The following is an article written by Marc Carpenter:
Slanderer, Spiritual Harlot, Hypocrite
This issue is dedicated to exposing James White, founder of Alpha and Omega Ministries. Why focus on one man for an entire issue? It is because his views embody and epitomize the views of most who are in the camp of conservative Calvinism, so to expose him is to expose all those who believe like him. White is known for his supposed “hard-line” stand against false gospels such as Roman Catholicism and Mormonism. Yet he is shown to be just another tolerant Calvinist hypocrite. And when people call him on his hypocrisy and false peace-speaking, he resorts to slander, because he has no substantive answer to the truth. May this serve not only to expose the lies of James White but, more importantly, expose the lies of the conservative Calvinists as they speak peace to Arminians and slander those who believe the truth.
LETTER TO JAMES WHITE
On your web site, you have a post entitled “Hyper Calvinism Revisited” (21 February) in which you misrepresent me (and, by extension, misrepresent those with whom I fellowship). If you are going to refute what I say, then at least refute what I say, rather than your misrepresentations of me. If you are a man of integrity, you will post my defense on your web site or at least tell your readers where you falsely accused me and publicly recant your false accusations. However, since I do not believe you are a man of integrity, I’m not holding my breath.
I will now respond to your post. Your words will be in italics after your initials.
JW: Hyper Calvinism Revisited … I noted a while back the response of a hyper-Calvinist … One of the best known hyper-Calvinists is Marc D. Carpenter of outsidethecamp.org.
Right at the outset, you level the charge of Hyper-Calvinism against me. First of all, I’m not even a Calvinist. So how can I be a Hyper-Calvinist? I’ve been called a Hyper-Calvinist by many tolerant Calvinists, but when I ask them to give evidence for this, they mysteriously fall silent. An example of this is Thomas Roche, who wrote, “What do you all think about the distinctive teachings of ‘hypercalvinism’, such as that preached by Marc Carpenter of ‘Outside the Camp’ fame?” When asked what he meant by ‘hypercalvinism,’ Roche wrote:
“Traditionally, ‘hypercalvinism’ is defined as 5pt supralapsarian calvinism plus a denial of the ‘free offer of the Gospel’, and corresponding denials of the duty all men have to repent and believe. IOW, hyperists believe that the non-elect, who cannot possibly believe, have therefore no duty to do so and the elect have no corresponding duty to evangelize the world at large. Related to this, hyperists essentially deny the possibility of any assurance of salvation, since only the elect can truly salvifically believe and we do not know who these are, etc Hyperists essentially overdo God’s sovereignty at the expense of man’s responsibility and fall back into a cold, rational, fatalistic faith more akin to stoicism or Islam than serious christianity. Marc Carpenter is a hyperist … who runs the notorious http://www.outsidethecamp.org website, a standard hard-core hyperist site today.”
Here, Roche says that I am a standard hard-core hyperist, as defined above. I agree that Roche’s definition is the traditional definition of Hyper-Calvinism, with one addition: Hyper-Calvinists believe that there can be a time-lapse of days, months, or even years between regeneration and conversion; the gospel is not relevant in regeneration. The cornerstone of the Hyper- Calvinist belief is the denial that all men are responsible to repent and believe the gospel, with its logical conclusion that evangelizing the lost is to be avoided. But he (and you, Mr. White) forgot one little thing: I have never believed these things and have never said or written anything that would even hint at believing these things. I believe that all men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe the gospel and will be held responsible/accountable for their unbelief. I believe in preaching the gospel to the lost (you would know this if you read any of my evangelistic writings or listened to my sermons). I believe that if one does not believe the gospel, he is unregenerate. I do not deny the possibility of assurance of salvation; in fact, if you really read or listened to what I had to say on assurance, you would see that I actually believe the opposite of what you claim I believe. The only similarities are supralapsarianism and the belief that God does not desire the salvation of the reprobate, but even these things are distorted by the Hyper-Calvinists. I have written against the time-lapse heresy of Primitive Baptist Hyper-Calvinism in the article “The Irrelevant Gospel” (Outside the Camp Vol. 5, No. 2). Your accusation of Hyper-Calvinism is slander.
JW: [I]t is not enough for you to believe in the Five Points: unless you 1) confess you were not a Christian until you understood and believed all Five Points, and 2) are willing to condemn to the fires of hell itself every person who does not understand and believe all five points in totality, you are not a Christian either (evidently that makes seven points you must believe). … You can believe all Five Points, but, if you don’t believe their “Extra Two,” you are as lost as a Roman Catholic who affirms every element of Rome’s false teaching.
Absolutely untrue. First of all, I have never said that all Christians are able to articulate and systematize the so-called “Five Points.” Give evidence for your accusation; if you cannot, you are a slanderer. What I have said is that all Christians believe the gospel, which is God’s promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. What I have said is that when God saves someone, He causes that person to believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation and causes that person to repent of his false religion. If he believed in universal atonement, then when God saves him, he will repent of his false religion. What I have said is that any Calvinist who says he remained a universal atonement advocate after God saved him has not truly repented – he has not counted his former religion as dung.
