My comments are interspersed among yours.
> Dear Sirs,
> I've read a little of your site and I agree that Arminians
> are not Christians. However, I have to say that to call those
> who hold the truth about the grace and sovereignty of God in
> all things but who hold that it may be POSSIBLE for an
> Arminian to be one of God's people, should not disqualify
> them from being considered part of the family of God.
If by "God's people" you mean "elect," then even I hold that it is possible for an Arminian to be one of God's people.
But that can't be what you mean, since you've read that we consider those who hold that it is possible for an Arminian to be a REGENERATE person to be unregenerate themselves. Thus, by "God's people," you must mean "regenerate."
Let us logically consider those who claim to believe in the efficacious atonement of Christ, who would say they agree that Christ only died for those who will be saved, yet who also believe that at least some universal atonement advocates are saved. This includes the "Calvinists" or "Sovereign Gracers" who believe that at least some Arminians are regenerate.
For the purpose of this consideration, let us call the "Calvinist" who considers at least some Arminians to be his brothers and sisters in Christ "TC" (for "Tolerant Calvinist").
Let us assume that TC believes that all regenerate people believe the gospel. There are certainly some TC's who do not believe this (such as the Primitive Baptists who believe that a regenerate person can go for a period of time being completely ignorant of the gospel and even believing a false gospel and worshiping a false god before they are "converted"), showing that they are unregenerate (see the review "The Irrelevant Gospel" in the May 2001 issue of Outside the Camp). But what of TC who believes that all saved people believe the gospel?
Consider: (1) TC believes that some who believe universal atonement are saved. (2) TC believes that all saved people believe the gospel. Thus, (3) TC believes that some who believe universal atonement believe the gospel.
What does this show about TC's belief about the gospel? Since TC believes a person can believe the gospel and believe universal atonement at the same time, then he must believe that the gospel does not include the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ. TC has just denied the very heart of the gospel.
If that were not clear enough, let us go further. Suppose now that TC would agree with us that universal atonement means that Christ's death did not actually accomplish pardon, redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation. This is not an unreasonable supposition; many, if not most, TC's would agree that this is what universal atonement means (just read Gordon Clark's The Atonement). In fact, some TC's would even go so far as to say that universal atonement is a false gospel, yet they say in the same breath that some who hold to universal atonement are regenerate (just talk to the pastors in the Protestant Reformed Churches).
Now consider: (1) TC believes that some who believe universal atonement believe the gospel. (2) TC believes that universal atonement means that Christ's death did not actually accomplish pardon, redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation. Thus, (3) TC believes that some who believe that Christ's death did not actually accomplish pardon, redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation believe the gospel.
What does this now say about what TC thinks about the gospel? TC believes that the gospel is made up of certain doctrines. TC also believes that some who believe that Christ's death did not actually accomplish pardon, redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation believe the gospel. Thus, TC does NOT believe that the gospel includes the doctrine that Christ's death actually accomplished pardon, redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation. TC does NOT believe that the gospel includes the doctrine that Christ's blood actually atoned. TC denies that The Atonement is part of the gospel. And in doing so, TC denies the very gospel itself. TC shows that he has no idea what the gospel is. He shows that he is just as unregenerate as the universal atonement advocate is.
Finally, consider the following logic: (1) All who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner are unregenerate. (2) Universal atonement is a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Thus, (3) all who believe universal atonement are unregenerate. TC and every person who would consider at least some universal atonement advocates to be regenerate MUST disagree with #3. And the only way people can disagree with #3 is if they disagree with at least one of the first two statements. Consider those who disagree with #1. These are people who believe that at least some who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner are regenerate. Can a true Christian disagree with #1? Of course not. Consider those who disagree with #2. These are people who believe that universal atonement is not a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Can a true Christian disagree with #2? Of course not. Thus, all who disagree with #3 (all who consider at least some universal atonement advocates to be saved) are unregenerate.
It is no wonder that God says that anyone who speaks peace to a person who brings a false gospel is unregenerate (2 John 11). Those who say that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception deny that the death of Christ actually pardoned, redeemed, propitiated, and reconciled. They deny that Christ's blood actually atoned. They deny that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They deny the very heart of the gospel. They boast and glory in themselves. They are God-haters. And those who speak peace to these God-haters, who call them brothers and sisters in Christ, who say that the universal atonement advocates believe the same gospel they do, show that they, too, deny the true gospel. They deny that the atoning, pardoning, redeeming, propitiating, reconciling blood of Christ is an essential part of the gospel. They, too, do not believe the gospel. They, too, are boasters who glory in the sinner. They, too, are God-haters.
