DataRat wrote:

> What you've done is set up straw men, and
> counter ~them~ rather than address REAL
> ISSUES we've raised.
> Our challenges are too difficult for you to
> refute. So you got fake allegations you
> refute instead !

Really? What allegations were fake? These were real people who made these allegations. In fact, DataRat is the one who gave the link to what James White said about me. And I addressed them. Is James White a straw man?

What are the "real issues" that I have not yet addressed?

Hey, speaking of allegations, here's one:

> Carpenterism is a false gospel because it denies
> conversion to Christ unless one has attained total
> and instant doctrinal purity.

And here's another:

> But what they ~do~ believe is that you get
> pure doctrine ...and this completely... the
> instant one is regenerated.
> THAT's doctrinal regeneration !

And another:

> Bottom line:
> Marc Carpenter doesn't believe in the salvation of
> anyone outside his tiny cult.
> Which is TYPICAL cult-behavior !

And another:

> Those of hyper-Calvinist sentiment who have become
> so extreme as to think John Calvin was an unregenerate semi-Pelagian !

Are any of these straw men? Well, DataRat HIMSELF made these accusations.

Here's another accusation:

> According to Carpenter;
> 1) Salvation rests not solely on faith, but on a faith that passes
> a battery of extensive testing Carpenter (not the Word) feels is a
> necessary minimum before having any efficacy.

This is an accusation by Enrico. Straw man?

And here's another:

> Marc Carpenter, of OTC, propagates that you must
> have every last scintilla of your doctrine
> straight, particularly pertaining to the
> atonement, in order to be saved.
> That, sir, is works religion.

This is an accusation by Maggie. Straw man?

> How could he attend a church? If there's someone there who has
> Arminian, or worse <gasp> Tolerant Calvinist, leanings then he might
> be forced to speak peace to them should they be in the loo when the
> Almighty strikes him with a sudden case of diarrhea! Then his
> salvation would be utterly lost, showing that he'd had it wrong the
> whole time... Heaven forfend!

This is an accusation by Jamey. Straw man?

I deny these accusations. All of them. And if you're about to slander me again by saying I'm not denying any specific accusations but only speaking in generalities, here is what I've been accused of just recently on this list that I do NOT hold to:

I DO NOT deny conversion to Christ unless one has attained total and instant doctrinal purity.

I DO NOT believe that you get completely pure doctrine the instant one is regenerated.

I DO NOT believe that only those in the group of which I am a part (falsely called a "cult") are saved.

I DO NOT believe that John Calvin was a semi-Pelagian.

I DO NOT believe that salvation rests on a faith that passes an extensive testing I feel is a necessary minimum before having any efficacy.

I DO NOT believe that you must have every last scintilla of your doctrine straight in order to be saved.

I DO NOT believe that if one unknowingly speaks peace to an unregenerate person that he is necessarily lost.

Got that? Clear enough?

For those who love to slander, this certainly won't end it. Slanderers will be slanderers. But this is for those who have at least a modicum of integrity. That DOES NOT include DataRat, for sure. He's as big a slanderer as they come. For those who have at least a modicum of integrity" DO NOT believe what DataRat says about me or about those who fellowship with me. He is a LIAR.

Now to briefly address some of the other things I've recently read on this list:

Our assembly is currently made up of 9 people. We know of other assemblies around the world who believe and proclaim the true gospel.

Someone asked about the order in which some things come about in regeneration and conversion. Regeneration comes first. The immediate fruit of regeneration is conversion, which includes belief of the gospel and repentance from dead works. As you can see, we do NOT believe that knowledge/understanding of doctrine comes before regeneration. Belief of the gospel is a FRUIT of regeneration. And belief of the gospel necessarily means belief of certain basic Christian doctrines, including the belief in the PERSON of Christ and the WORK of Christ. The Bible is clear that all who do not believe the gospel are unregenerate.

DataRat wrote:

> The principle heresy of Carpenterism is that of
> schism and dividing the Body of Christ.

