Archive for the ‘arminians’ category

From the year 2000, my letter to John Reisinger

April 18, 2019

Dear John,

I agree with Mormons that all are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with them about what is the gospel. I agree with you, John, that all snners are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with you about what the gospel is. You have an idea of the gospel, a doctrine of the gospel, which misrepresents God, which is idolatry. Your idea is that God loves the non-elect because God commands all to believe the gospel.

Jesus said, “come to Me, all you.” You say that there is “nothing before this come”. But before this invitation, Jesus identified Himself as the one who reveals the Father and identified the Father as the one who hides things from the non-elect. The difference between us is about which gospel we command sinners to believe.

Your gospel presents a God whose love is not stingy but a love which wants to save those God doesn’t save. Since God would rather save the elect than damn them, you conclude that God would rather save the non-elect than damn them. But this is not the truth, and this misrepresentation of God leads to more falsehoods. Instead of preaching that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner, you hold back talking about the glory of God in election and non-election. The gospel is about the righteousness of Christ dying for the elect. To each and every sinner, we can say, for the non-elect there was never any room. Matthews 11:25 ”I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent…”

We are to imitate Jesus in His preaching because we are to be convinced that the only difference between saved and lost is the Father giving a people to His Son and His Son dying for those people. Why should we hold back that gospel? Do we think we are prudent enough to know how to abridge the gospel Jesus preached?

I just finished listening to your sermon “The Real Prodigal” from the Bunyan Conference. I like the part about new converts seeing the best in the new and the worst in the old. I can relate to that. As a new convert, I certainly have a keen sense of the sin of believing in a salvation conditioned on the sinner. I certainly have a great shame for having “misrepresented God” for so many years. I was an idolater, and not until God delivered me to the doctrine of the true gospel did I ever feel ashamed of the things I now hate.

I also liked the “sound bite” about truth not being in the middle but in the extremes. If the extremes are in the Bible, they do not contradict each other, no matter what Spurgeon wrote. So we need to be sure that they are in the Bible, and then teach them. I agree with that.

I also was interested in your profession of love for open discussion. I have asked to meet with you, to talk with you, but that has never happened and now you have used the slanders of Phil Johnson as an excuse for exercising your authority to end the discussion. So you end up with one person giving “both sides”, not only his side but a caricature of the other side.

Two things about this. 1. I know that I cannot assume that everything or even anything in your sermon was about me. You kept saying “these people” and “hypers’. And then you can say to us: if the shoe fits, wear it as I call it: you are “hyper”. And if we say that this is a caricature, a stereotype fitting no individual person, then you say, OK, I wasn’t talking about you.

Thus you keep your types and categories, but without having to defend it, and without answering for the accusations you have made. But this is what happens when you take both sides, and try to represent the other side without letting the other side represent itself. You are not yet as much unlike Al Martin as you think you are.

Now I am not complaining that you only give one side of things. We all do that. What irritates is that you talk about “open discussion”.. What I want to say, John, is that you do not know me. You do not know if I am happy or angry or if I have love in my life. I do know that I am still a real sinner. My confession is not simply that “I repent of the false gospel” I used to believe. My confession is that I do not yet see my sin as I should see it, and that the law of God would still condemn me despite my confessing the true gospel and my repenting of the false gospel, were it not for the righteousness of God obtained for the elect by Christ’s death Assurance of Salvation cannot be conditioned on what God works inside any sinner.

Now I know that you also profess not to condition salvation on the sinner. You say that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, they are saved and their salvation is not conditioned on their ignorance or knowledge of the gospel After all, you say, you are not “stingy with the love of God”. Does this mean that God loved the elder brother in spite of his legalism? Since I know that you profess a not-saving but universal love, I am sure that you would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.

But that is not the basic difference here. Is that elder brother saved? Must the one who came home from the hog pen confess that the elder brother is his brother? Back in the days when I became an universalist, I said yes: all are brothers.

What do you say? I do not ask if you think the elder brother was non-elect in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask, is a legalist converted while still left in his self-righteousness and legalism? Are the “good people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel? What do you say? Is the love of God such that God’s love “saves snners” but still leaves them in legalism and Arminianism?

My answer is that the love of God is so sovereign and just that it CONVERTS the sinner. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his turning from sin; but God turns the sinne from his false gospel. The sinner is not justified BECAUSE OF his faith in the true gospel, but God does not justify the sinner before or without giving that sinener faith in the true gospel The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness established in Christ’s death for the elect, but the converted sinner will understand and submit to that righteousness.

I Thessalonians 2:10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion in order that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

Romans 10:3 Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they did not obey God’s righteousness

The converted sinner will believe the gospel BECAUSE OF THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS obtained by God and imputed by God. Christ’s death is not merely “potential”. Christ’s death is not merely “purchasing faith for sinners to appropriate the atonement’. Christ’s death obtained righteousness for the elect and has or will be imputed to the elected. The power of the gospel “crucifies” elect sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that those who do not know this are our brothers or sisters.

John, you can and do make this distinction: not because of, but necessary. It will happen, and until it does, then we cannot say that the gospel has converted a man. But you won’t say it when it comes to submitting to Christ’s righteous and effective atonement. Which means you won’t say it when it comes to being a legalist.

Anybody who says that Christ died for everybody but some of them are never justified MUST logically be looking to the sinner as the difference between saved and lost. Even if the legalist gives his god or election the “credit” for the difference, the legalist MUST AND WILL locate that difference in themseles and not in Christ’s death for the elect alone.

I understand that you believe that Jesus Christ died only for some. But you think knowing about this death is not necessary. It is the cause, sure; but you don’t think lost people need to know it’s the cause. It’a a graduate course, you think, for those you think were justified before they knew the gospel. Either that, or you think that “Jesus died for everybody” is gospel.

I cannot help thinking of some of the “primitive baptists” I know. I do not call them “hypers” (I like to be more specific) but they say that people can be justified without hearing the gospel. They say John the Baptist was regenerated and justified as an infant, and that people can be converted “directly” without the gospel and without knowing about the righteousness revealed in the gospel So they think it doesn’t matter if the elect hear the true gospel or “the Arminian gospel” or any gospel.

I reject this. I know that the non-elect will refuse the gospel. I know that the elect must be made alive in regeneration (on account of imputed righteousness) before they will submit to the gospel and be justified. But I also know that people need to hear the gospel before they can believe the gospel (I Peter 1:22-23). To obey the truth, they must hear the truth. Those who have never heard anything but the Arminian gospel have not yet heard the gospel, and are still condemend in their sins.

I know you are not an universalist like I was. You will not say that all humans are your brothers and sisters. You are very right to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on like he is, never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God? Your assumption, suited to your purpose of attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both are brothers. But that is a false assumption.

Though Cain and Abel were brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both were not justified before God. The one who came home is justified, and the elder brother is not yet justified. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel or the same God.

