Just a note about James Kirby -I've had extensive correspondence with him. He's another (like Mike Leathers) who sounds orthodox at first, but when you ask more questions, you find out that he's just another compromiser.

Kirby believes that he was a regenerate person when he made the following statements (my words in black, his words in red):

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[Kirby] If he is 'Biblically ignorant' amd is shown such verses he may for a time think that universalism is Biblical.

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[Marc] Not with the atonement. A regenerate one will not even consider universal atonement as a legitimate option.

[Kirby] Again Marc I think this would only happen when X fully realizes all the ramifications of Christ's death and this takes time! Dont forget that we are by nature averse to the truth; even after regeneration.

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[Marc] Sure sounds like you're saying that it takes a while for a Christian to get rid of all his beliefs of salvation conditioned on the sinner.

[Kirby] Yes, I guess that is what I am saying and I believe there is enough Scripture to support it.

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[Marc] If one is confronted with universal atonement and needs some time to think about it before he makes a judgment as to whether or not it is true, this man is lost.

[Kirby] Again depends. If he takes tons of time & then forgets about it... he aint really much interest in the gospel so he probably is not a Christian. If he 'thinks' about it and rejects it... lost. But if he is still influenced by his natural tendency to work his way to heaven and hears the truth and is so shocked... c'mon Marc; you gotta let a man recover & think about what's going on here, dont you think?

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Kirby also believes that a regenerate person can be "bewitched" into speaking peace to those who propagate salvation by works.

And finally, Kirby also believes that an unregenerate person can believe the true gospel (that there are unregenerate believers), thus denying total depravity. He even said, "Belief of the gospel is NO PROOF that a person is regenerate!" See "Unregenerate Believers?" for more about this.

Marc


Here is what James Kirby said about the gospel Jesus preached:

<<I doubt he preached His Messiahship, perfect life, death, and resurrection,... since much of this had not yet occurred. I believe He simply preached the gospel of the necessity of righteousness. Some 'believed' and some did not. I do not think it was any different then what OT folks knew as the gospel.>>


Here is what James Kirby said about the gospel Abraham believed:

<<Nowhere is it stated that Abraham "believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone" yet it IS stated that Abraham believed the gospel.>>


James Kirby believes he was a regenerate person when he said the following things (my words in black, Kirby's words in red):


<<Do you believe men such as Spurgeon, G. Clark, A. A. Hodge were lost based on their statements about arminism in you Hall of Shame section? I dont recall you actually said they were. I would have a tussel with that one. I believe even the holiest can make mistakes and I think it is only recently that men are really taking a good hard look at the arminian heresy and seeing it for what it really is.>>


<<I have known John Reisinger for many a year and have seen some of what went on between him, yourself, Pedersen & Mcculley... I know there is great tension and it is not my desire to meddle where I dont have to ... Pro 26:17. As far as you are concerned I am only interested in what you have to say about theology and the gospel. But when it comes to the gospel Iwill definitely take a stand. JGR & I recently went a few rounds on the issue of the gospel and it saddens me to have to admit but I was completely taken a-back by his lack of willingness to stand for the truth by attempting to defend the arminian heresy. The whole thing started when I read your response to his article on Noel Smith. ... Anyway... I respected JGR so much in the past but now I am totally baffeled at his lack of either willingness or ability to present a Biblical pattern of what is the gospel. Sad to say he would rather defend the arminians than stand up for the truth.>>

Which means he is obviously of the devil.

<<Well.... maybe. I like to use a lot of caution before I put someone like John over the edge.>>

You do not see that Reisinger is lost??

<<As you probably can figure out this is where I have not yet arrived. ... I even go as far as saying a so-called "tolerant calvinist" is at best very confused as to what exactly is the gospel. ... At this point I place JGR in the confused category.>>


Okay; let's consider the following scenario: Mr. X believes in universal atonement. Mr. A comes up to him and shows him the wickedness of believing universal atonement. Mr. X then says, "I was wrong. Particular redemption is right. Universal atonement is wrong." Questions:

Was Mr. X saved before he believed particular redemption?

<<I guess it depends. Hows that for fudging(-: If he never heard of the atonement as one of the 5 points then, as you said, it is possible for him to be saved. But if he begins to carp & reject... then I would question his profession.>>

Was Mr. X saved when he believed particular redemption if he still believed that he was saved when he believed universal atonement?

