The following has been said on this list about what we believe:

"According to the Outside the Camp crowd, you can't be a Christian unless you believe all the right doctrine. ... It's a kind of works righteousness. If you don't do like they think you should, you can't be saved."

"Nothing quite like spirtual fascism. Salvation by correct knowledge...nothing like good doses of perfectionistic gnosticism too."

This is nothing but slander. This is not what we believe. If we believed that correct knowledge of doctrine is a prerequisite/condition of salvation, we would be just as lost as the Arminians. There are NO prerequisites or conditions of salvation. But when God saves someone, He causes that person to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone and to repent of ever believing in salvation conditioned on the sinner. I encourage people to read the following:

www.outsidethecamp.org/doctregen.htm

www.outsidethecamp.org/letters21.htm

www.outsidethecamp.org/letters44.htm

www.outsidethecamp.org/letters72(1).htm

www.outsidethecamp.org/letters72(2).htm

Also, the upcoming issue of Outside the Camp (January 2004, not yet mailed, not yet not yet online), is devoted to this very accusation. The Lord willing, I'll post the articles here.

Another person said:

"Obviously the people at 'Out of the Camp' have completely elieanated themselves from every other Christian, or should I say Christians. It is almost 'they are saved and nobody else' which unfortunately for them may mean they they are the ones who are not saved."

A very common accusation when one proclaims that all who do not believe the gospel are lost. However, contrary to this accusation, we know that there are true Christians all over the world, and we have been blessed to have come into contact with many of them.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


David asked:

> True Christians think exactly right, and that
> is right as you see it.


True Christians may be wrong about many things, such as eschatology or ecclesiology, but they are not wrong about the gospel. They are not wrong about the person and work of Christ. Or would you call someone who denies the deity of Christ a true Christian? After all, they're just "not thinking exactly right" about the person of Christ, right?

> Do
> you believe that John Wesley died outside the Faith and is
> eternally damned?


I don't know if Wesley died outside the Faith and is eternally damned. I don't know if God converted him on his deathbed. What I do know is that when he believed a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner, he was an unregenerate man. And if he continued to believe it until his dying breath, then he is in hell. But Christians do not judge people's eternal states; they do not know who among the unregenerate are elect or reprobate. What they do judge is someone's spiritual condition based on what the person confesses.

For an article regarding the issue of unregenerate vs. reprobate, see www.outsidethecamp.org/fte34.htm .

For an article regarding the issue of judging, see www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm .

For an article about John Wesley, see www.outsidethecamp.org/wesley.htm .

> By the way, your articles are some of the worst examples of so-called
> theology I have ever come across. Really awful.


It's easy to say things like that. Prove them wrong. I welcome you to try.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


David wrote:

> "Believe on the atonement (as Marc explains it) and you shall be saved." -
> now which verse is that???


Of course, there is no such verse as that. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and [to] all those in his house" (Acts 16:31-32). Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and spoke the Word of the Lord (the gospel) to him and his house. What does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? It means to believe in His person (God-man Mediator) and His work (establishing a righteousness that is imputed to His people and making atonement for the sins of His people). When Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to them, they spoke the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.

"And He said to them, Going into all the world, preach the gospel to all the creation. The [one] believing and being baptized will be saved. And the [one] not believing will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).
So those who do not believe the gospel are unregenerate. What is revealed in the gospel? What is this gospel that Paul and Silas preached?

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, 'But the just shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16-17).

What is this "righteousness of God" that is revealed in the gospel that Paul and Silas preached?

"But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ toward all and upon all those believing; for there is no difference, for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth [as] a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the passing over of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God, for a demonstration of His righteousness in the present time, for His being just and justifying the [one] that [is] of the faith of Jesus" (Romans 3:21-26).

This "righteousness of God" that is revealed in the gospel is how God is just to justify the ungodly based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

And what of those who are ignorant of this righteousness?

"For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes" (Romans 10:2-4).

Those who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are automatically going about to establish their own righteousness and are not submitted to the righteousness of God. They are unregenerate.

Shawn wrote:

> And I thought glorifying God and enjoying Him forever was the most
> important subject of all.