Let's see if DataRat is a hypocrite. Some recent conversations regarding where he goes to church:

> "Why you have not attended
> his church at least occasionally?"

> Because your fav rodent is a member of
> another congregation.
> "Probably, you just prefer you
> own church"

> Dr. White is Reformed Baptist. Whereas the
> Calvinist Rodent is Belgic Reformed. So we
> have at least one area of secondary doctrinal
> disagreement.
> Bro. Rat views Dr. White (and the Reformed
> Baptists) as fellow Christians, fellow Calvinists,
> and allies.
> But, the Tulip Rodent is very happy with his
> own denomination (URC-NA), it's creedal
> subscriptions (Three Forms of Unity), and
> doctrinal positions.
> Your fav rodent so often hears Reformation Christians
> saying there's no good churches in their area.
> Here in Phoenix (Arizona) we're virtually tripping over
> 'em !

This is the EPITOME of being schismatic. DataRat accuses ME of being schismatic, yet HE and his "Reformed Christian brothers" in Phoenix are the very ESSENCE of schism! How so?

Well, why is it that DataRat does not attend James White's church? Is it because he does not consider White to be a Christian? No. It is because White is a Reformed Baptist and DataRat is Belgic Reformed. So these "Christians" would divide over non-essential doctrines! They would have their separate "churches," even though they live in the same area and count each other to be brothers in Christ! THIS is schism! If DataRat were NOT schismatic, he would try his best to get all the true Christians (in his mind) in his area to fellowship TOGETHER. He would NOT separate himself over non-essential doctrine (i.e., doctrine that does not differentiate between Christians and non-Christians). Yet what does he do? He goes to his own separate little church because of "seconday doctrinal disagreement." THIS is schismatic.

What a hypocrite.

DataRat then says:

> Not that the Calvinist Rodent isn't against separating
> sheep and goats.
> It's just that we're to separate sheep from goats
> instead of sheep from sheep !

So here we see that DataRat claims to have the ability to "separate sheep from goats." Of all the accusations I've gotten over the years of being judgmental and of saying that certain people are in hell (which I have NEVER said) or are going to hell (which I have NEVER said), DataRat claims to have the ability to "separate sheep from goats"! I don't even claim to have that ability! Who's the cultist here? Who's the one who claims to know people's eternal destination here?

The sheep are the elect. The goats are the reprobate. That is clear from the Bible. Now among those who are unregenerate, there are some unregenerate sheep (unregenerate elect) and some unregenerate goats (unregenerate reprobate). DataRat claims to know the difference. I do not. I do not know who, among the unregenerate, are the elect and who, among the unregenerate, are the reprobate. That is not for me or anyone else to know. So when I say that an Arminian is unregenerate, I am not saying that this person is going to hell. I do not know if he is one of the elect. If he IS one of the elect, God will save him in time, and he will NOT go to hell. And when God saves him, He will cause him to believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone. He will cause him to believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Thus, he will no longer be an Arminian.

And what about those people whom I have judged to be unregenerate who are now dead? I do not know if they were sheep or goats. I don't know if God regenerated them after they confessed a false gospel. I don't know if God regenerated them before they died. So I do not say they are now in hell. Yet I get accused frequently of saying that. When I ask someone to show me where I have ever said that, they suddenly turn silent. I have NEVER said that these people are in hell.

Yet DataRat claims to have the ability to "separate sheep from goats." Perhaps he means he has the ability to separate the saved from the unsaved. This is quite different. All Christians judge saved and unsaved. By what standard to Christians judge saved and unsaved? It is by the GOSPEL. And how do we know what gospel a person believes? It is by what the person CONFESSES. See .

So DataRat has some standard by which he judges sheep and goats. Just what is that standard? Tell us, you slanderer and hypocrite.

Attached is a post I wrote a while back on Speaking Peace that will address some accusations. Please note that it was written to my brothers in Christ.




I've been wanting to write something on the subject of speaking peace, since I have been asked many questions about it and have discussed it with many people. Perhaps this will generate some discussion amongst us.