> I was in the Arminian church for several years before God
> slowly and gradually lead me out. If you accept
> predestination as occurring from eternity past, I was always
> God's child though I was not yet realized. That can be/is the
> case with many. I don't believe at that time that I was FULLY
> regenerate, but even then I was given a passion for study
> which in turn delivered me and that was not of myself but of
Do you believe in some sort of PARTIAL regeneration? One is either regenerate or unregenerate. There is no in-between.
> Arminianism is the predominant religion of America and
> from their ranks God's people will be drawn. Because of the
> eternal decree, they (these converting Arminians) were ALWAYS
> God's, yet not realized/regenerate.
What is this "converting" thing? They are either converted or they are not. There is no in-between.
> Their steps are no less
> guided than that of Ruth or Rehab; God was ALWAYS with them
> leading them throughout their lives on to ever greater truth
> (it took 5 years for me from the first hearing of the elect).
It is certainly true that God providentially leads His elect throughout their lives, even when they are unregenerate. He leads them to the place where they will hear the true gospel and will be saved. But this is a far cry from God partially regenerating them and partially converting them with some sort of gradual regeneration/conversion that happens over time.
> These men you condemn (in the harshest terms) are the types
> who will gently lead them out of error.
What?? Do you know what you're talking about?? You think that speaking peace to them, saying things are okay with their soul, is "gently leading them out of error"?? These are the false prophets who say, "You're my brother in Christ, but you're just inconsistent. You're in a little bit of error. You're not seeing the whole picture. Come on over to the Calvinist side of things." And when they come on over to the Calvinist side of things, is there true gospel repentance in which the former Arminian considers his former religion as loss and dung? Does that former Arminian believe that he was an unregenerate idolater when he is "gently led" out of error by these wolves? Of course not! These wolves say that the Arminian just "came into" the doctrines of grace without any change of heart, without any regeneration, without any conversion, without any repentance. This is soul-damning.
At the bottom of this e-mail, I have posted a story about this very thing.
> Remember that in the last days there will be a deception so
> great and so close to the truth that it would ALMOST deceive
> the elect. I believe Arminianism to be that deception (though
> I realize I could be wrong)
You are most definitely wrong. Arminianism is NOT subtle AT ALL. Arminianism is a blatant form of the false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. It is NOT EVEN CLOSE to the truth.
> and if that is the case, it may
> well be that God doesn't want mass evangelizing of these
> people and therefore many reformed pastors consider them only
> erring brethren (it's a possibility (?)). These men you name
> are not deceived as to the essential truths of the Gospel and
> everyone (including you and I) carry some error.
These men ARE deceived as to the essential truth, the very heart of the gospel, which is the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ. They do not believe that it is part of the gospel.
Of course everyone carries some error. What a lame argument. I'll show you how lame it is. Suppose I say that all who know what Muslims believe and yet who consider at least some Muslims to be saved are unregenerate. This includes anyone who says he believes in the "doctrines of grace" yet who says that some Muslims are his brothers in Christ. Got it so far? Now suppose you come to me and say, "These men who speak peace to Muslims are regenerate -- after all, everyone (including you and I) carry some error." Is that stupid? How about this one: Suppose I say that all who deny the deity of Christ are lost. Now suppose you come to me and say, "How can you say that? Everyone (including you and I) carry some error." Is that just utter stupidity? Of course it is. And that's how stupid your argument is.
No believer is in error about the essentials of the gospel, which includes the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
> We ought to be very careful who we condemn. Lets take John
> Piper for instance; we may judge his association and
> practices (enough to make me separate from him and not
> endorse him), but only God should judge his salvation as he
> holds and teaches to essentials of the Gospel. You and I
> cannot tell, but God knows.
YOU cannot tell, but TRUE CHRISTIANS can tell when they see what John Piper says. John Piper is a blatant conditionalist. Look at Piper's conditionalism:
"When the Old Testament says that covenant-keeping is the condition for receiving God's lovingkindness, that's what it meant."
"All the covenants of God are conditional covenants of grace--both the old covenant and the new covenant. They offer all-sufficient future grace for those who keep the covenant."
"But what it does mean is that almost all future blessings of the Christian life are conditional on our covenant-keeping."
"Not everybody is saved from God's wrath just because Christ died for sinners. There is a condition we must meet in order to be saved. I want to try to show that the condition, summed up here as repentance and faith, is conversion and that conversion is nothing less than the creation of a Christian Hedonist."
