The following is a correspondence between myself and a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Synagogue of Satan. The title, “Hyper Drive?” was inspired by a false assertion made by my correspondent that I am a “hypercalvinist” (surprise, surprise). So far are we from being “hypercalvinists” we have written an article repudiating it: http://www.outsidethecamp.org/hyperheresy.htm
Here is the correspondence between Hugh and I:
Chris, et al….
The false doctrine of Hymenaeus and Philetus has more to do with the resurrection, than with election. A denial of the Resurrection is a sort of crucial doctrine. No Resurrection? Eat, drink, be merry. Be very very very merry.
Chris: Why even say that the Resurrection is a “sort of crucial doctrine”? Could it not be that Hymenaeus, Philetus, and those being deceived by them, were simply too agitated and ill informed? Could it not be that they just needed to grow in faith and delve deeper into God’s Word in order to rid themselves of this sort of bad doctrinal idea concerning this sort of crucial doctrine? Is there no allowance for those who would ignorantly and “ill informedly” drink the doctrinal “milk” of these two heretical teachers? Jesus taught that when the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch. But could it not be, that both blind leaders and blind followers are nevertheless saved by “his election and through grace provided by Jesus Christ”? “Many of us”–including Hymenaeus, Philetus, and those who followed them– “have bad doctrinal ideas that if we are diligent, decrease over time as we responsibly delve into God’s word.”
I continue to believe that the bulk of those with watered down Calvinist views or variations of Arminian views, if they confess Christ as LORD and Savior and son of God, and all that other Apostle’s creed stuff are pretty much believers. The farther down the sloppy Calvinist slope they get, and the more Arminian they become, the bigger the handful. Always worried, thinking they make the difference, not submitting to God in all things. Unsaved though? They do not deny the resurrection as Hy and Phil did.
Chris: Hymenaeus and Philetus DID affirm their own version of a “resurrection.” Arminians and genuine Calvinists likewise affirm their own version of a “resurrection,” while rejecting the true, biblical version. John CALVIN’s CALVINism was obviously not watered down, nor is anyones who follow him. Pure and undiluted Calvinism looks like this:
“He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him.” [Commentary on Romans 5:18]
Calvin is here saying that although Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, yet all do not receive Him. If he had just said, “Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world,” we could have considered the possibility that he could have meant “the whole world of the Jews and Gentiles” or “the whole world of the elect” and not everyone without exception. But he goes on to say that “all do not receive him,” which means that he believed that Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, including all who do not receive him (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/norefcal.htm).
Chris: The genuine, undiluted Calvinism taught that Christ suffered sufficiently for all, but only suffered efficiently for the elect. The Arminian believes that Christ suffered for everyone in the exact same way; the genuine Calvinist believes that Christ suffered for everyone but not everyone in the exact same way. I cited John Calvin above. Here is Charles Hodge:
“Admitting, however, that the Augustinian doctrine that Christ died
specially for his own people does account for the general offer of the gospel, how can it be reconciled with those passages which, in one form or another, teach that He died for all men? In answer to this question, it may be remarked in the first place that Augustinians do not deny that Christ died for all men. What they deny is that He died equally, and with the same design, for all men. He died for all, that He might arrest the immediate execution of the penalty of the law upon the whole of our apostate race; that He might secure for men the innumerable blessings attending their state on earth, which, in one important sense, is a state of probation; and that He might lay the foundation for the offer of pardon and reconciliation with God, on condition of faith and repentance” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, p. 558).
Chris: In the reprehensible view of Calvin and Hodge, the difference between the saved and the damned is NOT the work of Christ ALONE, but the work of certain sinners who are enabled to do not only what the others who perished failed to do, but also of what Christ allegedly failed to do–namely, save perfectly and completely all those for whom He died (Hebrews 7:25). Furthermore, while faith and repentance do accompany reconciliation as inevitable and immediate fruits or results, they are NOT conditions for reconciliation. Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:10-12 put forth the strict demands of God’s law. These are the conditions for reconciliation, and no sinner can possibly meet or be enabled to meet these impossible conditions–only Christ ALONE can meet them.