Secondly, I have never said that Christians must be willing to condemn these people to the fires of hell itself and if they don’t they’re not Christians. I myself don’t condemn them to the fires of hell, so if what you said were true, I’d have to say that I’m not a Christian. I have never condemned anyone to the fires of hell itself. Give evidence for your accusation; if you cannot, you are a slanderer. Among the unregenerate, we do not know who is and who is not elect. It is not for us to know or to judge whether an unregenerate person is going to go to heaven or to hell. And among those who used to be heretics who have died, I don’t know if God saved them later on in their lives before they died. So I don’t know if they are in heaven or hell. I do not know if anyone in the “Heterodoxy Hall of Shame” is in hell right now. God could have saved them after they made the quotes I mentioned. What I do know is that they were unregenerate. And what I do know is that those people who are alive right now who believe in universal atonement are unregenerate. Christians do not judge whether or not unregenerate people are going to hell. They do not condemn anyone to hell. What they do do is judge a person who confesses a false gospel to be currently unregenerate. That’s a far cry from condemning them to hell. You are a slanderer.
JW: I have denounced Carpenter repeatedly in the past, and watched with sadness as he has spiraled over the years into an ever tighter circle of error.
Give evidence that I have changed my stance over the years. You won’t find it. When we find out things about people (such as Calvin), then we expose them. That does not mean we have changed our stance. Whenever we find out that a person confessed a false gospel (even a person whom we at one time thought was saved), we unreservedly disendorse them and say they were unregenerate when they confessed a false gospel.
JW: It would be an honor to join Calvin, Berkhof, Boettner, Hodge, Spurgeon and others for refusing Carpenter’s “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy.
Interestingly, you don’t name everyone in the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame. What about Billy Graham, Mr. White? What about Robert Schuller? Would it be an honor to join them?
And here it is again: the accusation that I believe in the “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy. This is absolutely, totally FALSE. This is vicious slander in the first degree, and you know it. Now read this and read this carefully, you liar: KNOWLEDGE, whether PERFECT or IMPERFECT, is NOT a requirement for salvation. Do you understand that? Have I made myself clear? Do you have any questions? KNOWLEDGE (including “perfect knowledge”) is NOT a CONDITION of or PREREQUISITE to salvation. NOTHING that the sinner does or is enabled to do, NOTHING that the sinner believes or is enabled to believe, NOTHING – NOTHING in the sinner is a requirement, prerequisite, condition for salvation. Salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ ALONE. If I believed that any kind of knowledge of any kind of doctrine were a condition of salvation, then I would be just as unregenerate as the Arminians, because I would be ADDING to CHRIST’S WORK ALONE as the condition of salvation. See “Doctrinal Regeneration” (Outside the Camp Vol. 5, No. 2) and “Letter to Credenda/Agenda” (Outside the Camp Vol. 8, No. 1).
And why is it, Mr. White, that because I believe that everyone who believes in universal atonement is unregenerate (because they do not believe the gospel), I am somehow requiring “perfection of knowledge”? If I said that everyone who believes that Jesus is not God is unregenerate, would you accuse me of requiring “perfection of knowledge” about the person of Christ? Do you believe that you have “perfection of knowledge”? If not, then what is this so-called “perfection of knowledge” about which you’re talking? It’s just a straw man. See “Some Form of Perfectionism?” (Outside the Camp Vol. 7, No. 2).
Now let’s think about Christians for a minute. Do all Christians have some kind of knowledge? Is there any such thing as a Christian without knowledge? Of course not. There is no such monstrosity. Does that mean that salvation is conditioned on knowledge? Absolutely not. The truth is that when God saves someone, He causes that person to believe the gospel. Belief of the gospel is an immediate and necessary fruit or result of salvation (not a requirement or condition of salvation). And belief of the gospel includes knowledge of certain things. It includes a knowledge of the person and work of Jesus Christ. If you get the person of Jesus Christ wrong, you don’t believe the gospel. If you get the work of Jesus Christ wrong, you don’t believe the gospel. And we’re not talking about “advanced doctrine” that only seminarians can understand. We’re talking about basic gospel doctrine – the heart, the essentials, of the gospel that even a child can understand. All Christians believe that Jesus is the God-Man Mediator. All Christians believe that the work of Jesus Christ alone demands and ensures the salvation of everyone whom He represented on the cross. All Christians believe that the work of Jesus Christ alone makes the difference between salvation and damnation. This is BASIC.
JW: It says I recognize the difference between 1) ignorance, 2) error based upon tradition and ignorance, 3) inconsistency, and 4) knowing rejection of the truth.
God through the Apostle Paul says that those who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are going about to establish a righteousness of their own and are not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3). If one is ignorant of the only righteousness that God accepts, then that person is automatically going about to establish a righteousness of his own. And this kind of ignorance is deadly. People who just don’t know about the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are just as lost as those who knowingly reject the truth. Someone who has never heard of Jesus Christ, who has never been confronted with the truth of Jesus Christ and has never been given an opportunity to reject the truth, is still unregenerate. Or do you believe that your brothers Schuller and Graham are right when they say that those who have never heard the gospel are saved? Ignorance is no excuse. See “Deadly Ignorance” (Outside the Camp Vol. 8, No. 3).
JW: And unlike Carpenter, I happen to believe that God’s grace works in conforming us to the image of Christ over time. That is, I happen to believe what the Bible says: we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). That means God leaves room for growth. He does not birth us as full grown, mature believers with all knowledge of all truth.