<<I never really thought much about this kind of a question so I have to answer... I dunno! There does seem to be room to say that a person can be saved before he actually understands the full impact of particular atonement. I think here we might be approaching the fine line between what goes on in the head in terms of doctrine... and the working of the Holy Spirit in terms of 'leading into the truth'. Since we are all arminians by nature I dont think that when a man gets saved he all of a sudden is completely purged of all his arminianism. What this is probably leading to is the whole process of growth in terms of doctrine and I nelieve this is Biblical. The question is... does this 'growth' occur with respect to 'vital' issues? Again I dont think one comes into a complete realization of the truth all at once. Like when the weatherman tells us we are in for 2 feet of snow; well Im glad it doesnt all fall at once! ... I am saying that our natural arminianism is so strongly rooted in us that it takes quite a bit of doing to free us from it. Some people are just not that quick to grasp some of the real implications of true doctrine without an extra cup of coffee and a few good discussions. So... during this so-called deliberation period... is the guy saved? This is the territory I am not yet confident to enter into because I think it borders on attempting to judge the movings of the Holy Spirit. Am I making sense? ... Two areas I need to search out is... Does God regenerate apart from the truth? Is a man saved 'between' regeneration & faith.>>


Universal atonement is a blatant form of salvation conditioned on the sinner. [agreed] Let me give you an even more extreme example: Is someone saved who currently professes belief in the true gospel but also says that he remained a Jehovah's Witness for a time after he was regenerated and then "came into" the doctrine of the deity of Christ?

<<I dont think you can really compare the two. The error of the JWs is too well publicised for one to 'get saved' from his JWism without facing the issue of Deity. Anybody that thinks JW doctrine is the gospel is lost, I would say. But men by nature are not 'taught' arminianism and when a guy hears preaching, unless doctrines are clearly spelled out, or he has been to Bible school, he is Biblically ignorant of Election; Lim At etc... so... again I ask... how much knowledge is necessary to evidence true conversion? I am not prepared to say X has to know all the doctrines before we account him saved. But I WILL say that as he hears true doctrine... does he accept or reject ? ...>>


Bad argument. Being an Arminian by nature means that by nature, we believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner. Upon regeneration and conversion, God's people NO LONGER believe salvation conditioned on the sinner IN ANY WAY, TO ANY DEGREE. Thus, they have NO remnants of Arminianism. They still sin in their character and conduct, but they NEVER believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner.

<<Marc! To my mind this would require that X absorbe & believe the entire ball of wax in one sitting which i don't think happens too often. It's true that the HS will not testify to a lie but it is also true that men, even regenerate men can be in error and there are certainly enough verses to allow for such 1John 2;2 1Ti 4:10 2Pet 2:1 etc... If he is 'Biblically ignorant' amd is shown such verses he may for a time think that universalism is Biblical. The question is... what happens when he is shown the proper view? And this may take some time. I think you will be hard pressed to find any new convert who has fully jettisoned all of his arminian thinking in toto ...>>


There are many truths that a Christian grows in. But belief of the gospel is not one of them!

<<In principle I would agree but again I dont think one swallows the entire thing in one gulp. I think the concept of 'gospel' is just too broad to expect X to digest the whole thing in one sitting. Even if we tell him he is saved conditioned on nothing else but the imputed righteousness of Christ... even that concept must be expanded before he will understand all the implications; and that takes time.>>


<<But dont you think we must allow a 'margin of error' in terms of a man having to think & deliberate and let the truth 'sink in'.>>

Not with the atonement. A regenerate one will not even consider universal atonement as a legitimate option.

<<Again Marc I think this would only happen when X fully realizes all the ramifications of Christ's death and this takes time! Dont forget that we are by nature averse to the truth; even after regeneration. I think that there is simply too much involved in the definition of the gospel for us to really expect X to gobble it all up & start spouting soverign grace in 1 or 2 sittings. I think I am beginning to see where we differ; it is in this matter of time. I would like to be a bit more patient with X before making a judgment.>>

Sure sounds like you're saying that it takes a while for a Christian to get rid of all his beliefs of salvation conditioned on the sinner.

<<Yes, I guess that is what I am saying and I believe there is enough Scripture to support it. However... let me hasten to add... as I would give X a bit more breathing room then perhaps you might... I still would not dally around once it is obvious he understands the truth. Then I would say... YES; He MUST believe it, RIGHT AWAY or he cannot claim to be saved by the gospel because now he has something firm to reject! So you said...>>

If one is confronted with universal atonement and needs some time to think about it before he makes a judgment as to whether or not it is true, this man is lost.

