James White versus Marc Carpenter

Dr. James White has some interesting articles and essays located on his Alpha & Omega Ministries website.  One of the more interesting is a copy of an email exchange which took place between himself and a man by the name of Marc Carpenter.  Knowing about Carpenter already I read the exchange through several times.  There is no doubt as to Carpenter’s abrasiveness, the man wouldn’t know tact if tact strolled up to him and then shook his hand.  However, be that as it may, I saw nothing wrong with Carpenter’s argument in this particular instance.  Sure, he enveloped it in plenty of rancor, but putting this aside he did have some pretty solid things to say.

What I found more interesting was Dr. White’s response.  I have listened to his radio show, the Dividing Line.  I have benefited from it occasion, like, for instance, when he is debating a Mormon or a KJV Onlyist.  I have also read several of his books including, “The King James Controversy”, “The Forgotten Trinity” and “Debating Calvinism”.  I can recommend the two former.  I cannot say the same for the latter. And yes, I do hold to the doctrines of grace.

As for Carpenter, like I already mentioned, I knew something about him going in, as well.  Like, for example, that he often judges people’s gospel by secondary issues, ranging everywhere from one’s view of eternal judgment to one’s view of water baptism.   Judging also from some of the material he has written I can also safely say he leaves very little room for the gospel to offend once he has himself finished offending.   Far be it from me then to take up a defense for him.  I have no intention of doing so.   Rather, I wish to bring attention to Dr. White’s defense, or to be more precise, his poor defense.  To be blunt, I believe Dr. White is guilty of having constructed a straw man in his response to Carpenter.

The full email exchange is located on Dr. White’s Alpha & Omega Ministries website.  I advise the reader to examine it before considering anything else I have to say here.  Here is the link: http://vintage.aomin.org/HyperCalv.html

Carpenter begins the email exchange in his usual, provocative way; that is, with immediate escalation.  Dr. White responds briefly by identifying Marc’s rant as rhetoric that reminds him of how God’s truth can be professed without love and without balance.  This reminds me of the homosexual who complains about the Bible’s zero-tolerance stance on the practice of homosexuality.   Every time the Christian tries to proclaim the gospel of God’s righteousness to the homosexual he gets a face full of “you’re not loving enough” for his trouble.  Though I agree Marc needs to chill out, Dr. White’s answer does not bode well for him.

Nevertheless, Dr. White concludes his brief introduction with a comparison.  He says that most of the folks he knows in Reformed churches once stood and sang hymns without a full knowledge of the doctrines of grace.  I find two problems with this remarkably bad argument.  First, so what?  And second, what does full knowledge have anything to do with what Marc just said?

Carpenter said nothing about full knowledge, either in reference to the gospel or the doctrines of grace, nor did he appeal to full knowledge.  What he said was the devil works to keep people believing salvation is conditioned on them.   What does full knowledge have anything to do with this?  Does Dr. White believe a person must have a full and robust knowledge of everything pertaining to God before a person can understand the simple message of an accomplished redemption?  If so, then isn’t he the one who is preaching full knowledge?

How difficult is it to explain the message of an accomplished redemption to someone?  Sure, you will have to explain election, but it is not as though you will need to spend years working out with them a full, systematized examination of this doctrine.  You need only explain that for an accomplished redemption to be true, then Christ must have died for a specific people whom He had chosen for salvation from before the foundation of the world.  How difficult is that? It isn’t.

More about this later.

In the meantime, Carpenter answers Dr. White’s brief response.  This time, in return, Dr. White prepares a much fuller answer.  Unfortunately, what he prepares is just a bigger, taller straw man.

Dr. White writes:

“Let’s consider well what is being said here. If you do not make perfection of understanding an addition to the gospel, you are speaking peace to an Arminian. I have no idea how recognizing the simple truth that one does not have to have perfection of understanding to have eternal life is to be confused with speaking peace to a belief that, from looking at the list, most everyone reading this exchange would admit is in significant error on many points.”

Once again, what does perfect understanding have anything to do with what Marc said?  Carpenter made no mention of people needing a perfect understanding.  He did not even say that one’s understanding of an accomplished redemption must be perfect, but rather only that they must have an understanding of it.  Carpenter says understanding and Dr. White responds with, Aha!  Perfect understanding!  Dr. White, you have to know this is a straw man.

Dr. White continues:

“I do no speak peace to Arminianism.   Anyone who knows me knows this.  I would not have dedicated the past nine radio programs we produce through our ministry to a refutation of Norman Geisler’s new anti-Reformed book _Chosen But Free_ if I was speaking peace to Arminianism.  Recognizing that one can have traditions in their thinking that are not biblical and still be a Christian is not the same as speaking peace to falsehood.  My goodness, do we not all have such traditions? If perfection is the standard to be saved, who of us actually is? Are hyper-Calvinists claiming to have no traditions, to have a perfection of understanding in all matters? I fear those who make such claims.”

Here, as I hope the reader will see, Dr. White moves from accusing Marc of advocating for a perfect understanding to accusing him of advocating for perfect thinking.   This is no better an argument.   Again, where in Carpenter’s email is there any mention or appeal to perfect thinking?   Carpenter said nothing about not having traditions.  What he said was salvation is conditioned solely upon redemption accomplished in Christ Jesus, and that the devil’s work is to steer people away from this good news.  Dr. White responds by pointing out that people can still have unbiblical traditions.   So?  What does this have to do with anything Marc said?

Certainly people do have unbiblical traditions, and it takes time for the converted to weed these out.  But what does this have to do with the message of an accomplished redemption?  Is Dr. White identifying the message of an incomplete redemption as a tradition people can hold to and yet still be saved?  If so then I must ask, what does he think the gospel is?  And why not include the doctrine of the Trinity and Christ’s deity among his list of traditions while he is at it?  After all, if one’s denial of accomplished atonement can be a tradition, then why can’t a denial of the Trinity or Christ’s deity also be a tradition no less benign than any other?

Dr. White continues by informing his readers that coming to an understanding of the doctrines of grace is a process.  I would have found this information useful had Carpenter actually said something about the doctrines of grace or the process of coming to understand them.  Alas, he did not.  Here yet again, Dr. White may as well have spent his time informing his readers about the drying properties of latex house paint, because latex house paint and the time it takes to dry has about as much to do with what Carpenter said as Dr. White’s response to it.

But now that Dr. White has dragged his readers here, I will point out the obvious.  So what if learning the doctrines of grace is a process?  This does not change anything about what Marc said.   All the instantaneous conversions we read about in the New Testament occurred with people who were well steeped in the knowledge that God had chosen a particular people and that God preserves them.   But so what?  What does this have to do with anything Marc said?

Dr. White goes on to inform us that from his point of view it would seem as though Carpenter wants him to believe God births no children, but rather only mature adults in the sense that unless a person has a full-orbed, perfect understanding of the relationship of all parts of the gospel to each other, then they do not know Christ.  More straw and house paint, I see.

Again, this fails to address anything Carpenter said.   More than this, it is a blatant misrepresentation of what Marc did say.  Marc said nothing about a necessity of having a full-orbed, perfect understanding of anything.   He merely said knowledge.  One must have knowledge of accomplished atonement.  White turns knowledge into full-orbed, perfect understanding.  Why?

I judge from having heard Dr. White explain elsewhere that he reads full-orbed, perfect understanding into the word knowledge, because he does not believe the message of an accomplished redemption is really the heart of the gospel.  Let me say that again and more plainly this time. Dr. James White does NOT believe the message of accomplished redemption is at the heart of the gospel.  Just what then does Dr. White tell people when he thinks he is telling them the gospel?

Dr. White continues:

“Seemingly we are likewise being told that the Arminian is ignorant of the righteousness of God and trusting in salvation conditioned upon themselves. I suppose a hard-core, convinced Arminian might well believe those things, and I for one would believe that such a faith is not likely genuine. But I’ve met very FEW such people. The vast majority of those I meet who have difficulty with the doctrines of grace do so out of ignorance, not malice or rebellion.  And what do we do with them? The previous message likened a couple singing hymns in an “Arminian church” to two homosexuals in a bar. Such a concept makes no place for the simple truth of IGNORANCE. How many do you we all know who are simply untaught and unaware, blanketed by layers of evangelical tradition? Are we seriously to call such a person a God-hater? Because they were converted to Christ within an imperfect fellowship (gracious, who is converted to Christ within a perfect one?), are we to make our OWN understanding and practices an ADDITION to the gospel so that they remain in their sins, and are, in fact, God-haters?”

I must confess this one left me baffled.   Dr. White refutes himself.  He tells me on one hand he has met few Arminians who are ignorant of the righteousness of God and who trust in a salvation that is conditioned upon themselves.  When he says few, I take this to mean not a lot.  Yet he turns right around in the same paragraph to ask, “How many do you all know who are simply untaught and unaware, blanketed by layers of evangelical tradition?”  Well, sir, according to you, that would be most, because you say you have met few – meaning not a lot – who are ignorant of the righteousness of God.  But then thus would mean most Arminians are not simply untaught and unaware, blanketed by layers of evangelical tradition, because according to you, there are few who are ignorant of God’s righteousness.   So if they are not ignorant of God’s righteousness, and are therefore not untaught and unaware, then this means you are trying to deceive them, because you are telling them they are blanketed by layers of evangelical tradition.