Straw man. False accusation. I have never said that all Christians have all knowledge of all truth. Go ahead – try to find where I said that. Back up your accusations. If you can’t, you are a slanderer. Christians can be in error on many things. But all Christians believe the gospel. What you believe is that a Christian can “grow” from believing a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner to believing the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone. The difference between the gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and the gospel of Arminianism is one of kind, not of degree. This is no mere matter of degrees of growth – this is a matter of cutting out the very heart of the gospel. Those who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (which includes all Arminians without exception) do not believe the true gospel to any degree. They believe a totally false gospel. The false gospel of universal atonement (and thus salvation conditioned on the sinner) is not just a “less consistent version” of the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone.
JW: [B]ut I had never heard of the phrase “limited atonement” when I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, and would not, in fact, hear of it, or come to understand it, for another nearly two decades–yet, I was a Christian prior to hearing that phrase.
A subtle accusation. A false accusation. I couldn’t care less if someone has never heard of the phrase “limited atonement” or has never heard of “the five points of Calvinism” or has never heard of the terms “Arminian” or “Arminianism.” That doesn’t matter to me one bit! What matters is this – do you believe the gospel? That’s what matters! So what if someone has never heard of the words “limited atonement” or “five points” or “Calvinism” or “Arminianism”! I do not judge a person lost because of this. Yet you would slander me by saying I believe this.
JW: The result is a small, tiny, cut-off little group that is defined, en toto, by its view of 7 Point Perfectionism, nothing else.
First of all, our “small, tiny, cut-off little group” is all over the world. Yes, we’re quite small compared to the fashionable Calvinists. But is that your measure of success? So, I guess to you, since Billy Graham has preached to millions upon millions and that he isn’t cut off from anyone, that makes his ministry legitimate? And it makes the mega-church ministries legitimate?
And secondly, another slanderous accusation – “7 Point Perfectionism.” We don’t believe in perfectionism at all. And to say we do makes you a liar.
JW: It is actually worse than that. I believe some folks who haven’t a clue what universal atonement means are saved!
Another subtle false accusation. I have never said that I would judge a person unregenerate just because he has never heard of the phrase “universal atonement” or doesn’t know what “universal atonement” means. If someone came up to me and told me he doesn’t know what “universal atonement” means, would I judge him lost based on this? NO!!!!! Did you get that, Mr. White? You are a slanderer in the first degree.
JW: I was a Christian before I ever knew of the debate. The vast majority of those Carpenter would identify as “Arminians” do not have the first clue as to what the debate is about.
I do not require people to know of the debate or to have any clue as to what the debate is about in order to judge a person to be my brother in Christ. Yet you would accuse me of this, you slanderer. But what of those people (including those who have never heard of the debate and those who have heard of the debate) who believe that Jesus Christ’s blood atoned for everyone without exception? These people do not believe the gospel. These people deny the heart of the gospel, which is the atonement. It is just as much a denial of the gospel as one who does not believe that Jesus is God. What if someone has never heard of the Jehovah’s Witness debate but who believes that Jesus is not God? Would you say that he still could be a Christian, but he is just “ignorant” or “inconsistent” or “immature” about some things? Does a Christian “grow” from denying the deity of Christ to embracing the deity of Christ?
JW: And, of course, you cannot begin to substantiate the idea that Paul was going about adding “limited atonement” to the list of things that define the gospel proclamation, without which, there is no true faith.
Paul preached the atonement as the central gospel doctrine. I don’t like the term “limited atonement.” Paul preached efficacious atonement – the atonement that actually atones. That is the very heart of the gospel. Without THE Atonement, there is no gospel. See “Gospel Atonement” (Outside the Camp Vol. 7, No. 2).
JW: Do I call believers to hold to a consistent theology on the doctrine of the atonement? You bet I do. Do I teach it in the fellowship where I serve as an elder? Sure do. Do I believe it important to the honoring of God to believe it? Yes indeed. Do I believe someone who is ignorant of it is lost? Of course not.
So you would not judge someone who is ignorant of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross as lost. That says it all.
JW: But I also recognize that we normally jump to snap conclusions and God works on a much longer timetable than we do.
So do you also recognize that Christians might not normally jump to snap conclusions about the deity of Christ? Do you recognize that it takes time for Christians to “come into” the doctrine of the deity of Christ?
JW: In either case, it is not my job to attempt to look into their hearts.
I know it’s not your job. But it is the job of true Christians to judge people’s hearts by what they confess. See “Righteous Judgment” (Outside the Camp Vol. 3, No. 1).
JW: But thankfully, inconsistency based upon ignorance is not a hindrance to God’s work of salvation: He will work in the hearts of His people in His own time, in His own way.
Another very subtle false accusation. No one’s inconsistency based on ignorance is a hindrance to God’s work of salvation. Nothing is a hindrance to God’s work of salvation. But what you’re saying is that when God saves someone, He causes that person to continue believing in salvation conditioned on the sinner.
What about that little inconsistency based upon ignorance of the deity of Christ – what do you think of that? Is that a hindrance to God’s work of salvation?
JW: It is not Carpenter’s to become the judge, jury, and executioner of those who trust in Christ.
You claim not to “look into their hearts,” yet you judge them to be “those who trust in Christ.” You have just judged the state of their hearts, you hypocrite. By what standard do you judge them to be believers?
It is most certainly my job (and every Christian’s job) to judge based on the evidence. It is most certainly NOT my job (or any Christian’s job) to be the executioner, or even to judge who is going to be punished forever in hell. You falsely accuse me again. You’re really good at that. You must have a lot of practice.
