To Mr. Evans:
I listened to most of your series of lectures on Gnosticism that you gave from 6/21/02-6/23/02 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Rio Rico, AZ. I would like to comment on some of the things you said.
"Paganism is the rival religion and the rival faith of the unsaved and the unregenerate."
Agreed. And you went on to mention the many heresies that have come from paganism, including the Charismatic movement, the New Age movement, the Neo-Orthodox movement, liberalism, the Word of Faith movement, New Evangelicalism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Rosicrucianism, Doceticism, Arianism, Christian Science, Children of God, Moonies, Marcionism, etc.
"I am convinced that Arminianism, Pelagianism, and all these man-centered religions are basically occultic. It is nothing but the Human Potential movement - man making himself large, declaring himself to be God, liberated from anyone who is supreme outside of ourselves. And the only one that they will bow to is the state, because it is a greater number of collection of individual men who are also voicing their demonstration and their opposition to the living God."
So far so good. You say that Arminianism is among the man-centered religions that are occultic. You say that it is a different religion than true Christianity.
"We now find that there is a revival of paganism because it's been unchallenged for the last several hundred years mainly because of the fact that the Enlightenment brought with it all of the revival of the Human Potential movement, of which Semi-Pelagianism, Pelagianism, Arminianism, and all the other systems have basically come on the scene. And I'm convinced that no matter what a person calls himself, if a person is truly saved, at some point they have to be delivered from these systems."
This is where I first started having questions. The first part of this quote is good. Arminianism is one system that has come from paganism. But then you said, "if a person is truly saved, at some point they have to be delivered from these systems." This made me wonder if you were saying that a truly saved person could actually believe Semi-Pelagianism, Pelagianism, or Arminianism for a period of time before being "delivered" from them. It certainly raised a red flag.
"In fact, many of these features that we're talking about is becoming today the expression of the Charismatic movement. I believe that movement is one of the most diabolical movements on the face of the earth. I spent a number of my years as an early Christian in the Charismatic movement, and I absolutely oppose it with vehement force. The greatest deception of our time. It's the vehicle by which all the world religious systems and all the philosophies, including liberalism, neo-liberalism, neo-orthodox, and also the New Evangelical movement are coming together through the vehicle of the Charismatic movement in order to bring an end of true orthodoxy. They're embracing everything."
Here is where I began to see that what you really were saying is that, although all these movements and heresies are anti-Christian, a truly saved person could actually be a part of these movements and heresies! You said that you were in the Charismatic movement as an "early Christian." In another place, you said that you were babbling along with the rest of the Charismatics who were "speaking in tongues." Yet you also say that Charismatic movement is anti-Christian! You said that "It's the vehicle by which all the world religious systems and all the philosophies, including liberalism, neo-liberalism, neo-orthodox, and also the New Evangelical movement are coming together." Here I began to see that you were talking out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand, you were saying that all these heresies and movements originated in paganism and had nothing to do with true Christianity, and on the other hand, you were saying that you were actually part of some of these heresies for a time after you were regenerated.
"And he reached down and he touched me and he saved me, opened up my heart. And then it was a journey. And boy, did he take me through some journeys. He took me through the Charismatic movement. He took me through Arminianism. He took me through all the crazy little things that you could possibly be taken through. ... But the interesting part about it is that he was delivering me from them at the same time. He delivered me out of the Charismatic movement. He delivered me out of Arminianism. ... And I'm convinced that's the journey that every true believer has is that they're coming out of error and they're coming into the truth. And if that's not your experience, then there's something very seriously wrong."
Here's the clincher. What you said here (and in the previous quote) completely annihilates everything you said about the heresies and movements up to this point. You actually believe that a regenerate person can believe these damnable things for a period of time while "being delivered from them." You believe that a regenerate person can believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. You believe that while you were regenerate, you were in the Charismatic movement and in Arminianism. You do not believe that you were an unregenerate idolater when you believed these heresies. This shows that you have not truly repented of dead works and former idolatry.
Just think about a person who would say the following:
"After God regenerated me, he took me through Arianism. I didn't believe in the deity of Christ for a while after I was saved, because I was a Jehovah's Witness, but then God delivered me out of this pagan system. And then God took me through Marcionism and the Neo-Orthodox Movement and New Evangelicalism and liberalism, and he delivered me out of those systems."
What would this say about such a person who says that he believed in Arianism, Marcionism, Neo-Orthodoxy, New Evangelicalism, and liberalism for a time after God saved him? It would say that he still has not come to faith in Christ. He does not know what it means to be a true Christian.
Arminians believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner. They do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. This is just as much a false religion as Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. You even say as much by saying that Arminianism is essentially pagan and occultic. Yet you believe you were an Arminian for a time after you were regenerated. So what about those who say they believed in Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism for a time after they were regenerated? That's no different than what you said. This shows me that you are a double-minded, two-face, forked-tongued hypocrite. You speak so boldly against the heretical movements and the cults; yet you say that a regenerate person can hold to these damnable heresies. You are still dead in your sins.
"The love of God is so horrifying to me. It's horrific. ... It's the one doctrine I have to truly accept by faith. The doctrine of the Trinity is reasonable to me because it's Scriptural. It's very reasonable. It makes sense. But it does not make sense that God would kill his Son to save me. That does not make sense to me. I have a real problem with this."
Here, you're saying that when something doesn't make sense, if it is not reasonable, you just "accept it by faith," and when something does make sense, you don't truly accept it by faith. This is the very anti-intellectualism and mysticism that you claim to repudiate. Faith is not opposed to reason. Faith is not opposed to making sense. Also, a regenerate person does not have a problem with the doctrine of the love of God. It makes complete sense to him, because it is part of the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. The gospel shows how God is just to justify the ungodly. It shows how God can love a sinner. It makes total sense to a Christian. And it is something he believes by faith.
"One of the things I mentioned last night about C.S. Lewis -- it's very disturbing to me about C.S. Lewis because how anyone could think that he was a believer in any sense of the word is just absolutely besides me. The fact is that he rejected all forms of the atonement. He did not believe the atonement was necessary and it didn't matter if you believed in it or not. How is a person saved if you don't believe in the atonement? ... People go far beyond the realm of what Scriptures say about who's saved and who's not saved. How can somebody be saved if he doesn't trust the Word of God? How can someone be saved if he doesn't trust the Son of God? How can someone be saved if he doesn't believe in the work of God?"
This is just plain hypocritical in light of your previous comments. Arminians do not believe in the atonement. They do not believe in the work of God. You're saying that C.S. Lewis was unregenerate because of this, yet you had also said that you were a regenerate person when you were in Arminianism. This is applying a different standard to yourself than to C.S. Lewis. You should ask the same questions of yourself when you say that you were a regenerate person when you were in Arminianism: How were you saved if you didn't believe in the atonement? How were you saved if you didn't believe in the work of God?
I am enclosing a copy of a newsletter that contains an article entitled "Gospel Atonement." I urge you to read it all the way through. It shows without a shadow of a doubt that universal atonement advocates (including all Arminians) do not believe in an atonement at all. And it shows that those who consider universal atonement advocates to be saved (or believe that they were regenerate while they believed in universal atonement) do not know what the true gospel is.
The truth is that when God regenerates someone, He causes that person to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone. That person will never believe any false gospel, including the false gospel of universal atonement. Belief of essential gospel doctrine is not a prerequisite or condition of regeneration; it is the immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration.
I hope and pray that you will seriously consider what I have said here and not just pass it off as the words of some wacko extremist. If you have access to the Web, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and our web site is at www.outsidethecamp.org . I welcome your reply.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
"Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them." (Proverbs 28:4)
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