There is no glorifying God and enjoying Him forever without the Atonement.

There is no more important subject than Christ and Him crucified.

"For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and Him having been crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2).

"But may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ... And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace and mercy [be] on them and on the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:14-16).

There is no peace and mercy on those who do not walk by this rule -- this canon, this doctrine: my only boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever one believes makes the difference between salvation and damnation is what one boasts in. The true Christian believes that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Peace and mercy is on them. All other false religionists believe that it is the work or effort of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. This includes everyone who believes that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception. Peace and mercy is not on them.

If one does not believe that Jesus Christ's blood actually atoned, actually propitiated, actually redeemed, then that person does not believe in Jesus Christ crucified and does not boast in the cross of Christ alone. He is a boaster in self, and he remains dead in his sins. I pray that God will reveal this truth to those on this list whom God has predestined to give ears to hear and eyes to see.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


David wrote:

<<In fact you should be banned as a false teacher using the list to propogate your false views.>>

What is there to be afraid of if my views are so bizarre and so far out on the fringe? No one would ever believe such nonsense if it is so obviously false. I'd just be the brunt of all the jokes and the laughingstock of the list. No need to get all worked up about my posts if nobody believes what I say. Why don't you just pass them off as some mildly entertaining wacko, sorta like the town fool? Don't mind me ... I'm just telling you what the Bible says. : - )

Marc

"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to announce the gospel, not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made of no effect. For the Word of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, [it] is [the] power of God. For it has been written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the understanding ones. Where [is the] wise? Where [the] scribe? Where [the] lawyer of this world? Did God not make the wisdom of this world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world [by] wisdom did not know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save the ones believing. And since Jews ask for a sign, and Greeks seek wisdom, we, on the other hand, preach Christ crucified (truly an offense to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks), but to the called out ones, both to Jews and to Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God; because the foolish thing of God is wiser [than] men, and the weak thing of God is stronger [than] men. For you see your calling, brothers, that [there are] not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn. But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things. And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh might glory in His presence. But of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, both righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that even as it has been written, He that glories, let him glory in [the] Lord." (1Co 1:17-31)


Peter wrote:

<<Muslims affirm the virgin birth of Jesus Christ; that He is a prophet; and apply to Him the title _al-Masih_(Messiah). They even go so far as to say he is the one who will preside over the last judgment (see the website "Answeing Islam"). However, they deny that Jesus is God. They also deny that he died on the cross, holding that a phantom, or Judas, or someone else was crucified in His place.>>

But what of those who are brought up in Muslim households who are taught Muslim doctrine who are "just confused" about the deity of Christ and "just confused" about Christ's death on the cross? After all, David talks of those who just "don't understand" or "haven't been taught well." And he would say that true Christians can be wrong about the deity of Christ and about the work of Christ. So why not these who were ignorantly taught the doctrines of Islam? After all, they have *some* of the doctrines right -- like the virgin birth, like the fact that Christ is Messiah, like the fact that Christ will preside over the last judgment. Hey, why not give them a break just like David gives the Arminians a break? Or are you saying that there are some essential gospel doctrines that every Christian without exception believes, and if they do not believe these essential gospel doctrines, they are unregenerate? Why, that would be quite judgmental of you! You could even be called a (gasp!) "fringe element" or worse!

The difference between Islam and Christianity is not one of degree; it is one of kind. Islam is not a "lesser form" or "lesser degree" of the true gospel; it is a completely different gospel than the gospel of Christianity and is thus a false gospel. The same goes for Arminianism. The difference between Arminianism and Christianity is not one of degree; it is one of kind. Arminianism is not a "lesser form" or "lesser degree" of the true gospel; it is a completely different gospel than the gospel of Christianity and is thus a false gospel.