Genuine Calvinism obviously does not deny the resurrection in the *exact same way* that Hymenaeus and Philetus did because these Calvinists do not affirm the same resurrection that Hymenaeus and Philetus affirmed. But they deny the biblical resurrection just the same. FOR the resurrection is not merely the fact that Jesus rose again from the dead, considered apart from the primary purpose of this truth, which was to show that God the Father was SATISFIED with the saving work of His Son in establishing a righteousness for all whom Jesus represented. Genuine, pure, and undiluted Calvinism believes that Christ represented the elect only in an “especial sense.” They do not deny that Christ represented the reprobate at least in some sense. They teach that as far as the representation at the cross is concerned, Christ represented both the elect and reprobate the same. The difference, they say, lies in the intention of God to save only the elect despite dying for both. Dabney:
“Hence it is absolutely impossible for us to retain the dogma that Christ, in design, died equally for all. We are compelled to hold that he died for Peter and Paul in some sense in which he did not die for Judas” (R. L. Dabney, Lectures on Systematic Theology, p. 522)
Chris: To summarize (and perhaps to make more clear). Regarding the sufferings of Christ, the Arminian holds to an equal reference to all men without exception. They believe that Christ died for all without exception in the *exact same way.* The Calvinists that I cited (including John Calvin himself) believed in what some call a “dualistic view” of the atonement. That is, they agree with the Arminian in that Christ suffered sufficiently for all, but they go further and say that there is also a special reference to the elect. They would say that Christ suffered sufficiently for all, but only efficiently for the elect. This is classic reformed soteriology. The Arminian denies the special reference. The Calvinist affirms it. Both of these views are damnable heresy.
All sinners are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Some of these sinners are made spiritually alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5). These sinners are made alive by the SAME power by which Christ was raised from the dead:
“and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of His mighty strength which He worked in Christ in raising Him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20).
This has to do with the fact that Christ REPRESENTED certain sinners in His life, death, and resurrection. Also, when a sinner is regenerated in time, this is the commencement of the consummate physical resurrection at the last day. Spiritual resurrection is eternal life commenced; physical resurrection is eternal life consummated. Spiritual resurrection in time is the final physical resurrection in seed form. For in time, living water is freely given to certain sinners, which then culminates in life everlasting:
“Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone drinking of this water will thirst again; but whoever may drink of the water which I will give him will not thirst, never! But the water which I will give to him will become a fountain of water in him, springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
Jesus’ explanation above demonstrates that the initial spiritual resurrection is inseparably connected with the physical resurrection at the end of time.
“For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised” (1 Corinthians 15:16).
The genuine Calvinist asserts that there are some whom Christ was raised up on behalf of, who are not raised. And thus, they necessarily imply that Christ is not raised (1 Corinthians 15:16). They speak insidious irrationalities by saying that while Christ was raised on behalf of both Judas and Paul, yet, for “wise, inscrutable, and mysterious reasons” Christ decided not to raise up to eternal life all those whom He represented. To assert that even one person whom Christ represented is not raised is to assert that Christ Himself is not raised since Christ REPRESENTED certain sinners in His death and resurrection. The genuine Calvinist believes that the sins of all men without exception were imputed to Christ. And they also say that many whom Christ represented remain cursed. And so just as they deny Christ is risen, so they say that Christ remains cursed since many whom He supposedly represented in His death, nevertheless remain cursed (cf 1 Corinthians 12:3).
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He became the firstfruit of those having fallen asleep. For since death is through man, also through a Man is a resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward those of Christ at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
The “all” who are in Christ made alive were first made alive at some time in their lives. As an inevitable and immediate result of this being made alive is that they believe the gospel. This is so, because the gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing. But you want to say that belief of the gospel comes much later, after much study and deep delving into the word of God. You believe that a false gospel is the power of salvation, and that a person keeps growing closer and closer to the true gospel….perhaps eventually; perhaps never.
Anyways, I cite 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 to show that the genuine Calvinist’s–not the watered down Calvinist–necessary doctrinal implication is to deny that in Christ ALL will be made alive. And thus, what makes the ultimate difference between the spiritual life of the elect and the spiritual death of the reprobate is NOT the resurrection of Christ. The Calvinist “resurrection” leaves many dead ones on the operating table with their tongue hanging out while somehow mysteriously enabling the other dead ones to grab a hold of the heart defibrillator and apply the necessary shock. For the conditionalist Calvinists, dead sinners are “spiritually enabled” to meet the alleged condition of belief, which then results in salvation. For the true Christian, dead sinners are freely given eternal life, which results in immediate belief of the gospel. A world of difference there.
