"When I look at the rest of the paper and the kind of clowns that they are promoting, it's no wonder they don't have a clue. It is a theologically bankrupt publication."

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Jonathan Charles's picture

I run across this paper a couple of times a year at my dad's house. It is nothing but a few old sermons and tons and tons of advertisements.

Ron Bean's picture

The sooner sane fundamentalists separate themselves from the SOL crowd and their ilk (Schaap, etc.) the better. Does anyone in the FBF understand this?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

JohnBrian's picture

In the 2nd of the above 2 articles, the writer references a Spurgeon sermon on Rev 22:17. That sermon, and many others, are available in PDF format at www.spurgeongems.org. where you can search by Scripture text.

http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols7-9/chs442.pdf ]God's Will and Man's Will

I wrote a letter to Shelton Smith last week about the current Calvinism articles in SOTL.

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

A response.

I do not have high regard for the SOL publication. It contains the gospel, praise be to God. It contains, now and then, some enlightenment for a believer, praise be to God. Often it contains directions to erring views and unhealthy ministries, shame on those responsible, but they won't account to me, rather at the Bema Seat.

As to the response of the "Reforming Baptist" they make the following assertion under free will:

Quote:
I've never heard a Calvinist teach that grace is imposed. It's the usual "God drags people kicking and screaming against their will" argument. I've never heard a Calvinist say that man doesn't have a choice either. He has a genuine choice, but he is only able to choose according to the inclination of his own nature. A definite understanding of what free will means is never dealt with by those who oppose Calvinism. However, the Reformed view explains biblically how the will works. They will choose to do the will of their father:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will (desire, want or intend) do.
There is much more than I can say Biblically about this argument, but Jesus' commentary on the unregenerate will is clear enough. They will only do that which is in line with their father's nature. So, the will of the unregenerate is in bondage to sin and does not have the power of contrary choice...that is the Biblical view of man's will.
With this there is a rather stark inconsistency facing this assertion.

While in case #1, the unregenerate man, the claim is that he cannot do that which is contrary to his will which they (RB) view is in bondage to sin and qualify this in a severe context, hence he will always, according to these men and assertions of the Reformed view (their words), do that which is sinful because they are n bondage to sin.

In case #2, the man that has Christ as Savior, the issue of his choice again arises. However, the argument proposed by these men and of the Reformed view (their words), is that men who have Christ "will choose to do the will of their father".

The problem, is of course, is that they do not qualify how often.

While case #1 is treated in absolute terms, case #2 is not. Why is this important? Because in the context of Reformed arguments which assert men must be regenerated before they can believe and be saved, there is a de facto (or default) assumption in this formula that regeneration will always lead to to choosing to do the will of the father, hence believe the gospel.

While one might argue for case #1, the man bound by sin and unable to choose other than sin, the argument for case #2 is deconstructed as we observe that in the Scriptures those who are regenerated, often, sometimes and on lesser occasions, choose to do the will of themselves and do not choose to do the will of the father.

Remember, the argument here is not can they choose to do the will of the father if they are regenerated, I am not arguing that, rather I am challenging the assumption contained in the assertion of regeneration before faith, that one will, (always), choose to do the will of the father, hence they will believe on Christ, though we see time and time again, those regenerated in the Bible and in our own lives, not doing so.

And if the response is that one who is regenerate will not necessarily "always" choose to do the will of the father (and we know this is true by observation in our practical lives and in Scripture) then do we have men who have been regenerated but chosen not to do the will of the father and not believed? Of course not because in this case, the claim is that 100% of the time they will choose to do the will of the father and believe the gospel but after that, then they might not. Eh? You have a long way to go demonstrating that hermeneutically and even rationally because it, apart from the Bible, is not even rationally consistent.

But of course the trump card ends up being, God chose them, hence they will believe, ignoring all inconsistencies and contradictions in their arguments.

