The Calvinist Cafe forum (4)

Someone named “Reformed Baptist” — on my Chosen by God book review thread — wrote the following (spelling errors will be left in tact by the way):

Of course part of the problem with neo gnostic hyper-calvinism is the one dimensional view of the work of God. It forgets that Jesus Christ invited people to ‘follow me’ who never did (the rich young ruler ofr example) and that Paul pleaded with, and tried to persaude people to believe – who never did! It is a docttrinal ivory tower that allows them to hide from the world and the God given duty of all christains to be salt and light.

That’s a strange response — I thought I WAS being salt and light to the lost religionists pining away in The Calvinist Cafe internet forum. Markus Leoninus said that I “arrogantly [popped] up out of the blue, quite unprovoked,” while Reformed Baptist claims that I am “[hiding] from the world”. So which is it? Am I hiding my head, or am I arrogantly popping up my head? Perhaps Leoninus & Baptist should huddle-up or call a time-out in order that their ignorant slander may exhibit some degree of agreement and uniformity.

As for Reformed Baptist’s abysmally ignorant and marginalizing assertion of “neo gnostic hyper-calvinism,” here is a sermon excerpt by Marc Carpenter on the following verse of Scripture: “For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2):

Okay, he has a zeal to God. But what’s the next word in the sentence? It’s that little three-letter word that packs a lot of meaning: BUT. It’s actually a four-letter word in Greek: al-LA. It means “but,” “nay,” “nevertheless,” “notwithstanding,” or “yet.” They have a zeal to God, YET, NEVERTHELESS, there’s something else that is the evidence that they are lost. This means that we are NEVER EVER to judge a person to be saved based on his religious zeal. NEVER. They have a zeal to God, BUT their zeal means NOTHING when it comes to judging their hearts.

What comes after “BUT”? They have a zeal to God, but NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE. Oh, man. This confounds the lost religionists to their very core. The Bible says that it is NOT a matter of ZEAL, but it IS a matter of WHAT? KNOWLEDGE. It’s a matter of KNOWLEDGE. Wow. Think about that. You know, if we told a typical tolerant Calvinist that it wasn’t a matter of zeal but of knowledge, you know what we’d be called? Gnostics. Rationalists. Perfectionists. Elitists. Arrogant. Even cultic. But if you think it’s bad now, wait until we get into the actual CONTENT of the knowledge. But for now, let’s just stick with the general term “knowledge.” Paul says that Israel is lost, because, although they do have a zeal to God, their zeal is not according to KNOWLEDGE. The Greek word for “knowledge” is EP-ig-no-sis. Uh-oh – we have a word that has the same root as “gnostic.” What are we going to do? Are we going to shy away from the truth? Well, not only are we not going to shy away from it, we’re going to go even further. There’s a Greek word that is just simply GNO-sis – G N O S I S – that means “knowledge.” So what’s the difference between GNO-sis and EP-ig-no-sis? Well, the preposition EP-ee means “over” or “above.” Uh-oh. Are you thinking what I’m thinking about where we’re going here? According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “epignosis akin to epiginosko, denotes ‘exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition,’ and is a strengthened form of gnosis, expressing a fuller or a full ‘knowledge,’ a greater participation by the ‘knower’ in the object ‘known,’ thus more powerfully influencing him.” So we have in Romans 10:2 that Paul judges certain people to be lost because, although they have a zeal to God, it is not according to epignosis – a strengthened form of gnosis, denoting a full or fuller knowledge, discernment, or recognition. The LITV translates this Greek word as “full knowledge” in 17 out of the 20 times this word occurs in the New Testament. Why isn’t it translated “full knowledge” here? I think it’s because of the theology of the translator and even possibly because of the uproar it would have created. Just think if it were translated more accurately as, “For I testify to them that they have a zeal to God, but not according to full knowledge”! But that’s exactly what it means. So our enemies need to start calling us epignostics instead of gnostics! So we see thus far that if one’s zeal is not according to full knowledge, then that zeal is an empty zeal that is just wicked works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. Zeal is vain without full knowledge. We see all these zealous religionists around, being intensely dedicated and eager and enthusiastic for their religion, but it’s not according to full knowledge, and thus we must judge them to be haters of God.

Marc’s excerpted statements above answer the “neo-gnostic” portion of Reformed Baptist’s slander, and this excerpt answers the “Hyper-Calvinism” portion:

Now we can see more of what Paul is saying. These people whom he judges to be lost have a zeal but not according to full knowledge, for they are ignorant of something. Paul judges them to be lost BASED ON their ignorance. The word “for” at the beginning of verses 2 and 3 establish the logical connection of how Paul judges them to be lost. You can hear the lost religionists now, can’t you: “You’re trying to tell me that you judge someone to be unsaved based on the fact that they’re just ignorant of a few things? Where’s the room for growth? You’re saying that a saved person immediately has knowledge of certain doctrine! You’re asking these babes in Christ to eat meat while they can still only handle milk!” And we answer them, “It is Holy Scripture that says these things. You either bow to Scripture or you remain in rebellion. Paul judges these people to be lost because they are ignorant of certain doctrine. That’s not me – that’s God. GOD SAYS that when it comes to certain doctrine, IGNORANCE IS DEADLY. And since God says that all who are ignorant of certain doctrine are unsaved, then it is also true that all who are saved know this same certain doctrine of which the unsaved people are ignorant. There is no such thing as a regenerate person who is ignorant of this certain doctrine. That smashes the lies of the Hyper-Calvinists, the tolerant Calvinists, and all other false religionists who think that a saved person can be ignorant of certain doctrine.