Exceptions

In a section (lecture) called “Arminian Theory of Redemption,” R.L. Dabney writes concerning the Arminian doctrine (i.e., damnable figment) of “common sufficient grace”:

“The essential idea and argument of the Arminian is that God could not punish man justly for unbelief unless He conferred on him both natural and moral ability to believe or not. They quote such Scripture as Psalm 81:13; Isaiah 5:4; Luke 19:42; Revelation 3:20; Romans 2:14; John 1:9. So here we have, by a different track, the old conclusion of the semi-Pelagian. Man, then, decides the whole remaining difference, as to believing or not believing, by his use of this precedent grace, according to his own free will. God’s purpose to produce different results in different men is wholly conditioned on the use which, He foresees, they will make of their common grace. To those who improve it, God stands pledged to give the crowning graces of regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. To the heathen, even, who use their light aright (unfavorable circumstances may make such instances rare), Christ will give gospel light and redeeming grace, in some inscrutable way” (R.L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, p. 581; bold emphasis mine).

In the same section on the “Arminian Theory of Redemption,” Dabney writes the following under the subheading, “Bible Promises No Salvation To Heathen”(ironically enough):

“Bible Promises No Salvation To Heathen

The salvability of any heathen without the gospel is introduced here, because the question illustrates these views concerning the extent of the grace of redemption, and the discussions between us and the Arminians. We must hold that Revelation gives us no evidence that Pagans can find salvation, without Scriptural means. They are sinners. The means in their reach appear to contain no salvation. a.) One argument is this: All of them are self-convicted of some sin (against the light of nature). ‘Without the shedding of blood is no remission.’ But the gospel is the only proposal of atonement to man. b.) Paganism provides nothing to meet the other great want of human nature, an agency for moral renovation. Is any man more spiritually minded than decent children of the Church are, because he is a Pagan? Do they need the new birth less than our own beloved offspring? Then it must be at least as true of the heathen that except they be born again, they shall not see the kingdom. But their religions present no agencies for regeneration. They do not even know the Word. So far are their theologies from any sanctifying influence, their morals are immoral, their deities criminals, and the heaven to which they aspire a pandemonium of sensual sin immortalized.

God No More Unjust To Them Than To Non-Elect Under the Gospel

Now, the Arminians reject this conclusion, thinking God cannot justly condemn any man who is not furnished with such means of knowing and loving Him, as put his destiny in every sense within his own choice. These means the heathen do not fully possess, where their ignorance is invincible. The principle asserted is that God cannot justly hold any man responsible, who is not blessed with both ‘natural and moral ability.’ I answer that our doctrine concerning the heathen puts them in the same condition with those unhappy men in Christian lands who have the outward word, but experience no effectual calling of the Spirit. God requires the latter to obey that Law and Gospel, of which they enjoy the clearer lights; and the obstacle which ensures their failure to obey is, indeed, not any physical constraint, but an inability of will. Of the heathen, God would require no more than perfect obedience to the light of nature, and it is the same inability of will which ensures their failure to do this. Hence, as you see, the doctrine of a common sufficient grace, and of the salvability of the heathens, are parts of the same system. So, the consistent Calvinist is able to justify God in the condemnation of adult heathens, according to the principles of Paul. Rom. 2:12. On the awful question, whether all heathens, except those to whom the Church carries the gospel, are certainly lost, it does not become us to speak. One thing is certain, that ‘there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12) Guilt must be expiated, and depravity must be cleansed, before the Pagan (or the nominal Christian) can see God. Whether God makes Christ savingly known to some, by means unknown to the Church, we need not determine. We are sure that the soul which ‘feels after Him if haply he may find Him,’ will not be cast off of God, because it happens to be outside of Christendom. But are there such? This question it is not ours to answer. We only know, that God in the Scriptures always enjoins on His Church that energy and effort in spreading the gospel, which would be appropriate, were there no other instrumentality but ours. Here is the measure of our duty concerning foreign missions” (R.L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, pp. 587-588; bold emphases mine).

Dabney said: “On the awful question, whether all heathens, except those to whom the Church carries the gospel, are certainly lost, it does not become us to speak.” Evidently, it does not become Dabney to speak candidly about his utter repudiation of Romans 10:9-15.

“Because if you confess [the] Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from [the] dead, you will be saved. For with [the] heart [one] believes unto righteousness, and with [the] mouth [one] confesses unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord of all is rich toward all the ones calling on Him. For everyone, whoever may call on the name of [the] Lord will be saved. How then may they call on [One] into whom they have not believed? And how may they believe [One] of whom they have not heard? And how may they hear without preaching? And how may they preach if they are not sent? Even as it has been written, How beautiful the feet of those preaching the gospel of peace, of those preaching the gospel of good things” (Romans 10:9-15; bold emphasis mine).

In response to Paul’s four (obviously rhetorical) questions, an honest and forthright Dabney ought to say something like this:

“Paul, this does not become us to speak or to determine. Your four questions are not ours (or yours) to answer. Since conclusive, clear, certain, and unambiguous agreement with Scripture on this matter does not become us, it is therefore possible that your logical chain and conclusion is a non sequitur. (please note that I only say it is ‘possible’ that your reasoning is flawed; I do not say it is ‘certainly‘ flawed.) One thing, however, IS certain: That while salvation by Jesus Christ is ontologically certain (cf. Acts 4:12), it is not epistemologically certain (contra Romans 10:1-4, 9-15). A simpler way to state my pernicious position is that a person who is saved by Christ, can possibly (yet not certainly) be saved in ignorance of Christ.”

Marc D. Carpenter speaks on the airtight logic of Romans 10:14-15 (the Scripturally sound logic which Dabney’s darkened mind twists into a pernicious and grotesque non sequitur):

“So now let’s look at verses 14 and 15. There are four rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is any question that is asked for a purpose other than to obtain the information the question asks. It is posed for the sake of encouraging the listener to consider something. A rhetorical question anticipates only one answer that is obvious from the context and the way the question is framed. It is basically a statement framed as a question. In this case, Paul strings four rhetorical questions together in a logical sequence, and it is a most powerful method of argumentation. Look at how they are connected: ‘How then may they call on One into whom they have not believed? And how may they believe One of whom they have not heard? And how may they hear without preaching? And how may they preach if they are not sent?’ Notice the connection: call on-believe, believe-hear, hear-preach, and preach-sent. What answer is each of these questions anticipating? ‘How then may they call on One into whom they have not believed?’ They CAN’T. ‘And how may they believe One of whom they have not heard?’ They CAN’T. ‘And how may they hear without preaching?’ They CAN’T. ‘And how may they preach if they are not sent?’ They CAN’T. There is NO OTHER WAY to interpret these questions. Now I can hear the heretics crying, ‘Exceptions, exceptions!’ But this way of reasoning does not allow for ANY exceptions. It is ABSOLUTELY airtight, TOTALLY sealed against any attempted infiltration of exceptions. If there is EVEN ONE exception, then the entire argument crumbles, and God’s Holy Word is found to be in error” (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/romans95.htm).

Just in case anybody missed it, Dabney is one of many such Calvinist-Reformed heretics crying out, “Exceptions, exceptions!”

 

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