JW: Here Carpenter blows a logical gasket, and he doesn’t even cover over his error very well. Note that Carpenter equates “the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ” with “a perfect and consistent knowledge of particular redemption with all of its attendant issues, including substitution, penal satisfaction, election, predestination, union with Christ, and therefore, particularity.” Let’s take me again: I was very, very young when God’s grace converted me (I guess that’s not possible in Carpenter’s very, very small world of hyper Calvinism). I hadn’t a clue there was an argument about this issue. I only knew Christ took my punishment and I needed to repent of my sin and believe in Christ and Christ alone. Evidently, Carpenter does not believe that act of faith by a young child saved. Carpenter’s hyperism moves the heart of the gospel away from Christ and into the intellect of the hyper-Calvinist who has read enough books and listened to enough debates to articulate the “proper” words in the proper order to the satisfaction of Marc Carpenter. He can have his empty, cold hyperism. I want nothing of it.
This is so full of false accusations that it’s hard to know where to start. I believe that young children can be saved. But God makes no exception for young children – they are saved and receive the same essential gospel knowledge that older people receive. Young children who are saved believe the same gospel that older people believe, which is God’s only gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. They might not even be able to begin to articulate their belief. Mr. White, you slander me when you say that I believe that a Christian must be able to articulate the proper words in the proper order to my satisfaction. What a lie.
I don’t care if a person doesn’t have a clue as to the argument about the issue! I don’t care if he doesn’t know how to articulate it! A young child or a person with mental retardation may not know how to articulate his belief. But if God has regenerated him, he believes the gospel! And this means that he will never believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. He will never believe that Jesus died for everyone without exception (universal atonement), which is the antithesis to the gospel. Why won’t he believe this? Is it because he needs to have perfect knowledge of all doctrines? No!! It is because he believes the gospel!! No one can believe the gospel and universal atonement at the same time.
JW: Note again the refusal to recognize that not everyone who is not in his tiny little group has a clue what he’s so upset about. “Universal atonement” is not a false gospel – it is not a “gospel” at all. It is a theory regarding the extent of the atonement. Many would say they believe in it simply because they are ignorant of the ramifications of the concept of substitutionary atonement, but the same people would clearly affirm the perfection of the atonement, never having been challenged to recognize the inconsistency of their position. Carpenter would slam the door of heaven in their faces for their inconsistencies. My, I wonder if Carpenter has any? And if he does, is heaven denied him as well? And was Mr. Carpenter regenerated only on the day he managed to rid himself of his final inconsistency? What an odd thing for a Calvinist to believe: that an unregenerate person would plow their way through all that reading, all that material, all that theology, just to finally come to an understanding of particular redemption and thereby receive salvation!
Another paragraph packed full of false accusations. I have never said that Christians don’t have any inconsistencies. I have never said that a person receives salvation by understanding particular redemption. I am not a Calvinist. What I have said is that every true Christian believes THE GOSPEL (do I sound like a broken record?), which includes the doctrines of the PERSON and the WORK of Jesus Christ. Mr. White, would you “slam the door of heaven” to someone who “inconsistently” denies the deity of Christ? Is a denial of the deity of Christ a false gospel, or is it a “theory regarding the person of Christ”? If I said that all who deny the deity of Christ are lost, would you say, “Well, Marc, are you perfect and consistent in all your doctrines? If not, then how can you say that all who deny the deity of Christ are lost?”
JW: It is so plain! So clear! So compelling! And so absurd!
You couldn’t address what I really believe, so you just say that your straw man is absurd. Try addressing what I really believe rather than slanderously propping up and then beating down a straw man.
JW: Carpenter damns them to hell.
A lie, as I have shown.
JW: That is why I get to introduce so many to the doctrines of grace, and Marc Carpenter sits in his little enclave thinking God is saving two dozen folks in the entire world. It is simply sad.
Oh, how high and mighty you are, Lord White! Look down upon the poor, sad little enclave that thinks there are two dozen saved folks in the entire world! Well, Mr. White, I think you’d be quite surprised at the extent of our ministry. Not as big as yours, no doubt, because we don’t compromise. But our ministry has spread throughout the world, and so many people have been introduced to the true gospel through our ministry. Unlike you, we don’t tell people to believe in efficacious atonement while saying that if they don’t, they’re still brothers in Christ. You spread your arrogant Calvinism, telling the Arminians that they’re just not as knowledgeable as you are, and efficacious atonement is not an essential gospel doctrine, but you’d sure be a smarter Christian if you believed it! And hey, maybe you’d even be able to go to an ivory-tower Calvinist seminary and learn how to debate like James White! Oh, if every Christian could be as consistent in their soteriology as James White! Those poor Arminians – they’re just ignorant of a little bit of doctrine, and their Christian lives would be so much better, and they’d be so much smarter if they just became Calvinists!
Contrary to your aspersions, we believe that there are true Christians spread throughout the world, most of whom we have not even met. And when we meet a true Christian, we rejoice in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of our Lord Jesus Christ alone.
JW: I have never once seen someone respond to being damned to hell by a hyper by looking more fully at these divine truths.