Dr. White’s logic-defying argument:
a. few Arminians are ignorant of God’s righteousness (most Arminians have knowledge of God’s righteousness)
b. few Arminians trust in a salvation conditioned on themselves (most Arminians trust in a salvation conditioned on Christ)
c. how many Arminians then are simply untaught and unaware?
d. not many, because few Arminians are ignorant of God’s righteousness
e.  Then why is James White telling them they are untaught and unaware?
f. James White must therefore be trying to deceive Arminians

It would appear as though Dr. White believes being untaught and unaware is a perfectly good excuse for disobeying God’s command to believe the gospel.   It does not strike him that being untaught and unaware is one way in which God keeps people in spiritual darkness.  The cause of their ignorance is irrelevant.   The fact is they are ignorant and this is the point.   Their sincerity will not save them.  The “Lord, Lord” people of Matthew 7:21-23 are sincere people.  They were even submitted to Christ’s Lordship!  But they were ignorant. They did exactly as Carpenter has warned them they do.  They trusted in themselves for salvation.  They looked to a Christ who had died in order to place the possibility of redemption in their own hands.

Sincerity is not the righteousness by which God justifies, Dr. White.  Your sincerity will not save you at the last day.  It did not save you when you were a child, and it has not saved any of those unrighteous people whom you call brother.  You may not be ready to kick them out of heaven, Dr. White, but rest assure you won’t need to.  They were never there to begin with.

The Scriptures define the gospel as the revelation of God’s righteousness (Rom 1:16-17).  The Scriptures also define this revelation as being by faith in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood for the redemption of His people whom He justifies by His grace as a gift in order to show His righteousness apart from the Law. (Rom 3:21-26).   This is the revelation that is unto salvation.

Can a man have a dim understanding of this revelation and yet still be saved?  Of course, he can!   He may understand this gospel on the most basic and simple of terms.   He may believe the message of the gospel is the news of how Christ redeemed His people by satisfying God’s wrath for their sins by dying on a cross for them.  But what he will not do is confuse this news with the notion that Christ died to make redemption possible.

Simple enough message, isn’t it.  Except that most people hate this message, because when you explain election to them, they immediately recognize that they have just been stripped them of any opportunity to earn their own redemption.  They are unwilling to repent of looking to themselves for salvation.

But I don’t think any of this matters to Dr. White and it appears he is not willing to say what does matter.

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About David Bishop

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68 Responses to James White versus Marc Carpenter

  1. bography says:

    I am a fan of James White. I must say, though, you have raised a good point. The issue for me is the distinction between confuse and refuse (election). As you say, you don’t have to have a full understanding of grace to accept that salvation is all of the Lord. The Arminians in my family despise election (regeneration – logically – before faith). Are they confused or do they refuse because they hate the idea of predestination? If they are confused (which results in their refusal), I wonder why God would keep the blind. Does God always (keep) blind those whom he doesn’t elect?
    I discuss the issue here.
    http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/arminians-who-confuse-and-refuse-free-will-in-coming-to-christ/

    Thank you for this contribution to a crucial issue.

  2. fuddybuddy says:

    I listen to White too. I listen to a lot of people who I do not consider brothers in Christ. White has some good stuff to say on some issues. Unfortunately, he has some very wrong stuff to say about the issue that counts the most.

  3. David says:

    Somewhat interestingly, the person who first linked me to OTC (and he was linking it in a positive light) was deemed lost by Marc Carpenter. Carpenter’s reason for judging this person lost was because, even though this person completely agreed with Carpenter that all Arminians without exception are unregenerate, he did not agree that all so-called “Tolerant Calvinists” such as John Robbins or James White were/are unregenerate. According to Carpenter, this would make him “Tolerant of Tolerant Calvinists” and therefore lost.

    I get the argument about Arminians. I really do. I’m not sure I accept it, I think its possible for a believer to hold an inconsistent form of the gospel for a time and still be saved. But I can sympathize with the argument that Arminians are all unsaved. I could be convinced.

    But the “Tolerant Calvinist” thing I honestly think is ridiculous (And yes, I realize that based on what I just said I’m a “Tolerant Calvinist” in Carpenter’s book). I guess the idea behind it is, if you think that someone who doesn’t know the gospel is unsaved, this proves that you don’t know the gospel.

    I’ll give you a real life example of the “peace speaking” doctrine applied to something else, and I’m curious what you think of it.

    A girl I knew who attended my church (Although she was not a member) was a universalist, she believed that everyone would be saved and that there are multiple paths to God. She also claimed to be a Christian. Now, forget Arminianism, this is a blatantly false gospel, Her mother did not agree with her that there were multiple paths to God, but she still believed her daughter was saved, even though she believed she was wrong. Now, I really don’t know what else she confessed: She probably confessed Arminanism and for that reason you’d probably say she was unsaved. But let’s say her profession of the gospel was completely orthodox, except that she thought her daughter might be saved. Would you automatically say she wasn’t saved because she’s “Tolerant of Universalism.” Let’s take it one step further, my mom believes that universalism is a false gospel and that universalists are unsaved, yet she believed that this girl’s mom was saved even though she would say (Although she wouldn’t use this terminology) that she is wrong for “speaking peace” to a universalist. So would you, like Carpenter, say that my mom is automatically unsaved because she’s tolerant of someone who is tolerant of universalism? Am I unsaved because I think my mom is saved (I don’t know this girl’s mom much at all so I offer no commentary there) for being tolerant of someone who is tolerant of someone who is tolerant of a universalist? Or do you agree with me that this is absurd?

    If it is absurd, why do you view James White as being unsaved? Is it based on anything he himself believes about the gospel, or is it about who he charitably thinks might be saved?

    I’ll also point out: I know Marc Carpenter tries to get around this, but despite his techniques, it seems to me that Peter really did speak peace to the Judaizers. I don’t think he ever believed their false gospel, but it seems like Peter wrongly called them his brothers in Christ. Yet, while Paul anathemized the Judaizers, he didn’t anathemize Peter. So it seems like while Paul was extremely “intolerant” of those who preached a false gospel themselves, it doesn’t seem like he was necessarily intolerant of those who wrongly spoke peace to those people. It does not seem like Paul called people who spoke peace to the Judaizers unregenerate in every case.

    I should point out that I have tried to discuss the peace speaking issue with Carpenter. I know with them it really does go on ad infinitum (In other words, if you knowingly tolerate someone who tolerates a tolerant Calvinist, you might as well be an Arminian yourself, and so on) but I should also point out that Carpenter refused to stop talking to me after I slipped into a logical fallacy, despite the fact that I actually admitted it was an error when it was presented to me. I know you criticize Carpenter for a lack of tact and for judging on secondary issues (It seems that Carpenter would even judge someone unregenerate if they took the six days of Creation figuratively, yet he’s Amillennial*… do I smell hypocrisy?) but do you agree or disagree with his theology on judging in general?

    I know this was kind of disorganized, but those are my thoughts. Do you have any thoughts on this? I’m willing to have any of what I say above challenged by God’s Word.

    *I don’t have a problem with Amillennialism or Old Earth Creationism per say, although I hold to historic premillennialism and Young Earth Creationism myself. I just think its hypocritical to say “The text says six days, if you don’t believe that, you’re unregenerate” and yet say the thousand years are figurative.

    • David says:

      I’m just putting this one there so I can get notified of follow-up comments on my email. I didn’t notice that box was there until I hit “Send.”

  4. fuddybuddy says:

    I understand your sentiments concerning Carpenter. It’s impossible to have a civil discussion with him. That said, let’s put him aside. We both know he has no tact, so let’s just forget about him for now and instead focus on White’s argument.

    You bring up several points. I would like to address these.

    First, I think you presume way too much about Peter. After all, there is nothing in the text to indicate that he believed these Jews were brothers. There is nothing in Paul’s rebuke that indicates this either. If we take everything we know about Peter prior to this incident into account, what we find is a man who struggled with the desire to be popular. He was a people pleaser. Always the first and the loudest to say he wouldn’t do this and he wouldn’t do that, but always the first to do exactly that.

    I am not married, but I am old enough and have dated enough women to know that there are times that you will take your wife’s side even when you know she’s wrong. And you do that only because you know that you will catch hell later if you don’t. Well here is Peter, already a guy who struggles with the desire to be popular, who is a leader in the church, and who presides over a council in Jerusalem. These Jews who come to spy on the Gentile brothers are an oppressive bunch. Peter knows them well, they are from Jerusalem, and he knows how much trouble they can cause him. Rather than resist them for the sake of the brothers, which is what he should have done, he elects instead to take the path of least resistance in an effort to preserve the peace and his popularity and position in Jerusalem. It takes a direct face-to-face confrontation with Paul in front of everyone to finally humble him.

    Galatians 2:11-12 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.

    It wasn’t that he spoke peace to them. We have nothing in the text to indicate this. Rather, it was that he didn’t speak the truth to them, because he cared more about what might happen to himself if he did.

    I’ll address your other points in a separate comment so as to keep things organized and easier.

    • David says:

      That’s a valid point. Telling someone they are saved and not telling them they aren’t isn’t necessarily the same thing. Even still, it seems likely to me that he wrongly spoke some kind of peace to them. I also believe he repented when Paul presented the truth to him, but I believe he was saved before that point.

      Mind you, maybe Peter didn’t BELIEVE these people were his brothers in Christ, but he certainly seems to have treated them like they were.

      • fuddybuddy says:

        How is drawing back and separating himself from eating with the Gentiles show salvific treatment to the circumcision party? It was certainly not in step with the gospel, as Paul states in Galatians 2, but why does that translate into your mind as Peter treating the circumcision party as if they were saved? Again, I think you are reading too much into the text. There is nothing in the text to indicate he believed they were Christian. In fact, Paul clearly states that the reason why Peter separated was out of fear.

        Galatians 2:12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, FEARING THE CIRCUMCISION PARTY.

        He doesn’t say “believing them to be brothers.” Rather, he says, “fearing the circumcision party.”

    • Julien says:

      I think your post here pretty much sums up the reason for The Lord calling Saul to become Paul the Apostle. I a making an assumption but I don’t think it is wrong to say that if the Church had been left to the disciples with Peter leading, the Church would likely have become a Jewish first institution that included unnecessary ceremony and old covenant ways that had been fulfilled and completed in Christ. I am one who believes that our God calls whom He wants to come to Jesus, that He justifies by faith (justifying faith is a gift of God) and it is the same with sanctification, it is by faith through grace, same with glorification and in fact our life is indeed hid with God in Christ and the life we now live is Christ by the Holy Spirit. The ONLY way to holiness is by walking in the Spirit by mortifying the deeds of the body… BY THE SPIRIT. Any other way will end in self righteousness and believe me, I have been there more times than I care to count. I was saved by His call, I went forward to profess my faith, though I didn’t fully understand it at the time. I was FILLED with joy. I got in the back seat and was bubbling. I said we should go out to eat and celebrate! I was so happy. My mom turned around in the seat and yelled at me, “This is SERIOUS, it is not something you celebrate”. Well, that took the wind from my sails. I wandered on through my teen years but held fast to what little faith I had (that Jesus was my savior). He was always there and sometimes in tangible ways. 20-something I went to a David Wilkerson crusade and from that started going to an Assembly of God church. Well, as you can probably guess, that put me on a rollercoaster of “try to be good”, “fall flat into sin”, “give up”, and finally do it all again, over and over.
      Finally The Lord brought me to the doctrines of grace and I saw the truth of His sovereignty. However, in His kindness, mercy, His love and compassion… He never left me. I have been unfaithful, He has never been unfaithful.
      Sorry for the ramble but some of this stuff is just nuts. God is so far and above our understanding of Him. His love and mercy is so far and above what we understand.
      Jesus bled, suffered, and died to purchase our righteousness and He said that, “no man comes to the Father but through the Son”. He paid for everything. He paid for the right to judge to overlook or condemn, it is all in His hands and we don’t get to Heaven because we claim to know Him. We get it all right now because He gives it. He is not nit picky. He is full of compassion and mercy. Even Paul said that some will be saved as through fire… that their works may all be lost and they may have n reward but THEY will be saved because of the foundation… a crucified Christ, the blood shed on the cross that dealt a death blow to the law for righteousness. If He gives us faith through His grace then we are NOW seated in Heaven in Him. There is not a more secure place. If we say something wrong, He will discipline us. We all have original sin and we all struggle with it and we all (hopefully) learn to kill is by The Spirit… but His grace is sufficient for us… He is the Lord and the King, the BOSS. What He says goes now and in the day of the Lord.
      All these accusations and this strife is not good. Especially not when it seems to be ones major issue in life.
      We might do well to join Paul in resolving to know nothing but Christ, and Him crucified.
      Know that though I have written this in a reply to your post, it is not directed at you or anyone in particular. I began with a comment on Peter and went from there. Again I apologize for rambling but I am not a doctor, nor am I a theologian, I am just a brother, a layman… but I am a believer, a truth seeker and in the last couple of days after becoming aware of all these people and groups being called unregenerate… I have been disturbed.
      Indeed there is a shaking… and all that can be shaken will be shaken.
      Be certain of this. If you are a Christian you have the Holy Spirit of God living in you and He will teach us all, if He doesn’t then you don’t have Him and you are not a Christian. At the end of the day God is still love. He is still full of mercy and our judgments of one another amount to very little. I once asked The Lord for a new name… like He named Simon: Peter. He named Saul: Paul… The Spirit immediately told me my name was Mephibosheth. I had heard the name but was not familiar with the story so I looked it up. I first I was a bit disappointed but the more I thought about it the more I liked it and frankly, it fit… but I already knew I was a moral and spiritual cripple so what a better thing than to be unconditionally favored, seated everyday at the King’s table with honor because of something someone else did. That is who I am and I think it is pretty much who ALL Christians are, lets not be too puffed up in our knowledge lest we begin to think that WE are the judge of men. Again, not pointed at you FuddyBuddy! That’s a good name too!

  5. fuddybuddy says:

    You mention something about a girl who attended your church. In your own words, this girl “believed that everyone would be saved and that there are multiple paths to God. She also claimed to be a Christian.”

    Let’s stop here for a moment. Do you believe she was a Christian? Why or why not?

    If you believe she was a Christian, then what do you believe marks a person as a Christian?

    Even if you do not believe she was a Christian, I would still like to know, what do you believe marks a person as a Christian?

    Do you believe there is any solid evidence of someone being a true Christian versus a false Christian? If so, what is that evidence?

    I will pause here to await your answers.

    • David says:

      No, I don’t believe she was a Christian. I believe that to say that there are multiple paths to God is clearly a damnable heresy. I don’t think a regenerate person could teach that. After all, if you think everyone will be saved, are you really trusting in Christ for your salvation? Do you really believe that you were “saved” from anything?

      However, I don’t think its necessarily the case that someone who wrongly thinks that a universalist could be regenerate is necessarily unregenerate themselves. Mind you, I am not saying that a person who wrongly speaks peace to a universalist is saved, just that I wouldn’t necessarily judge them to be unsaved just because they said a univeralist might be saved. The person who is “Tolerant of Universalism:” might still believe that Christ is the only way to Heaven, and that Christ died to save them from their sins, and that salvation is through faith, and yet illogically come to the conclusion that a universalist might be saved. Now that I’m logically thinking it through, I don’t understand how anyone could come to that conclusion [that anyone who is a universalist could be saved] but honestly, most people don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about who is and is not saved. Reading OTC has had my head spinning in ways that it wouldn’t normally, I’m honestly not sure I would have thought this through this much either if it wasn’t for encountering, and trying to refute, their system.

      Now, as for how I can tell the difference, I would say this: a Christian understands that Christ alone, and him crucified, is the only thing that will save them (John 14:6 John 10:15 and John 10:26 come to mind here.)

      Now, can I know that a person does this? Other than myself, I don’t think its possible for me to know with absolute certainty that someone is saved. However, a confession of the true gospel accompanied by works is strong evidence (To be clear, I’m saying works are EVIDENCE,of salvation, not a CAUSE of salvation, just to be clear.) A person that believes a false gospel is clearly unsaved (Galatians 1:8-9).

      However, in some cases its tricky to determine what a false gospel is. I’m going to give you a couple of examples:

      Say a person confesses that there is absolutely no way he could have been saved apart from Christ, and that he would never have chosen God if left to his own volition. However, he believes that Christ did die for every person, although he also says it is applied only to the elect. Possibly Regenerate or definitely unregenerate, just based on the info presented?

      Say a person believes that there is no way they would have had faith in Jesus Christ if God did not cause them to have faith, and they knew Christ died to pay the penalty for sins, but he has never considered the extent of the atonement or whether or not it is “limited” or “unlimited”; When the truth of limited atonement, and how the atonement are presented to him, he immediately accepts it. Was he definitely unregenerate before it was presented?

      Say a person paradoxically holds that he was saved by Jesus’ work on the cross, and only Jesus’ work on the cross, but he also believes Christ died for every person. He’s never considered the contradiction in these two statements. Would you immediately judge him unregenerate?

      The simple answer is, these people’s understanding of the gospel is wrong, but they also aren’t really conditioning salvation on themselves. I think this is where you get to the “perfect understanding” bit. In all three hypotheticals I presented (Based off real life examples I’ve seen) the person, I tend to think, is still confessing the true gospel. They understand it in an immature fashion, but they aren’t preaching a false gospel like someone who adds circumcision, baptism, etc. to Salvation.

      I think the term “Arminian” is a broad brush but if you’re going to use that term to describe anyone who does not understand and accept limited atonement, than yes, I think its possible for someone to be saved while holding “Arminian” views. However, I also think its a serious problem that people are being taught in ways that would lead them to believe that way. And deep down I think most Arminians do condition salvation on themselves to some degree, and would thus be unregenerate regardless of what they say.

      Just out of curiosity, where would you stand on the whole thing with the universalist girl? Would you definitively say her mom was unsaved because she was “tolerant” of Universalism? Would you say my mom is definitely unsaved because she was “tolerant of someone who was tolerant of universalism?”

      • fuddybuddy says:

        You have a lot of thoughts going on here, so I will try to keep things easier by separating my response into several comments.

        First, I asked if you believed the girl you mentioned was a Christian. Why or why not? You answered that no, you don’t believe she was a Christian. You answered rather, that you believe “that to say that there are multiple paths to God is clearly a damnable heresy. I don’t think a regenerate person could teach that.”