The first kind of peace-speaking I'd like to mention is the most blatant: speaking peace to one who brings a false gospel. Only unbelievers can do this kind of peace-speaking. Note that the person to whom peace is being spoken is one who BRINGS this false gospel to the hearer. The one who BRINGS this false gospel is not subtle; the false gospel he brings is obviously a false gospel. For example, if he confesses universal atonement, this is not a subtle heresy. This is a blatant form of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Thus, if Mr. A tells Mr. B that he believes in universal atonement and Mr. B calls Mr. A a brother in Christ, then Mr. B (who spoke peace to Mr. A, who brought a false gospel) is lost.

But what about the peace-speaking that believers can and do engage in? Believers are commanded to speak peace to those who confess the true gospel. Yet there are some who seem to confess the true gospel for a time who turn out to be unbelievers. Can a true believer speak peace to someone who in actuality is an unbeliever? The answer is yes. And before you start throwing things at me, I would like to explain with some different scenarios. The believer in these scenarios will be called Mr. Smith.

Scenario 1: Mr. Jones tells Mr. Smith that he believes in the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Mr. Jones tells Mr. Smith that he has repented of dead works and former idolatry and counts all his former religion as dung. He judges all who confess salvation conditioned on the sinner, including all Arminians, to be lost. He tells Mr. Smith he agrees with the six statements. Mr. Smith sees no flaws in Mr. Jones's confession of the gospel and no other doctrines inconsistent with his confession. What should Mr. Smith do?

The answer is that Mr. Smith should -- indeed, MUST -- speak peace to Mr. Jones. He must judge, based on Mr. Jones's confession, that Mr. Jones is regenerate. But, you may ask, what if it turns out that Mr. Jones was lying? Well, as soon as it is found out that Mr. Jones was lying and that he really does not believe the true gospel and has not repented, Mr. Smith must stop speaking peace to Mr. Jones. Yet WHILE Mr. Smith was speaking peace to Mr. Jones (before Mr. Jones showed his true colors), Mr. Smith was a regenerate person speaking peace to an unregenerate person. Some have accused me of holding to the view that all who speak peace to any unregenerate person is lost. This is a misunderstanding of my view. Certainly all who speak peace to someone they KNOW confesses a false gospel is lost. But this is different than someone who speaks peace to an unregenerate person who outwardly professes the truth. Am I being clear?If not, please feel free to ask questions.

Scenario 2: Mr. Smith has just been regenerated. He was formerly an atheist and knows nothing about the Calvinism - Arminianism controversy. He hardly knows anything about the state of "Christendom" in America. He heard the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone and believed it, and he repented of dead works and former idolatry. He meets Mr. Jones on the street who tells him, "I'm a Christian. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ." Mr. Smith naively judges Mr. Jones a Christian before asking him more questions, because Mr. Smith assumes that Mr. Jones believes the same thing he does. In Mr. Smith's mind, Mr. Jones's confession was equivalent to saying, "I believe in the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone; I believe that Christ's righteousness demands the salvation of all whom He represented. I have repented of dead works and former idolatry." It is certain that Mr. Smith's naivete is sinful. But should we judge Mr. Smith to be lost because he spoke peace to this person who said, "I'm a Christian. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ"?
Let's get even more subtle than that:

Scenario 3: Mr. Smith is a Christian who knows about the Calvinism - Arminianism controversy. As a true Christian who knows about the controversy, he obviously believes that Arminianism is a false gospel and that all Arminians are lost. Now suppose Mr. Jones says to him, "I believe that the doctrines of grace are the truth and anything that contradicts them are lies. I rejoice in sovereign grace, in double predestination, in particular redemption. I believe that Arminianism is a damnable heresy from the pit of hell. I believe that the god of Arminianism is no God at all, that the christ of Arminianism is no Savior, that the atonement of Arminianism is no atonement at all. Arminianism is satanic." Mr. Smith then naively judges Mr. Jones a Christian before asking him more questions, because Mr. Smith assumes that Mr. Jones believes the same thing he does. Again, it is certain that Mr. Smith's naivete is sinful. But should we judge Mr. Smith to be lost because he spoke peace to this person who seemed to come out so boldly for the doctrines of grace and against Arminianism? Of course, we know that one such as Mr. Jones can be against the ISM yet speak peace to those who hold to the ISM. They can say that ArminianISM is a damnable heresy from the pit of hell, yet they will say that some Arminians are regenerate. But do we expect that all Christians, even Christians who are familiar with the Calvinism - Arminianism controversy, will know that some of those who seem so strong against ArminianISM are actually unregenerate?