Again, I’ve never damned anyone to hell. And again, I think you’d be surprised at who responds to us. Of course more people are going to respond positively to people who say “peace, peace” when there is no peace. If I approached Muslims as people who are saved, they would like me better, wouldn’t they? The Jehovah’s Witnesses sure would embrace me if I told them that everything was okay with their souls. But the truth is a repulsive thing to self-righteous religionists. Look at what Jesus Christ said to the Arminians of his day, the Pharisees. Would you say to Jesus Christ, “Oh, by the way, Jesus, if you would just approach them as believers, you’d get a better response from them”? Suppose a doctor knows that a patient has a deadly disease and knows the cure. Would it be loving for the doctor to tell the patient that everything is alright? No – that would be hatred! The loving thing to do would be to tell the patient he has a deadly disease and then give him the cure! By speaking peace to the universal atonement advocates, you are hating them. You are promoting their eternal destruction. When I and my brothers and sisters in Christ tell universal atonement advocates that they are lost and their deeds are evil and proclaim the gospel to them, we are loving them. You have no idea what love is. You approach a universal atonement advocate as a brother in Christ and then try to convince him of the doctrines of grace. And when he “comes into” the doctrines of grace, all the while thinking that he was a regenerate person when he believed in universal atonement, you embrace him as a new Calvinist, making him just another lost Calvinist like yourself.
JW: And thus, Marc Carpenter sets himself up not only as the Pope of the small, grim little band of hyper- Calvinists, but as the Holy Spirit as well, demanding perfection of understanding, no growth in grace or knowledge, and claiming the ability to look into the hearts of men and determine who is a God-hater, all based upon his narrow, inconsistent, idiosyncratic theology.
You just keep on slandering and slandering and slandering some more, piling up lie upon lie. I do not set myself up as the head, let alone the Pope, of those who agree with us. I’m just another one of them. I’m not any more holy, any more special, any closer to God than anyone else. I do not set up myself as the Holy Spirit, for that would be blasphemy. I do not demand perfection of understanding. I believe there is growth in grace and knowledge. All your accusations are lies.
As far as “claiming the ability to look into the hearts of men and determine who is a God-hater,” I most certainly cannot look directly into their hearts, but I (and all Christians, not just I) can know what is in their hearts by what they confess. And if they confess a false gospel, they are God-haters. How about you, Mr. White? If a Jehovah’s Witness comes to you denying the deity of Christ, are you able to determine if he is a God-hater? Or is it possible that such a one is a God-lover? How can you know, since you have no ability to know what’s in their hearts? Do you judge anyone to be unregenerate? Mormons? Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists? Roman Catholics? If so, can I level the same accusation at you, that you are setting yourself up as a judge and are claiming the ability to look into the hearts of men and determine who is a God-hater?
JW: I suppose there is one thing that is good about exposing these people: their numbers do not grow. There is nothing attractive in hyper-Calvinism.
The emphasis you put on growth is telling. Do you judge how solid ministries are by their growth? Well, now, those mega-churches are quite attractive, aren’t they? They’re growing mightily – thousands at a time! They are so attractive – to the world. And speaking “peace, peace” to unbelievers is so attractive, too. It tickles the ears. It gives them what they want to hear. So if that’s the way you want to go, you go ahead. Speak peace to unbelievers. That’s a great way to be attractive and to grow.
JW: And thus it remains a side-show, a clear example of the fact that you can obtain intellectual knowledge that remains disconnected from your heart.
Ah, that old false distinction between intellect and heart that the tolerant Calvinists love to use! It sounds so, so … romantic! Yet if you knew your Bible, you’d see that it is the HEART that thinks, devises, imagines, believes. But that wouldn’t fit in with the heretical tolerant Calvinist philosophy. By making the “head-heart” distinction, they can say that the Arminians “don’t have it right in their head, but they have it right in their heart.” It’s just hogwash.
JW: But I truly enjoy making a fool out of the few who have attempted to paint me as a hyper-Calvinist by blowing away every mark of the hyper-Calvinist through my missions work, evangelism, and preaching.
And if you saw our missions work, evangelism, and preaching, you, too, would see that we are not Hyper-Calvinists. But even if you knew it, I don’t expect you to discontinue using it, because it’s a very convenient label to marginalize us, and because you have no real answer for what we really believe.
As for me and all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we will serve the Lord and tell the truth.
HYPOCRITE JAMES WHITE ON MORMONISM AND SPEAKING PEACE TO MORMONS
James White has a two-part series on Paul Owen (a former Mormon who now says that it is possible for some Mormons to be believers) on his web site entitled “Owen On Mormonism: A Warning to the Discerning.” White’s words are in italics after his initials, with his quotes from Owen in quotation marks.
JW: Paul Owen, a name well known to anyone who has read this blog with any regularity, has one [sic] again demonstrated an incredible double-standard in how he deals with theological issues and movements.
And now let us see whether or not James White has an incredible double standard in how he deals with theological issues and movements.
JW: Let’s make sure we fully understand this assertion, for it is a long way from why the vast majority of believers have rejected Mormonism as a “Christian religion.” Why have Christians rejected Mormonism from the start and sought to evangelize them? Because Mormonism and Christianity differ at the most fundamental level. Mormonism’s God is not the God of Christianity. Mormonism’s God became a god at a time in the distant past through a process of progression and exaltation; men and God are of the same species, just at different points in their progression. When Joseph Smith, the self-proclaimed prophet through whom the entire Christian faith was “restored,” informed us that his God had not been God from all eternity, he forever separated his followers from the Christian faith. All the rest of Mormonism’s errors – their errors about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, the Scriptures, priesthood, etc. – all flow from this basic error: that Christianity is monotheistic and believes that God is God and man is His creature; Mormonism is polytheistic and believes God and man are of the same species. Faith in a false god, no matter what names you use for that god, is a false faith that cannot save, and since the work of the Spirit is to sanctify us in the truth, God does not save His people through such false worship.