Another response they posted is this on the topic addressed as " Decisional Regeneration":

Quote:
This is a misunderstanding of what faith really is. You don't decide to believe something, you must be persuaded of it and when you are, then can say that you believe it. Belief or faith is not merely a decision or an act of the will as these Finneyesque fundamentalists would have you think. Read my last post about the components of faith - the notitia, the assensus and the fiducia.
Ok, I will do that and here is part of what I found (bold/italics mine):

Quote:
http://reformingbaptist.blogspot.com/2010/10/simple-is-not-simplistic.html The gospel is simple - You're a sinner; you deserve death and hell; Jesus came and took it for you when He died on the cross; believe in Him and be saved! But that simple concept is far from simplitic...Then understanding what it means to believe is another big concept that takes alot of explanation. I find that those who reject the reformed view of salvation often retreat to simplistic understandings of a simple truth and then accuse us of making the gospel more difficult than God intended it to be - which is a red herring.
Really? Believing needs "alot [sic ] of explaining?" Really? Poor children who come to Christ, may it be they not be fooled by their simple faith in the truth of the gospel.

I could only shake my head at this introductory qualifier. No, believing is not complex and the Bible, at no place, intends to treat it as complex. But such an argument is much of the rationalism upon which Reformed Theology (and Calvinism) rests. Of course, for those of you tempted, I am not suggesting we do not always explore, define and refine our theology on every single topic in the Scriptures and develop a robust and as exhaustive a treatment of all doctrines, this is our privilege and duty. But "believing", my dear friends at Reforming Baptist, is not treated with the kind of difficulty, burden and complexity you assert.

On Foreknowledge and Election they post:

First they quote the SOL:

Quote:
"[God ] knows everything that will happen as if it has already happened: Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure...

Then they respond:

Quote:
There is so much wrong with these statements! The first one about foreknowledge and then quoting Isaiah 46:10. Did Shelton Smith even read the verse or understand that "declaring" is different from "knowing"? It doesn't say that He knows the end from the beginning, but that He has declared it!

Maybe it is a slow day, but possibly these men ought to do a bit more investigating before reacting. As I said, I do not have high regard for the SOL but here, these men, have somewhat embarrassingly overreacted. To declare something, from beginning to end, without all events having occurred, is based in foreknowledge. But more importantly this is a prophetic context upon which prophecy is based and namely the foreknowledge of God (though not exclusively, but with respect to response of RB and the knowledge of what shall be and the communication of that knowledge, "the declaration", this is based on the foreknowledge of God. However and always prophecy and its declaration is treated with the understanding that the execution of that declaration entails others elements of God's essence). The declaration of all that shall be, the end from the beginning, is a demonstration of foreknowledge. The fit and drama RB displays here is not flattering.

As well, a simply survey of varying commentaries removes Smith, on this occasion, from the charges of textual ignorance and disregard leveled by RB and actually places them in this circle. I am somewhat surprised by their precipitous posture, here.

Finally from the men at RB, in response the SOL view on perseverance (which of course challenges the Calvinist view) the following is posted:

Quote:
What Calvinists don't teach is the false eternal security of a believer that the anti-Lordship people teach. They take the verses that assure salvation upon the initial act of faith without giving any consideration to the verses of scripture where we are warned about falling away.

Falling away? Who? How? You mean that someone can be saved and then fall away? Is that what you teach? That they control their salvation? It does not rest in the integrity of God? Their positioning with Christ is to be measured assured by their faithfulness and not his?

Of course the Calvinist will explain away that what they have in view with "falling away" is that it is someone that came close but was never really saved and fell away or that they believed with their head but never fully believed. Well my dear RB friends, then they have nothing to fall from since they were never saved which removes these texts from your argument because clearly Smith is talking about those who have believed the gospel.

Yes, I do realize Reformed and Calvinist students have invented a 1/2 wit Christian to bolster their arguments, asserting that the bible presents a person who believes but doesn't really believe (and for mercy's sake don't embarrass yourself with using James 2:1 as a rebuttal) and is not really saved yet can fall away from a position which he never came to in the first place, hence creating and arguing from the impossible and with contradictions. No such monster or 1/2 wit exists. The Bible presents believers and unbelievers. It does present imitators but they are never viewed as those who can fall away since to fall away one must be positioned with Christ and to be positioned with Christ one is saved. Unless you really are arguing that one can lose their salvation.

