Hello (you didn't give me your name, so I
can't address you by your name),
Thanks for your e-mail.
> I disagree with the main premise of your outside the camp website, but I
> write you in a spirit of curiosity and reason. Please do not flame me in
> reply (if you choose to reply at all).
I don't know what your definition of "flaming" is, but I'm a reasonable man, and if you are really writing in a spirit of reason (i.e., logic), then we'll be fine.
> You struggle to find a name for your position within christianity, having
> cast off the calvinist modifier.
No, we do not struggle to find a name for our position within Christianity. We are Christians. Our position is Christianity.
> May I suggest 'Gnostic'?
> From xrefer.com: "The Gnostics' defining characteristic was
> their belief in
> gnosis (Greek: knowledge)--a special and secret revelation from God to
> initiates, which would ensure their salvation."
I am familiar with gnosticism. Your reply reflects your ignorance of gnosticism and, more importantly, your ignorance of the gospel. I hope our correspondence will shed light on your ignorance of the gospel and perhaps be used by God to bring you to Himself.
> You cite proof texts regarding belief in the gospel, yet suggest that
> salvational belief encompasses not just the good news preached
> that Jesus is
> Lord, but also a supernatural clarity regarding doctrines of election and
> atonement bestowed at the moment of salvation.
I'm not sure what article you're talking about, but I recommend that you read the series of sermons on the gospel at www.outsidethecamp.org/sermons.htm . You say, "not just the good news preached that Jesus is Lord." So this is your definition of the gospel: Jesus is Lord. So, based on this definition:
(1) Who or what is a Jesus?
(2) Who or what is a Lord?
> You add a knowledge requirement to John 3:16, Romans 10:13 et al
> and try to
> get away with it by calling it an evidentiary fruit, but the end
> result is
> the same- whether requirement or qualifier, it is still an addition.
A "knowledge requirement," eh? Okay. So please show me how someone can believe John 3:16 or Romans 10:13 without knowledge.
> If the rightness of election and atonement doctrine is not mentally
> discerned through study and reflection, then this sudden clarity
> you require
> must result from some type of mystical information transferrence.
What you're not getting is the GOSPEL. The gospel is God's promise to save his people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. When God regenerates someone, he causes that person to believe the gospel. The atonement is at the very heart of the gospel. If someone does not believe the atonement, that person does not believe the gospel. In your "Jesus is Lord" definition of the gospel, does it include the atonement? The gospel is the good news of the PERSON of Christ and the WORK of Christ. If someone has the PERSON of Christ wrong, he's not regenerate. If someone has the WORK of Christ wrong, he's not regenerate. Pretty simple stuff, isn't it?
> What else
> could it be other than information transferrence, if by your
> lights a simple
> minded person who just got saved suddenly has the ability to correctly
> handle a question and answer test on subject matter wholly alien to them.
A newly regenerate person may not be able to articulate his belief. But we know from Scripture that he will never confess a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Thus, he will never confess belief in universal atonement. Universal atonement is the very antithesis of the gospel.
> In plain terms, you argue that God mystically bestows secret
> knowledge upon
> true believers above and beyond the gospel news preached,
> separate from and
> superior to the confidence and quality of knowledge attained via normal
Hmmmmm ... let's go through this one point by point.
"mystically": God's gift of knowledge to His people at regeneration comes through the Holy Spirit, not mystically.
"secret knowledge": On the contrary, this knowledge is not at all secret.
"above and beyond the gospel news preached": No, not above and beyond the gospel news preached. God bestows a knowledge of the gospel to His people upon regeneration. There are many doctrines that make up the gospel.
"separate from and superior to the confidence and quality of knowledge attained via normal channels." That's a good one. What do you consider to be "normal channels"? The preaching of the gospel is the "normal channel" by which God shows His truth to His people. The gospel is preached, and His people believe. Pretty simple, eh?
> You are a Gnostic- placing your faith in 'secret knowledge'
> divinely bestowed on an extremely select few (that seems to be
> getting fewer
> and fewer by the day as you reject more and more folks as unregenerate).
I do not place my faith in secret knowledge.
I place my faith in Christ. But what exactly is faith in Christ? Isn't there
some (gasp!) KNOWLEDGE involved when someone places his faith in Christ?
> Your proof texts regarding belief speak of belief indeed- but
> belief in the
> good news preached and heard, not belief in a gnostic process that has no
> scriptural backing. You expand the term 'belief' far beyond its limits
> without scriptural validity (regardless of how many proof texts
> you cite).
> I see no justification for your self styled expansion of what 'belief'
> entails or results in.