        Okay, so in your own words then, she is “clearly” a damnable heretic.

        Did you not see that? Did you not follow 2 + 2?

        If what I believe is “clearly a damnable heresy”, then it is also true that I am clearly a damnable heretic. You cannot have someone who is not clearly a damnable heretic yet believing what is clearly a damnable heresy. Heretics believe heresy. That is what makes them heretics.

        So then, this girl is clearly a damnable heretic. And yet at the same time, according to you, a regenerate person is not necessarily going to be able to tell the difference between a damnable heretic and a justified convert.

        ?

        1 John 2:
        20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

      • fuddybuddy says:

        You write that you don’t necessarily think that someone who “wrongly thinks that a universalist could be regenerate is necessarily unregenerate themselves.”

        Excuse me, but is there a right way to think that a universalist could be regenerate? Your protest a straw man.

        You write that you are not saying that a person who “wrongly speaks peace to a universalist is saved”.

        Again, is there a right way to speak peace to a universalist?

        You argue that a person who is tolerant of universalism might “still believe that Christ is the only way to Heaven, and that Christ died to save them from their sins, and that salvation is through faith.”

        So what? That is not the gospel. Even Mormons believe these things.

        In a moment of lucidity, you write: “Now that I’m logically thinking it through, I don’t understand how anyone could come to that conclusion [that anyone who is a universalist could be saved] but honestly, most people don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about who is and is not saved.”

        You are right about that. Most people do not spend a whole lot of time thinking about who is and is not saved. Do you know why? BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE ARE UNIVERSALISTS WHO THEREFORE DENY THE JUSTICE OF ELECTION AND PARTICULAR ATONEMENT!

        David, the gospel is not “Jesus died for you.” The gospel is not “Jesus is the only way to heaven.” The gospel is not “salvation is through faith.”

        David, the Scriptures define the gospel as the revelation of God’s righteousness (Rom 1:16-17). The Scriptures also define this revelation as being by faith in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood for the redemption of His people whom He justifies by His grace as a gift in order to show His righteousness apart from the Law) (Rom 3:21-26). To summarize, the gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness revealed by faith IN THE REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus.

        It is of upmost importance then that we understand what this redemption is, because there are plenty of false redemptions floating about out there in the minds of men.

        A possible redemption rather than an accomplished redemption is one such false redemption. In the possible redemption scheme, Christ died for everyone in order to make it possible for a person to be redeemed. In the possible redemption scheme, Christ’s death introduced an immediate condition that must be met in order to fulfill the requirement necessary for redemption. In the possible redemption scheme, this condition is a free will choice made by the recipient of the death. Under this scheme, the choice itself, rather than the death that necessitated it, is the righteousness that secures the redemption. In this scheme, redemption is found in a person’s choice, rather than in Christ. This is an important factor to keep in mind, because Tolerant Calvinists like James White assume that people who assert that redemption is found in Christ alone rather than in man have also automatically shifted from a possible redemption to an accomplished one. Not so.

        Contrast a possible redemption with Scripture’s accomplished redemption. The redemption which Scripture describes is a redemption that has redeemed all those for whom Christ’s death was intended. It is not a shall redeem, but rather a has redeemed. The redemption found in Christ Jesus is a redemption that does not need its intended to choose to believe before its intended can be redeemed. Rather, its intended will believe, because Christ’s death has redeemed His intended.

        Hebrews 9:11-12 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

        Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession to the praise of His glory.

        Christ died to redeem a select few. His death was an act of perfect obedience. In so dying for His chosen few, He accomplished what no goat, no bull, no dove or lamb had ever done or could ever do – that is, He fully satisfied God’s wrath on behalf of His chosen few, thereby atoning for their guilt. His death did not make redemption possible. Rather, His death actually redeemed His people. His death is why His people are brought to faith. His death is why His people are made willing. His death is why not one of His people shall be lost.

      • fuddybuddy says:

        You argue that it is “tricky to determine what a false gospel is.” You then go on to cite some examples. Unfortunately, all your examples suffer from the same fatal flaw. Not one of your examples purports to believe the gospel. Let’s look at them quickly.

        You write, “Say a person confesses that there is absolutely no way he could have been saved apart from Christ, and that he would never have chosen God if left to his own volition.”

        So what if a person believes this? This isn’t the gospel. Again, even Mormons believe this. Simply confessing that Christ rather than Buddha or Christ rather than myself saved me says absolutely nothing about the redemption in Christ Jesus that reveals the righteousness of God.

        You write, “Say a person believes that there is no way they would have had faith in Jesus Christ if God did not cause them to have faith, and they knew Christ died to pay the penalty for sins”

        So what? This isn’t the gospel. Again, even Mormons believe this. Simply confessing that Christ rather than Buddha or Christ rather than myself caused me to have faith says absolutely nothing about the redemption in Christ Jesus that is reveals the righteousness of God.

        You write, “Say a person paradoxically holds that he was saved by Jesus’ work on the cross, and only Jesus’ work on the cross”.

        So what? This isn’t the gospel. Again, even Mormons believe this. Simply confessing that the death of Christ rather than myself saved me says absolutely nothing about the redemption in Christ Jesus that is reveals the righteousness of God.

        David, consider the following paragraph.

        “But what do we mean when we say He is the Savior of the world? The Redeemer? Each of these titles point to the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way by which we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. Jesus suffered and was crucified for the sins of the world, giving each of God’s children the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only by His mercy and grace can anyone be saved. His subsequent resurrection prepared the way for every person to overcome physical death as well. These events are called the Atonement. In short, Jesus Christ saves us from sin and death. For that, he is very literally our Savior and Redeemer. In the future Jesus Christ will return to reign on earth in peace for a thousand years. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He will be our Lord forever.”

        I pasted this from a Mormon website! Here is the link so you can verify that I am not lying. http://mormon.org/beliefs/jesus-christ

        How many people do you know who would call this gospel? Just about everyone you know?! The world is lost, David. People are lost, blind, deaf. Narrow is the road that leads to salvation and few there are who find it.

      • fuddybuddy says:

        You ask where I stand on the subject of the universalist girl, and on her mom?

        I tell you this. Do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20). Neither do the works of the justified. Both show that they have not repented of their faith in the serpent’s lie. They are as spiritually blind as Cain. The mother can’t even tell the difference between a heretic and a convert, while the daughter can’t tell the difference between the gospel and a lie.

      • David says:

        I’m not sure why I can’t respond to your response, but this is my response to your first post. My second response will be my response to your second post, and so on.

        I think you are seeing a contradiction where there isn’t one. I’m saying that universalists are unsaved, but that someone wrongly thinking a universalist isn’t saved doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t saved. So I guess I’m tolerant of those who are tolerant of universalists. Which I guess means according to you I’m unregenerate. Is someone who tolerates me therefore unregenerate? What about the guy who tolerates the guy who tolerates me? Are they unregenerate too? Where does this end?

        This is exactly the problem I had when I was trying to discuss with Chris Duncan (One of Carpenter’s disciples, although of course he would deny being such). This is exactly why I view the OTC people as being absurd, however solid they may be on certain things.

        Yes, I think its possible that an immature believer may understand that a damnable heretic is in error but that they aren’t necessarily unsaved. I don’t see how the verse you quote disproves my point.

        And just out of curiosity, and I know you don’t seem to really want to discuss this, but what exactly is your problem with Carpenter anyway? Is it just his style? Because it seems like you agree with his theology. Admittedly, the biggest thing that turned me off from discussing with him is his style. I don’t necessarily care that someone else views me as unregenerate. I’m just curious where exactly you disagree with him.

      • David says:

        As stated, this is my response to your second post.

        No, there isn’t any right way to speak peace to a universalist. Universalists are unsaved. So of course its wrong to speak peace to them. A professing Christian who speaks peace to a universalist is in sin. But I wouldn’t necessarily say this means they are lost.

        I don’t know a whole lot about Mormon theology, but I know enough to know they don’t really think salvation is only through Christ. They believe that someone who never believes in Christ during this life can be saved. That and they are polytheists.

        I was reading through the link Mark Mcculley posted a few months ago where Carpenter calls James White a hypocrite because he condemns Mormonism so strongly yet says Arminians may be his brothers in Christ. While I can understand where Carpenter is going with this, he still has to prove two things:

        1. That all forms of “Arminianism” are an equally serious heresy as Mormonism.

        2. That all Christians who tolerate Mormonism are without exception unregenerate.

        I’d need evidence before I’d accept either of these conclusions. I just don’t see any truly solid Biblical evidence for accepting either one. I have a few comments:

        1. Most of the “Peace speaking” passages that the Carpenterites use to defend their theological distinctives are in the Old Testament, and are referring to prophets who said there would be peace with Babylon. It had nothing to do with the kind of peace speaking we’re talking about here.

        2. 2 John 7-11 is talking about those who deny the person of Jesus Christ, whether they deny he came in the flesh at all or that he was “Merely the Son of God” (Like Jehovah’s Witnesses). Not all heresies were mentioned. And even if they were, all it says is that someone who “speaks peace” to them are “sharing in their evil work.” in other words, its a serious sin. He is not necessarily saying that all who do so are unregenerate.