While the SOL might should end up in a trash can, I think if this article were in print, it would belong right there with it.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Besides the theological and intellectual shallowness of the paper, it has been very divisive in its own camp. It has nothing to do with Jack Schaap (for good reason). A split has developed between SOTL and Clarence Sexton. I don't see how the paper can survive. I know of few pastors my age that read it, and the quality of what they print is terrible. Most of the contemporary sermons they print are awful.

Jay's picture

This is pretty sad. Any student that's gone through a Systematic Theology class in any typical IFB college could probably shoot this article full of holes.

I used to read SoTL - is anyone out there able to buy this paper and bring it back to a better position? Or is it too far gone to save?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ron Bean's picture

The problem is not so much one of disagreeing with Calvinism as it is with dishonesty and revisionist history. And while SOTL is no longer in the same boat with Shaap they're in the same small pond.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jonathan Charles's picture

I had Roger Martin (John R. Rice's son-in-law) as a seminary professor. He told us that his father-in-law would edit sermons. If my memory serves me correctly, Charles Wesley would publish some of Jonathan Edwards' works doing the same thing.

WilliamD's picture

In response to Alex,
I am the author of the article that you said belongs in the trash. Thank you very much.

I don't have time to write as long a response as you did, so I'll do what I can.

1.
About obeying the nature of our father. Jesus said that the unregenerate WILL do what their father the devil desires. They always do because sin regulates them in all they do. It's not done in faith, therefore it's sin.

The believer on the other hand, does have the power of contrary choice which is backed up by Romans 7:19-21 9 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 ¶ I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

There is no such struggle in the unregenerate heart. The unregenerate person suppresses the truth that he knows in unrighteousness.

2.
About belief - yes, the concept of belief does need to be explained. The book of James should be enough for you to recognize that. There were those who "believed" in Jesus in John 8 and at the end of the chapter they were about to stone him. What kind of belief was that? There needs to be an explanation as to what saving belief really is!
By the way, belief is a gift of grace according to Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace.

Try to explain that one away.

3.
About falling away. You said: "Falling away? Who? How? You mean that someone can be saved and then fall away? Is that what you teach? That they control their salvation? It does not rest in the integrity of God? Their positioning with Christ is to be measured assured by their faithfulness and not his?"

Whatever! What a typical anti-Calvinist smear.

The New Testament is chalk full of texts that warn Christians to examine themselves to make sure that they are in the faith and to make their calling and election sure. Wouldn't those texts seem in your view to be an insult to the integrity of God and put control into the hands of believers? I am only articulating what the New Testament warns, you criticize me, but in reality you criticize the Apostles warnings.

Here are some others:

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

WilliamD wrote:
In response to Alex,
I am the author of the article that you said belongs in the trash. Thank you very much.
As the old saying goes, "Those who live in glass houses should not thrown stones".

WilliamD wrote:
About obeying the nature of our father. Jesus said that the unregenerate WILL do what their father the devil desires. They always do because sin regulates them in all they do. It's not done in faith, therefore it's sin.
It appears you are attempting to combine two passages and impose upon them a resultant conclusion. The two passages are quite removed from one another and are in different contexts, the latter of course having to do with the exercise of liberty, hence your proposal needs much more justification that this assertion.

WilliamD wrote:
About belief - yes, the concept of belief does need to be explained. The book of James should be enough for you to recognize that.
Well, no, you have to actually make an argument here, not simply assert a book of the Bible "should be enough". I realize you are being brief, but even in being brief you must present an argument.

WilliamD wrote:
There were those who "believed" in Jesus in John 8 and at the end of the chapter they were about to stone him. What kind of belief was that? There needs to be an explanation as to what saving belief really is!
Whenever you wish to present an exegetical argument of the text to which you refer, let me know. Until then simply asserting the text supports your position without an argument is not an argument.

WilliamD wrote:
By the way, belief is a gift of grace according to Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace.

Try to explain that one away.

What would you like explained away? Again, you are without argument, just assertion. The Bible is replete with declarations of God's grace. I see no one arguing this. Now if you are assuming that the phrase, "believed through grace" is synonymous for divine election, well you have both exegetical and theological arguments to make, not assumptions.

3.

WilliamD ]About falling away. You said:</p> <p>[quote=Alex Guggenheim wrote:
"Falling away? Who? How? You mean that someone can be saved and then fall away? Is that what you teach? That they control their salvation? It does not rest in the integrity of God? Their positioning with Christ is to be measured assured by their faithfulness and not his?"

Whatever! What a typical anti-Calvinist smear.

If this is what you consider a response to the issue, may I introduce you to how a video entitle <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGwtG8nVpUU&amp;feature=player_embedded">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGwtG8nVpUU&amp;feature=player_embedded</a> ]How Liberals Argue (I am not saying you are a liberal but you are using a tried and true method of political liberals in forming arguments, namely ad hominem attacks.</p> <p>[quote=WilliamD wrote:
The New Testament is chalk full of texts that warn Christians to examine themselves to make sure that they are in the faith and to make their calling and election sure. Wouldn't those texts seem in your view to be an insult to the integrity of God and put control into the hands of believers?
I am sure that if it serves your argument that your salvation is in the hands of your own integrity that you will find a way, either exegetically or theologically, to claim this is the proper view of the passage in Peter. However, just a footnote, the Peter passage about making your calling and election sure, it is not in the context of examining one's self to see if they are in the faith, that is another passage. But no, this is not taking the assurance or certainty of our salvation out of the hands of God's integrity and into our own. Now I have exegeted the passage in Peter and do not in anyway believe one can exegetically or theological propose it is teaching that we are the keepers or guardians of our salvation.

WilliamD wrote:
I am only articulating what the New Testament warns, you criticize me, but in reality you criticize the Apostles warnings.

Here are some others:

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

And your assumption, of course without any argument and just assertions, that these texts support your view that one can be saved and then unsaved?

Or am I too believe they weren't really saved but almost saved and fell away. Well in this case look at Heb 6:4-6, unfortunately it teaches that those who almost believed, or believed but didn't really believe, if they fall away from this almost state, they can't ever be saved. I really know of no orthodox theology forwarding this position but if you use Hebrews 6 for your argument you are left with the view that when a person falls away from "almost belief" (whatever this is) they can never be saved.

Headed to an event...minimal editing so forgive the typos.

WilliamD's picture

Quote:
It appears you are attempting to combine two passages and impose upon them a resultant conclusion. The two passages are quite removed from one another and are in different contexts, the latter of course having to do with the exercise of liberty, hence your proposal needs much more justification that this assertion.

I can tell you just like to be argumentative and that you have plenty of time on your hands to do so. On the other hand, I don't, so my answers are short and I can't write an exposition on every comment I make.

Unbelievers do not do what they do by faith in God or for His glory. They cannot! I challenge you to prove otherwise. They are in the flesh and cannot please God because what they do is not of faith:
Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I challenge you to show me where the unbeliever can actually choose to do what is pleasing to God. He may do a "good deed" but at the heart it is not good if it is not done in faith or for His glory.

Quote:
Well, no, you have to actually make an argument here, not simply assert a book of the Bible "should be enough". I realize you are being brief, but even in being brief you must present an argument.

Again, I don't have time to write a term paper on the book of James for you, so these verses will suffice:
James 2:19-20 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

What kind of faith is this? Is there a difference between devilish faith and saving faith? This takes some explanation that you say is not necessary.

Quote:
Now if you are assuming that the phrase, "believed through grace" is synonymous for divine election, well you have both exegetical and theological arguments to make, not assumptions.

No, I'm not making the phrase "believed through grace" equal with election. But I would make it equal with "irresistible grace, effectual grace, and the Father's drawing". They believed THROUGH or 'by means of' grace. The SOTL article argued against that.

Quote:
And your assumption, of course without any argument and just assertions, that these texts support your view that one can be saved and then unsaved?Or am I too believe they weren't really saved but almost saved and fell away. Well in this case look at Heb 6:4-6, unfortunately it teaches that those who almost believed, or believed but didn't really believe, if they fall away from this almost state, they can't ever be saved. I really know of no orthodox theology forwarding this position but if you use Hebrews 6 for your argument you are left with the view that when a person falls away from "almost belief" (whatever this is) they can never be saved.