This means that we can’t take your pose which acts as if God loves everybody who names the name of Jesus, in spite of their rejection of the gospel. We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already and still need justification. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There is no pleasing God without faith in God’s gospel. We “do the truth” only when we confess that salvation is NOT caused by our deeds and decisions. “Good works” are not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is based on God’s election. Those elected in Christ are those for whom Christ died to make propitiation. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.

Workers must exclude works as the condition of salvation, or they are not “good works” and the people who do them are elder brothers, not yet in the family of God, but still lost in their sins. Elder brothers do not “do the truth”. They can talk much of their works, but they will not bring these works to the light of the true gospel, for the true gospel would say that their works were not acceptable.

You don’t know me, John. You say that there are some you are proud to have as your enemies, and then some who you still love but who don’t know what you are saying, who would be right to be upset if you were saying and etc. I read your essays. I listen to your tapes. I think I know what you are saying. But we don’t know each other. I know that you profess to have been saved while an Arminian. You know I profess to be a new convert. Besides that, about all we have to go on is what we write.. I suppose we could accuse each other of writing what we say “ungraciously”. But that is a very subjective thing, and very difficult to say when we don’t talk.

Remember they said that Paul was a hard man in print but a wimp face to face? Or something like that. I could say that you sound very critical and know-it-all in the pulpit but “as a person”, you are very “nice”, even timid. So the best I can do is to once again try to show how you misrepresent me. If the stuff doesn’t stick, you say, I wasn’t throwing it at you. But your thinking you know what I say when you really don’t., that’s some stuff…

You say that “these people” think that “the only thing that matters is if you believe the five points. It doesn’t matter if you pray or witness, if you believe the five points.” Let me say, John, not only is this NOT what I think but also that neither you nor I know anybody who thinks that. I pray for you, because I think it matters. I do not pray for you because I think that my salvation (or yours) is conditioned on my praying. I do not pray to get assurance. I pray because I have assurance.

Similarly, John, I witness to you, because I think it matters. But not because I think my salvation is conditioned on my witnessing. Of course you are angry that anybody thinks you need witnessing to. I know the feeling. I was also.

I would be urgent with you. The gospel is different than you think it is. It is a great and wonderful thing that salvation is conditioned only on the death of Christ for the elect. What you call an unnecessary and unhelpful “qualifying” of the gospel is all about the glory of God in the gospel. It is a great comfort for me to define sin as God defines it, and een now to confess my sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. It is false comfort to tell the sinner that he can define his sin anyway he wants, and so define the gospel any way he wants.

I am urgent because I am happy in this good news. If there was a righteousness for you but that righteousness did not save you, then that righteousness will not save me either. The difference between any justifed sinner and any condemned sinner is that righteousness obtained by Christ’s deatth and imputed by God to the elect sinner. .

I do not know need to know who is and is not non-elect to tell the truth that Christ did not die for those who reject the the promise and command of the gospel. I do not need to know who is elect to shout the glad tidings that all the elect will hear the voice of the Shepherd instead of the voices of Arminians.

I know what it’s like to look to myself and to be too proud to come. What will people say after all these years of me being a Calvinist if I confess that I was lost? I am such a sinner, and have so many regrets, and have been on so many “sidetrails and diversions” , what will it look like if I say that I was still in condemnation all those years?

John, I am urgent, because I know the temptation of all that. And also I know the great great joy of one day saying: I don’t care. I will flush all the dung.I will rejoice in what God says about justification and about Christ’s death. I will go by what God says. I repented of all other gospels. I plead with you to do the same.

You say that “these people” think that all who don’t believe the five points are lost. But what I really say is that “I was a five pointer and I was lost.”

You say, “these people” say that all who didn’t hear the gospel from a preacher who believe the five points are lost. I am NOT saying the five points are the gospel. You can believe every one of the five points and still die the second death. Many say that Christ only died for some who still say that the reason the some are saved is not Christ’s death but ultimately what God does in them.

So the next time you want to have an open discussion, by saying what the other side would have said if you had invited them to say it, make the discussion about the “righteousness” revealed in the gospel.

It’s not only about tolerating Arminians; it’s about the sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. There are many folks who sincerely believe every one of the five points who still do not know the gospel, and that is why they do not feel the least bit of ashamed of having conditioned salvation on the sinner. They CONTINUE to condition salvation on what God does in the sinner.

John: are you ashamed of ever conditioning salvation on the sinner. Or are you, like the elder brother, one who still claims never to have sinned in that way?

To your second point: “they say” that the preacher you heard when you got saved had to be a five pointer. No, the preacher had to preach that the atonement was not only sucessful for the elect but also righteous for God who is just and the justifier of the ungodly (since God imputed the sins of the elect to Christ). You can deny every one of the five Arminian points and still be trying
to establish your own righteousness, still ignorant of the righteousness of God.

I am glad that you are at least talking about the preacher and about what you heard when you profess to have been “effectually called”. Unlike the “strict baptists” I mentioned earlier, we agree that both regeneration and the gospel are needed when a sinner is justified. Understanding the gospel is necessary. We agree about that. But we do not agree about the gospel, and about who God is, if you say that God saves a sinner whichever gospel he believes.

Now you could count numbers (they are on your side) and say: if they believe your gospel, then they are lost, because your gospel adds to grace the condition of understanding the gospel. But understanding is necessary, not a condition. Thisis the same thing you would say about perseverance or faith or repentance from sin.

If a man told you he was a carnal Christian who had no intention of turning from his sins, would you say to him– welcome to the party, brother? I don’t think so. Why then are you so critical toward those of us who refuse to call brothers those with another gospel?

We have different gospels. My gospel is not conditioned on the sinner understanding, for I say that this understanding is a necessary result not a condition for God’s imputation of Christ’s death and God’s regenerating and giving faith in the gospel.

Are you saying that what you believe and what the Arminian believes is really still the same gospel anyway?. That may be more true than you think! If you really do think that God saves people while still leaving them thinking that salvation is conditioned on them, then your God is very much like the God of the Arminian.

And now you can say that you weren’t talking about me. “Legalists who like to mutter about you to somebody else, and not to you directly.” This is what you said about some of us, while you were talking to other people.

This is me writing you. I have wondered about Paul’s relation to the false teachers in Galatia BEFORE he wrote that letter. Did Paul talk to them face to face before he wrote? Maybe, but maybe not. Their different gospel was being “secretly brought in” (2:4). They came with “stealth.” Perhaps they preached about the ungracious manner in which Paul was conducting himself, but without using Paul’s name and without sitting down to talk to Paul directly. I do know what Paul said. My gospel or their gospel. Not: this is a difference of opinion about the word “sanctification”. Not: the elder brother is in the family too, but he needs to “lighten up”. No. One gospel only. Christ will not profit those who believe any false gospel.

John, you go too quickly to consequences, without considering that Christians are ambassadors of the Lord who do not “regard anybody according to the flesh” (II Cor 5:16). According to numbers, and according to our own flesh that wants to say we were saved while still ignorant of the gospel, you accept as brothers those whom the Lord will say, “I never knew you.” According to the flesh, you say to both Cain and Abel: you are both sincerely worshipping God.