<<Again depends. If he takes tons of time & then forgets about it... he aint really much interest in the gospel so he probably is not a Christian. If he 'thinks' about it and rejects it... lost. But if he is still influenced by his natural tendency to work his way to heaven and hears the truth and is so shocked... c'mon Marc; you gotta let a man recover & think about what's going on here, dont you think? He calls you up the next day or so and says.... 'Hey Marc! WOW! I believe it!' I have no problem with saying the man was regenerate while he heard these things & went home & prayfully read his Bible while the Holy Spirit drove the truth home to his heart.>>


<<Im sure you will have points to show me & I am still trying to maintain an open ness but I admit I do have trouble with a strict woodenness in pronouncing one saved or lost. Most of the time I think it is very plain but sometimes I dont think we can be too sure and should take a wait-and-see approach.>>


<<I believe the heart of the gospel is the imputed righteousness of Christ alone based on nothing except His finished work & I think I am in line with Parker on this. [By the way I did write him on the matter of conditionalism & he gave pretty good answer.] So then if a guy hears a sermon on this and believes & is saved... does this mean that all his erroneous thinking about election; the extent of the atonement etc... which was never taught him yet... automatically evaporates & he realizes even just the basics of predestination & Lim At? I think it is a rare instance that this would occur. Further I believe there is more than enough evidence to show that a saved person can be in error over some of these things simply because he has a shallow view of verses that seem to support them such as I pointed out last time. But there is another area of consideration that goes further in support of the necessity for 'new convert' to continue to become grounded in solid doctrine by sitting under correct teaching/preaching & continually having his mind transformed by the renewing process Paul gives us in Rom 12:1 ff.... In 2P 1:10 Peter exhorts believers to engage in an intense study in order to make his calling & election sure to the end that he shall then be allowed an entrance into God's kingdom at the last. It is plain to see by the context that Peter here is referring to the doctrines of the gospel of salvation and not to some non-essential issues such as tithing. If the latter were so his exhortation would not make sense. Thus believers are to be continually re-conditioning their minds by way of intense study of the doctrines relating to salvation; for one reason ... because of the false christs & false gospels that shall come upon us... as they are already here... it would be almost possible for the elect to become deceived by these... as Christ Himself tells us. Another passage is Eph 4 where Christ has given gifts to His Chuch specifically for the building up of believers in proper doctrine. I doubt he means non-essentials here either. The object is to prevent believers from being tossed all over by false doctrine that has the effect of damning! These are the *means* whereby God has ordained to keep us in safety from false christs & false gospels. This is why I say that when a man 'hears the gospel' it is necessary to give some breathing room and allow his carnal thinking to become subdued by the truth of the gospel & in the power of the Holy Spirit... before we extract the baseball bat of condemnation & whack him with it because he missed a couple of points on sovereign grace. But what I am getting from you is that unless a man snaps right up... chop chop... & completely jettisons all forms of carnal thinking that reflect arminianism within an instant of time... whack! he aint saved... No. I am not prepared to be that quick on the trigger.>>


Again -- a true believer will not believe the ANTITHESES to any of the doctrines of grace, even though he might not be able to systematize and articulate the doctrines of grace. Universal atonement is the ANTITHESIS to efficacious, particular atonement.

<<Again to my mind this would necessitate the ability to perceive all the implications of sovereign grace in one sitting which I maintain is impossible! Further... do you have a passage that shows your statement... a true believer will not believe the ANTITHESES to any of the doctrines of grace,... especially if he cannot articulate them? If a JW cannot 'articulate' the Deity of Christ he aint saved! I would maintain that a true believer will not *embrace*, with the full faculties of his intellect, any antithesis... but not until he becomes fully cognizent of all the implications... and this takes some intense study & thinking.>>


In BELIEVING universal atonement, he has REJECTED efficacious, particular atonement, EVEN BEFORE he hears the Biblical explanation of the atonement.

<<Here I think we need to be careful in attempting to discern what goes on in the SUB concious as opposed to the conscious mind. If a guy CONSCIOUISLY rejects after some deliberation then again YES... Whack-o! No salvation. But most unsaved people in life keep all their beliefs about death & the afterlife in the subconscious & never bother to think much about them because they are too busy trying to cover up reality by drowning themselves in the things of this life... and that kind of a condition does not disappear as a result of one or even two sermons. The guy needs a little breathing room to work throught these things ala 2Pet 1:10 etc... The epistles to Tim are filled with instruction to give heed to good doctrine which leads to salvation.>>


If I see someone confessing universal atonement, I DO NOT have to confront this person before judging him lost. He has confessed universal atonement; thus, he believes in salvation conditioned on the sinner. It's very simple.

<<Marc, I dont think it is always all that cut & dry. In principle I AGREE... the Scripture clearly show the correct Atonement & if a guy REJECTS that... whack! But if a guy is "confessing" universal atonement... well I would want to know under what circumstances is he doing so? Did he read 1Jn 2:2 & think that without consulting a good commentary or talking to someone more knowledgable? Here I think you would probably whack the guy whereas I would take him further into the Bible & THEN see what he does with it. If, after I clearly show him... he rejects... Whack-o !! We just cannot make such microscopic examinations of a man without giving him a chance to catch his breath Marc. That's all Im saying. We really are not that far apart from each other. You are just faster on the draw than me.>>


A Christian does not "progressively" go from believing universal atonement (salvation conditioned on the sinner) to believing the true gospel. A true Christian, when confronted with the doctrine of universal atonement, will IMMEDIATELY reject it as a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner.

<<OK then is Lim At the gospel? See we a re back to the circle of fifths [a musical term]. Your IMMEDIATELY is where I would part company. If he is given a proper presentation & see the implications... THEN I might go for the bat. But I am not quite convinced that this is some kind of an 'automatic' reaction, or result of listening to a sermon on salvation. Again the carnal mind is too powerfully enmeshed in ungodly ideas about life & death for it to be loosed that quickly without some sane, intellectual approach by way of training in doctrine. ... Would you expect he understands the implications of universal vs limited and reject Uni At like a well trained theologian? Do you whack him? I wouldn't. Let's give him a good dose of doctrine first & see what happens.>>


I've heard people say, "I was saved way back then, but I only recently heard about imputed righteousness." Well, you know that they were lost back then, and they are lost now.

<<Way back when... maybe. It depends on the circs. Lost now? No! Not if they have embraced the truth. How can they be lost?>>


I agree that regenerate men can be in error. But NOT about the gospel; NOT about the ground of salvation. Arminianism is a heresy that has to do with the gospel -- the ground of salvation. And not a drop of Arminianism is left in a justified sinner.

<<Do you mean 3 feet of snow... all at once? This is where the rub is Marc. Does every drop dissapear in an instant of time? I say no and I think I have good Biblical support for this.>>


And, while he thinks that universalism is Biblical, he is lost. And anyone (including you) who thinks that he is saved while thinking that universalism is Biblical is lost as well.

<<Nah-h-h... Too radical for my blood and I dont think God is that quick to condem a man either. Again as I keep saying... it all depends on the circumstances and the degree of intent in the man who 'thinks' Jesus died for everybody. I agree that if a person thinks universalism is Biblical he is lost. But one must be cautious in assessing the extent, degree & quality of such a belief.>>


I have found many of them. In fact, everyone whom I consider to be a true Christian fully jettisoned all notions of salvation conditioned on the sinner upon conversion.

<<In an instant of time when they 'heard a salvation message' ? I find that hard to swallow!>>


This means nothing. If you do not judge him lost WHILE he believes that any part of salvation, in any way to any degree, is conditioned on himself (including what the Holy Spirit does in him), then you yourself do not understand the gospel.

<<I think what you are aiming for here is total microscopic consent to all the jots & tittles of the truth in a short period of time... in which case I do not see that in Scripture. If you mean I do not understand the gospel in THIS sense then you are right. But if you can show me this in the Bible I will conceed. But I doubt you can accuse me of not understanding the gospel of sovereign grace. I have been saying it all along. I simply think you expect too much of a man in too short a time. Remember the thief on the cross. You will never convince anyone that he 'rejected in toto' all his arminianism in 5 minits before he died.Neither will I convince any one that he didn't. So where does that leave us? I believe my cautious approach of the proper use of time will go a long way in winning men to Christ rather then a quik whack of the bat of condemnation.>>


<<I was talking about those arminian thoughts that still linger for a while after one gets saved & need to be purged by good teaching. And I believe that a true believer will have absolutely no trouble in jettisoning these once he realizes what they are. So.... what's so bad about that? Yes, if he persists in consciously holding to his arminianism... Whack... but if you are not willing to give a guy some breathing room then you probably won't be too successful in your efforts to win men to Christ.>>


<<Marc; I think where you are mistaken is that you interpret what I am saying as 'speaking peace' to one who 'believes in universal atonement'. That I would never do. If you read what I say carefully you will see that I am very careful to avoid such a thing. All I am really saying is that he MIGHT be regenerate and that's the difference.>>


A regenerate one will not even consider universal atonement as a legitimate option.

<<Show me some passage that proves or asserts such a thing from the Bible. I don't think you can. All you can do is affirm...' A man is only saved by believing the gospel... etc. " which I agree with. I just do not see things as all cut & dry as you do. I say your statement can only be true of someone who is made aware of the extent of the atonement; not for a person who hasen't the foggiest notion of what all is involved.>>


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