Exposé: Wait a minute, Mr. White! Aren’t you making a snap conclusion here? Aren’t you requiring perfect knowledge about who God is, thus espousing a “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy? What made you the judge, jury, and executioner? Can you look into the Mormon’s heart to see if he’s saved? Do you think that inconsistency based on ignorance is a hindrance to God’s work of salvation? Would you slam the door of heaven in the Mormons’ faces for their inconsistencies? Do you have any inconsistencies, Mr. White? And were you regenerated only on the day you managed to rid yourself of your final inconsistency? Where’s the room for growth in grace and knowledge and in conforming people to the image of Christ over time? After all, God does not birth us as full-grown, mature believers with all knowledge of all truth; God works on a much longer timetable than we do. Are you setting yourself up as the Pope and the Holy Spirit, demanding perfection of understanding, no growth in grace or knowledge, and claiming to look into the hearts of Mormons and determine that they are God-haters?
Parallel: Arminianism’s god is not the God of Christianity. Arminianism’s god created Adam and Eve and hoped that they would obey his command and was utterly disappointed when they didn’t. He then had to go to “Plan B” in order to try to save the human race. In this “Plan B,” this god sent his son, jesus christ, to die for the sins of everyone without exception with the hope that everyone without exception would be saved. This christ’s life and death was not enough to ensure the salvation of anyone; instead, it was a general amnesty for everyone without exception, with each person’s salvation contingent on that person’s own accepting this christ and letting this christ into their hearts. To this god’s utter disappointment, not everyone accepted this christ, so he sent and continues to send some people to hell for whom this christ died because they spurned this god’s love. This god is an eternally disappointed god, and hell is a monument to the failure of this god to save. Faith in a false god, no matter what names you use for that god, is a false faith, and no one who has a false faith is saved. God does not save through a false faith.
JW: It should be remembered, then, that for Paul Owen, Mormonism’s separation from Christianity is not due to their worshiping a false god, a false Christ (see below), or possessing a false gospel: it is due to baptismal irregularities. …
“3. I do believe that it is possible for Mormons to be ‘saved’ in the ultimate sense, though they do so outside the Church, and hence this is not normative. The Westminster Confession of Faith says that there is no ‘ordinary’ possibility of salvation outside the visible Church, and that is what I believe. So there is no ‘ordinary’ possibility of salvation inside the Mormon Church. But that is something different from saying there is no possibility of salvation outside of the visible Church, period. That I reserve for Christ. There is no salvation outside of Christ, period. I do believe that some Mormons have a sincere, saving faith in Christ, though it is surely a confused faith. Because such persons are presently outside of the visible Church, I do not feel free to identify them as Christians, but nor do I exclude the possibility, even the probability, that God does view some of them so. God’s mysteries are not openly revealed to me (Deut. 29:29), so I do not know for certain the identity of the elect (2 Tim. 2:19). I do know that God will show mercy to whomever he desires (Rom. 9:15), and that he does not ask for or need my approval of a person’s theological accuracy to do so.”
Exposé: You should love this kind of reasoning, Mr. White, since this is what you use to speak peace to Arminians! After all, you don’t know who’s saved and who’s not, and God has mercy on whomever He desires, and God doesn’t ask for or need your approval of a person’s theological accuracy to save whomever He wills, right? Doesn’t God save people in spite of their anti-gospel errors, Mr. White? Is the Mormon’s inconsistency based on ignorance a hindrance to God’s work of salvation, or will He work in the hearts of His people in His own time, in His own way?
JW: Let us agree immediately that “There is no salvation outside of Christ, period.” Evidently, however, we disagree on what it means to be in Christ. … But in this case, can anyone seriously argue that the New Testament teaching is that those who are in Christ are marked by true worship of the true God, the true Jesus Christ, and a common confession of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is this not the bedrock of the Church itself?
Exposé: Are you saying that there is not a single Mormon who is in Christ, who worships the true God and the true Jesus Christ? Who set you up as Pope, Holy Spirit, judge, jury, and executioner? Where is the room for growth? Just because a Mormon is inconsistent he is not in Christ and is not worshiping the true Christ? Does Christ require perfect consistency in order to be in Christ and to worship the true Christ? Are you in Christ because of your perfect consistency, Mr. White? You would slam the door of heaven in their faces for their inconsistencies, as if inconsistency based on ignorance is a hindrance to God’s work. Are you moving the heart of the gospel away from Christ and into the intellect, Mr. White, by requiring perfect knowledge of God the Father and God the Son in order to worship the true God and the true Jesus Christ and confess the true gospel? Are you holding to a “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy, Mr. White? Are you so unloving and so mean that you condemn to hell all who don’t believe exactly like you do, Mr. White? Are you saying that Christians cannot be in error about the gospel, Mr. White? You say that God leaves room for growth, that He does not birth us as full grown, mature believers with all knowledge of all truth, and that He conforms us to the image of Christ over time. Why, then, is it not possible for a Mormon to be saved?
Parallel: It most certainly is the bedrock of the church itself that those who are in Christ are marked by true worship of the true God and the true Jesus Christ, and a common confession of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But by saying that Arminians are believers, James White denies what he just wrote. Arminians do not worship the true God or the true Jesus Christ, and they do not confess the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet White says that at least some of them are “in Christ”. His blindness has led him into hypocrisy. He is quick to denounce Mormons as not believing in the true God, the true Christ, and the true gospel, but he wouldn’t dare denounce Arminians as such. Yet they are as far away from the true God, the true Christ, and the true gospel as the Mormons are. They do not believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. They do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They do not believe in the atonement of the gospel. They use the same words as Christians use, such as “grace” and “gospel” and “atonement,” but they mean completely different things. Arminians disagree with Christians on what it means to be “in Christ.”