John, you are too quick to say, if that gospel is true, all these people would be lost, therefore it must not be true. That is what the Pharisees said: the wrong people are being lost! “The covenant is not only being widened to the Gentiles, but some of us Jews are being cut out!”

I John 3 says that Abel “did righteousness”. In John 3:21, Abel “did the truth”. Cain did not. Why was Cain not saved? Because he murdered? No. he murdered because he was not saved. His works were evil. The evil works are the “sincere worship” Cain offered.

Cain could not have good works because Cain had the wrong gospel. And so Cain and Abel were not brothers. But you would make it out as though Abel is the elder brother if Abel is not able to call Cain his brother, if Abel is not able to enter into worship and religious fellowship with Cain.

Some say that God “stoops” to save even those who confess that God conditions salvation on the sinner. In other words, God not only saves idolaters (praise God for that, since I was one when I was a lost five point Calvinist!), but God saves these sinners using the idolatry as the message by which God saves them and THEN LEAVES THEM IN THEIR IDOLATRY.

God justifies the ungodly. God is also just. God will be glorified in the salvation of sinners, and in the damnation of those who persist in saying that a “gracious” God accepts the faith of the sinner as making the difference between saved and lost.

God is not stingy on love to God the Son: if one person for whom God the Son died is lost, then God is misrepresented. All those who believe in universal atonement are lost idolaters. God does not love His people more than God loves the Son of God , for His love of the Son’s righteousness (His death for the elect at the cross) makes the difference between saved and lost.

Sure, you may say, but you don’t have to know that to get the benefit of it. What then do you need to know?

In Galatians, Paul did not accept all who professed to be Christians as his brothers. He said: they are cursed. Those who bear fruit of the Spirit have had their flesh “crucified” for them in their conversion, when they understood that the cross was all the difference and they none of it. (Gal 5:24). Arminianism appeals to the desire of the flesh to condition salvation on the sinner. Even when they “but my faith is not a work”, their faith is in a false gospel. Romans 9:11–that the purpose of election might stand, not of works”. No “election of grace” (Romans 11:5), no grace.

In Philippians 3, Paul explained that as long as he had the righteousness to be found in the law (conditioning salvation on the sinner), that he was lost. He didn’t say: I have always been a justified brother, and was a brother even then. He says his worship then was dung. His previous worship he was ashamed of … But no man is ashamed of Arminianism by nature. Romans 6:21 What fruit did you then have? NONE. …”in the things of which you are now ashamed of”.

John, when you became an Arminian, you were already ashamed of some things before then, and after that, maybe more. But until you are ashamed of saying and thinking that Christ’s death was for those who perish, then you are still free of the righteousness obtained for the elect by the death of Christ.

Your sermon is a confession that you can receive the immoral but not those with a different gospel. And that is as it should be. If I have a false gospel, then you should NOT receive me or call me your brother. (2 john 9). You can tell people with a false gospel what the gospel is without having to say that they are brothers already without the gospel.

So don’t feel bad about the lack of fellowship. There could be open discussion without that, if you wanted it. I have learned that I need to continually take sides with the Scripture against myself. It is not coldness and hardness that makes me say this but a love for the gospel and a concern for you when you sound so much like the universalist I used to be (so very recently) . No, you don’t say that all are brothers. But neither do you say that we judge who is a brother by the gospel.

What if a person says: Christ died for all sinners, I am a sinner, and thus Christ died for me? Then what do you say: OK, you are saved, but there are some things I need to teach you about how you said that?

I say not all are saved. Not all are brothers. The good news is that the death of Jesus Christ actually saves all the sinners Jesus for whom died. Believe this gospel and you will be justified. It’s the only gospel there is. The Christ who died this death is the only Christ there is.

John, I wonder how you felt when you walked off that platform the night you preach that sermon on the “real prodigal”. You got your share of laughs, of vindication from the group for which you speak. But I can’t help wondering what the sermon did for you. Did it make you sad? or happy? Did it make you less angry, less critical, more fruitful? Did you that night pray “thank you that I am not the real prodigal”?

Mark McCulley, 2000

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Most Ameriicans Think You Get to Vote On If Christ’s Death Works For You

January 2, 2019

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/sns-201812240019–tms–cthomastq–b-a20181225-20181225-column.html

Cal Thomas, in his column for Christmas 2018, claims that his readers are free to accept or reject the claim of the gospel, but not free to “reinvent” the gospel. “To change the message to fit your beliefs and
choices” The column presumes that Cal Thomas himself has a true definition of the gospel. But the reality is that Cal Thomas has a
false gospel, which is not a version of the true gospel, but bad news which has no hope for anybody.

Here is the Cal Thomas version—“Like a gift under the tree, the transaction is not complete until the one for whom the gift isintended receives it. If anyone refuses a gift, the transaction is incomplete, its purpose thwarted.

This is a version of the gospel quite different from the original “on whom God favors”. It is “another gospel”, which is not the gospel. Instead of being about Christ’s deathfor the sins of those of God’s good pleasure, the faals gospel of Cal Thomas changes the theology into something about human good pleausre, something about “peace tothose who use their free will correctly”

The Thomas perversion of the gospel is not about us depending on God, but about God depending on us to complete God’s purpose and mission. According to Thomas, the death of Jesus can and does fail because what Christ did now all depends on our choices

On the one hand, Thomas seems to disapprove of a “world in which humans choose to live as they please, rather than be transformed.”. On the other hand, Thomas teaches a false gospel in which even the success of Christ’s incarnation and death depends on how “humans choose to live”. Where the Bible teaches that we sinners are unable to live right or choose right, and need God to transform us and change our wills, Thomas agrees with the world that we are aallowed to “choose what weplease”. The false god Thomas worships is not permitted to change our decisions but intead merely leaves us with “the consequences of unbelief”.

Thomas has no idea of us having being born in original sin, in guilt and shame before God and unable to make right decisions.Thomas seems not to want us to be atheists and depend only on ourselves (we need big armines), but Thomas also only wants an idol god who will gives us rules and decisions so that the outcome depends on us . For Thomas, the only sin that matters is “unbelief of the good news”. For Thomas, either other sins never matter or all those other sins have been provided for, but the bad news is that Thomas does not believe that God interferes with “belief or unbelief”

According to Thomas, Christ may have entered the world without our consent, but nevertheless that means nothing unless we ourselves vote Jesus into our own hearts, and for that “transaction”, Jesus does not
have his permission to “enter into our hearts” unless first our hearts (which presumably need to be transformed) “let Jesus in”.

This is not only a hopeless message but also a false message, one in which Thomas has substituted his own worldly American ideas about how God must deal with humans.

Luke 2: 13: “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest
heaven, and peace on earth to people God favors

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

Ephesians 1:5 God predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that God favored us with in the Beloved.

Romans 9: 22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?