        You say that most people are universalists. I don’t think this is true. First of all, most people do clearly speak peace based on a false standard (Such as “good works” or some such), and the people who believe false gospels such as works salvation are lost. However, that doesn’t make them universalists, which would be people who believe everyone is saved. Second of all, I specifically had Protestant Christians in mind when I made my statement.

        If I understand what you’re saying, you’re saying a person who recognizes that Christ died to pay the price for their sins, recognizes that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but yet thinks that some heretics are saved is a universalist?

        I’m confused, where are you getting this stuff from?

        BTW: I would NEVER tell an unsaved person that Christ died for them. I would tell them Christ died to pay the price for his people and that if you repent and believe this gospel you will be saved.

      • David says:

        I agree with you that most of the world is lost. I even agree that most confessing Christians are lost. Most of them ultimately condition their salvation in themselves, even if they say they condition their salvation in Christ.

        I agree with you that those who think Christ died for everyone are in grave error. As I said, the only way a true Christian could believe this is if they never really thought about it. I think its possible for someone to have never really thought about the extent of the atonement and thus believe that Christ died for everyone, because that’s what they’ve been taught, or whatever, and yet recognize that Christ’s death is still the difference between those who have been redeemed and those who have not.

        It is true that comparatively “few” shall be saved. But if you take a look at Revelation 7, that “few” is a numerous multitude, that no man can count. Do you really think there is a “Numerous multitude” of people who believe the peace-speaking theology that you and Marc hold to?

        As for your last post, I just have one question, where does it end? Is my mom unregenerate for speaking peace to the girl’s mom? Am I unregenerate for speaking peace to my mom? Is anyone who speaks peace to me unregenerate? Is anyone who speaks peace to anyone who speaks peace to me unregenerate?

      • fuddybuddy says:

        I’m afraid it’s WordPress that is causing the problem with replies. WordPress is not set up for people to have lengthy discussions. If you would like, email me at ouila.david@gmail.com

  6. fuddybuddy says:

    I do not agree with most of Carpenter’s judgements. He judges on issues that are not peculiar to the gospel. In this one case of James White he did, but in most cases he doesn’t. But as I said in a previous comment, let’s set Carpenter aside for now. He isn’t pertinent to the discussion.

    • David says:

      Occasionally Carpenter will judge someone on a nuance, like “common grace” or “the well meant offer” or something iike that. And then of course there are the Arminians themselves. But most of the people in his “Heterodoxy Hall of Shame” are there for the same reason, because they allowed the possibility that some Arminians might be their brothers in Christ. So if you’re going to judge James White to be unregenerate based on what he says above, you’d probably agree with most of Carpenter’s other judgments as well. You’d probably also view me as unsaved (Which is fine.) Or am I missing something with your judgment of White? Did you see something in what he said beyond “Some Arminians might be saved?”

      Although this makes me think, the Bible is pretty clear that Abraham’s children will be “More numerous than the sand on a seashore” and Revelation talks about the multitidue being “Too numerous to count.” Now, obviously I get that God could count them and that the sand thing is kind of a metaphor, but still, its obviously talking about a huge amount of people. If believing limited atonement, and judging all who do not to be unregenerate, is something every Christian will do (Even if we only go two generations and not the insane ad infinitum of the Carpenterites) I can’t imagine that there would be all that many of them. In fact, I had NEVER encountered the view that all Universal Atonement believers were unregenerate (Nevermind the people who think such people might be saved) until I was linked by OTC. So I seriously doubt there are all that many people who believe that. Hardly “Too numerous to count.”

  7. David says:

    I ended up making a few comments. Just in case you were confused (I sometimes ramble), I want to shorten my definition so you can understand it. A Christian is someone who trusts in Christ;s work for their salvation. An unsaved person, by contrast, does not.

    I find it hard to understand how a stubborn Universal Atonement advocate could possibly trust in Christ alone for their salvation. I find it hard to understand how someone who flat out says “Christ died to make salvation possible for all, now we have to do something (even if its believe) to ensure our salvation.” If a person said something like that, I’d likely ask them if they really understood what they were saying, and explain to them how their view makes out God to be a failure. If this person was truly trusting in Christ for their salvation, I think they’d realize the problem with what they said.

    On the other hand, I was recently talking to a Christian lady from my church. She’s on fire for the gospel and seems to recognize that those who believe they are saved by works (JWs, Catholics, etc.) need to be evangelized. I happened to be talking to her about a couple of people I’ve shared the gospel with on my college campus. The issue of tracts came up, and I mentioned that I didn’t think I could hand out most tracts without some form of explanation anymore, because I felt like most of them were confusing with regards to the atonement. We briefly discussed the issue of the atonement and election, and I mentioned that I believe the atonement had to be only for the elect because otherwise God would be a failure; and I explained why. She agreed with me that God was a failure and seemed to realize the contradiction between saying Christ died for everyone, and yet saying Christ accomplished the atonement on the cross.

    Am I to conclude that she is unregenerate because she’s never seriously thought about this? I don’t think so. This goes back to my definition on the first page. You can’t always judge by the terminology someone uses either, until you talk to them a bit. Paul says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved (Acts 16;31.) Does this mean he’s saying belief is some kind of a work by which we gain our salvation? Of course not. Paul knew, and preached ,that Christ’s work makes the difference. Yet he still worded it that way. So, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that someone doesn’t realize that Christ made the difference without some form of evidence.

    Do you have any comments on this?

  8. fuddybuddy says:

    In your second series of comments, you write:

    QUOTE: “I think you are seeing a contradiction where there isn’t one. I’m saying that universalists are unsaved, but that someone wrongly thinking a universalist isn’t saved doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t saved. So I guess I’m tolerant of those who are tolerant of universalists. Which I guess means according to you I’m unregenerate. Is someone who tolerates me therefore unregenerate? What about the guy who tolerates the guy who tolerates me? Are they unregenerate too? Where does this end?”

    Again, why bring “wrongly” into this? I become suspicious when I start seeing adjectives appear; and you keep making the same ones appear.

    State your meaning. Universalists are unsaved, but someone who thinks a universalist isn’t saved might still be saved. That is what you mean, right?

    But that doesn’t make sense, does it? And so you try to prop the nonsense up with an adjective.

    QUOTE: I find it hard to understand how a stubborn Universal Atonement advocate could possibly trust in Christ alone for their salvation. I find it hard to understand how someone who flat out says “Christ died to make salvation possible for all, now we have to do something (even if its believe) to ensure our salvation.” If a person said something like that, I’d likely ask them if they really understood what they were saying, and explain to them how their view makes out God to be a failure. If this person was truly trusting in Christ for their salvation, I think they’d realize the problem with what they said.

    Here we are again. Stubbornly? As opposed to what, submissively? State your meaning. I find it hard to believe that a universalist trusts in Christ alone for their salvation, but I also find it hard to believe that a universalist doesn’t trust in Christ alone for their salvation. That is what you are saying, right? I mean, you do conclude that someone who believes Christ died to make salvation possible for all might still as yet be trusting in Christ for their salvation.

    But you are afraid to say it like that, aren’t you? And so you try to soften it with an adjective. I am a writer, David. I am not going to fall for such tricks, not even the subconscious ones.

    You think that a person can hear the gospel, can understand what the gospel states, can intellectually agree with it, and yet at the same time not not have a clue as to how it differs from universalism.

    Chris Duncan is irrelevant.

    OTC people are irrelevant.

    Carpenter is irrelevant. I have already explained my problem with Carpenter. Pay attention.

    • David says:

      QUOTE: “I think you are seeing a contradiction where there isn’t one. I’m saying that universalists are unsaved, but that someone wrongly thinking a universalist isn’t saved doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t saved. So I guess I’m tolerant of those who are tolerant of universalists. Which I guess means according to you I’m unregenerate. Is someone who tolerates me therefore unregenerate? What about the guy who tolerates the guy who tolerates me? Are they unregenerate too? Where does this end?”

      Again, why bring “wrongly” into this? I become suspicious when I start seeing adjectives appear; and you keep making the same ones appear.
      [/QUOTE]

      “Wrongly” is there because I think a Christian who will not judge universalists to be unregenerate is wrong. That was my point. There is no “right” way to speak peace to a universalist. But I don’t believe that doing so is necessarily indicative of lostness. It MIGHT be. But it might also be a failure to think things through to their logical conclusions, wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt even when they shouldn’t, etc.

      [QUOTE]State your meaning. Universalists are unsaved, but someone who thinks a universalist isn’t saved might still be saved. That is what you mean, right?
      [/QUOTE]

      Did you mean “Is” instead of isn’t? If so, yes. Universalists are unsaved. Not everyone who thinks a universalist is saved is necessarily unsaved.

      [QUOTE]Here we are again. Stubbornly? As opposed to what, submissively?[/QUOTE]

      As opposed to in ignorance. As James White points out, its possible for someone to trust in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for their redemption, without ever thinking through the logical implications of any of this.

      [QUOTE]That is what you are saying, right? I mean, you do conclude that someone who believes Christ died to make salvation possible for all might still as yet be trusting in Christ for their salvation. [/QUOTE]

      How are you defining a universalist? I’m defining that term as meaning someone who believes everyone without exception is saved. You seem to be confusing universalism with universal atonement. Which is interesting, because the latter leads to the former. Yet most who hold to the latter do so in total ignorance that it leads to the former.

      [QUOTE[You think that a person can hear the gospel, can understand what the gospel states, can intellectually agree with it, and yet at the same time not not have a clue as to how it differs from universalism. [/QUOTE]

      They would certainly realize that there was something wrong with it. But they might not immediately come to the conclusion that the universalist is unsaved. As I said, they might not think it through very much. They might let their emotions get in the way of rational judgment. They might want to give people the benefit of the doubt. They might not understand the implications of beliefs that other people hold. Etc.

      [QUOTE]Chris Duncan is irrelevant.

      OTC people are irrelevant.

      Carpenter is irrelevant. I have already explained my problem with Carpenter. Pay attention.
      [/QUOTE]

      Then speak for yourself. If I say that someone who tolerates a universalist might be saved, am I “Tolerant of those who are Tolerant of Universalists” and thus lost?

      If anyone speaks peace to me are they “Tolerant of those who are tolerant of those who are tolerant of universalists” and thus lost?

      Is a person who speaks peace to the person who speaks peace to me lost?

      How many generations does this go?

      Do you see why I think this is absurd?

    • fuddybuddy says:

      QUOTE: I was reading through the link Mark Mcculley posted a few months ago where Carpenter calls James White a hypocrite because he condemns Mormonism so strongly yet says Arminians may be his brothers in Christ. While I can understand where Carpenter is going with this, he still has to prove two things:
      1. That all forms of “Arminianism” are an equally serious heresy as Mormonism.
      2. That all Christians who tolerate Mormonism are without exception unregenerate.

      Mark Mcculley is irrelevant. Marc Carpenter is irrelevant.

      All forms of Arminianism are as equally false as Mormonism. 2 + 2 = 6 is just as false as “my pants are black.” A proposition is either true or false. Less and more is irrelevant.

      We are discussing the notion that a believer can tolerate a false gospel, so we will leave #2 to our other comments.

      QUOTE: 1. Most of the “Peace speaking” passages that the Carpenterites use to defend their theological distinctives are in the Old Testament, and are referring to prophets who said there would be peace with Babylon. It had nothing to do with the kind of peace speaking we’re talking about here.
      2. 2 John 7-11 is talking about those who deny the person of Jesus Christ, whether they deny he came in the flesh at all or that he was “Merely the Son of God” (Like Jehovah’s Witnesses). Not all heresies were mentioned. And even if they were, all it says is that someone who “speaks peace” to them are “sharing in their evil work.” in other words, its a serious sin. He is not necessarily saying that all who do so are unregenerate.

      Again, Carpenter is irrelevant. This is just you and I conversing over the idea that believer can tolerate a false gospel. Leave Carpenter, Mcculley, Duncan and whoever else you’ve got up your sleeve out of it. They are irrelevant.

      As for #2, I did not quote 2 John. I quoted 1 John. And no, 1 John is not about people who “merely” deny that Christ came in the flesh.

      John’s purpose in writing his first epistle is to encourage this little church by explaining the differences between a false convert and a true one, because some of their members have left them (2:18-19). A true convert is someone who loves the gospel; therefore, he does not deny that Christ came in the flesh, he does not pretend that he is perfect and does not sin, and he does not hate those who love the gospel.

      John’s definition of ungodliness finds its final fulfillment in chapter 3. John asks a question. Why did Cain murder his brother Abel? John answers, because Cain’s own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. But Cain had not murdered anyone before he murdered Abel. What deeds then, is John talking about, and what made those deeds evil?

      John tells us that Cain was “OF THE EVIL ONE.” Whatever else this might mean, it means first and foremost that Cain was a member of the second class of people, the non-elect, the seed of the serpent, those who have been predestined to destruction in the serpent. John does not say Cain was of the evil one because his deeds were evil. Rather, he says that Cain’s deeds were evil because he was of the evil one.

      Cain was of the evil one. For this reason his deeds were evil. In other words, everything that Cain did was evil because Cain was of the evil one. Everything. Not just those deeds in reference to sacrifice, but everything. Rising from his bed in the morning was evil. Grabbing a cup of coffee and a bite to eat in the morning before heading out into the field was evil. Even the act of drawing breath was evil. Everything Cain did was evil, because Cain had been predestined to destruction in the evil one. God would never justify him. Rather, God would always charge the guilt of Cain’s sins to Cain.

      God instructed Cain to master the sin that was at Cain’s door (an impossibility!). God did not tell Abel this. (Hebrews 11:4). I am told in Hebrews 12:15-17 that Esau wept with bitterness when he learned the truth about God’s sovereign grace. Cain did not weep though. Cain exploded with rage instead. He seethed with hatred until his hatred boiled over into murder.

      What do you suppose Cain told his brother when they were out in the field? Might he have been trying to illicit a measure of sympathy from Abel? Perhaps he was even trying to convince Abel to join him in his hatred for God. Abel refused however, and when Abel told him that God is righteous to sovereignly choose, Cain rose up with hatred and killed him.

      There are many people today who share Cain’s feelings about the brothers. They hate the gospel of God’s sovereign righteousness, especially where it concerns the message of sovereign election and effectual atonement. Jesus warned as much in John’s gospel. “I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19.

      Those who make a practice of sinning as Cain sinned (hating his brother for loving God’s sovereign grace) are not God’s children. Of course they aren’t. They hate the gospel!

  9. fuddybuddy says:

    This back and forth is getting too confusing. Email me if you would like to continue this discussion. Again, ouila.david@gmail.com

    Or friend me on Facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/david.bishop.7393

  10. Marc says:

    “I knew, for instance, that he tends to judge people’s gospel by secondary issues ranging everywhere from one’s view of Hell to one’s view of Heaven.”

    Annihilationism is a secondary issue? And where did you come up with “one’s view of Heaven”; can you provide proof of this?

    • David Bishop says:

      Yes, annihilationism is a secondary issue.
      Here is you judging other people’s salvation by your view of heaven – http://www.outsidethecamp.org/ccfvii.htm

      And if I say all for whom Christ died will not live eternally in Heaven, will not, in fact, at all appear in Heaven, but will instead live eternally in Christ’s presence upon a new earth after He returns to judge the living and the dead and to raise the dead from their slumber. What would you say? Heretic?

      • David says:

        I agree with you that we’ll live eternally on the New Earth, but I’m unsure if Marc’s intent was to judge based on that. I’d like to see him clarify.

        As for annihilationism, I have a hard time saying that’s a secondary issue as well. I’m not super judgmental and I’m not going to say you’re definitively lost if you believe in it. I don’t really know. But the issue is at least in some way connected to the gospel. What punishment sinners are being threatened with is certainly part of a gospel presentation. Or at least, for me it is. If I had to come down one way or another, I’d say its possible that an annihilationist could be saved, but I’d say the same thing about an inconsistent Arminian.

  11. Libertyblogger101 says:

    To clarify, I don’t think annihilationism is a secondary issue on the same level as the mode of baptism or one’s millennial viewpoint, but I don’t think its on par with the deity of Christ either.

  12. David Bishop says:

    Annihilationism (your word, not mine) does no damage and pertains in no degree to the redemption Christ accomplished for His people by offering His body to God at the cross as a sacrifice for their sins. By inserting annihilationism into the redemption which Christ accomplished for His people, you have emerged with an alien gospel which conditions righteousness on a doctrine that has nothing to do with the elect.

    Not only is annihilationism a secondary issue, but it is a non-issue.

  13. David Bishop says:

    By the way, conferred immortality (what you call annihilationism) is Biblical. I have no intention of discussing it here though, simply because it is a non-issue. Should you be interested in discussing it though, then might I suggest you visit Christopher Macfarlane’s blog.

    http://theproteststation.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/antiquated-annihilationism/

  14. Libertyblogger101 says:

    OK, we have a fundamental disagreement here. You think that the punishment which unbelievers will suffer is completely alien to the gospel. I disagree with that. Can you prove your assertion?

  15. David Bishop says:

    Yes, but I’m not going to. The essay is about an article that James White wrote concerning Marc Carpenter. I would ask that you stay on topic.

  16. markmcculley says:

    I am responding to a Girardian (death not needed, sacrifice not needed by God) liberal who says the cross only happened because we needed victims . I of course do not deny that we like to scapegoat people.

    But even the liberal Girardian is saying that something good and necessary happened by us killing a victim

    I say this instead— if we did it, then we did nothing. It was not decisive for anything, not for our redemption and not for the redemption of the world.

    And before we get too high and mighty about liberals saying that, so that we forget the gospel and simply take sides with all the “conservatives” who oppose abortion of unborn victims, let us look at Arminian and Romanist conservatives who do still talk about “sacrifice”

    The Arminians who sing “nothing but the blood” and “Jesus paid it all” oh so loudly, then tell us it depends on us to accept it.

    Arminians don’t think anything happened either.

    So why do we think possibly favorably about the “calvinists” who have definite atonement as their “shelf doctrine”? For the glory of Christ, we need to get real about this evil called Arminianism (yes, it’s ordained by God, and it’s evil)

    All liberals deny that “mercy-seat” means propitiation (taking away God’s wrath)

    They say this is like the Aztecs, paganism, trying to appease God by throwing virgins down into a fire hole (like one of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies)

    They say: God does not change in time from wrath to peace

    They say: God does not need to be reconciled, sinners need to be reconciled so the cross is God’s apology to man, or at least “God letting us do it” God being a pacifist, taking it, not as in taking revenge but letting us take revenge on an innocent victim, ie, God Himself

    But you don’t have to be a pacifist to be liberal
    All liberals deny that God now has wrath on anybody.