Now let's go to an example that will seem absurd at first but I hope will give you food for thought:

Scenario 4: Go back to Scenario 2 regarding Mr. Smith who knows nothing about the Calvinism - Arminianism controversy. In fact, Mr. Smith has never heard of Calvin or Arminius or Calvinism or Arminianism. Now suppose a professing Christian comes up to him and tells him that Arminianism and Christianity are equivalent terms, that all Arminians believe in the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone and have repented from dead works and former idolatry, that allArminians believe that Christ's righteousness demands the salvation of all whom He represented. Now what if Mr. Smith were then asked, "Are Arminians your brothers in Christ?" and Mr. Smith said, "Yes"?

You can see why, in Statement #5 of the Six Statements, I included the qualifying phrase "All who know what the doctrines of Arminianism are."

Chew on these things! And remember -- anyone who speaks peace to one who confesses belief in any of the doctrines of Arminianism is MOST DEFINITELY LOST. Anyone who claims to have believed in any of the doctrines of Arminianism while regenerate is MOST DEFINITELY LOST. Yet if someone speaks peace to an unregenerate person who professes to believe the true gospel, this peace-speaking is not necessarily a sign of lostness.

You might remember the post I sent about people like John Robbins, who seemed to be so strong for the gospel and against the false gospel of Arminianism. Remember that Robbins said:

<<Most churches in the United States that call themselves Christian reject the Gospel. They teach, if they are liberal, that Jesus was a good man -- even a martyr -- but he died in no one's place; or, if they are conservative, that Jesus died in everyone's place, desires all men to be saved, and offers salvation to all. But it really makes little difference whether a church is large, respectable, liberal, and teaches that Jesus died for no one; or enthusiastic, growing, conservative, and teaches that Jesus died for everyone. The result is the same: Jesus Christ actually saves no one -- no one at all. Both liberals and conservatives agree that people save themselves by an exercise of their wills. The conservative "Christ" makes salvation possible, if people will only let him into their hearts; the liberal "Christ" points the way to salvation, if people will but follow his example. Neither 'Christ' saves.

The liberals are perhaps more forthright in denying the Gospel; they say that Jesus was just a good example or a good teacher. They don't pretend to present a Saviour. The conservatives disguise the fact that they have no Gospel -- no good news -- by saying that God loves everyone and offers salvation to all. But the meaning of both the liberal message and the conservative message is the same: Neither a good moral teacher nor a mere offer of salvation actually saves. Neither the liberals nor the conservatives, the humanists nor the Arminians, have a Saviour.>>

And yet it turns out that he believes this:

<<Second, can an Arminian get the doctrine of justification straight? Yes, considered all by itself, he can. He can understand the resurrection, imputation, substitution, the alien righteousness of Christ, and believe them. Many Arminians do not, but it is theoretically possible for one to do so. One must keep in mind the distinction between a system and a person. In one of the quotes you provided, Clark pointed out that people are sometimes wonderfully confused, and they are saved in spite of that confusion.>>

And then, most recently, there was Allen Baird, who wrote this:

<<It might be said by the Christian in true disgust that such a view of the atonement [the Arminian view] is no atonement at all. ... Therefore, to put the matter at its most focused, it is not the case that the Arminians hold to one view of the atonement and the Reformed hold to another, but the Arminians really deny any atonement whatsoever!>>

And yet it turns out that he believes this:

<<However, I must confess that I deny your conclusions about all who have defective views on the atonement being unregenerate. ... Now I do not believe that all Arminians are saved. What I am saying is that they *may* be regenerated, and many are. ... Therefore, it is my opinion that the difference between us and ordinary Arminians is *only one of degree.* We simply believe more truths and reject more errors than they do. Both Calvinists and Arminians may believe in the same Christ of the ancient church creeds. The difference is that Calvinists have a clearer and more consistent conception of the nature of Christ's work than the Arminian has. ... So to the question in your letter where you say you would like to know for sure if I consider all such people (i.e. Arminians) to be unregenerate, I reply that I would not.>>

These things leave us shaking our heads. They also show that someone can seem so right-on about Arminianism (and even be persecuted for his beliefs by Arminians and other tolerant "Calvinists"!) and yet turn out to be a God-hater when it comes down to judging Arminians to be lost. And if we just knew about their anti-Arminian statements (and even their statements about the true gospel vs. the false gospel), we might be tempted to say that they are brothers in Christ before really getting all the facts. I certainly have learned this the hard way.


We have been accused here and elsewhere of being a cult. Let us look at the characteristics of a cult.



1) A centralized form of leadership that rules with unquestioned authority

2) A body of convictions, beliefs, and practices set forth boldly as "the truth"

3) A compelling presentation of the group vision to prospects that is inviting and challenging

4) A series of manipulative socializing sessions to instill psychological dependence on the group

5) A definable process of group dynamics used to unethically control and manipulate members

6) A history of abuses of authority by group leaders freely using deception and fear tactics

7) A history of psychological and spiritual abuses of group members that destroy lives

Both of them have cited well-documented evidence of cultic control among groups of political, business and therapeutic persuasion. They both have concluded that doctrinal and spiritual issues are often less a concern of new converts to cult groups than their felt personal needs, such as the need for friendship, a mission in life, and personal fulfillment. We can therefore make three statements about what cults are that are based upon these seven elements:

Cults are organizations that freely use unethical and deceptive techniques to recruit and control members.

Cult groups do not depend solely upon theological and spiritual persuasion to attract converts. Destructive cult groups also utilize sophisticated techniques of actual and literal mind control to deliberately manipulate prospects and new converts.

Cults can and do include groups and organizations that are not typically viewed as cult groups, in the sense that religious overtones do not necessarily have to be present among group members.>>


<<Every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following 5 characteristics:

1. It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members

2. It forms an elitist totalitarian society

3. Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma

4. It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds recruit people

5. Its wealth does not benefit its members or society>>


<<Although anti-cult activists and scholars did not agree on precise criteria that new religions should meet to be considered "cults," two of the definitions formulated by anti-cult activists are:

Cults are groups that often exploit members psychologically and/or financially, typically by making members comply with leadership's demands through certain types of psychological manipulation, popularly called mind control, and through the inculcation of deep-seated anxious dependency on the group and its leaders.

Cult: A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control . . . designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.>>


Now I ask those who have accused us of being a cult -- put up or shut up. Give evidence of your accusation. If you can't, you're guilty of slander. One of the main characteristics of cults is that the cult leadership actively seeks to recruit and retain as many people as possible -- or at least emotionally or psychologically vulnerable people. This in and of itself would disqualify us as a cult. We DO NOT recruit AT ALL. And if someone says he disagrees with us in essential doctrine, that person is not only FREE to go, but that person MUST go. So much for recruiting and retaining. We NEVER use deception techniques to "bring people in" or to "keep people." We're TOTALLY out front. And we NEVER EVER ask for money, we NEVER EVER tell people they need to move here to join our "group," and we NEVER EVER say that we're the only group that has the truth.

So where are the liars who say we're a cult? Come and defend your position, you liars. Bring forth your claims, you slanderers.

Of course you won't, because you can't. You just call us a cult because you hate what we stand for.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter

I'll address two issues in this one post. The first will be on schism, and the second will be on the size of assemblies.