Reformed Baptist Jimmy Demoss Wants Less Gospel and More Works to get Rewards

November 2, 2018

On the first page of his “Gospelism Exposed”, Jimmy Demoss refers to some “Primitive Baptists who did not believe that one had to believe the gospel to be saved”. For the rest of his 102 page rant against those who put too much emphasis on the gospel, Demoss attempts to define the gospel in terms which would leave out from the gospel each and every one of the “five points”

Therefore if you deny total depravity and insist that “divine activity” depends on human ability, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the gospel “you have to believe to be saved”. Therefore if you believe that God’s election is based on the human condition of believing, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the question of which gospel you need to believe.

John 10:26 Jesus: But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.

But Demoss believes that, even if you reverse this and believe that “people are not sheep because they don’t believe”, this still has nothing to do with the gospel you need to believe. Demoss teaches that the sheep of Jesus do not necessarily listen to or obey the gospel Jesus preached . Sure, Jesus said, if you are elect you will believe, and if you are not elect you will not believe. Demoss denies that anybody who believes the gospel needs to agree with Jesus about that. First of all, Demoss teaches that you can completely disagree with Jesus and say instead that “you become a sheep because you believe”. Second, and this is what Demoss most
continually stresses, if you are lost, you should only pay attention to what is taught in the book of Acts (not in the gospel of John).

Demoss teaches that, whatever gospel may be taught by Jesus in the gospels, or by the apostles in the epistles, the lost should only pay attention to the gospel found in Acts. Without speculating about all his motives for his dogma about “only in Acts”, we have to ask where the Bible teaches “the gospel for the lost is only in one place” and “the gospel for the non-lost is found in other places”. Is Demoss a dispensationalist, with one gospel for some people, and another gospel for another time and place and people? Does Demoss so hate the doctrine of unconditional election that Demoss deceives himself that the doctrine of unconditional election is not to be found in the book of Acts?

Does Demoss believe that Christians after they are “saved” (justified before God?) move on to some second stage where they don’t need the gospel anymore, and that these “already saved” people only need the law in order for them to engage in “the human activity” which will bring them “greater rewards”? Does Demoss think that once Christians are “saved”, they then have to prove to themselves (and others) that
they got saved by believing “the gospel for the lost in Acts”?

Does Demoss think that the way Christians get assurance (and rewards!) is to obey enough of God’s law? How much of God’s law does one have to obey to prove to yourself that you believed the gospel? Is it enough obeying the law to live as right as most of the other people in your church? Or would be better to focus on your sins and to wonder about yourself (and others) if you are living well enough to be sure that you believed (the gospel for the lost)? Was Demoss himself “saved” by means of a gospel found only in the book of Acts?

Mr Demoss writes as an arrogant and self-righteous man of religion. Not only does he think that he’s living right enough to know that he is saved but he seems to think that everything in the Bible (besides the
book of Acts) is only for mature well grown second stage Christians like himself.

John 9: 34 “You were born entirely in sin,” the Pharisees replied, “and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw the sinner out

Here’s the gospel Jesus taught in John 10:3 The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

Demoss believes that you can completely reject any idea of God’s effectual calling and still believe the gospel (for the lost in Acts). Where Jesus teaches that His sheep will listen to Him, Demoss teaches that we become sheep by believing a different gospel than Jesus taught, one that leaves out election—, whatever Jesus said is law or something not necessarily for today, but not good news for a lost sinner, according to Demoss. While lost sinners may not recognize the voice of Jesus, they have another gospel in the book of Acts which will not be so complicated (ie, offensive) to them.

In John 10, Jesus teaches that He will only die for the sheep and that the sheep will only believe His gospel because they are His sheep for whom He died. But this kind of thing, while it may be accepted in some advanced theology class for people like Demoss who like to study books, this kind of talk about election being about who Jesus died for, is ruled out by Demoss as being a suitable gospel for lost people to ever need to hear.

John 10: 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

Demoss believes that you can (and should) be ignorant about any idea of Christ having died only for the sins of elect, and this will make it more possible for you to believe (the gospel for the lost in Acts). In fact, the gospel Demoss wants sinners to hear does not get into any doctrine about what Christ’s death means or about atonement or propitiation which justly pays for sins, so that it would be unjust for those sinners (the sheep) to pay for their sins. Demoss wants to have a different gospel than Jesus teaches in John 10, a gospel that only tells the fact that Christ died and rose again. This is why Demoss writes 102 pages against “Gospelism”. He writes, “this is the name I gave this group because of its almost complete emphasis on the gospel”. But then Demoss adds—“or what they claimed was the gospel”.

It seems to me that Jimmy Demoss is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he wants to say, if you agree that Jesus died and rose again, then you are saved if after that you live right. But on the other hand, Demoss suggests that “this group” believes what they claim is the gospel but what is not the gospel. Does this mean that, if we believe the gospel taught by Jesus in John 10, we are not believing
the gospel and therefore we are not saved (since we have the wrong gospel?)

Demoss cannot seem to say that straight out—these people are lost because they believe the false gospel. To say that, he might have to talk more about what is the doctrine of the true gospel. Instead, Demoss switches to the idea that those in this “group” are not living right. The people in this group are wanting to sin, which is why they have this different gospel about Jesus dying only for the sheep. Thus Demoss writes “many of these people have a little or no connection to a Christian church and have no accountability.”

Instead of telling us that we have a false gospel and teaching us what the true gospel is, Demoss focuses on living right. And it doesn’t matter if you belong to a Methodist or a Lutheran or a freewill church, it’s still a Christian gospel church and if you don’t belong to a church, then you are not living right.

On page 106 (almost to the end of His many pages on how we are all going to be judged according to our works, on the basis of works), Demoss lists several areas in which “people in this group” are not living right. Have I believed enough, these guys must think. For Demoss, this question is not about “is the nature of my saving faith such that it causes me to live and work enough”. Demoss is not being critical about the nature of our faith (as in, are we too dogmatic or too doubtful). Demoss is thinking that saying that Jesus dying only for the sheep is “too much” and so Demoss turns that objection to the object and content of our faith into the accusation that a gospel which includes election is “too much”.

You can say, Jesus died for everybody and that includes everybody, and that “gospel” won’t make anybody ask themselves if they “believe enough”. You can say, well I don’t know but I just feel in my heart that “Jesus died for me”, and Demoss would not object, because that’s not too much for him (even though the Bible never tells any sinner by name before they believe that Christ died for them personally).

But if you agree with the gospel Jesus in John 10 that Jesus died for the sheep, then that’s way too much for Demoss. In point of fact, it’s not enough. Many sinners do believe that Jesus died only for the
elect, and still are not believing the gospel, because along with that truth of His death only for the sins of His elect, these sinners add to that the condition of God causing them to live right. So instead of asking “do I believe in election” (which Demoss rejects as part of the gospel), these sinners instead “do I live right enough to know that I believe” So Demoss fakes some kind of pity for us, with an hypothesis that we can’t be sure that we believe this “extra gospel” about election. But in reality, Demoss is accusing those “in the group” of not living as well as he and those in his church live. He won’t say directly that we have a false gospel. Instead, he wonders if “we observe all the things Jesus commanded”.