"New birth is not conditional. No act of ours brings it about. It is supernatural. Final salvation from future judgment is conditional. It will not happen apart from our persevering faith."
"But if 'salvation' refers to our future deliverance from the wrath of God at the judgment and entrance into eternal life, then yes, conversion is a condition of salvation. When we cry, 'What must I do to be saved?' we are asking how to be forgiven for sin, and have fellowship with God and escape from the wrath to come. The answer is always, Meet the condition: Be converted!"
"Saving faith is no simple thing. It has many dimensions. 'Believe on the Lord Jesus' is a massive command. It contains a hundred other things. Unless we see this, the array of conditions for salvation in the New Testament will be utterly perplexing."
"Jesus himself answered the question in a variety of ways. For example, he said in Matthew 18:3 that childlikeness is the condition for salvation: 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never see the kingdom of heaven.' In Mark 8:34-35 the condition is self-denial: 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.' In Matthew 10:37 Jesus lays down the condition of loving him more than anyone else: 'He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.' The same thing is expressed in 1 Corinthians 16:22-'If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.' And in Luke 14:33 the condition for salvation is that we be free from the love of our possessions: 'Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.' These are just some of the conditions that the New Testament says we must meet in order to inherit final salvation. We must believe on Jesus and receive him and turn from our sin and obey him and humble ourselves like little children and love him more than we love our family, our possessions or our own life. This is what it means to be converted to Christ. This alone is the way of life everlasting."
"Unconditional election does not mean that our final salvation or condemnation is unconditional."
"There is a real condition that has to be met for justification - namely faith in Jesus Christ. And there are real conditions that have to be met for damnation, namely, hardness and unbelief. There is a real choice that we make which unites us with Christ so that we are clothed with his righteousness and have eternal life. And there is real choice that we make - in Adam and in ourselves - which is resistant to the truth and deserving of condemnation."
"For example, the biblical concept of unmerited, conditional grace is nearly unintelligible to many contemporary Christians who assume that unconditionality is the essence of all grace. To be sure, there is unconditional grace. And it is the glorious foundation of all else in the Christian life. But there is also conditional grace. For most people who breath the popular air of grace and compassion today, conditional grace sounds like an oxymoron--like heavy feathers. So, for example, when people hear the promise of James 4:6, that God 'gives grace to the humble,' many have a hard time thinking about a grace that is conditional upon humility.
Or, if they hear the precious promise that 'all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28, KJV), they scarcely allow themselves to ponder that this promise of grace is conditional upon our being called and our loving God."
"How do faith and love relate as prerequisites for final salvation? This book is a response to questions like these."
"But there are cherished parts of our salvation that are conditional. The condition of justification is faith. 'A man is justified by faith apart form works of the Law' (Romans 3:28; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; 3:24). The condition of sanctification is also faith. 'God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by...faith in the truth' (2 Thessalonians 2:13). The condition of final glorification is persevering in this same faith and hope. '[God will] present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel' (Colossians 1:22-23)."
"Some great works of grace are unconditional and some are conditional.
Election and new birth are not conditional on any human act. God does them freely without reference to our works or our faith. Justification, sanctification and final glorification, however, are all conditional upon faith. These are still acts of great grace. But God has ordained to make this grace a response to faith, whereas the grace of election and new birth precede and produce faith."
"It should be plain from this, that fulfilling conditions does not imply earning anything or meriting anything. Grace is still free, even when it is conditional. There is such a thing as unmerited, conditional grace."
"Therefore the two conditions of Romans 8:28 are simply clarifications of what it really means to trust God for this great promise of future grace. Trusting him for this promise is not merely believing that he will work for your good. You can believe that and be wrong. It means looking through the promise to the one who promises, and by grace--that is, by his sovereign call--apprehending in him the spiritual worth and beauty that will go on satisfying your heart forever; and then embracing that beauty as your chief treasure above all that the world can give. This is the meaning of loving God, and this is the essence of faith in future grace. When you have this faith--when you fulfill this condition by God's gracious call--God works all things together for your good. The promise of future grace is conditional. But it is not earned. And it is not merited. It is believed, trusted, hoped in. And the essence of this belief and trust and hope is that we are satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus."
"We are not saying that final salvation is unconditional. It is not. We must meet the condition of faith in Christ in order to inherit eternal life."
I judge John Piper to be an unregenerate agent of Satan based on these quotes. He believes in salvation conditioned on the sinner.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
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