    Practical liberals downplay the significance of God’s wrath

    All Arminians and tolerant Calvinists, no matter how much they talk about “hell”, are practical liberals, because they eliminate the significance of the imputation of sins to Christ and Christ’s death as God appeasing God for those sins.

  17. markmcculley says:

    Why is “universalism” obviously a false gospel but Armianism is not? Should we who arw Reformed comfort ourselves at the fact that an Arminian like Wittmer (Christ Alone–a Respose to Rob Bell) is at leastnot an universalist, and that he teaches conversion, and a transition from wrath to God’s favor?

    My response to Wittmer is very much the same as his to Bell. This is “not enough gospel”. (p 146) If the cross does not add anything to the non-elect but more wrath, then for the non-elect the death of Christ is no gospel at all.

    I wish Wittmer could hear his questions to Bell come back to himself. On p 147, Wittmer concludes: “if there is no looming threat of wrath and hell, then there is little for God to do except be generally kind to everyone.” I agree with this logic.

    Not even the elect are born safe, except in the decree of God. The wrath of God abides even on the elect until they are justified by means of Christ’s death. Even the elect need to hear and believe the gospel.

    But I want to think about that phrase “for God to do”. What does God need to do? What has God done for those who are saved that God has not done for those who will not be saved? Since Wittmer does not think of himself as an Arminian, he does not speak of what Christ has done for the elect and what Christ has not done for the non-elect.

    Evangelicals want to stick to what they can agree on. Sin and wrath are real. God really had to do something about this if anybody would “possibly” be saved. Whatever it was that Christ did was done for all sinners. This is why I am asking evangelicals like Wittmer to listen to themselves when they talk back to Rob Bell.

    P 146–”If the cross doesn’t add anything that we couldn’t already learn from Jesus’ life and ministry, and if Jesus’ words and deeds don’t tell us anything we couldn’t already learn from nature, then forcing Jesus to go to the cross seems to be a genuine case of divine child abuse…The God of Love Wins (title of book by Rob Bell) doesn’t win because the stakes are so low that there is little for him to win.”

    So what’s the difference between the God of Wittmer and the God of Rob Bell? First, since wrath is real, there is something to win and something to lose. Second, the God of Wittmer, who dies for all sinners, even those on whom God’s wrath will ultimately abide, does win some. And plus, on top of that, even the ones the God of Wittmer loses, God attempted to win, because Christ died for them.

    Or as evangelical Lewis Sperry Chafer explained the message: Christ died for all their acts of sin, so they won’t die for any acts of sins, but many of them will die for their “attitude of sin”, since they thought they were too good to need what Christ did for them. Since they think they don’t need what Christ did for them, then Christ’s death won’t do anything for them.

  18. markmcculley says:

    Wittmer is very clear that he thinks that Christ did die for everybody. Wittmer is very very clear that he thinks that not everybody will be saved. Even though Wittmer is not at all clear about elect and non-elect, he does not tell us the point of Christ dying for those who will not be saved.

    What did Christ “really do”? If Christ died the same for those who will be saved as Christ died for those who won’t be saved, what in the end did Christ “really do” even for those who will be saved? Certainly Christ’s death was not decisive for salvation, but in what way does Wittmer think Christ really did anything for all sinners, as one step (needed along with others) to a rescue from His wrath?

    If God was going to change the hearts of some sinners, and cause them to be born again, and that was going to save them, why was it necessary for God the Father to give the Son to die? If the Son dies to take away wrath for everybody, but the wrath is not taken away, what did the Son’s death “really do”?

    Like most evangelicals, Wittmer has a “strings attached” gospel, a “however” gospel. Instead of telling the truth to everybody that God doesn’t love everybody, he thinks the responsibility of everybody depends on God having loved everybody and Christ having died for everybody.

  19. markmcculley says:

    Believing that one has an immortal soul goes along with believing that one has a free-will. I Thessalonians 4: We will not precede them because they will be raised first. Not because they go to heaven first, but because they will be raised first.

    Human persons, elect and non-elect, justified and condemned, will not be left in the graves. But now they wait in the graves, and then the elect will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and clothed with immortality. Then “the dead in Christ will rise first. Only then, at His coming will those saints who are alive and remain be caught up together with dead saints [all at one time, at the same time)] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air as He comes to earth. This meeting is not to go back to heaven, but the coming of heaven to earth. Thus “we shall always be with the Lord.”

    The non-elect will also be raised on that day but only to come into judgment, and then to perish in the second death. But the justified elect will be raised and “shall not come into judgment” but will from then on, in the age to come, be with the risen Christ with bodies like his glorious body.

    Roman Catholic anthropology causes people to translate “those who have fallen asleep” as “those bodies which sleep”, because they think they already know that “perfected souls” are already ascended to heaven and now worship 24/7 without sleep.

    John 3: 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the who descended from heaven, the Son of Man

  20. markmcculley says:

    One paragraph after agreeing that the Bible only refers to the resurrection as the Christian’s hope of glorification, Al Martin takes it all back by informing us that “it is this information about the intermediate state that largely accounts for our ability to grieve unlike those who have no hope.” (p 25)

    So even though he knows that the Bible speaks of the hope of resurrection, Al Martin continues to insist that his false ideas about “an immediate sequel” are “largely” the difference between despair and courage. The Bible says, wait and be patient. Al Martin says instead: the people left living behind wait, but the dead Christians don’t want, but get right away to conscious worship (until presumably all that is interrupted by them needing to go with Christ to earth for earthly things, like resurrection, judgment, other Christians, and bodies.)

    Al Martin builds his doctrine of “immediate perfection of souls” on a phrase taken out of context from Hebrews 12–”the spirits of just men made perfect”. Of course he has not defined “souls” in reference to what the Bible says about “spirits”, but he needs to presume that identity and does so.

  21. markmcculley says:

    The Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. (Luke 23:46, Psalm 31:5). Does this mean that Jesus the real Divine-human person never died either, but only his “human body”? I certainly do not begin to understand the incarnation or the mystery of Christ’s death, which is why I am not about to explain it on the basis of a “never-dying soul” so as to prove that Christ didn’t really die.

    Al Martin writes (p 56): ” I do not know how disembodied spirits recognize and communicate with each other. It seems to me that Scripture is virtually silent on this matter. ” Since the Bible is silent in even claiming that disembodied human spirits communicate with each other, one only wonders what the difference between “virtual silence” and “silence” is. But Al Martin has not let something like biblical silence stop him up to this point. He takes certain phrases of Revelation 6 as literal and therefore “hints”.

  22. David Bishop says:

    See my post, “The Tomb of Tolerant Calvinism”.

  23. calebveritas says:

    I would like to see someone answer david’s question about this “generational unregeneracy” as i’ll call it. i tolerate david and think his love and defence of grace points to his being regenerate. i speak peace to him. if he tolerates his mother who tolerates that women who then tolerates her own universalist daughter, then we have a question to ask. Who, if any on this list is actually regenerate? if anyone beyond the first mother is than why? if no one is then who is enlightened enough to see all other regenerate people and where does scripture give us a view of this person?

    • David Bishop says:

      Abraham Booth answered David’s question about what you call, generational unregenerancy. So did George Smeaton and William Rushton. Both addressed Fuller’s conditional view of atonement.

      I guess Paul was not enlightened, because he didn’t see the Galatian heretics as regenerate.

      • Do you have links to where specifically these people answer the question?

        Did Paul say that everyone who tolerated the Galatian heretics was unregenerate? If so, your second paragraph might actually fit with what caleb said. If not, I don’t see how it does. Actually, in this particular instance, caleb was addressing toleration of someone who is tolerating someone who is tolerating a universalist, so we’re not even talking about one generation here. Were the people who tolerated the people who tolerated the people who tolerated the universalists unregenerate? Does saying otherwise mean you are saying the universalists themselves are regenerate?

      • calebveritas says:

        Could you please provide a link to one or more of those answers? id be interested in reading those.

        also i don’t understand your second comment. i did not say that enlightened ppeople could not spot an unsaved heretic. my questioned was related to the generation question that i asked before, and centered on the point that scripture does not anywhere lay out a scheme to judge the regeneracy of every single person, at least as far as i know. i don’t appreciate to flavor of answer you gave or understand why you would treat an honest inquiry that way. i would love to know more on this topic so please supply links liberally if possible. thanks

    • David Bishop has yet to give me a direct answer to this question, and I’m not really sure why. I guess the issue, as he sees it (and many others see it) is that, if a universalist is unregenerate (This is a statement I would definitely agree with) then someone who tolerates a universalist is implicitly denying that universalism is a gospel denying doctrine. I don’t necessarily think this is the case.

      I don’t know this girl’s mother well, so to give another example that I can more easily comment on: baptismal regeneration. Baptismal regeneration is clearly a false gospel. I would argue that anyone who believes in it is not saved. My mother disagrees with me. She believes that it is possible for someone who believes in baptismal regeneration to be saved. She agrees that baptismal regeneration is a false doctrine. She does not believe in the false gospel of baptismal regeneration. She knows this is an error. Yet, she will not definitively state that a person who believes this is lost. I would say she is in error because of Galatians 1:8 and Galatians 3:1-2. But does this prove her lost? I don’t think so. She knows what the gospel is. She wrongly gives too much grace to someone who does not, at least IMO.

      I’m not yet sure how, exactly, this applies to Arminianism. Is Arminianism on the same playing field as something like baptismal regeneration (Which is clearly a form of works salvation) or universalism (Which in most cases denies that Christ even died for sins, and even if it doesn’t, certainly denies the entire concept of punishment for the wicked, and thus, the need to believe.) I’m open to a “yes” answer to this but would currently answer “no.” For one thing, while David Bishop (And Marc Carpenter) are correct that there are no conditions for salvation, belief is directly tied to the gospel presentation. The gospel isn’t actually presented in the New Testament as “Do nothing because there are no conditions, if God saves you you will believe.” No, its presented as “believe and be saved.” Now, we know that belief only comes from God through election and accomplished atonement on the cross, and that man can’t really choose to believe of his own free will. But, I’m not sure that’s a gospel issue on the same level as believing in works salvation or universal salvation is a gospel denying heresy. And even if I’m wrong about this, I don’t believe that I’m unsaved by virtue of misjudging someone else’s salvation.

      David Bishop says Scott Price is his pastor. With that in mind, I’m going to email him this discussion, because I think Scott Price gave a different answer to this question than the answer I think David Bishop is hinting at, and I’m curious what he has to say about it.

      • calebveritas says:

        Thank you. and i agree with your assessment. i do believe that arminianism is dangerous and its false focus often produces false converts. however, regenerate folk who tolerate others based on their love of Christ and growth in doctrine are more where i see the importance, rather than cutting off limbs to the Nth degree because someone among them ignorantly and wrongly tolerates a heretics.

  24. Was the OP edited between when I first commented and now? Because I reread it and it seems like some elements of it were changed.

    • David Bishop says:

      No, I don’t change any comments. I may delete comments from trolls, but I do not edit someone’s words.

      As for a complete answer to your question about tolerant Calvinism, I have just posted a new essay especially for you.

      My essay is entitled, The Value of Judging by the Gospel: My Response to a Blogger

  25. Chris Duncan says:

    After reading several articles on your blog and noting your judgments of tolerant Calvinsts such as James White, I’m wondering if Mr. Tact has been by here at any time. You said you saw noting wrong in Carpenter’s theology but that it was enveloped in “plenty of rancor.” I’ve read what Carpenter wrote and only found solid things, but no rancor. Could you provide an exact quote from Carpenter where this solid yet rancorous theology is manifested? From what I can tell, you and Carpenter say pretty much the same things regarding Arminians and tolerant Calvinsts like James White. You would appear just as “rancorous” as Carpenter to people like White.

    • David Bishop says:

      I have not been rancorous with Dr White.

      I am referring to instances including Mr. Carpenter’s criticism of Bill Parker, and his legalistic publications concerning divorce and remarriage.

      • Marc says:

        Was Paul being legalistic when he wrote, “if the husband is living, she will be called an adulteress if she becomes another man’s” (Romans 7:3) and “Or do you not know that unjust ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be led astray, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor boy-abusers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous ones, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor rapacious ones shall inherit the kingdom of God”(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)?

      • Chris Duncan says:

        “The one saying, I have known Him, and not keeping His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that one” (1 John 2:4).

        Legalistic “meh” from John, methinks. John tends to judge people’s gospel by secondary issues or something. Judging from his 2:4 material, I can also safely say he leaves very little room for the gospel to offend once he has finished offending. John wouldn’t know tact if it strolled up and shook hands with him. Probably shouldn’t even put out a conciliatory hand. Might not get it back.

      • David Bishop says:

        The question is irrelevant, Marc. It has nothing to do with the essay.

      • Chris Duncan says:

        In the first paragraph you write: “However, be that as it may, I saw nothing wrong with Carpenter’s theology here. Sure, he enveloped it in plenty of rancor, but putting this aside, he did have some pretty solid things to say.” So, nothing wrong “here.” Okay. So which rancor-enveloped quote from Marc to Dr. White are you referring to?

  26. bography says:

    Llb101

    Looks like mistaken tridentity.

  27. DavidC says:

    I know this comment is coming late but I found this discussion utterly fascinating.
    It sounds to me like James White is rehashing the old ‘felicitous inconsistency’ idea.

  28. Julien Bowles says:

    Hi, I just became aware of Marc Carpenter and outsidethecamp just last night. The Lord has been teaching me and leading me into His grace. As it always is with the “enemy” he tries to destroy or hinder the work of The Lord. For instance, a while back I decided to stop drinking beer or anything alcoholic. Not because I think that drinking is a sin but because every now and then I would drink too much. I never meant to but it would just happen from time to time so… I decided to just stop. A few days later a neighbor whom I had not talked to in nearly a year other than, Hi, how are you” or a passing wave… called to me when I was outside, walked over with a bottle of ale telling me he wanted me to try it because he really liked it. I didn’t want to be rude so I accepted the gift. I called got my daughter to try it when she was over so I could tell him if it was good or not… but bottom line, Satan used him to try and make me stumble.
    Back to Marc Carpenter and outsidethecamp. I have been reading the Free Grace Broadcaster series that I can get for free on iBooks, I am reading through the Crossway printing of John Owen’s three books on Overcoming Sin and Temptation in the Believer (mortification of sin by the Christian, by the Spirit), and I just bought a Puritan Hard rive from Still Waters Revival Books. OK then, here comes the enemy again trying to tell me that ALL these people I’m reading are unregenerate heretics. It is laughable because it is so transparent. It is the work of the enemy against the work of the Holy Spirit. I fear for Marc Carpenter, in his misguided zeal he has become a Pharisee, he is doing the work here on earth that Satan does in Heaven as “the accuser of the brethren”. I have seen too many zealous people get caught up in their cause to the exclusion of the Lord and His work.
    How can someone consider it a ministry to dig into people’s writings and lives and label as many as possible as unregenerate. It is really absurd. We have the Holy Spirit to witness to us in our spirit truth and error. I wonder is Marc thinks that Peter was unregenerate because he withdrew and only ate with Jews, not gentiles, when the Jews from Jerusalem came and Paul had to rebuke him.

    • David Bishop says:

      Hello, Julien. Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, my article here should not be taken to mean that I am in agreement with everything Carpenter teaches, believes or has written. My point was not to say that I agree with everything Carpenter has written, but rather that in this particular case Dr. White failed to address Carpenter’s argument which I do in this particular case agree with. Like I said though, I don’t agree with everything he writes. In fact, I think you will appreciate another article I wrote concerning Mr. Carpenter. You can find it here: https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-carpenter-emails/

      • Julien says:

        Thank you and I will take a look. Frankly, I was rather shocked that anyone would take it upon them self to pronounce another professor of Christ as unregenerate. I tread lightly there. Sure there are some who are very apparent but to pass total judgment on so many people and groups was quite shocking to me. I would not presume to judge another mans servant… just when I think I have seen it all. However, every time I grow in Christ I draw an attack from the enemy on my faith and on the instrument of my growth, it has become a pattern. The Holy Spirit does not do this, not in my experience. Rather, He gives me a ‘check’ in the spirit, Something inside say’s “woah.. wait a minute, back up”. If this makes sense, I hope it does.
        Actually I would up here this morning because I just discovered all this heresy hunting and judging so many to be unregenerate last night and I needed to talk about it. Thank you for the forum. I’ll read and try to understand.

      • David Bishop says:

        That I may not seem to be too severe upon Aspasio, I will keep him in countenance, by taking notice of a rebuke that was once given to one of the chief apostles, for an instance of behavior, which he was drawn into through the fear of giving offence, but which favored strongly of Aspasio’s doctrine, Gal. ii.

        The rebuke which his fellow apostle gave him, was, I think, to this effect; “You are indeed one of the peculiar people, highly distinguished on account of many qualifications and advantages from mere Pagans and idolaters. But you have been taught by revelation to know, that all these qualifications and advantages are good for nothing in point of acceptance with God; and that, in this respect, you are perfectly on a level with the vilest alien, who has nothing else to make him clean, nothing else to bring him nigh to God, but the bare report he has heard concerning Christ crucified. In consequence of your knowing this, you have, till now, regulated your practice accordingly; consorting and eating, in a friendly manner, with the believing Pagans on all occasions; as knowing them to be, in all respects, as clean and nigh unto God as yourself, or any of your qualified brethren. Why, then, have you now suffered yourself to be so far overawed, by the presence of some of your qualified friends, as practically to dissemble your avowed principles by your withdrawing, on this occasion, from the company of the believing Pagans? Thus your conduct is far from being right according to the truth of the gospel, and has moreover the worst of tendencies. You hereby administer fuel to the religious pride of your qualified brethren. You give these persons to know that they have some better right to eternal life than others who are not qualified. You hereby tempt the Pagans, who have nothing else to recommend them to God but what they believe Christ has done, and who have hitherto, and that upon good ground, considered this as enough, to call in question their faith and suspect that nothing more, beside what they have already believed, is necessary. In short, you compel them to seek after your qualifications, in order to complete and make sure their right and title to the favor of God. You compel them, in effect, to deny the truth of the gospel.”

        – Robert Sandeman, Letters to Theron and Aspasio: Addressed to the Author, pgs 42-43

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