Demoss is not asking if we imitate Jesus by not answering evil with evil. Demoss is wondering about us because we have no “affiliation” to a church (like his or the Methodists or some club where there is accountability and dues). DEmoss explains that the gospel is “not enough…The Shepherd does more-much more” (106). But Demoss is not talking about Jesus the Shepherd of John 10, the one who dies only for
the sheep and the one whose gospel the sheep hear. Instead , when Demoss talks about the Shepherd, he is talking about “the elders of the church”. If you are not a member of a church, or if your church does not have elders, Demoss warns, then Jesus dying on the cross is not enough. How are you going to live right, if you are not a member of some church. And if you don’t live right, how are you going to know if you really believe the gospel (the gospel for the lost in the book of Acts)?

Were You Born Justified and Then Later “Saved”?

June 12, 2017

There are preachers who teach the sovereignty of God who teach that God can justify (and has already justified) sinners who God has not taught the gospel. While these preachers assure us that these justified people will know and believe the gospel some day they also teach teach that God’s sovereign justice means that all the elect are justified before and without believing the gospel.

When these preachers teach that there are only two states, they are not talking about the difference between justification and condemnation. To them, the difference between “not being able to acceptably worship God” and “being saved” is NOT the difference between before and after justification. The eternal justification preachers teach that “saved” means “have learned the gospel”. They don’t think “saved” means “justified before God.”

Those who now think they are “saved” can talk about how other people “thought they were saved before they were saved until they were saved” But it turns out that some of these people think they were born justified before they knew the gospel. They think they were justified before they were “saved”. They think they were justified back when Jesus finished dying on the cross.

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith…

God has not yet forgiven any sinners who God has not yet taught the gospel.

II Corinthians 4: 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ

The truth of the gospel is not only God’s sovereignty but also God’s righteousness. This means that the gospel is not only about the justification of the elect sinner but also about the justification of God.

Palm 116:11—“I said in my alarm, ‘All mankind are liars’” The gospel gives all the honor and glory to God. In the gospel God is justified, and sinners who still don’t believe the gospel are still condemned. We see this in Romans 1:25 . All of us have been people who “exchange the truth for a lie”.

To pass over from condemnation to justification is to learn the gospel in which one’s confidence is not in what God’s sovereignty does in you but rather in what God has done in Christ outside you. Christ only died for the elect. Christ only died for those who will believe the gospel. One of the blessings of the gospel is that God teaches the elect the gospel and causes them to believe the gospel. Those who were once slaves of sin “become obedient from the mind to the standard of doctrine to which they are committed” (Rom 6:17) so that there are “things of which you are now ashamed” (Rom 6:21).

Before you were justified You may have already believed in God’s sovereignty and also been ashamed of immorality, without ever knowing God’s gospel about justification. The Cains of this world are ready for a self-examination and contrast in terms of their morality or their assent to God’s sovereignty. But as long as they have not come to the light of the gospel , they still love darkness and their evil deeds are still charged against them.. (John 3:19)

It is idolatry to only know a God who is sovereign. The true God is also righteous.

Psalm 51:4-6—“Against you have I sinned and done what is evil, so that you are justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…Behold you delight in truth…” Two things go together: God tells the truth, we were born in the wrong.

II Thessalonians 1: 6 It is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS

II Thessalonians 2: 10 They perish because they did not accept the love of THE TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH but enjoyed unrighteousness.

The gospel is good news for the elect, but not without also being first bad news. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are elect. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are already justified. The gospel does not tell the elect that all the elect are already justified. You can call it “law before gospel” if you wish. But part and parcel of justifying God (and trusting God’s true gospel) is taking sides with God against our-selves. Before justification, God and us can’t both be right. God is right, and we are wrong.

If we ever get to thinking that God is so sovereign that God justifies elect sinners before teaching them the gospel, then we takes sides against what the Bible teaches about the difference between election, atonement, and justification. We should not only confess that God is going to get God’s way, that God is going to win. We need to learn to confess that the way God acts in history . God justifies God in history (by means of Christ’s death in history) God justifies his elect in history. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God placing the elect sinner into Christ’s death. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God imputing Christ’s death to the elect sinner. But believing the gospel is also not the “evidence and result” of having been born justified, All those who do not yet believe the gospel are not yet justified. And all those who are justified before God believe the gospel.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood THROUGH FAITH. This was a demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just AND the justifier of the one WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

God is true. God is God. To be ignorant of the righteousness of God (His attribute, not only Christ’s saving work and gift) is to an idolater, to be one who still does not know the true God. Romans 3:3 tells us that God’s faithfulness proves that God is the true God. Isaiah 42:3—“He will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 45:19—“I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, seek me in vain. I the Lord speak the truth. I declare what is right”.

Many who teach the sovereignty of God speak of “blessed inconsistency” instead of realizing that knowledge of how God justifies is wonderful knowledge of God!

Many who teach the sovereignty of God also engage in rationalizations and self-deceptions. They tell us, “well at least our being justified before we know the gospel shows us the sovereignty of God. We can’t be bothered to look back to any passing from death to life. Why bother with talking about before and faith in the gospel, or about “when in condemnation” or “before justification”. Since the Arminians confuse faith with Christ’s righteousness, we won’t make that mistake. We will exalt the sovereignty of God by teaching that justification is independent (before and without) God teaching us the gospel

But God is not a respecter of persons. God takes sides with Himself, against all those not yet imputed with Christ’s death. The only elect sinners that God has already justifies are those God has placed into the death of Christ.

Romans 8:10–”but if Christ is in you.., the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

II Peter 1:1, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Romans 4:24 Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was handed for our trespasses (past and future) and raised for our justification (past and future)

ROMANS 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who WERE ONCE slaves of sin HAVE BECOME obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, HAVING BEEN justified from sin, HAVE BECOME slaves of righteousness.

Romans 16:7 “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles,and they were also in Christ before me.” Christ being in us is not the same reality as us being in Christ, and the Apostle Paul does not say that these other elect were born again before him. Paul say they were “in Christ” before him. That’s not the new birth or election. That’s justification

God is not some neutral arbitrator. God is one of the parties in God’s lawsuit against sinners. The God we have offended by being sinners (exchanging truth for idolatry) is the God who will judge all sinners.

Eternal justification preachers falsely reason from the fact that God’s imputation of Christ’s death is before faith to a conclusion that God’s justification is also before and without faith in the gospel. But the imputation of Adam’s sin and condemnation are two distinct matters, and condemnation is the result of God’s imputation of Adam’s sin.

God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ is distinct from God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect (Romans 6 baptized–not water, not with the Spirit– into the death). Eternal justification folk have nothing to say about justification in the before and after of Romans 6 and Ephesians 2. T

They tend to assume that Galatians 2 (despite its context) is not talking about justification (freedom from guilt, positive legal standing in Christ) but about the new birth (learning the gospel).

God’s imputation of Christ’s death results in God’s effectual calling, faith and justification. God’s declaration of justification is not apart from God’s creating hearing by faith in God’s gospel.

