On tolerant polemical defenses

It is a common occurrence when reading alleged “defenses” of essential gospel doctrines to find the author of the so-called “polemic” vitiate everything he just wrote. So whenever you encounter a book or a piece of writing that is said to be a defense of a crucial doctrine, just flip to the end of the book to see what the author says about those who do not believe the doctrine the author is said to be defending. Machen is one salient and spineless example of one who does this. Just read his “polemical defense” against the pantheizing liberals of his day and his supposed “defense” of the virgin birth of Christ.

N.T. Wright did something similar when he said that his colleague Marcus Borg was a true Christian despite his denial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Many would come to the defense of Machen and Wright by saying that they have written defenses of doctrines (Wright writing much on the historicity of the resurrection and Machen writing much in defense of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ). But obviously, it makes no sense — and vitiates the whole enterprise of writing a polemical defense — if the author declares the “essential” doctrine to be non-essential when he says that those who deny it are true Christians.

As mentioned above, this vitiating of essential gospel doctrine often occurs at the end of the book. At other times it occurs when the author “speaks peace” to those who deny the doctrine he says he is defending. To “speak peace” to a God-hating idolater is to mimic what the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day did (Jeremiah 6:14, 23:17). It is to share in the evil deeds of the one to whom you are speaking peace. It is to say that you and the person believe the same gospel and have the same spiritual father.

These kinds of defenses are commonplace among those professing to believe the gospel. Bruce A. Ware is yet another tolerant heretic who speaks peace to Open Theists. Open Theists are those who deny (among other things) the omniscience of God. In the preface of his book written against the ISM of Open Theism, he writes:

“Readers will find this book unkind to open theism. I hope that in no respect and in no place is it unkind to open theists. It is the views of this movement and its advocates that I oppose, not the individuals who advocate them. Some people do not make this distinction, and when they do not, the church is harmed. If, for the sake of warm and affirming personal relations with brothers and sisters in Christ, we tolerate views that are contrary to Scripture and detrimental to the health of the church, we show great disregard and lack of love for the broader membership of the church and we become, by our passivity, negligence, and/or lack of courage, complicit in the advocacy of these errant teachings (God’s Lesser Glory:The diminished God of Open Theism, Bruce A. Ware).

Like other tolerant Calvinist heretics, Ware seeks to separate the heresy from the heretic. His polemic is not against the actual people who believe the damnable heresy but only against the impersonal “ISM.” The apostle John, of course, never makes such an unbiblical separation:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. By this know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. And every spirit which does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God; and this is the antichrist which you heard is coming, and now is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

Bruce Ware ought to rebuke (albeit gently) the apostle John for what he says here above. For John does not make this all-important necessary distinction between the views of antichristian spirits and the false prophets who advocate them. In the errant view of Bruce Ware, John ought to have said that although the spiritual views are not from God, the actual individual adherents of these antichristian views are nevertheless, from God.

If John the Apostle were to speak as Bruce Ware would speak, he would say this:

Readers will find this book unkind to antichristian views. I hope that in no respect and in no place is it unkind to antichrists. It is the views of this antichristian movement and its antichristian advocates that I oppose, not the individual antichrists who advocate them. Some people do not make this distinction, and when they do not, the church is harmed. If, for the sake of warm and affirming personal relations with female and male antichrists, we tolerate views that are contrary to Scripture and detrimental to the health of the church [synagogue of Satan in actuality of course–CD], we show great disregard and lack of love for the broader membership of the church and we become, by our passivity, negligence, and/or lack of courage, complicit in the advocacy of these errant teachings.

The adherents of Open Theism (open theism denies among many things, that God knows the “future free actions of his creatures”) include men like Gregory Boyd, John Sanders, and Clark Pinnock. Thus, Bruce Ware shares in the evil deeds of the Open Theist. His writing of a book against Open TheISM means nothing. His supposed intolerance of Open TheISM means nothing when he affirms his spiritual oneness with the Open TheISTS. And by doing this, Ware is saying that he believes in the same “god” they do (read Isaiah chapters 40-48 to see what “god” that is). The conclusion here is that Bruce Ware is a God-hating idolater, a tolerant Calvinist heretic.

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