Owen, Edwards, and abiding in the Doctrine of Christ (part 1)

The following is an old e-mail correspondence. This is slightly edited from the original (e.g., things like spelling errors on my part and slightly different wording):

Hey, Jeff-

My comments interspersed below.

You wrote:

==Hello I have been pouring over outofthecamp for many hours.==

I think you mean outsidethecamp, correct?

==It is agreeable and enlightening to me that the gospel message is simple, ie, it is what it is without turning it into a theological doctrinal mess. For instance, know what the bible teaches, you can know what is right without being well versed on arminianism etc.==

Correct. For instance, there are seemingly innumerable false shepherds (i.e., false christs; strangers) but only one true Shepherd. And since the regenerate sheep know their Shepherd’s voice they will NEVER follow a stranger (see John 10:4-5). The regenerate sheep need not be well-versed in Arminianism, Mormonism, JWism, or any of the other multitudinous “ISMs” that proclaim a false christ. They easily discern that the “christ” of the aforementioned “ISMs” is not the true Shepherd but a stranger. The regenerate sheep know that the Arminian “christ” is a stranger and they can never follow a stranger. The regenerate sheep need not have read this article (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heresyarmin.htm). All they need to hear about “Arminianism” is that its adherents believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception and that is easily enough to judge all those who believe this and who follow this false christ as unregenerate.

==Also in abominable that one would push “unity” at the cost of accuracy. The big tent as it were. This is a one way ticket to hell. Words like “sellout” “worldly””secular humanism” come to mind. One world religion, yikes!==

Here are a couple of quotes that show how big the tent really is:

“How far a wonderful and mysterious agency of God’s Spirit may so influence some men’s hearts, that their practice in this regard may be contrary to their own principles, so that they shall not trust in their own righteousness, though they profess that men are justified by their own righteousness” (Jonathan Edwards, “Justification by Faith Alone,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 19 [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001], 242).

“Men may be really saved by that grace which doctrinally they do deny; and they may be justified by the imputation of that righteousness which in opinion they deny to be imputed” (John Owen, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, chapter VII, “Imputation, and the Nature of It,” Banner of Truth, Works, Vol. 5, 163-164).

Those quotes by Owen and Edwards blatantly contradict what Paul wrote in Romans 10:1-3. From the quotes by Owen and Edwards one must conclude that in their blinded eyes there is seemingly no such thing as a lost heretic. Their tent is so big that the only kind of people who would be excluded would be the apostle Paul and those who believe like him. Evidently, the broad road that leads to destruction is not so broad after all (cf. Matthew 7:13-14). In light of the tolerant theology of Owen and Edwards, the road to destruction is quite narrow while the road to life eternal is very broad.

==If all of what you espouse on the website is not clear to me, then either I am not elect, or am elect and not regenerate yet according to what I read here. If I read things correctly, once saved, I should understand all these things, but I don’t.==

What things are not clear to you? What things do you not understand?

==Also, I find some of the works of authors to be edifying personally. But these authors, who appear to me to be biblically sound except in some fashion have either supported the notion that Christ died for everyone, or supported someone who believes in that misguided doctrine though not believing it themselves, have been labeled antichrists, God haters, lost, not saved. I am sure it is possible for material from unsaved persons to be used for good by our Lord to edify christians. I know this is a wrong method to look at this, but if 99.9999% of a persons works are biblically sound, but they made one comment about someone possibly being a saved christian even though they believed in some form of arminianism, the are non saved, lost, heretics, antichrists is a little hard for me to handle.==

The works of unbelievers can be of benefit to Christians: http://www.outsidethecamp.org/efl264.htm

Those authors who at first appear to be biblically sound but who later deviate into damnable heresy are false teachers: http://www.outsidethecamp.org/truefalse5.htm

These false teachers at first appear to abide in the doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ but later show that they do not abide by calling heretics their spiritual brethren:

“Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bear this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and do not speak a greeting to him. For the one speaking a greeting shares in his evil works” (2 John 1:9-11).

Who has both the Father and the Son? The one abiding in the DOCTRINE of Christ. One’s DOCTRINE is the primary evidence of being indwelled by the Holy Spirit. And, from this verse, how do we know that someone does NOT have God? If he does not abide in the DOCTRINE of Christ. What does “abide” mean? It means STAY. If someone does not STAY in the doctrine of Christ, he shows himself to be an unregenerate person. Is 50% IN the doctrine of Christ and 50% OUT of the doctrine of Christ STAYING in the doctrine of Christ? No. Is 99% IN the doctrine of Christ and 1% OUT of the doctrine of Christ STAYING in the doctrine of Christ? No. The one who has both the Father and the Son, which is the same as saying “the one who has the Holy Spirit,” STAYS in the doctrine of Christ. He will ALWAYS believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone, and he will NEVER believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. For more on this please see:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/2John11.htm

And:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/weighvszero.htm

==Throughout the site, there is references to scripture which I am looking up. I appreciate your work to help people like me. However, there is a paucity of references to ANY authors of a book, commentary, monograph, sermon who pass your measure as worthy. Could you please give me any sources you think are supportive of the true biblical message?==

These are the only online sources in English that I know of that are supportive of the true biblical message:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/links.htm I would like to find a lot more!

==Also, any comment on how you would view the state of my soul at this time since I am having some struggle with this information, much of it being new to me. (Much of what you say, though, rings true to me, seems very common sense and biblical).==

You had written earlier:

==I know this is a wrong method to look at this, but if 99.9999% of a persons works are biblically sound, but they made one comment about someone possibly being a saved christian even though they believed in some form of arminianism, the are non saved, lost, heretics, antichrists is a little hard for me to handle.==

If you know that it is a wrong method, then why use it? What if a person’s works were sound except for one comment they made about Mormons possibly being saved Christians? Is that enough to judge them lost for denying the gospel as the power of God to salvation to everyone believing (Romans 1:16-17; Mark 16:16)? Or, would that too, be a little hard for you to handle?

You ask what I think concerning your spiritual state. Well, from what I can gather, you MIGHT believe that all who believe that Christ died for everyone without exception (Arminians) are unregenerate. I think I understand you regarding what you think of those “tolerant Calvinists” who think Arminians are saved (cf. http://www.outsidethecamp.org/gospatone.htm). I suppose I would have to ask you more about what you mean by “hard for you to handle” in light of the following six statements:

Do you agree with the following six statements?

(a) The gospel is God’s promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone.

(b) Every regenerate person believes the gospel.

(c) It is not possible for a regenerate person to confess a false gospel.

(d) All who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (universal atonement) are unregenerate.

(e) All who believe that universal atonement advocates are saved are unregenerate (including those who say they believed universal atonement for a time after they were regenerated).

(f) God is not gracious toward and does not desire the salvation of the reprobate.

==And I do believe that compromise on true biblical teaching in the bible is evil and of the father of lies.==

Is there any degree of compromise by a professing Christian that is heinous enough to judge them lost (presently unregenerate)? What if some of the authors that you find personally edifying said that at least some Muslims or heathens in a far off land were saved? Would that be a big enough “compromise” to see the relevance of 2 John 1:11?

-Chris Duncan

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