Cunha, p 83—” To say that faith is merely an awareness of justification that has occurred prior to faith is to define faith in a way that is foreign to Scripture….

David Clarkson, Of Faith, p 75—Faith at first relies on Christ, not as one that has pardoned my sin, but as one through whom pardon is to be obtained. The persuasion that sin is pardoned is a consequence of faith. Faith is not the persuasion that my sin is pardoned.

James Haldane, The Doctrine of the Atonement, p 115–”When does the act of justification take place? In time or before time? Like every other purpose of God, justification was God’s purpose before the ages, and like the act of creation, justification is an act carried out in time. We may as well talk of eternal resurrection as talk of eternal justification,”

Romans 8: 12 We are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die.

Believing a false gospel is flesh, and if you believe a false gospel, you are going to die. Being immoral is flesh, and if you believe and confess the true gospel, you believe and confess the forgiveness of your immorality (past and future)

You will notice that I have not talked about the nature of faith and assurance. I cannot talk about everything all at once. I don’t make distinctions between me “really believing” and other people “only having their heads stuffed with intellectual doctrines”.

My question is about the object of knowledge. What is the gospel? Does the gospel tell us that all the elect are already justified? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that being “saved” is not justification but the new birth? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that Christ’s righteousness is Christ keeping the law Adam and Moses were supposed to keep? No, the gospel is about Christ’s death as the basic difference between those who will be justified and those who will not be justified. All for whom Christ died will be justified.

Did Christ’s Death At least Give Everybody an Incomplete Justification?

August 5, 2016

What good is an incomplete justification? If the justification is incomplete because you did not complete it, then you end up being condemned by God’s “grace” and not by God’s law.

Instead of hearing the gospel and being condemned by it, on this theory, you would have been better off not hearing the gospel and then you could not be condemned by your lack of faith in not accepting the grace “God” had for you. Had you not heard the gospel, God could not have condemned you! Those who teach that all sin is against grace have a “don’t ask and don’t tell” kind of “gospel.”

God decreed the non-election of the non-elect before the ages, and so God excluded certain humans from salvation, even while ordaining these humans to be sinners.

It is not necessary to preach law before gospel until despair is created, and only then the gospel as hope. This one-two step can be a way of assuming or implying that sinners can actually take sides against themselves without any hope of forgiveness.

True repentance is not produced by the law only, however, but by the revelation of the gospel. Since the justice of God is a part of the gospel, there is no need to preach law separately before gospel.

But even the non-elect are commanded to believe the gospel
Believing the gospel is NOT believing that “God has grace for me” or that “God has grace for everybody”

The promise of the gospel is that as many as believe the gospel will be justified, so that anybody who says I believe the promise but I don’t believe that there is grace for me….is not yet believing the promise

The non-elect do NOT “exclude themselves” from election. The gospel is not the law, and we are born condemned, so that those who never hear the gospel are still condemned. Rejection of the gospel is not the basis of condemnation ,John 3:18-20 teaches that there is no escape from condemnation except by the gospel.

John 3: 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. 19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.

Terrance Tiessen agrees with the Arminians that Christ’s death gets rid of many sins for everybody but not all the sins of anybody because he thinks it’s faith which unites you to Christ. Many Arminians think the only sin which condemns anybody is lack of faith. They think that the good news was that God loved you but you didn’t have faith in God’s grace for you.

Tiessen—“I propose that one of the universal benefits of Christ’s atoning death is the forgiveness of sins of ignorance. Because any and all sin deserves God’s judgment, namely, death, everyone who sins objectively, having done what is morally wrong by God’s standard, deserves to be punished. Before the law of God, they stand guilty. When God chooses not to punish us for unintended sin, however, he does not simply say: “That is OK, it doesn’t matter.” It does matter, and it violates God’s holiness and disrupts the shalom, the total well being, of God’s creation. When God, the Judge of all moral beings, chooses not to punish us for that unintended moral violation, his own holiness is preserved, I suggest, by the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for sin.”

Tiessen—“Of course, I am not here speaking of the complete justification that leads to eternal life, simply of acts for which God does not hold the ignorant sinner accountable. But, nonetheless, I am suggesting one of the ways in which Jesus satisfied the just wrath of God against sin, is in his providing a sacrifice of atonement which God applies to sins of ignorance, that is to say, to acts which, though sinful, were done in good faith (as per Rom 14). This was typified in the old covenant provision of sacrifices for sins done unintentionally (Leviticus 5:17-19; Numbers 15:22-28), particularly in the annual offering of the high priest, which was for his own sin and “for the sins committed unintentionally by the people” (Hebrews 9:7).

Tiessen–“Of much greater magnitude than God’s forbearance of sins done in ignorance is God’s forgiveness of sins done deliberately. No provision was made for these sins in the old covenant sacrificial system. Yet that is precisely what God does to all whom he graciously justifies, not on account of their own righteousness, but on account of the righteousness of Jesus, in whom they are incorporated by faith.”

http://rethinkinghell.com/2016/07/what-did-jesus-suffer-for-us-and-for-our-salvation/

In his attempt to say that lost people are lost only because of themselves, Andrew Fuller taught a common prevenient moral ability to believe (his false gospel).

It is now more and more common to think of all sin as sin against grace. This tends to remove the antithesis between law and grace .

William Lane Craig, In Pinnock, the Grace of god and the Will of Man, p 157—-“God desires and has given sufficient grace for all people to be saved. If some believe and others do not, it is not because some received prevenient grace and some did not. The efficacy of God’s grace is UP TO US, because every person is moved by God in a measure sufficient for salvation.”

Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

Horton–God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton/

Paul Helm—“We may note that one thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For now the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes simply from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2015/04/amyraut-one-more-time.html

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but only by the inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption…. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible. The whole idea of obligatory grace is contrary to the biblical presentation of grace.

If You Talk about Election, then the Sinner will think He needs to Know he’s elect before he can believe

April 1, 2016

Tom Nettles on Andrew Fuller’s notion of “sufficient for all”.—–Error one: it’s tantamount to identifying the doctrine of effectual calling with atonement. What one really means by definite atonement is that the difference is not in the atonement but in the Spirit’s work of calling. A second error is subtle in nature and involves a shift in the understanding of the sacrificial death. Although the concepts of reconciliation and propitiation are defined as activities accomplished in the Father’s setting forth God the Son–when the idea of the sufficiency of the death of Christ arises, the emphasis shifts from the Son’s death to what he accomplished by his infinite divine nature.”