As far as my own personal Journey? By the time I was 18, I was some form of “Calvinist.” I kept making ridiculous loopholes for human will up until perhaps 5 or so years ago though less and less and less over time. Somewhere in there I just said “what a Rube Goldberg device, The LORD, does all these things,” and gave up on what amounted to trying to put the earth at the center of the universe in any way shape or form.
Chris: What are these “ridiculous loopholes for human will” that you speak of? Could you explain that a bit further? The Lord indeed, does all these things, like actively hardening people and causing them to sin. See the Christian Confession of Faith concerning the doctrine of active reprobation:
Psalm 105:25, Romans 9:18, and other verses related to God’s absolute predestination and sovereignty over evil are not rejected outright or “struggled with” because they are too intricate or overly complex. Predestination, election, and reprobation are very easy to understand. They are rejected, not because they are part of a complex machine like a Goldberg device, but because they are so simple and clear that a carnal man simply will not accept the teaching of a sovereign God. One of the reasons that you made loopholes for human will, is that you were wonderfully confused about the Creator/creature distinction made in Scripture.
What I don’t understand is the animus towards the Barre OPC or the OPC in general. Do you propose that I would enter YOUR group and agree with all you teach? I’m quite the hard head having read the word cover to cover front to back time after time after time again, over and over. I probably think I’m right about certain things, and that you’re wrong. Are you lost because of this?
Chris: Marc has given you some links regarding the false teaching of the OPC. In one of those links he gave you I had documented the OPC founder, J. Gresham Machen’s belief that some who denied the plenary inspiration of Scripture were true Christian men:
Machen also did not believe that all who reject the doctrine of plenary inspiration — all who believe that the Bible contains many errors — are necessarily unregenerate:
“It must be admitted that there are many Christians who do not accept the doctrine of plenary inspiration. That doctrine is denied not only by liberal opponents of Christianity, but also by many true Christian men. There are many Christian men in the modern Church who find in the origin of Christianity no mere product of evolution but a real entrance of the creative power of God, who depend for their salvation, not at all upon their own efforts to lead the Christ life, but upon the atoning blood of Christ–there are many men in the modern Church who thus accept the central message of the Bible and yet believe that the message has come to us merely on the authority of trustworthy witnesses unaided in their literary work by any supernatural guidance of the Spirit of God. There are many who believe that the Bible is right at the central point, in its account of the redeeming work of Christ, and yet believe that it contains many errors. Such men are not really liberals, but Christians; because they have accepted as true the message upon which Christianity depends. A great gulf separates them from those who reject the supernatural act of God with which Christianity stands or falls” (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 75).
Some of these liberals whom Machen judges as “true Christian men” blasphemously assert that the Bible is not the Word of God, but the word of “trustworthy witnesses.” And thus they accept it not as the word of God, but as the word of men (contra 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Also, Christianity “stands or falls” on the the doctrine of plenary inspiration, not on any message of Christ’s redeeming work contained therein:
“For if you were believing Moses, you would then believe Me; for that one wrote concerning Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words?” (John 5:46-47)
If the liberals do not believe–and thus call God a liar–that the Bible as a whole is true, then how will they believe that the Bible in its parts are true? They cannot. They have a different standard by which they judge what is true and what is false. They are just like those whom Jesus addresses in John 5:46-47.
Chris: The “animus,” as you call it, is only because we “hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). We echo the anathema of the apostle Paul against those who preach the false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner (Galatians 1:8-9).
As for disagreeing with us. It depends on where the disagreement is. Disagreement over non-essential and extraneous issues is one thing, but gospel issues are not optional, or up for discussion as it is belief in essential gospel doctrine that distinguishes believers from unbelievers:
Whereas other Confessions include extraneous and unbiblical things as well as things over which true Christians can disagree (and, in the case of some Confessions, things with which true Christians must disagree), the CCF is a document that consists of biblical doctrine to which no true Christian will be opposed. It consists of doctrine that distinguishes the Christian Faith from all other religions, including false Christian religions. The other Confessions leave room for their adherents to speak peace to those who believe false gospels; this Confession does not. For the CCF, there is no such thing as a “partial subscriptionist.” If, after reading this Confession, anyone opposes any of the doctrines put forth therein, that person can rightfully be judged to be not of the Christian Faith.