Cindy wrote:

<<DataRat did NOT say he has no fellowship with the Reformed Baptists. What he DID say is that he prefers Sunday worship with the Belgic Reformed congregation in his are. This is not schismatic. This is preference. Totally different.>>

Kim wrote:

<<Now, I come back online and find my question blow up out of proportion. DR being accused of schism. You don't attend every church in your area? No one does we all just go to the same church every Sunday.>>

You people just don't get it, do you?

If I found another assembly in my area that believed the true gospel, I'd be running so fast to join them it would make your head spin. I am not a schismatic. I desire to join with other believers in fellowship and worship. I will not let non-essential secondary doctrines get in the way of worshipping together with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would join with them in a heartbeat, no matter their view of baptism or ecclesiology or eschatology. I desire unity, not separation from brothers and sisters in Christ.

But to you people, where you worship is just a "preference." You go to a particular church just because "we all just go to the same church every Sunday." It's just a habit. You would worship apart from your "brothers and sisters in Christ" (your own definition) based on preferences, habits, and secondary doctrines. This is schismatic. If you were not schismatic, you would not be in separate worship from those whom you considered to be brothers and sisters in Christ. You would desire to worship with them. You wouldn't separate over non-essential issues. "Oh, they hold to the Westminster Confession, while I hold to the Three Forms of Unity, so I worship at the place that holds to the Three Forms of Unity, even though I believe the Westminster Confession people are Christians." This is blatantly schismatic. When the PCA formed, they considered the OPC to be a true church, yet they did not join with the OPC. This is schismatic. And any "Reformed" or "Calvinistic" church that believes Arminian churches are true churches, then they should be eager to merge with them! After all, they preach the same gospel, just a little less consistently! A secondary issue!

So if you and anyone else on this list is not schismatic, you will work hard to unify all "true churches" (your own definition) in your area and join together in worship. You guys call me schismatic, yet YOU are the ones who are schismatic. I desire to join with ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS in worship. All true Christians are those who hold to all the essentials of the Christian Faith. Where we differ, of course, is around what the "essentials of the Christian faith" are. But if you guys were not hypocrites, you wouldn't call me schismatic; you'd have to admit that YOU'RE the schismatic ones for not worshipping with certain "Christians" (your own definition) because of preference, habit, and/or secondary doctrines.



DataRat wrote:

<<But, the Reformed Rodent would be pretty surprised if this guy actually is a current member of a real congregation. He's got a ~tiny~ clique of followers on the Internet. Which ISN'T the same as being a member of the Body of Christ.>>

And then when I replied about our real congregation, DataRat changed to:

<<By the way, Marc, how many people are members of your "assembly" ?>>

So DataRat first said he'd be surprised if I'm part of a real congregation. When I showed that I was, then DataRat tried to undermine the legitimacy of the congregation by asking how many people are part of it. And notice in the first quote, he emphasizes "tiny."

So, according to DataRat, one thing that contributes to an assembly's legitimacy is its size. The smaller it is, the less legitimate it is. So, if DataRat were consistent, he'd have to say that Bill Hybels's Willow Creek Church has quite a bit of legitimacy, since it is huge. And how about all the other mega-churches? Pray tell, DataRat -- How did they get so big? By preaching the true gospel? By telling the truth? By exercising true church discipline?

If I wanted to, I could have a church with hundreds of people. All I would have to do is speak peace to Arminians and preach the false gospel of self-esteem. We could make them very comfortable in their own self-righteous religion. We could have singles ministries and divorced ministries and teen ministries. We could have staffed nurseries so the parents could abdicate their parental responsibilities and shuffle their inconvenient kids off to play house while they hear that ear-tickling sermon. We could have "Christian proms" in which the youth engage in the immoral practice of dating. We could have "church outings" to the local beaches where the "Christian" women are dressed like whores (just a little more whorish than they already dress in the worship services, with their low-cut tops and their glittering jewelry) and the men are half naked. Oh, yeah. They'd be coming in droves. We could have our own Crystal Cathedral here on the east coast. Would that make our assembly more legitimate in your eyes, DataRat?

What a fool you are.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


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