
the doctrine of the grace of God must lead to licentiousness. If great
sinners are freely saved, then men will more readily become great sinners;
and if when God's grace regenerates a man it abides with him, then men
will infer that they may live as they like, and yet be saved. This is the
constantly-repeated objection which I have heard till it wearies me with its
vain and false noise. I am almost ashamed to have to refute so rotten an
argument. They dare to assert that men will take license to be guilty
because God is gracious, and they do not hesitate to say that if men are not
to be saved by their works they will come to the conclusion that their
conduct is a matter of indifference, and that they may as well sin that grace
may abound.

[This article can be viewed in its entirety at Bible Bulletin Board]

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Not Much Time

I am not going to have much time to post over the next couple of weeks. I am working on a final school project that is due on December 18 and there is an almost overwhelming amount of work to get done. I have been spending many late nights working on it and I can't wait until it is over. So any posts that I may have until December 18 are likely to be very short. The good news is that I will be finally finished on December 18!