JW: What does Owen mean when he speaks of a “confused faith”?
Exposé: Oh, probably the same thing as when the lost Calvinists talk about Arminians as being “wonderfully confused” or saved in spite of “blessed inconsistency.” Or do you not recognize the difference between ignorance, error based on tradition and ignorance, inconsistency, and knowing rejection of the truth? Are these Mormons knowingly rejecting the truth, or are they just ignorant, inconsistent, and confused? Are those who are confused about the deity of Christ just at the beginning of the “growth” process?
JW: No, no one knows the identity of the elect in a supernatural fashion, but surely we are not therefore free to say that there are no identifiable signs of what the elect believe! Yes, God will show mercy to whomever he desires, which is why election is free and unconditional. But it does not follow that it is God’s intention to save anyone “in Christ” but in ignorance of Him!
Exposé: Wait, wait a minute now, Mr. White! Does this not move the heart of the gospel away from Christ and into the intellect? Do you not know the difference between ignorance, error based upon tradition and ignorance, inconsistency, and knowing rejection of the truth? Is inconsistency based on ignorance a hindrance to God’s work of salvation?
Parallel: There most certainly are identifiable signs of what the regenerate elect believe. And when God saves a person, He lifts this person OUT of ignorance of Him and gives that person a KNOWLEDGE of Himself and of the gospel of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Every one of the regenerate elect believe in Christ crucified – that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that demands and ensures the salvation of everyone whom He represented. That means that there is not a single one of the regenerate elect who believe that Jesus died for everyone without exception! Why can White argue so plainly when he goes against Mormonism, but when he talks of Arminianism, he and his lost Calvinist friends resort to the same kind of foolish reasoning that Owen does?
JW: It is a canard to raise “my approval of a person’s theological accuracy.” It is a matter of whether God uses the gospel and whether He saves people in false worship, false faith, and does not, in fact, impart His truth through His Spirit’s renewing of the mind and the ministry of the Spirit- enlightened Word. Are we truly to believe that God has chosen to exercise His elective grace in direct contradiction to His stated purposes in glorifying Himself through the creation of a special people in Jesus Christ who know Him savingly? That is the question.
Exposé: Exactly, Mr. White! This is what I have been saying to the lost Calvinists who speak peace to Arminians for years! Yet people like you raise canards like “my approval of a person’s theological accuracy” ALL THE TIME! It is so commonplace to hear accusations like, “You’re expecting every saved person to have perfect theological accuracy” or “God doesn’t save people based on their theological accuracy” or “God doesn’t need to get your approval of a person’s theological accuracy before He saves them.” This comes right out of the tolerant Calvinist handbook!
Parallel: It most certainly IS a matter of whether God uses the gospel (the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone) and whether He saves people in false worship and false faith. God does NOT use the Arminian gospel to save people. God does NOT save people in false worship of the Arminian god and false faith in the Arminian gospel and the Arminian christ.
JW: This comes out with more clarity in Owen’s next comments on the common assertion made by yours truly, and many others, that the Jesus of Mormonism cannot save. And to those comments we will turn in our next installment.
Parallel: The jesus of Arminianism cannot save.
JW: Before continuing our response to Paul Owen’s velvet-glove treatment of his former religion, …
Parallel: Interestingly, most Calvinists treat their former religion of Arminianism in just the same way. They speak peace to their former selves. They talk about the “process of sanctification” or “growing in grace” going from Arminianism to Calvinism. They do not treat their former Arminianism as idolatry; they do not believe they were bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death. They have not repented of their former religion. This shows them to be just as lost now as they were in their former religion. Paul Owen is just as lost now as he was when he was a Mormon. And Calvinists who believe they remained Arminians for a time after they were regenerated are just as lost now as when they were Arminians.
JW: We continue reviewing Owen’s commentary on Mormonism:
“4. I do not believe that the argument, sure they believe in a Jesus, but not the Jesus, applies to the Mormons. The accusation of preaching “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4) is directed at false teachers who knowingly deny the authority of the apostle Paul, and who intentionally proclaim a different Jesus from the one Paul claimed to have met on the Damascus Road. The Mormons do not intend to worship a Jesus who differs from the apostolic testimony, as Paul’s opponents did. Their intention is to worship the Jesus who spoke through all the apostles. Christian apologists, in their zeal to latch onto a prooftext, have misapplied Paul’s strong words here, and wrongly applied them to Mormons, who intend to affirm what Paul, and all the apostles taught pertaining to Christ, but who misunderstand some of those teachings. That, in itself, is not damnable. I take their claim to have faith in Jesus at face value. The problem is, it is a defective faith, because the Mormons do not affirm the true substance of the faith as it has been summarized in the consensual affirmations of the Church. The problem with the Mormons is not that they do not believe the Bible (many of them do); it is that they do not believe in the testimony of the Church as to the content of the faith once for all committed to the saints (Jude 3). In short, the problem with the Mormons is not that they are not Evangelicals, but that they are not Catholic Christians.”
