To whom it may concern,
I know it will curl your toes on the comment in the first paragraph that says limited atonement is a "difficult doctrine for some Christians to accept by many believers". After reading lots on your web page, I totally agree that the work of Christ in salvation causes His people, at regeneration, to believe and accept all truth about the true gospel and it is NOT difficult! I am now looking closely at what I hear or read. I am seeing the leniency of men's words about God's work in salvation and the true gospel. http://www.gospeloutreach.net/limited_atonement.html
BUT also, Spurgeon is quoted in the above web page and he is right. On your critique from another writing of Spurgeon, he is wrong. http://www.outsidethecamp.org/spurgeonswallows.htm Spurgeon had to have changed his doctrine. Which quotes came first in his writings? I have heard of Dr. Duane Spencer, also a preacher of the free will gospel, who became a wonderful preacher and teacher on the true gospel. I think there have been many like him. Isn't John McArthur one of them? So, I do have this question. Did not God draw them out of the false gospel into His marvelous light after a true conversion so while they were speaking lies, they were yet unsaved? You are saying they were unsaved while preaching their false gospel and the Bible verses support this. I am now wondering if these many men recognized they had a new birth when their view of God's work in salvation was changed. Have you noticed anything in men's writings who have turned? It looks like Spurgeon was one of these. I know many believers can look back and see the working of God in their lives before they actually repented and knew their sins before this Holy God. Is that what you would call this transition of coming from teaching a false gospel to teaching the true gospel? Is it only the working of God but not true saving faith? In other words, it was God working in their lives (in a a false gospel) but they were not truly saved until preaching the true gospel? I am having a hard time asking this question so hope you can "get it"!
I have been chatting with friends about your web page. Your gospel stand for truth is so lovely to read and so encouraging to us and so right. I have been "dampened down" in the claims on your list of unsaved men, though. I have found from my friends that they won't look at the great truths that are written because of you condemning men. And like I noted in the first email, some men have written wrong but have not believed that all along. I know your emphasis in only on their teaching of the gospel when you make that judgment. Some, I am sure ,could be very just and some not. We are all fallible and again, I know you stress one point on their teaching on the true gospel. Some men haven't been consistent, in that, though. If your emphasis stayed on preaching and teaching that great doctrine of justification alone, with an emphasize on the real heretics, like Harold Camping and such, that would be good. Or TBN preachers. There areTHE heretics of our day! I just listened to a sermon online at Grace and Truth Online that proclaimed the great doctrines you do but left it at that. Grounded in that, we, with the Spirit within us, can discern when we hear the lies coming out of most preachers today. Want a dilly? Try the EVF Church in Newbury Park CA! I have emailed him, too, and never heard a word back! I have a great friend who goes there, that is why I have listened to a few to critique to tell her the lies this preacher is teaching. We talk on the phone saying nothing about my many emails to her. Obviously, she is blinded to hear the truth and continues to follow this man's awful teachings who preaches mixed lies and truths . There is always some truth, even in the false teachers.
I'll answer both of your e-mails here. Please forward this e-mail to your friends that you mentioned in your last e-mail.
I want to first make it clear that when I present a quote that shows that a person was unregenerate, I am saying that it shows that the person was unregenerate at the time he made that quote. I am not saying that the person is reprobate (non-elect); I am not saying that God did not save that person later on in his life, or even on his deathbed; I am not saying that the person is definitely in hell.
Having said that, when you see a quote that shows that someone is definitely unregenerate at the time he made the quote, and then you see an orthodox quote that the person made later on, you must ask yourself, "Is there evidence that this man was born again between the heretical quote and the orthodox quote?" For example, do you see anywhere in the person's writings that he considered himself unregenerate when he made the heretical quote? Do you see anywhere in the person's writings that he counted all of his previous religion as dead works and fruit unto death? And then you must ask yourself, "Is the orthodox quote enough evidence that this person has been saved?"
Let's take the example that you mentioned of Charles Spurgeon. You said that in his orthodox quote, "Spurgeon had to have changed his doctrine." However, if you were very familiar with Spurgeon, you would know that Spurgeon made orthodox quotes like this throughout his career. The quote you gave me does not show that he considers everyone who does not believe in efficacious atonement to be unregenerate. You will find this a lot with people who say they believe the doctrines of grace. Many of them will say that universal atonement is heresy. Many of them will even say that universal atonement denies the work of Jesus Christ. Yet these same people will not say that all these people who believe in universal atonement are unregenerate. Thus, their claim that it is heresy and that it denies the work of Jesus Christ is totally meaningless. Please see www.outsidethecamp.org/efl55.htm , www.outsidethecamp.org/review101.htm , and www.outsidethecamp.org/evilclark.htm . Like I said in one of those posts, it's the ISM issue. Many would say that ArminianISM is damnable but do not say that Arminians are lost. It's really easy to attack an ISM; if you keep your judgments to ISMs rather than people, you can speak peace to those who hold the ISM while saying that the ISM itself is a false gospel.