My point is to say that there are many references that assure a Christians eternal security because it is God keeping them through faith unto salvation (1Pet. 1:5) as well as warnings about "falling away or unbelief". The Nazarene looks at the verses in Hebrews and concludes that you can lose your salvation. The Calvinist looks at those verses and says: "since we know that you can't lose salvation that you didn't earn in the first place, these verses must be admonishments for vigilance to believers". It's like a paradox. How do you know you're saved? Because you had an experience in the past where you "believed"? This is where the examination of belief is important. People believe like James 2:19 without really believing like James 2:23 Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.

Since you're not willing to read John 8 yourself and see what I was referencing here it is:

John 8:31-33 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The text says that these Jews believed on Him. Did that mean they were saved? Once saved always saved? Or was their belief superficial, surface level and merely intellectual assent?

The text is clear after Jesus tests their belief with His challenge to continue in His word as authentication of real belief....
33 They (the Jews who supposedly believed) answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Read on in your Bible and watch how these self righteous Jews argue with the Son of God about how they are not really in bondage....

Then later, Jesus says this about those Jews who "believed":
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Then check out this statement:
John 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
The very reason they do not believe is because He speaks the truth and they are of the devil and therefore only believe falsehood. How can someone who is in that condition possibly free himself from that kind of deception in order to believe?

This is why Acts 18:27 says that they believed through grace. It was sovereign, effectual, irresistible, electing grace! All the terms that you hate to hear.

At the end of John 8 after Jesus declares that He is God by saying "before Abraham was, I AM" these same Jews whom he began a conversation with whom the text identifies as "believers" do this:
John 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

So, were they saved? Jesus already said they were of the devil. So what kind of belief is that? Some kind of simplistic definition of belief is not good enough. It must be a belief that is much deeper than that.

Thats all i have time for, so go ahead and refute me, but I won't have time to answer any more.

I'm signing off.

Ron Bean's picture

Alex,

What is your opinion of the theology of Charles Spurgeon?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

As you look at church history, you see that God has greatly used calvinists Christians to do might things for God. Whitefield, Spurgeon, the Puritians, and many others serve as examples. Like any belief system there times when professing believers take their beliefs to extremes.

If the Sword of the Lord published a series of articles explaining some of the extremes that some calvinists take, that would be fine. Instead, they publish what I believe is a silly set of articles trying to dimiss anyone that embraces calvinism. Like others, I have not received that magazine in a long time and all of the sudden started receiving that last two issues. I though the articles were silly.

Today, there are a group of calvinists rising up in the church who are helping to bring about a renewal of the fear of God and respect for His Word. They are also bringing about a revival of passionate evangelism to this lost and needy world.

It's not only the Sword, but there are several schools also, who instead of warning about the extremes of calvinism, take the approach of rejecting all of calvinism and teaching that we should be suspect of anyone who is a calvinist. It is incorrect teaching. It is sad.

Please use the Sword properly, or put it back in the sheath.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Ron Bean wrote:
Alex,

What is your opinion of the theology of Charles Spurgeon?

Generally Calvinistic, evangelistic and leaning toward Puritanism. Spurgeon, however, was not sycophantic in his theology. It is clear that he had his own thoughts and valued the enlightenment of God's Spirit in him just as much as those before him so he did not shy away from constructing proprietary views. As well, Spurgeon did clearly read and value theological contributions from orthodox men not of his distinctive persuasion. He is not primarily scholastic as a theologian and I doubt he had any intentions of being so. I find at times his lack education resulting in a lack of refinement in his propositions and arguments but nothing, certainly, that one should simply dismiss or treat with contempt. His apologetic approach is with typical British pleonasm.

Ron Bean's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
Alex,

What is your opinion of the theology of Charles Spurgeon?

Generally Calvinistic, evangelistic and leaning toward Puritanism. Spurgeon, however, was not sycophantic in his theology. It is clear that he had his own thoughts and valued the enlightenment of God's Spirit in him just as much as those before him so he did not shy away from constructing proprietary views. As well, Spurgeon did clearly read and value theological contributions from orthodox men not of his distinctive persuasion. He is not primarily scholastic as a theologian and I doubt he had any intentions of being so. I find at times his lack education resulting in a lack of refinement in his propositions and arguments but nothing, certainly, that one should simply dismiss or treat with contempt. His apologetic approach is with typical British pleonasm.

Would you fellowship with him?
Would you let him preach in your church?
Would you attend and/or join a church of which he was a pastor?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I am tempted to be humorous and say, "No to all becasue I don't like hanging around corpses, but I won't". Wink

Ron Bean wrote:
Would you fellowship with him?
What is your definition of fellowship? There are so many I do not want to assume we share the same view.
Ron Bean wrote:
Would you let him preach in your church?
I am not a Pastor. My first question, though, is why should I? I don't necessarily accept the premise that simply because a man is an esteemed Minister that pulpits should be considered open to him.
Ron Bean wrote:
Would you attend and/or join a church of which he was a pastor?
Possibly, it depends on what is available.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

WilliamD wrote:
I can tell you just like to be argumentative and that you have plenty of time on your hands to do so...Since you're not willing to read John 8 yourself and see...go ahead and refute me, but I won't have time to answer any more.
I'm signing off.

You know William, I think I am going to leave you and your assumptions and callow dare, which no doubt lowers your estimation in the eyes of your blog readers, alone, and simply let you make your drive-by. If someone else wishes to take up your arguments, I certainly can engage them, though the remainder of my weekend is starting to tighten up seeing I have a project due in the next 2 days that does require a few more hours and college football beckons.

RPittman's picture

I am inclined to strong language (not vulgar or profane) in debate and have to revise my posts many times when I cross the line of proper manners and good taste. Scripture, especially James 3, speaks pointedly to our use of the tongue (or the keyboard as it may be). IMHO, some SI posters have crossed the line in their partisan fervor. For example, dishonesty involves deliberate deceit or the intention to deceive. This has been charged or intimated against the SOTL by several posters without proof. The facts could substantiate ignorance or misunderstanding as well as dishonesty. Fairness demands that we give the benefit of doubt when we don't know with certainty.

The ironic thing is that some of these same posters would fly to the defense of John Mac, John P., Mark D., etc. if one tried to vilify them. Where is fairness? Where is Christian charity?

RPittman's picture

Ron Bean wrote:
The problem is not so much one of disagreeing with Calvinism as it is with dishonesty and revisionist history. And while SOTL is no longer in the same boat with Shaap they're in the same small pond.
Mr. Bean, how do you know it's dishonesty? This is a serious charge and you shouldn't make it unless you have proof. Dishonesty by definition carries the intention to deceive. What you are calling dishonesty could be ignorance, misunderstanding, or even a difference in viewpoint. Don't make a serious moral charge against a brother unless you can back it with proof. Refute his arguments, if you can, but don't question his integrity unless you can substantiate it. This falls under an ad hominem attack, I believe. If you cannot prove dishonesty, then publicly make a retraction with apology.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

RPittman,

One occurrence deserves initial benefit of the doubt. Mutiple similar incidents, repeated confrontation, and on-going refusal to acknowledge and correct (exactly what you have demanded from Mr. Bean by the way)the error do not! At this point there is no other definition I can think of besides dishonesty.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

RPittman's picture

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
As you look at church history, you see that God has greatly used calvinists Christians to do might things for God. Whitefield, Spurgeon, the Puritians, and many others serve as examples. Like any belief system there times when professing believers take their beliefs to extremes.

If the Sword of the Lord published a series of articles explaining some of the extremes that some calvinists take, that would be fine. Instead, they publish what I believe is a silly set of articles trying to dimiss anyone that embraces calvinism. Like others, I have not received that magazine in a long time and all of the sudden started receiving that last two issues. I though the articles were silly.

Today, there are a group of calvinists rising up in the church who are helping to bring about a renewal of the fear of God and respect for His Word. They are also bringing about a revival of passionate evangelism to this lost and needy world.

It's not only the Sword, but there are several schools also, who instead of warning about the extremes of calvinism, take the approach of rejecting all of calvinism and teaching that we should be suspect of anyone who is a calvinist. It is incorrect teaching. It is sad.

Please use the Sword properly, or put it back in the sheath.

Joe, you are entitled to your opinion of the SOTL articles and you have treated them much more fairly than other posters. The ironic thing is that many Calvinism take precisely the same attitude toward anyone who disagrees with them. They are scathing in their critiques of anything even remotely Arminian. Furthermore, what you have said about Calvinists could be said of Wesleyan Arminianists who have done much to bring a desire for holiness and the Gospel to a lost world.

I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminianist but most militant Calvinists, whom I know, try to paste one or the other label upon me.

And you are right that Calvinists have been a significant force in church history but you must also recall that Modernism-Liberalism germinated in this theological persuasion. It's not that Calvinist is the sole expression of Biblical truth, although it contains elements of Biblical truth, as some Calvinists think. Calvinism, like any theological system, does not encompass the totality of Biblical truth and it has points where it is totally inadequate in explaining/expressing Biblical concepts.

RPittman's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
RPittman,

One occurrence deserves initial benefit of the doubt. Mutiple similar incidents, repeated confrontation, and on-going refusal to acknowledge and correct (exactly what you have demanded from Mr. Bean by the way)the error do not! At this point there is no other definition I can think of besides dishonesty.

Hogwash! If they misunderstood, then they would continue their argument. You cannot discern intentions from actions usually. To do so, one must eliminate all other possibilities, which has not been done. Furthermore, your argument is more partisan than rational. Why are you defending Mr. Bean? This is too much like a ball game where you choose a favorite team rather than discuss serious questions in debate.

RPittman's picture

WilliamD wrote:
I can tell you just like to be argumentative and that you have plenty of time on your hands to do so. On the other hand, I don't, so my answers are short and I can't write an exposition on every comment I make.
This sounds lots like an excuse. Alex has challenged and perhaps bested you in debate. I agree with Alex. Alex is an astute debater and thinker who has locked horns with me several times. Debate the man if you want but don't talk down to him or make excuses. If you can write a persuasive paper that will close this debate, then by all means do so and it will be worth a doctorate to you no doubt! But I'm not holding my breath . . . .

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

R,

Not defending Mr. bean; simply stating facts.

An initial error could be chalked up to a misunderstanding. However, this article is not the first (or second, or third) report I have seen on this specific article. Nor is it the first time similar issues have arisen surrounding SOTL reporting on Spurgeon and his preaching. Numerous notifications have been issued directly to the paper as well as publicly, as this one was.

There is no misunderstanding in this case - it is a factual misrepresentation. If it was done accidentally, it can easily be acknowledged and corrected - we all make mistakes. Unfortunately, the paper refuses to acknowledge their error or do anything to correct it. Instead, they perpetuate their inaccurate characterization of Spurgeon.

Rejection of correction is biblically definable as stiff necked and hard hearted - it unmistakably identifies character and intentions going forward, even if it only implies without proving the same character and intentions looking back. This action removes the possibility that it can still be viewed charitably as possibly something inadvertent. As I said before, there is no other name for it at this point but deliberate dishonesty, no matter how intentional or unintentional it might have been originally.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Charlie's picture

RPittman wrote:
And you are right that Calvinists have been a significant force in church history but you must also recall that Modernism-Liberalism germinated in this theological persuasion.

Kant, Schleiermacher, Wolff, Harnack and Ritschl were all Lutherans or raised Lutheran. The Scottish enlightenment thinkers were reared in universities that had already rejected the central distinctives of Calvinist thought, and liberalism in the US appeared half a century after the Pelagianizing influence of the Second Great Awakening, when "old school" Calvinism was at its nadir point in American history. So, even if there were Calvinist individuals involved in modernism, it is inaccurate to assert that modern liberal theology germinated exclusively or even primarily within Calvinist circles.

RPittman wrote:
It's not that Calvinist is the sole expression of Biblical truth, although it contains elements of Biblical truth, as some Calvinists think. Calvinism, like any theological system, does not encompass the totality of Biblical truth and it has points where it is totally inadequate in explaining/expressing Biblical concepts.

I question the cogency of declaring that "any theological system does not encompass the totality of Biblical truth." Unless you know the totality of biblical truth, you cannot prove that argument. Yet, if you did know that totality, your own articulation of that knowledge (your system) would disprove your statement. Perhaps you are using "system" in a peculiar way. I would draw a distinction between exhaustive knowledge and accurate knowledge. Accurate knowledge is true as far as it goes. I can say that Bill Clinton was President in the 20th century. That statement could be much more precise, but it is entirely true. Exhaustive knowledge would be to know everything possible about a subject, in all of its relations. Such knowledge would be infinite, and therefore possible only for God. So, in my opinion, all systems are limited in their exhaustiveness, but not necessarily in their accuracy. To assert that all systems are defective as to accuracy is to deny the possibility of knowing biblical truth.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Ron Bean's picture

RPittman wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
The problem is not so much one of disagreeing with Calvinism as it is with dishonesty and revisionist history. And while SOTL is no longer in the same boat with Shaap they're in the same small pond.
Mr. Bean, how do you know it's dishonesty? This is a serious charge and you shouldn't make it unless you have proof. Dishonesty by definition carries the intention to deceive. What you are calling dishonesty could be ignorance, misunderstanding, or even a difference in viewpoint. Don't make a serious moral charge against a brother unless you can back it with proof. Refute his arguments, if you can, but don't question his integrity unless you can substantiate it. This falls under an ad hominem attack, I believe. If you cannot prove dishonesty, then publicly make a retraction with apology.

Jim Peet's post # 3 gives an example dishonest editing. The practice of purging Spurgeon's sermons of Calvinism was repeated numerous times. I used to subscribe to the SOTL and once compiled numerous examples of this type of editing. I didn't save my past issues of SOTL so I don't have the proof that you no doubt will require.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

RPittman's picture

Charlie wrote:
RPittman wrote:
And you are right that Calvinists have been a significant force in church history but you must also recall that Modernism-Liberalism germinated in this theological persuasion.

Kant, Schleiermacher, Wolff, Harnack and Ritschl were all Lutherans or raised Lutheran. The Scottish enlightenment thinkers were reared in universities that had already rejected the central distinctives of Calvinist thought, and liberalism in the US appeared half a century after the Pelagianizing influence of the Second Great Awakening, when "old school" Calvinism was at its nadir point in American history. So, even if there were Calvinist individuals involved in modernism, it is inaccurate to assert that modern liberal theology germinated exclusively or even primarily within Calvinist circles.

Did I say "that modern liberal theology germinated exclusively or even primarily within Calvinist circles?"
Quote:

RPittman wrote:
It's not that Calvinist is the sole expression of Biblical truth, although it contains elements of Biblical truth, as some Calvinists think. Calvinism, like any theological system, does not encompass the totality of Biblical truth and it has points where it is totally inadequate in explaining/expressing Biblical concepts.

I question the cogency of declaring that "any theological system does not encompass the totality of Biblical truth." Unless you know the totality of biblical truth, you cannot prove that argument. Yet, if you did know that totality, your own articulation of that knowledge (your system) would disprove your statement. Perhaps you are using "system" in a peculiar way. I would draw a distinction between exhaustive knowledge and accurate knowledge. Accurate knowledge is true as far as it goes. I can say that Bill Clinton was President in the 20th century. That statement could be much more precise, but it is entirely true. Exhaustive knowledge would be to know everything possible about a subject, in all of its relations. Such knowledge would be infinite, and therefore possible only for God. So, in my opinion, all systems are limited in their exhaustiveness, but not necessarily in their accuracy. To assert that all systems are defective as to accuracy is to deny the possibility of knowing biblical truth.

Charlie, you're reasoning in circles that make me dizzy. Calvinism and Biblical truth are not synonymous. To argue that they are is foolish. It is apparent that they are not. I have neither the will nor energy to argue. If anything lacks cogency, it is the assertion that "to assert that all systems are defective as to accuracy is to deny the possibility of knowing biblical truth." I will say that all systems "are defective as to accuracy. . . ."