Marc


Charles wrote:

<<However, we are told in many places not to be judgemental at all about who is saved and who is not. Paul and others make that very clear. We are also told that God judges everyone based on their knowledge. Obviously, many Christians are not being taught properly. This was so in Paul's day and it is so in our day. In my humble opinion you are being very judgemental. ... I just think that when a Christian is as judgemental as you are, you are treading on thin ice.>>

Michael wrote:

<<Isn't it boasting to judge oneself capable of determining regenerate from unregenerate?>>

Please read the article entitled "Righteous Judgment" at www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm . Every Christian is commanded to judge. Even unregenerate self-righteous religionists judge. Do Charles and Michael judge anyone to be their brothers in Christ? If so, they have made a judgment. The key is this: on what basis do they make their judgments? Do they make their judgment based on outward appearance, morality, reputation, zeal? Or do they make their judgments based on the gospel?

Charles and Michael, do you judge all Muslims to be unregenerate? How about all atheists? All satanists? All Buddhists? If so, then "isn't it boasting to judge oneself capable of determining regenerate from unregenerate?" Aren't you being "judgmental"?

Michael wrote:

<<Question: Must one articulate his faith such as you have written above in order to be redeemed?>>

Regenerate people do not need to articulate their faith at all. I do not judge a person lost just because he is unable to articulate his faith; that would mean that I'd have to judge everyone who cannot communicate to be unregenerate. However, when one confesses belief in a false gospel, that is when I, and every true Christian, will judge that person to be unregenerate.

<<Or can he say one thing and do another?>>

A person who confesses belief in universal atonement believes in universal atonement. The lost Calvinists like to say things like, "he doesn't have it right in his head, but he has it right in his heart" and other such romantic mystical nonsense.

<<I know many people who say that they "accepted" Christ, or that they "made a decision" to follow Him, yet their lives clearly show that they are submitted to Him as Lord.>>

Their lives? What does that mean? There are plenty of Muslims who live very clean, moral lives. Would you judge any of them to be regenerate? All true Christians are moral. But not all who are moral are true Christians. When you encounter someone who is moral, you must then find out what doctrine he believes.



<<I myself would have told you once that my faith was the result of my own decision, the fruit of my own search for truth. However, in retrospect, it is clear that God was acting in my life to bring me to faith. Was I unredeemed until I could articulate this glorious truth?>>

You're implying that you're now regenerate. One who believes he was regenerate while he believed in salvation conditioned on the sinner remains unregenerate, even after his "change." It's a matter of repentance. Please see "Gospel Repentance" at www.outsidethecamp.org/gosprep.htm . A believer does not "grow" from believing a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner to believing the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone. When God saves a sinner, he causes that sinner to repent of his former religion, to realize that it was dung, to believe that he was lost when he was in that false religion. If he continues to believe that he was saved when in that former religion, he shows he has not truly repented and is yet dead in his sins.

Please see www.outsidethecamp.org/letters44.htm , especially the response to the letter in which a reader wrote,

"I became a Calvinist in 1995. I believe I came to faith in '91. Becoming a Calvinist was a process. I must confess that I did not fight it kicking and screaming, I pursued it gradually --- or it pursued me. However, I would have to consider myself an Arminian or semi-Pelagian up until I became a five point C. After all, muddled thought is not Calvinistic when it comes to TULIP. Would you assert that I was not regenerate with saving faith from '91 until I embraced limited atonement?"

Your question sounds similar to this man's question.

I pray that God uses His truth to bring His people to Himself!

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


Michael,

You wrote:

<<Your reply seems to suggest that you don't believe in the process of sanctification. When I referred to my mistaken past view of my own salvation, it was not a matter of me "gradually" changing my belief, it was God sanctifying me and gradually lifting the scales from my eyes. It is abundantly clear to me now that though I was mistaken about the means, God had ordained the end from before time. I can see what I did not see before, namely, that He was working all things in my life in order to bring me into His fold.

Now, if you would suggest that because I did not rightly understand soteriology when I first started going to church years ago, and because I underwent a theological transformation (a "renewing" of the mind), that I am still unregenerate, then I really don't know what to say to you. It seems you've completely denied the sanctification process.