Let’s see if we can follow this argument. To preach a false Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4) requires you to have a full and accurate knowledge of Paul’s doctrine of Christ; you must intend to deny Paul’s authority. Hence, as long as someone does not intend to deny Paul’s authority and they do not want to proclaim a false Jesus, they are free from the condemnation of false teaching. Now is it true that Mormon leaders always intend to “affirm what Paul, and all the apostles taught pertaining to Christ”? Is teaching Jesus is the only-begotten of the Father in the flesh, the child of an exalted man, merely “misunderstanding some” of the Apostles’ teachings, and is not, in fact, damnable?
Exposé: Someone I know said the following: “It says I recognize the difference between 1) ignorance, 2) error based upon tradition and ignorance, 3) inconsistency, and 4) knowing rejection of the truth. … But thankfully, inconsistency based upon ignorance is not a hindrance to God’s work of salvation.” Who could that be, Mr. Two-Faced? How is it that when responding to me you can use the same argument as Owen, but when Owen makes the argument regarding Mormons, it is invalid? According to you, Arminians merely misunderstand some of the Apostle’s teachings and do not intend to deny Paul’s authority and do not want to proclaim a false jesus. They are merely ignorant of that little doctrine of the ATONEMENT. And what’s a little ignorance about the work of Christ anyway, right?
Parallel: Is teaching that Jesus’s blood did not actually accomplish complete, absolute, entire atonement; did not actually accomplish complete, absolute, entire remission; did not actually accomplish complete, absolute, entire redemption; did not actually accomplish complete, absolute, entire propitiation merely “misunderstanding some” of the Apostles’ teachings, and is not, in fact, damnable?
JW: If that is the case, then Mohammed’s representations of Christ would [sic] in the Qur’an would fall into the same category, no? How about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Buddhism? Surely the Buddhists are not trying to contradict Paul; and since they have pure motives, their errors must not be damnable. Indeed, it would seem that outside of an apostolic ability to see into the hearts of men, there really isn’t anyone who teaches damnable heresy anymore (well, except for Baptists in general, but that’s a different issue).
Exposé: Now this is too coincidental. I have used Islam and Jehovah’s Witnessism and Buddhism many times in my arguments against the tolerant Calvinists. I’ve never seen a tolerant Calvinist use it in arguments against someone who believes that some Mormons are saved. Did you get this from me? Well, your reasoning is right on. Yet you do not see it when it comes to Arminians. How blind can you get? “Surely the Arminians are not trying to contradict Paul, and since they have pure motives, their errors must not be damnable.” Sound familiar?
Parallel: If Arminianism is not a damnable heresy, then there are no damnable heresies! If regenerate people can be in error on the essential gospel doctrines of Christ’s person and Christ’s work, then one MUST say that there could possibly be some regenerate Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Buddhists.
JW: So, teach what you will about Christ: as long as your motivations are not to purposefully contradict apostolic teaching, all will be well. You might be a little confused, but it isn’t damnable. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus Himself said to the Jews? “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am [He], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24) Don’t let that “you will die in your sins” part concern you. It’s all motivations and intentions. Dr. Owen has settled that for us all.
Exposé: You can say this right back to yourself, Mr. White. “Arminians might be a little confused, but it isn’t damnable.” That’s your position. That’s the position of fashionable conservative Calvinism. This shows you and all your Calvinist friends to be hypocrites.
JW: Now, the next section on Joseph Smith may not resonate with you as much if you have not ever read Smith and his incredible teachings. But if you have, you will understand why I wonder even more in light of the following. When you’ve been redeemed from a false religion, what could possibly cause you to speak as Owen does about Smith?
Parallel: When you’ve been redeemed from Arminianism, what could possibly cause you to speak peace to Arminians? What could possibly cause you to say that you remained an Arminian for a time after you were regenerated? If you were truly redeemed from Arminianism, you would HATE your former religion, and you would count all your religious deeds while you were in that false religion as DUNG (Philippians 3). THIS is true repentance from one’s former religion. And, of course, if a person believes that he was an open idolater, bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death when he was an Arminian, then he will NEVER say that some Arminians are saved.
JW: Mormonism is a judgment indeed: upon this nation and the world, and upon those deceived by its false teachings. It is so opposed to the Christian faith that to embrace it is to engage in idolatry to the fullest level.
Exposé: You are calling all Mormons idolaters because they all believe in a false god? How do you know what they believe – you can’t see their hearts, can you? Or are you the Holy Spirit? Are you condemning them to hell just because they don’t have perfect theology? Since when is perfect theology required for salvation? Is your theology perfect, Mr. White? Is there no room for any ignorance? Is there no room for growth in grace? Do you think inconsistency based on ignorance hinders God’s work? Does God not work on His own time table, working in the hearts of His people in His own time, in His own way, conforming us to the image of Christ over time? Is it not true that God does not birth us as full-grown, mature believers with all knowledge of all truth? What if they really believe in the true God in their hearts but just have it wrong in their heads? Are you not moving the heart of the gospel away from Christ and into the intellect? What an odd thing for a Calvinist to believe: that an unregenerate person would plow their way through all that reading, all that material, all that theology, just to finally come to an understanding of some theology and thereby receive salvation!
Parallel: Arminianism is so opposed to the Christian faith that to embrace it is to engage in idolatry to the fullest level. Arminianism is a damnable false gospel, a doctrine of demons, proclaimed by ministers of Satan and believed by the deceived self-righteous religionists that fill Arminian churches today.
James White is like the harlot who thinks well of herself because she doesn’t fornicate with the “low-lifes” but will fornicate with others of higher status. His refusal to fornicate with Mormons while fornicating with Arminians shows him to be a God-hating hypocrite of the first order.