A.A. Hodge said:
"Here, as everywhere else, there is essential truth on both sides of every controversy, and the real truth is the whole truth, its entire catholic body. Arminianism in the abstract as an historical scheme is a heresy, holding half the truth. Calvinism is an historical scheme which in its best representatives comprehends the whole truth with considerable completeness. But the case is essentially different when we come to consider the great co-existing bodies of Christian people calling themselves respectively Calvinists and Arminians. Each of these parties holds all essential truth, and therefore they hold actually very much the same truth. The Arminians think and speak very much like Calvinists when they come to talk with God in either the confession of sin or the supplication for grace. They both alike in that attitude recognize the sovereignty of God and the guilt and helplessness of men. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? What room is there for anything other than essential Calvinism on one's knees? On the other hand, the Calvinist thinks and speaks like the better class of Arminians when he addresses the consciences of men, and pleads with them, as free, responsible agents, to repent and believe in Christ. The difference between the best of either class is one of emphasis rather than of essential principle. Each is the complement of the other. Each is necessary to restrain, correct, and supply the one-sided strain of the other. They together give origin to the blended strain from which issues the perfect music which utters the perfect truth."
After reading what A.A. Hodge said, John Pedersen said:
"I do not believe that the statement of A.A. Hodge conforms to the biblical confession of the gospel. It is a statement of false doctrine. In the light of the life-or-death issue it addresses, it is certainly something which calls for rebuke and repentance. Hodge, in making it, was promoting Satan's lie. Is it necessary for me at this point to say that he was unregenerate at the time he made the statement? I have heard Marc to say yes. I would rather say that I believe that Hodge said something that was un-Christian. He spoke as an unbeliever would speak.
I am not familiar enough with the writings of A.A. Hodge to say whether this kind of thing was characteristic of his writing. If it was, he indicts himself by his own words as a false teacher, a false brother. I have heard that he never repented of this statement (or others like them) in any public way-- I do not have all the facts, and I desire to refrain from expressing myself in situations where I can not say what I say with a clear conscience and conviction before God. I hold from a definitive pronouncement that Hodge was unregenerate."
And later, John Pedersen said:
"My response to the AA.Hodge issue is now in order. On the biblical principle that it is possible for a regenerate person to speak or otherwise act contrary to the gospel (thus sinning, and requiring repentance), I can not, in good concience, declare with absolute certainty that AA Hodge was unregenerate when he made the statement about Arminianism and Calvinism both being needed to hold one another in check. I can say that such a statement calls for admonition, and may (have) invited the proper conclusion that he was (is) an unregenerate agent of Satan. I can even say that that is the kind of statement an unregenerate agent of Satan could or would make. But I can not proclaim that I absolutely know this to be the case about AA Hodge on the basis of that single statement, and at the time he made it."
John Robbins said:
"Second, can an Arminian get the doctrine of justification straight? Yes, considered all by itself, he can. He can understand the resurrection, imputation, substitution, the alien righteousness of Christ, and believe them. Many Arminians do not, but it is theoretically possible for one to do so. One must keep in mind the distinction between a system and a person. In one of the quotes you provided, Clark pointed out that people are sometimes wonderfully confused, and they are saved in spite of that confusion."
and John Robbins also said:
"No, all those individuals who believe in universal atonement are not necessarily unregenerate. To assert that they are necessarily unregenerate implies that one can believe all the rest of Christian theology and still go to Hell. The doctrine of the extent of the atonement does not occupy the central position that justification by faith alone does."
After reading what John Robbins said, and after I had judged John Robbins to be lost based on these statements, John Pedersen said:
"I do not stand with you in your accusations toward John Robbins. You convey an imperious attitude. I would distinguish between this attitude and an attitude which does not tolerate or compromise with sin, but seeks (through patient, gentle instruction) repentance of those who may be in error. To seek repentance through adminition and instruction is not to begin by driving to the conclusion that the person you are dealing with is an unregenerate agent of Satan before great care is taken to clarify and make proper distinctions. Also, there is a difference between withholding positive endorsement (while clarification is sought) and declaring a negative conclusion, absent any indication of the biblical process which (properly) preceeds this conclusion."