To show you further that the quote you gave me from Charles Spurgeon is not evidence that Spurgeon changed his doctrine: The quote you gave me was from a sermon he preached in 1858. The quote you mentioned from our web site is from a sermon preached in 1880! Also, I am attaching an e-mail that contains quotes from Spurgeon. You will notice that all but one of the quotes is AFTER 1858. Look what he has to say about his Arminian "brethren." This shows exactly what I told you in the last paragraph: People like Spurgeon can say that "limited atonement" is orthodox and that "universal atonement" is heresy until they're blue in the face, but how do they JUDGE those who hold to universal atonement? Obviously, Spurgeon spoke peace to them -- counted them to be brothers in Christ -- even though he "abhorred" their doctrine. This shows that he did not believe that efficacious atonement is an essential gospel doctrine, let alone the very heart of the gospel!
I've never heard of Duane Spencer. But for anyone like him, does he now believe that he was a God-hater when he believed and preached free-will doctrine? Or does he think that he just "grew into" the doctrines of grace? See www.outsidethecamp.org/gosprepjudg.htm and www.outsidethecamp.org/gosprep.htm . As for John MacArthur, he continues to be a damnable heretic. He speaks peace to Arminians, just like Spurgeon did.
As for your questions about the "process" that God's elect go through before they are saved, it's different for different people, of course. But here's what is true for every single person whom God saves without exception: When God saves a person, He immediately causes them to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, and he immediately causes them to repent, which includes considering all of their former works and religion as dead works and fruit unto death. Let's take the example of an elect Arminian (note: I'm not talking about a saved Arminian; I'm talking about an elect unsaved person). All Arminians are unregenerate, so obviously, this Arminian is unregenerate. God works providentially in this Arminian's life (which is not the Holy Spirit working in him or on him). Suppose this Arminian "comes into" the doctrines of grace and sees how "beautifully consistent" these doctrines are, and he becomes a "Calvinist." Yet he does not think he was an unsaved person when he was an Arminian. This shows that he is an unregenerate Calvinist. God is still working providentially in this Calvinist's life (which is not the Holy Spirit working in him or on him). God providentially causes this unregenerate Calvinist to come in contact with a true preacher of the gospel. The Holy Spirit then regenerates this person, immediately causing him to repent and believe the true gospel. This person knows that when he was an Arminian, he was unregenerate, and when he was a Calvinist, he was unregenerate. And, of course, he will never call anyone a brother in Christ who is what he used to be. I hope that helps. See www.outsidethecamp.org/slideover.htm .
Now let's go to your second e-mail and talk about your friends for a bit. Your friends can't get past the judgment of these "fathers of the faith" to see the other truth of the web site. What does this say about your friends? It says a lot. It shows that they esteem men rather than God. They are respecters of men rather than God's Word. There is no way they can truthfully say that they believe the doctrine that the web site teaches and yet have a problem with the judgment of these heretics who come in the name of sovereign grace. Have you read the introduction to the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame? It is at www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy.htm .
Then you say that it would be good for me to have my emphasis stay on preaching and teaching sound doctrine, with an emphasis on the "real heretics." Hmmmm ... really? The "real heretics"? You mentioned the TBN preachers as "THE heretics of our day." You're not getting what we're all about. Of course the TBN preachers are heretics. That's easy. Even unregenerate self-righteous religionists identify such wackos as heretics. SO WHAT! These people are not the most insidious heretics of our day. Not even close. One of the reasons Outside the Camp started was to expose those who came in the name of "sovereign grace" but who taught damnable heresies. You think it would be good for me to stop doing what Outside the Camp was set up to do. We are exposing the most insidious damnable heretics. And from what you said, you implied that the heretics that we expose are not "real heretics." If you've seen what these people have said and still do not think they are "real heretics," then you know nothing of the discernment you were talking about. I have another web site for you to look at, which is the Genuine Historical Calvinism web site at www.calvinism.us . Are these people "real heretics"? They most certainly are, and they are the ones that need to be exposed. It's easy to say that the charismaniacs and the Mormons and the atheists are heretics. And most unregenerate religionists will give a hearty "Amen" to that. But when it comes to the "fathers of the faith" like John Calvin and Charles Hodge and Charles Spurgeon, that's where much of the chaff is separated from the wheat.
I must comment on your "We are all fallible" and "Some men haven't been consistent" comments. No one is saying that Christians are infallible or 100% consistent in every single area. But every Christian consistently, constantly, unwaveringly believes the true gospel. True Christians ABIDE (STAY) in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). A true Christian will never confess a false gospel and will never speak peace to one who brings a false gospel. See www.outsidethecamp.org/2John11.htm and www.outsidethecamp.org/speakpeace.htm and www.outsidethecamp.org/presgrace.htm . Look again at the quote from John Kennedy at www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy.htm . If a person says ONE THING that confesses/teaches a false gospel, then it matters not if that same person says ONE HUNDRED THINGS that are orthodox.
I will not compromise for the sake of people like your friends. I couldn't care less if the web site is popular or well-liked. I'm here to proclaim the truth, including exposing the damnable heretics who come in the name of sovereign grace. I won't water down the truth in order to "attract" people like your friends. If they don't like it, then so be it. One thing I do know is this: If they are true believers, they won't be offended.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter