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.


Anonymous said...

You have grown a great deal on the KJONLY issue. I remember many years ago, you scoffed at James White. In fact I was brought into it as well over the years along with you. I of course came from the Old NASB which I still enjoy but yes, I still have the KJV ..

AuthenticTruth said...

Yes, initially I did scoff at White...unfortunately. But I still had to reluctantly admit that he had some valid points. Valid points that caused me to begin to question some things and look into the KJV issue a little deeper. I am certainly glad that I picked up his book, "The King James Only Controversey". I cetainly recommend it.