Pedersen, in an article in the "Encounter With Christ" magazine, said:
"Many "Calvinists" defend Arminianism as a legitimate expression of Biblical Christianity, "rough edges" notwithstanding. By doing so, such "Calvinists," by their toleration of Arminian doctrine, implicitly endorse and believe it. The sober truth is this: whatever people may call themselves, if they tolerate and endorse the teaching of Arminianism, they lend support to the satanic lie of human sovereignty. When such persons are aware of this grave sin, they need to repent and forsake it. I pray that such repentance will ensue, and that I will continually repent of this sin."
John Pedersen also finally concluded:
"Of course, you know very well that I believe it is possible for regenerate persons to be guilty of the act of confessing a false gospel, and to require repentance for this act."
And speaking of Pedersen's congregation, one of the leaders of the congregation recently told me the following:
"I do believe that it is possible for a regenerate person to confess a false gospel of universal atonement. But, a regenerate person cannot continue in a false confession when that false confession is exposed by the truth. The distinction that you make about sins that Christians can and cannot commit (if they are regenerate), is a false confession. At its root is a denial of the cross.
"I will tell you that the Christian's nature is still as totally depraved as ever."
"All men are born into sin and therefore have a sinful nature. No goodness can come from our nature; the only thing that can come from our nature is sin (self-righteousness). Even at the point of our regeneration, all that can come from our nature is sin, because our nature in this life doesn't change."
"With the false gospel, sin is not as sinful when one is no longer totally depraved any longer. The only way that one can say, or assume that he is not totally depraved any longer is if he fundamentally believes that upon Christian regeneration, his nature is changed."
"Marc, your language is no different in its quality from that of the Pharisee. If you continue making the distinction between what sins Christians can and can't commit, then you are not assuming that you are still totally depraved."
"Only if you have a changed nature, can you make distinctions between sins that regenerated people can commit and sins that non-regenerated can commit."
"When one's nature has been changed, according to the false gospel, then one's heart sincerely desires to do good works"
"There is a difference between regenerate and unregenerate people, and that difference is that God's people repent for their sin against presuming on the grace of God, in testimony of the Spirit's power; whereas unregenerate people don't repent, in keeping with the love that they only have for themselves."
"Yes, I have the old nature and my old nature is always in the service of the creature..it can only believe the lie. The old nature always believes a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner."
In response to my question, "Are you a slave to righteousness?", he answered:
"By God's grace I am. But, if I hold on to sin, I can have no such assurance."
In response to my question, "Do you need to constantly repent of believing a false gospel?", he answered:
"God's people are constantly repenting of the lie (self-righteousness). Absent a pattern of repentance, one can be given no assurance that they are a Christian."
In response to my question, "Do you need to constantly repent of confessing a false gospel?", he answered:
"Yes, and to say 'No' is a false confession."
In response to my question, "Are there things that are repented of at conversion and are never repented of again?", he answered:
"This question is particularly troublesome. There is no power exhibited in it. It is carnal."
These are direct quotes. And they parallel quotes that John Pedersen has made, such as:
"Your view diminishes the biblical doctrine of the total depravity of man. It implies that the sinful nature of the believer is infused with righteousness and is not as depraved as it was when we were lost. This is wrong. My sinful nature is no less sinful now than it was when I was a slave to it."
"While a regenerate person will invariably sin in this life (I John 1:8;2:1), he is never given assurance in his sin that he is regenerate and further, if he is regenerate, he will not continue in sin (I John 3:6) but will demonstrate a pattern of repentance and turning from sin. Moreover, he can not be regarded as a brother so long as he continues in un-repentant sin. He will walk in the light, as He is in the light (I John 1). Sin can never be tolerated in the life of the believer. A person who persists in un-repentant sin in doctrine or life can not be positively endorsed as a brother. He can be admonished and disciplined, however. For an unbeliever, sin is a way of life, the course of his life. For the Christian, sin is an aberration, something which must be identified and forsaken daily."
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