Abraham Booth, Divine Justice Essential to the Divine Character, book 3:60– “While cheerfully admitting the sufficiency of Immanuel’s death to have redeemed all mankind, had all the sins of the whole human species been equally imputed to Him, we cannot perceive any solid reason to conclude that his propitiatory sufferings are sufficient for the expiation of sins which Christ did not bear, or for the redemption of sinners whom Christ did not represent. For the substitution of Christ, and the imputation of sins to Christ, are essential to the scriptural doctrine of redemption by our adorable Jesus…”

Dagg (Manual of Theology, p 330): “Some have maintained that, if the atonement of Christ is not general, no sinner can be under obligation to believe in Christ, until he is assured that he is one of the elect. This implies that no sinner is bound to believe what God says, unless he knows that God designs to save him…”

Reformed—And why should the unbelievers believe that the good news applies to him if he can’t know that it applies to him unless he is among the elect, which is something he can’t know until he is first granted the grace of saving faith to begin with?

mark: And why do you presume that the gospel is good news for every sinner, unless you beg the question? Christ’s death does not apply to the non-elect. The non-elect will never be placed into Christ’s death. But since we don’t know (and can’t know) that any sinner is non-elect, why should that fact keep any sinner from believing the truth of the gospel? Must we change the gospel in order to make it more attractive to people who don’t like the gospel?

Reformed– If we are talking to an unbeliever about the gospel, what do we tell that person? Do we tell him that Christ died only for His elect, that faith in Christ is a gift of God given only to the elect, and that if he is elect he will believe? (All of this is, of course, biblically true, and in the course of a conversation with an unbeliever it may be appropriate to bring up such truths. But it is “good news” only to one who has already through sovereign grace come to believe).

mark— I am going to tell him the truth, and not keep secret what God has revealed, not only because I love the truth which gives glory to God in all God’s attributes, not only because I am “macho” or “confrontational” but because I do not believe that the Holy Spirit uses what is false to bring life to sinners dead in their sins. Knowledge of the truth is very important to the power of the gospel.

Reformed—But then would you go on and tell him that he has a duty to believe, while also telling them that he doesn’t actually have the ability to believe (which, of course, he doesn’t if he is currently unregenerate)?

mark: I am not Arminian, so I do not assume that duty depends on ability. Do you? I know only a couple of “hyper-Calvinists”, and both of them agree with the Arminians that responsibility depends on ability. It seems a very strange jump to get from your idea that “Christ’s death is enough for you” to get to a presumption of ability for all sinners. Are you advocating some idea of ‘common” prevenient “grace” that has been purchased for all sinners by Christ’s death? If not, why are you basing duty (to obey the law or to believe the gospel) on ability?

Reformed –If I were a perceptive unbeliever on the receiving end of such a “gospel” presentation, I would want to ask something like this: “You are telling me that I must believe in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. But on what basis should I believe in Him? After all, I may be a reprobate, in which case Christ did not die for the forgiveness of my sins, nor does He in any sense of the word offer me His forgiving grace.

mark: Unbelievers tend not to be epistemologically self-conscious as they could be, but I can see nothing but good in presenting the truth that our salvation is not in our hands. Christ’s death has NOT now declared God’s desire to save everybody or that Christ has done enough to save everybody. To teach those two ideas as gospel may very well be what sinners want to hear, but those two ideas are not the truth and they are not what any sinner needs to hear. And again, you beg the question about “the sense of the word offer”. I have already agreed not to use the word, but I do not agree that “universal objective sufficiency” is the meaning of the word offer.

Reformed– So you are telling me I must believe in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. But even if I wanted to how could I unless God were to first give me a special direct revelation of my election?

mark: How do you breathe without knowing when you will stop breathing and die? We agree that we don’t who is elect before they believe. I don’t know it. and you don’t know it. I guess you think you can solve the “problem” by not talking about election at all. But your telling sinners that “Christ’s death is enough for you” is not the truth and it also does not change the equation. Because at the end of the day, despite your assurances and your silence about election, it’s going to come out that Christ’s death which you say is enough is not enough and then it’s going to look like it all comes down to the sinner or what God does in the sinner.

The gospel is not a special revelation about who is elect. The gospel is what God effectually reveals to the elect in such a way that they believe the gospel about Christ’s death for the elect. The logic of “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin” is not that Christ died for every sinner, and that every sinner had an “opportunity” to be saved, if they accepted “the offer”. No. The logic rather is that now and always there has been only sacrifice that really takes away sin, and that’s the sacrifice of Christ’s death.

Reformed— Election and limited atonement are vital doctrines that undergird the gospel and strengthen the faith of believers. But unbelievers need to hear the simple law and gospel.

mark: The Arminian gospel turns out to never be that simple. Hypothetical universalism is not simple either. “Christ died for everybody” is a complex falsehood, very commonly believed. It’s not like most people have not already heard that lie.

Reformed– Christ is the all-sufficient Savior of sinners just like you and me, who died to pay the penalty for sin and rose from the dead so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life.

mark: It’s a shifty way of not talking about election. Romans 9:11— “Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of ELECTION would continue, not because of works but because of His call.” Unlike some tricky Reformed clergy who say “His covenant people” (where the idea is covenant is not governed by election, and the word election is not used), you go for “sinners like you and me”. But Christ’s death does not save non-elect sinners nor was Christ’s death intended to save (or condemn) non-elect sinners. Christ did not simply bear “sin” in a collective general “more or less, depending on what sinners decide” sense that Arminians assume. Christ’s death was not simply “representative” but a substitution, and all for whom He died will be saved

It’s so weird that you, on one hand, want a detailed Reformed creed which teaches so many wonderful truths about who Christ is, but then, on the other hand, want a “least common denominator” any Jesus will do, when it comes to the gospel. At the end of the day, it sounds to me like you not only think “the enough for everybody” gospel is true and enough, but you DO NOT want to talk to us sinners about what God has revealed about election. it’s as if you think our talking about Christ actually one day saving all for whom He died will get in the way of God’s effectual call.

Herman Bavinck, Sin and Salvation, volume 3, Reformed Dogmatics, 2006, p 469—-”The center of gravity has been shifted from Christ and located in the Christian. Faith (not the atonement) has become the reconciliation with God.”

Jonathan Gibson, From Heaven, p 358—-“Election and the Atonement do not operate on separate theological tracks. What God has joined together, let no theologian separate. Affirming union with Christ before the moment of redemption accomplished counters any disjunction between the effect of Christ’s death and the effect of His resurrection. (Those who put union later) sound as if Christ’s death might lead to the death of some sinners, but not also to their resurrection. … if one, then the other. if death with, then resurrection with.”

The “problem” to which those who misuse the Lombard formula (sufficiency/efficiency appeal is in fact solved by the biblical proclamation that every one who believes on the Christ who saves by His death will be forgiven and pass from death to life. . This proclamation is not grounded in Christ’s having died sufficiently for all humans. This proclamation is based on Christ’s having died sufficiently and efficiently for all the elect, no matter how enormous their iniquity. And that sufficient and efficient death has purchased faith for all the Father gave the Son.

DGH—-Not everyone agreed with Edwards— Nathaniel Taylor’s psychology differed. For him, motives were distinct from choice or volition, and volition caused action. Taylor’s psychology was tripartite, consisting of the affections, will, and understanding; Edwards’s was dual, consisting of the affections (emotions/will) and understanding.