Now, of course, I would agree that we all need to repent of our past errors -- I certainly have repented of my pride (though I didn't think it that at the time) of believing I had a part in my own salvation. But to suggest that I was unregenerate in my "milk-not-meat" Christian youth is taking things a bit far. Not only is it unbiblical, it's wholly ungracious.>>

Christians do grow. Christians do mature. I'm not denying that at all. But Christians do NOT grow from believing a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner to believing the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone. Christians do NOT gradually have the scales of belief of a false gospel lifted from their eyes throughout the course of their Christian lives. Belief of the gospel is an IMMEDIATE fruit of regeneration. Growth happens from this starting point. An apple tree doesn't grow from an orange seed. Belief of the true gospel does not grow from belief of a false gospel. "Milk" does NOT include a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. This is POISON, not milk. When a Christian goes from "milk to meat," he does not go from a false gospel to a true gospel. Even the most immature newborn Christian believes in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. There is not a single Christian who believes in universal atonement, even if he has only been regenerated for a minute. Belief of the true gospel is the STARTING POINT of the Christian life; it does not come somewhere along the way of the Christian life. Belief of the true gospel is what distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian. It is the very basics. It is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

<<Further, I'm not taking the mainline evangelical position on being judgmental -- I have no illusions that not only do we all judge one another every day, but it is just and right for us to judge one another -- in a righteous and biblical manner. What I AM asking is this: Do you believe that the Bible gives you -- a man -- the license to judge another man unregenerate? Please cite passages.>>

Yes. The Bible gives me, a Christian, the license to judge another man unregenerate. See the Scripture passages in the article I mentioned (www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm). The Bible says to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). How can a Christian obey this command if he is not to judge who the unbelievers are?!

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


Hi, Charles -

You wrote:

> Are you saying that Michael is NOT saved, now? Or are you saying
> that he is
> saved now but that he was not saved until he believed the fact
> that he was
> saved by the atoning death of Christ, that his salvation comes
> from Christ's work
> alone and not his decision to believe.


I'll try to make this very simple and easy to understand.

1. A man currently professes to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone.

2. This man also believes that he believed universal atonement for a period of time after he was regenerated.

3. This man was not saved when he believed universal atonement because universal atonement is a false religion.

4. This man is still not saved, because he has not truly repented of his false religion.

I made reference to a particular letter in www.outsidethecamp.org/letters44.htm . The letter stated the following:

<<I became a Calvinist in 1995. I believe I came to faith in '91. Becoming a Calvinist was a process. I must confess that I did not fight it kicking and screaming, I pursued it gradually --- or it pursued me. However, I would have to consider myself an Arminian or semi-Pelagian up until I became a five point C. After all, muddled thought is not Calvinistic when it comes to TULIP. Would you assert that I was not regenerate with saving faith from '91 until I embraced limited atonement?>>
My reply was as follows:

<<I would assert (because the Bible asserts) that you are still not regenerate. Your Arminianism was an abomination to God, and your Calvinism is an abomination to God. When one truly repents of believing a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner, then he counts his former religion as loss and dung (Philippians 3:7-8). Even though you "became" a "Calvinist" in 1995, you still do not consider your former religion as dung. You do not believe that while you were in this religion, you were a God-hater, bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death.>>

PLEASE read the article "Gospel Repentance" at www.outsidethecamp.org/gosprep.htm and the sermon "Gospel Repentance and Judgment" at www.outsidethecamp.org/gosprepjudg.htm . The moderator is not allowing me to post these articles, so I urge you to go to these web pages and read them, because they will answer your question more fully. Also helpful would be the article on 2 John 11 at www.outsidethecamp.org/2John11.htm .

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


Hi again, Charles -

You wrote:

> Marc, I went to your site and read Everlasting Life carefully,
> three times. I
> don't see anything that I don't agree with or believe except for
> one thing
> that I would like to clarify.
>
> In Everlasting Life it is stated:
>
> Do you believe this gospel? It is the only true gospel. There is
> no other way
> to be reconciled to God than through the atoning death and imputed
> righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ said, "I am the
> Way, and the Truth,
> and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
> Salvation is not based on anything the sinner does; it is all
> based on what Jesus
> Christ did. The people of God are justified freely by His grace
> through the
> redemption in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24); a man is not justified
> by works of law
> (Galatians 2:16). Because by works of law not one of all flesh
> will be justified
> before Him (Romans 3:20). For Christ [is] the end of law for
> righteousness to
> everyone that believes (Romans 10:4). If you believe that you
> have favor with
> God because of what you do, who you are, what you think God
> enabled you to do
> , or what you think God saw you would do, then you do not believe
> the gospel.
> If you believe that Jesus Christ died for all persons without
> exception, then
> you do not believe the gospel, because you do not believe that
> Christ's work
> makes the only difference between salvation and damnation.
> Anything you do
> before believing in the true gospel is evil in the sight of God.
> But without faith
> [it is] impossible to please [God] (Hebrews 11:6). God commands
> you to repent
> of ever thinking that you could merit favor with God by something
> you do. He
> commands you to believe this gospel. The time has been fulfilled, and the
> kingdom of God draws near. Repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
>
> What do you mean by: "what you think God enabled you to do"?
> Could you please
> clarify this?

I'd be happy to clarify this. For those interested, the text of the Everlasting Life tract is at www.outsidethecamp.org/life.htm .

The statement in question is this:

<<If you believe that you have favor with God because of what you do, who you are, what you think God enabled you to do, or what you think God saw you would do, then you do not believe the gospel.>>

Right standing with God is based on the work of Jesus Christ alone. The difference between salvation and damnation is the work of Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone. There are some (including within the "Reformed" community) who believe that salvation is conditioned on what God enables the sinner to do. Usually, this takes the form of saying that salvation is conditioned on what the Holy Spirit enables the sinner to do, and usually the condition mentioned is faith. Thus, many say that salvation is conditioned on faith, which the Holy Spirit works in the sinner. This is just a subtle form of salvation conditioned on the sinner. A believer's faith is most certainly given by God the Holy Spirit. But it is NOT the basis of salvation. Salvation is NOT conditioned on faith. Right standing before God is NOT based on faith. The difference between salvation and damnation is not the faith of the sinner. Salvation, from start to finish, is conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.

If you want a good example of the "Reformed" version of salvation conditioned on the sinner, then you need to look no further than Charles Hodge, in Systematic Theology, Volume 2. He wrote this:

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 2:

"The Scriptures know nothing of any other than two methods of attaining eternal life: the one that which demands perfect obedience, and the other that which demands faith. If the latter is called a covenant, the former is declared to be of the same nature." (p. 117)

"God then did enter into a covenant with Adam. That covenant is sometimes called a covenant of life, because life was promised as the reward of obedience. Sometimes it is called the covenant of works, because works were the condition on which that promise was suspended, and because it is thus distinguished from the new covenant which promises life on condition of faith." (p. 118)

"In virtue of what the Son of God covenanted to perform, and what in the fulness of time He actually accomplished, agreeably to the stipulations of the compact with the Father, two things follow. First, salvation is offered to all men on the condition of faith in Christ. Our Lord commanded his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The gospel, however, is the offer of salvation upon the conditions of the covenant of grace. In this sense, the covenant of grace is formed with all mankind." (pp. 362-363)

"For it is undoubtedly true that God offers to all and every man eternal life on condition of faith in Jesus Christ." (p. 363)

"It is one of those facts that salvation is offered to all men on the condition of faith in Christ. And therefore to that extent, or, in a sense which accounts for that fact, the covenant of grace is made with all men." (p. 363)

"The condition of the covenant of grace, so far as adults are concerned, is faith in Christ." (p. 364)

"Faith the Condition of Salvation from the Beginning. As the same promise was made to those who lived before the advent which is now made to us in the gospel, as the same Redeemer was revealed to them who is presented as the object of faith to us, it of necessity follows that the condition, or terms of salvation, was the same then as now. It was not mere faith or trust in God, or simply piety, which was required, but faith in the promised Redeemer, or faith in the promise of redemption through the Messiah. This is plain not only from the considerations just mentioned, but also further, (1.) From the fact that the Apostle teaches that faith, not works, was the condition of salvation." (pp. 371-372)

"Paul, in Rom. iii. 21, says that the method of salvation revealed in the gospel had been already revealed in the law and the prophets; and his definite object, in Gal. iii. 13-28, is to prove that the covenant under which we live and according to the terms of which we are to be saved, is the identical covenant made with Abraham, in which the promise of redemption was made on the condition of faith in Him in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed." (p. 373)

"It is thus offered to the elect and the non-elect; and it is offered to both classes conditionally. That condition is a cordial acceptance of it as the only ground of justification." (p. 555)

"Admitting, however, that the Augustinian doctrine that Christ died specially for his own people does account for the general offer of the gospel, how can it be reconciled with those passages which, in one form or another, teach that He died for all men? In answer to this question, it may be remarked in the first place that Augustinians do not deny that Christ died for all men. What they deny is that He died equally, and with the same design, for all men. He died for all, that He might arrest the immediate execution of the penalty of the law upon the whole of our apostate race; that He might secure for men the innumerable blessings attending their state on earth, which, in one important sense, is a state of probation; and that He might lay the foundation for the offer of pardon and reconciliation with God, on condition of faith and repentance." (p. 558)

May God keep us from such heresy.

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)


Herz wrote:

> So, my salvation depends on how well I repent? If I forget one of my
> peccadilloes while repenting of the larger sins I've committed
> in thought,
> word, and deed, does that mean I'll go to Hell? I mean, there
> are some real
> struggles I have (I'm pretty bad at loving my enemies, for example, or
> holding feasts to which I invite the blind, lame, and halt...).


One's salvation does not depend at all on anything one does. It does not depend on one's repentance. It does not depend on the quality of one's repentance. It does not depend on the content of one's repentance. It does not depend on ANYTHING the sinner does. Salvation is conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ ALONE.

Now when God saves someone, there are some immediate and inevitable FRUITS of that salvation. Faith and repentance are two immediate and inevitable fruits of salvation. What is involved in gospel repentance? Is it specifically naming and repenting of every single sin that one ever committed before one was saved? No. Gospel repentance involves the TURNING AWAY from one's former life and religion and TURNING TO the truth and living in light of the truth. Gospel repentance involves the counting of one's former religion as dung. It involves believing that when I was in that former religion, I was bringing forth dead works, evil deeds, fruit unto death. It springs from a belief in the true gospel, including the belief that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Thus, there is no true Christian who believes that he was a true Christian while he believed in universal atonement. The true Christian who has been saved out of the false gospel of universal atonement knows that he was lost when he believed universal atonement. He knows that he was lost when he believed that is was not the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. This is not some sin that a newborn Christian will "forget" to repent of; in fact, it is the PRIMARY thing he will repent of if he was in this false religion before regeneration! If he believed that Christ died for everyone without exception before he was regenerated, his initial repentance will most certainly include the acknowledgement that he was lost when he believed that false gospel!

Let's take a person who used to be a Muslim as an example. When God saves him, is he going to "forget" that he used to believe the false gospel of Islam when he repents? Of course not. That is going to be the FOCUS of his repentance! When God saves him, is he going to believe that he was a regenerate person when he was a Muslim, when he believed the false gospel of Islam? Of course not. He is going to believe that he was lost, that he hated the true and living God, that he was wicked and evil. The same goes for a person who used to believe in universal atonement. Universal atonement is just as much a false gospel as Islam is. It is a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. When God saves a person out of universal atonement, is that person going to believe that he was a regenerate person when he believed the false gospel of universal atonement? Of course not.

That, in a nutshell, is why those who call themselves "Calvinists" or "Reformed" or "Sovereign-Gracers" but who believe they were regenerate people when they believed the false gospel of universal atonement show themselves to be unregenerate. It is the same as if these people who call themselves "Calvinists" or "Reformed" or "Sovereign-Gracers" believe they were regenerate people when they believed the false gospel of Islam. Sure, they say they believe the doctrines of grace now, but if they believe they were regenerate people while they were still Muslims, they show they still do not believe the gospel. There has been no repentance of their former religion. Can you imagine one of them saying, "Well, I was in error on a lot of things when I was a regenerate Muslim, but in the process of sanctification, God gradually showed me my error, and I eventually came to believe the glorious doctrines of the gospel"??
To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter
www.outsidethecamp.org


Charles wrote:

> It would seem that when a Christian
> recieves his faith at somepoint in his life is when he would
> become justified and
> then he becomes aware of what God has done for him through the
> gift of the
> Holy Spirit. However, before he recieves this faith is his name
> not in the book
> of life already? How can it be otherwise? Perhaps this is
> immature thinking on
> my part. That's one reason that I'm not sure about judging
> another man. How do
> you know that his name is not written in the book of life? Would
> not God be
> the only one who knows this? Does not Paul remind us that we
> should not judge
> lest we also be judge?


and

> I would think that it is always wrong to judge another man's soul
> because you
> have not been permitted to see who is in the Book of Life. You can always
> judge a man's beliefs or his actions, but never his soul. Not
> that anyone is
> doing that on this forum.


The distinction between reprobate (non-elect) and unregenerate (unsaved) is important here. There's no one I know or ever heard of who judges people to be reprobate (that their names are not written in the book of life). So really, to say that we are not to judge another man's eternal state is certainly true but doesn't really help, because nobody does that. (We have been accused of doing that, of "condemning people to hell," of "judging people to be reprobate," but that just comes from people ignorant of what we believe.) On the other hand, Christians are commanded to make judgments of a person's spiritual state. When a Christian judges a person to be unregenerate (unsaved, lost, wicked, God-hater, etc.), he is not saying that this person's name is not written in the book of life. There are many unregenerate people walking around right now whose names are written in the book of life. They are the unregenerate elect. And Christians are commanded to judge them to be unregenerate and to witness to them and to pray for them and to not be unequally yoked with them. When a Christian judges a person to be unregenerate, he doesn't know if that unregenerate person is one of the elect or one of the reprobate. It's not for him to know, and it's not for him to judge an unregenerate person to be reprobate. Now a Christian can say that if the person continues in his unregenerate state until death, he will show himself to be a reprobate and will go to hell. But who knows when God converts someone on his deathbed? Thus, I stay away from saying that dead people who were heretics or other evil men during their lives are definitely in hell. I don't know if God converted them on their deathbeds. John Wesley was an arch-heretic, but I don't know if God converted him on his deathbed. Charles Spurgeon was a compromising spiritual whore, but I don't know if God converted him on his deathbed. Hitler and Stalin were evil men, but I don't know if God converted them on their deathbeds. Maybe some of you on this list know more than I do about what people believed the moment they died, but I don't.

So Christians ARE to judge unregenerate people to be unregenerate, but they are NOT to judge unregenerate people to be reprobate.

"He put before them another parable, saying: The kingdom of Heaven is compared to a man sowing good seed in his fields. But while the men were sleeping, one hostile to him came and sowed darnel in the midst of the wheat, and went away. And when the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the darnel also appeared. And coming near, the slaves of the housemaster said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then from where does it have the darnel? And he said to them, A man, an enemy did this. And the slaves said to him, Do you desire, then, that going out we should gather them? But he said, No, lest gathering the darnel you should uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest. And in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather the darnel, and bind them into bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary." (Mat 13:24-30 LITV)

Note that this parable cannot contradict 1 Corinthians 5, in which Paul commands the church to "put out the evil one from you" (v. 13) and "purge out the old leaven" (v. 7). Thus, when the housemaster told the slaves not to gather the darnel, he was NOT talking about purging the leaven from the church. And this parable cannot contradict the command to judge, not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, etc. In my opinion, this is talking about judging someone to be reprobate. Notice first that the slaves are different than the reapers. Now notice in verse 27, the slaves recognize that the tares are tares. They judge the tares to be tares. The slaves then ask the housemaster if they are to uproot those whom they have judged to be tares. (Note that this cannot be talking about excommunication.) The housemaster says that this is not their job, because by judging all these tares to be unregenerate and also judging them to be reprobate, they would
be in danger of uprooting some of the wheat with the tares. It is the job of the reapers at the end of the age to separate the wheat from the tares.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


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