Okay, let me give you something to chew on:
God says that those who do not believe the gospel are unregenerate (Mark 16:16). God says that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God (Romans 1:17). God says that those who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are unregenerate (Romans 10:3). God says that the righteousness of God is manifested in salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, without the deeds of the law, showing God to be both just and justifier (Romans 3:21-26). Are you getting the logic here? Let me put it in very simple, logical terms:
God says that the gospel reveals A.
God says that those who are ignorant of A are unregenerate.
God says that A is made up of B,C, and D.
Thus, all who are regenerate believe B,C, and D.
A is the righteousness of God. B,C, and D are the specific doctrines that make up the righteousness of God.
And what of the universal atonement advocates? Do they believe the gospel? They do not believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; instead, they believe that it is the work of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They do not believe the gospel. They are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel. They are unregenerate. And all those who think that these people are regenerate are unregenerate themselves, because they either do not believe that the work of Christ is an essential part of the gospel or they do not believe that every regenerate person believes the gospel.
Here's the truth: When the Holy Spirit quickens someone, that person is given SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE. The Scripture bears out the fact that there is some ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE that every true believer knows and believes. And when he believes, he is NO LONGER a believer in salvation conditioned on the sinner. In fact, when he believes the TRUE gospel, he REPENTS of his former belief and counts it but LOSS and DUNG for the excellency of the KNOWLEDGE of Christ Jesus his Lord (Phil. 3:8).
"And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (Jn. 17:3). What KNOWLEDGE is involved in KNOWING God and Christ, which is eternal life?
"And ye shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). What is the TRUTH that God's people KNOW that sets them free?
"And we KNOW that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an UNDERSTANDING, that we may KNOW him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). What is that UNDERSTANDING that the Son of God has given His people so that they may KNOW him that is true?
"... they have no KNOWLEDGE that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray to a god that cannot save" (Is. 45:20b). What is this KNOWLEDGE that these idolaters are missing?
"For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to KNOWLEDGE" (Rm. 10:2). What is this KNOWLEDGE that these lost religionists are missing?
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. ... For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:3-6). What is this LIGHT that the lost people BLINDED to? What is the light of the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ that has shined in believer's hearts?
"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of DOCTRINE which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). What is that DOCTRINE that believers believed when they were made free from sin?
I hope to hear some reasonable answers.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
> You ask me what is a "Jesus"
and what is a "Lord". Jesus is God's only
> begotten son, risen from the dead and Lord of all- the way, the truth and
> the life.
Uh-oh. Looks like some DOCTRINE in there. Sounds like you're requiring some KNOWLEDGE -- that Jesus is God's only begotten son, that Jesus rose from the dead, and that Jesus is Lord of all. Perhaps you believe that those who do not believe that Jesus is God's only begotten son, that Jesus did not rise from the dead, and that Jesus is not lord of all are UNREGENERATE! Wow!
What does "only begotten son" mean? What about people who are ignorant of the fact that Jesus is the "only begotten son"?
What does "rose from the dead" mean? What about people who are ignorant of the fact that Jesus "rose from the dead"?
And what does "Lord of all" mean? What about people who are ignorant of the fact that Jesus is "Lord of all"?
> For the definition of "Lord" I suggest a Webster's
> That was easy enough....
Not so easy ... I wasn't asking what the dictionary says "Lord" is; I'm asking YOU what "Lord" is.
And hey, wait a minute -- in your definition of the gospel ("Jesus is Lord"), there was absolutely no mention that Jesus was sinless or that Jesus died on the cross! Does that mean you believe that there are some regenerate people who are ignorant of the fact that Jesus was sinless or that Jesus died on the cross?
> In reference to the good news, the new testament speaks of
> believing on the
> name. It speaks of repenting and seeking forgiveness of sins.
> It speaks of
> believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth that Jesus Christ is
> Lord and Savior and has risen from the dead. As far as the good
> news goes,
> that's it. That's the good news according to the new testament.
But what does it mean to "believe on the name"? Do you judge everyone to be saved who says "I believe on the name"?
What does it mean to "repent"? Do you judge everyone to be saved who says, "I repent"?
What does it mean to "seek forgiveness of sins"? Do you judge everyone to be saved who says, "I seek forgiveness of sins"?
What does it mean to "believe in the heart and confess with the mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and has risen from the dead"? Do you judge everyone to be saved who says, "I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and has risen from the dead"?
You mentioned the word "Savior." Does every regenerate person believe that Jesus is "Savior"? If so, what does "Savior" mean? I submit to you that there is not a single person who believes in universal atonement who believes that Jesus is Savior.
> Would you have Peter and Paul preaching falsely? If not, how do
> you explain
> their seeming omission of what you require in the passages below
> (along with
> every other gospel passage)?
Do you think that's all the doctrine they preached? Do you think they didn't define what they meant be repentance and Jesus Christ and forgiveness?
To God alone be the glory,