DGH—Is anyone willing to stake salvation on any of these puritan speculations? http://oldlife.org/2016/03/30/the-less-worthy-bits-of-puritanism

mark– Did you ever notice that the puritans who hate the “commercial metaphor” for Christ’s death, are the very same puritans who most insist on the speculation that Christ’s death is “infinite and sufficient” and therefore there’s no need to talk about election in the gospel. These puritans are also often the very same people who say that “sanctification increases” and God’s love and grace goes up the more we obey, The same people who never have a good word to say about Tobias Crisp never have a bad word about John Wesley or Andrew Fuller or puritans like Richard Baxter. .

Mark Jones—“Divine grace is not MERELY God’s goodness to the elect in the era of redemptive history. … Divine grace is a perfection of God’s nature, and thus a characteristic of how he relates to FINITE creatures, even apart from sin. In the garden, the grace of God was upon Adam; in the “wilderness,” the grace of God is upon his Son, the second Adam. God’s graciousness may be summarized simply as what he is in and of himself.”

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/can-humans-merit-before-god-2.php

According to the Marrow theology, in the preaching of the gospel God in Jesus Christ, “God moved with nothing but his free love to mankind lost, hath made a deed of gift and grant unto them all, that whosoever shall believe in this his Son, shall not perish, but have eternal life” . As confusing as the language is, the phrase, “deed of gift and grant,” intends to teach God’s would-be love to all humans who hear the preaching on the condition that they believe.

Contrast this confusing statement concerning the extent of the atoning death of Christ with the clear language of the Canons of Dordt— For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father. (2.8).

Christ died once for time, back then, over there, not here, not now but in the past.. Christ is alive, having risen from the dead. In order to introduce into Reformed churches the doctrine of universal atonement, the Marrow men resorted to linguistic subterfuge: “Christ is dead for you.” The Canons of Dordt make plain that the “offer” does not mean a gracious effort on God’s part to save all who hear, in view of a love of God for all hearers and with the desire to save them all. Head one of the Canons confesses the non-election of some humans . Head two confesses that Christ died for the elect alone, according to God’s lasting love for them. Heads three and four confess that the saving call of the gospel, that which has its source in God’s election, is for some hearers of the gospel, not for all without exception.

Head two of the Canons teaches that Christ “purchased” for the elect, not only forgiveness and eternal life, but also faith itself (Canons 2.8). Faith in Jesus Christ is a privilege, a right earned for the elect by the death of Jesus. “ If God in the gospel lovingly offers salvation to all humans on the basis of Christ’s death for everyone, Christ is not the whole savior. The sinner himself, by his acceptance of the offered Christ, is instrumental in his own salvation. Christ is no longer the savior because what God the Holy Spirit does to make the sinner accept Christ is the more fundamental part of salvation.

According to the puritan Thomas Boston. the offer is not a gift to effectually save anybody, but merely a way to make Jesus available. Boston uses the example of the gift of money to a poor man: “Even as when one presents a piece of gold to a poor man saying, ‘Take it, it is yours’; the offer makes the piece REALLY HERE IN A SENSE nevertheless, while the poor man does not accept it, it is not HIS IN POSSESSION nor hath he the benefit of it; but, on the contrary, must starve for it all, and that so much the more miserably, that he hath slighted the offer and refused the gift”

And thus the gospel is converted into law, an instrument of condemnation under the pretense of glad tidings to sinners Christ never knew or died for.

Since God is Sovereign, Does It Even Matter how precise you are about the Gospel?

January 30, 2016

Tolerant Calvinists i tell us that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, those Arminians are still saved and that this their salvation is not conditioned on them. After all, they say, they are not “stingy with the love of God”.

Does this mean that God loved the elder brother in spite of his legalism? Since most of those tolerant Calvinists claim that God has an universal “non-saving love” for all sinners, I am sure they would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.

But is that elder brother justified before God? Must the one who came home from the hog pen confess that the elder brother is his brother? Back in the days when I became an universalist, I said yes: all are brothers.

What do you say? I do not ask if you think the elder brother was non-elect in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask—is a legalist already regenerate and justified while still left in his legalism? Are “good sincere people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel?

Is the love of God so weak that it cannot save a person who remains a legalist? In spite of his legalism? Is the love of God so weak that it cannot save a person who remains an Arminian? In spite of his Arminianism?

My answer is that the love of God is so powerful that it CONVERTS the sinner. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his turning from from the false or BECAUSE OF his faith in the true gospel, but the sinner CONVERTED BY GOD does have faith in the gospel. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness obtained by Christ’s death for the elect, but the converted sinner will understand and submit to that righteousness.

The converted sinner will believe the gospel BECAUSE OF THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS. Romans 8:10– the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” What God did at the cross is not merely “potential”. The power of true doctrine cross is used by the Holy Spirit to “crucify” sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that any man who does not know this is our brother.

But tolerant Calvinists won’t say this when it comes to submitting to effective atonement. Sometimes some of them suggest it when it comes to those “who only walked the aisles” But they won’t say it about it legalists. And all Arminians are legalists.

Because anybody who says that Christ died for everybody but some of them are not saved MUST be looking to the sinner as the difference between saved and lost. Even if the legalist gives his god or election the “credit” for the difference, he MUST locate that difference in what he thinks his god is doing in himself and not in what Christ did at the cross.

I understand that you believe that Jesus died only for some. But you think knowing about this death is not necessary. It is the cause, sure; but you don’t think they need to know that it’s the cause.

Tolerant Calvinists like to sneer at “hyper_Calvinists” un-named and un-defined) but in effect they agree with the Primitive Baptists that people can be converted without hearing the gospel. Either that, or these tolerant Calvinists think that Christ died for you and everybody” is still the gospel.

They say John the Baptist was, and that people can be converted “directly” without the message of the cross. So they think it doesn’t matter if the elect hear the true gospel or the Arminian gospel or any gospel.

I reject this. I know that the non-elect will refuse the gospel. I know that the elect must be made alive in regeneration (on account of imputed righteousness) before they will submit to the gospel. But I also know that people need to hear the gospel before they can believe it. (I Peter 1:22-23).

To obey the truth, they must hear the truth. To believe the Word, they must hear the Word. Those who have never heard anything but the Arminian gospel have not yet heard the gospel, and are still lost in their sins.

We are not liberals. We know that not all men are our brothers. It is good and necessary to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on like he is, never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God?

The tolerant Calvinist assumption, adapted to their purpose of being intolerant and attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both brothers in the parable are brothers in Christ, not only in the flesh. But that is a false assumption.

Though Cain and Abel are brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, not both were justified before God. The one who came home was justified; the elder brother is still in condemnation. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel or the same God.

We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There is no pleasing God without faith in God’s gospel. We “do the truth” only when we confess that salvation is not caused by our deeds but “done in God”. The “good works” of Christians are necessary but they are not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is conditioned on what God did at the cross and not on these works. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.

Workers must exclude works as the condition of salvation, or they are not ‘good works” and the people who do them are elder brothers, not yet in the family of God, but still lost in their sins. Elder brothers do not “do the truth”. They can talk much of their works, but they will not bring these works to the light of the true gospel, for the true gospel would say that their works were not acceptable.

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/10/justification-by-precision-alo.php