Jim said:

<<I think you forgot the word 'utterly', as in _intensively_, ludicrous. And yes, most definitely unbiblical. You don't seem to understand some pretty basic concepts. And so you have gone wildly astray. Clark is right.>>

I guess I haven't risen to the supreme level of understanding you have. Poor me -- I can't even get basic concepts straight. All I know is that the gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the imputed righteousness and atoning blood of Jesus Christ and that those who believe this gospel are saved and that those who do not believe this gospel are lost (Mark 16:16).

<<I don't have the time to answer all the posts that I'd like to. It's interesting to hear you call Clark a "son of Satan" though. That's the heaviest accusation I've heard in person on the flimsiest grounds imaginable.>>

Here are my "flimsy grounds":

A Study on 2 John 11:

"he For speaking to him a greeting shares in the works of him evil." [The Interlinear Bible]

"For the [one] speaking a greeting shares in his evil works." [Literal Version]

Two verses previous, the Holy Spirit through John says that the one who transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He then gives a commandment in verse 10: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house and do not give him a greeting. Note that John assumes that true Christians will be able to judge those who bring a false gospel. Then come the grave words of verse 11: Anyone who gives a greeting to one who brings a false gospel shares in the evil works of the one who brought the false gospel.

What does it mean by "speaking a greeting" or "gives him a greeting" or "greets him"? Does it mean saying "hello" to such a person? No -- this is a specific kind of greeting. The Greek word translated "greeting" is usually translated "rejoice." Notice the intimate meaning of "rejoice" in the following examples: "And the one reaping receives reward, and gathers fruit to everlasting life, so that both the [one] sowing and the [one] reaping REJOICE together" (John 4:36). "For your obedience reached to all; therefore, I REJOICE over you" (Rom. 16:19). "But if indeed I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I REJOICE; yea, I REJOICE with you all. And you also REJOICE [in] the same and REJOICE with me" (Phil. 2:17-18). "REJOICE in [the] Lord always. Again I say, REJOICE" (Phil. 4:4). In other passages, it is translated "greeting" as part of a salutation (e.g., Acts 15:23, James 1:1).

"Giving a greeting," then, is obviously talking about speaking peace to that person -- calling that person a brother in Christ. In verse 9, he gives a description of that person -- one who "does not abide in the doctrine of Christ," which is talking about the gospel. John is saying that one who speaks peace to someone who does not abide in the gospel "participates in his evil deeds." Of what evil deeds is John speaking? It is the evil of not abiding in the gospel -- the evil of abiding in a false gospel. Verse 9 says that the one who performs these evil deeds (who does not abide in the gospel) "does not have God." One who "does not have God" is lost (Eph. 2:12).

What about the spiritual state of one who participates in the evil deeds of that hater of God? What does it mean to "participate in" or "to share in" or "to be a partaker of" these deeds? The Greek word used here is koinonei, which means "to share in." I'm sure that many of you recognize the root; koinos means "common" or "communal," koinonia means "partnership" or "fellowship," and koinonos means "partner" or "sharer." The following are some Scriptural examples that will give you an idea of the intimate nature of "sharing" in 2 John 11:

"God [is] faithful, through whom you were called into [the] FELLOWSHIP of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). "Since, then, the children HAVE PARTAKEN in flesh and blood ..." (Heb. 2:14a). "but according as you SHARE the sufferings of Christ ... (1 Pet. 4:13a). "to Titus, a true child according to [our] COMMON faith" (Titus 1:4a). "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a PAR-TAKING of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a PARTAKING of the body of Christ?"(1 Cor. 10:16). "Having made all diligence to write to you about the COMMON salvation ..." (Jude 3a). "Over your FELLOWSHIP in the gospel ..." (Phil. 1:5a). "... if any FELLOWSHIP of [the] spirit ..." (Phil.2:1b). "... and the FELLOWSHIP of His sufferings ..." (Phil. 3:10b). "... that you also may have FELLOW-SHIP with us. And truly our FELLOWSHIP [is] with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3b). "And you say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been PARTAKERS with them in the blood of the prophets'" (Matt. 23:30). "and our hope for you [is] certain, knowing that even as you are SHARERS of the sufferings, so also of the comfort" (2 Cor. 1:7). "In-deed being exposed both to reproaches and to afflictions; and having become PARTNERS of those so living" (Heb. 10:33). "... and [being] SHARER of the glory about to be revealed." (1 Pet. 5:1b). "... so that through these you might be PARTAKERS of [the] divine nature ..." (2 Pet.1:4b).

Now go back to 2 John 11. He who speaks peace to one who abides in a false gospel is a SHARER, PARTICIPANT, PARTAKER, PARTNER in the evil deeds -- in the FALSE GOSPEL -- of the one who abides in a false gospel. He is sharing in the wickedness of the one who does not have God. The word "koinonia" is also used in 2 Corinthians 6:14b: "And what FELLOWSHIP does light [have] with darkness?" The answer to this rhetorical question is obviously "NONE WHATSOEVER."

The professing Calvinist who speaks peace (who says, "you're my brother in Christ") to anyone who brings any of the doctrines of Arminianism is a partner in and partaker of the false gospel. He is as much a partaker of the false christ as true Christians are partakers of the true Christ. He does not truly believe that the gospel is the exclusive message of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ. He is lost.

<<Probably many do. Obviously they are confused, but, last I checked, mental clarity was not a condition on salvation.>>

If I believed that mental clarity was a condition of salvation, I would be lost.

God causes all whom He regenerates to understand and believe His Gospel.

<<Sanctification is a long and difficult process, Marc. Not everyone achieves your magnificent level of spiritual maturity t once. Most people struggle for years just to get to understand the basics of the faith.>>

So you believe that there are some Christians who do not understand the basics of the faith. I guess that means you believe that there are some regenerate Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and even atheists out there, eh?

<<Why don't you be a good follower of Christ and go out there and humbly, patiently, teach those who are struggling with basic doctrinal issues, instead of condemning them. You're not helping anyone.>>

I guess in your mind you are "a good follower of Christ" by saying to those who do not believe the gospel, "You shall not surely die."

<<Some people are their own best reductio. ;) Consider the book of Galatians. Consider Peter -- Paul wrote that he confronted him (Gal. 2:11-13). Even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Clearly Peter had some false beliefs in his head. He was not straightforward about the truth of the gospel. Peter even infected Barnabas so that he, too, was led to believe a falsehood. Do you have the blatant audacity to claim the Peter and Barnabas were not regenerate at that time. Mustn't you also claim, then, that the Apostle Peter is the son of Satan?>>

Peter did not believe or confess the false gospel. He sinfully implied by his actions (out of fear) that the Jewish Christians were somehow better than the Gentile Christians.

<<One must, in the absence of proof to the contrary, accept the profession of faith of the Arminian. The Arminian has an internal inconsistency, and you, unless you claim to be able to see into the heart, cannot know whether the Arminian is regenerate or not. You have no choice but to go by the profession of faith.>>

And that profession of faith is false. It is faith in an idol.

<<Certainly not. Prior to regeneration, man is spiritually dead. Most likely a man dead in sin does not believe too many spiritual truths. Immediately prior to regeneration, most people, I would say are Pelagian. A man, upon being regenerated, is not granted an entire understanding of systematic theology.>>

I am not saying that a newborn Christian is granted an entire understanding of systematic theology.

I am not saying that a newborn Christian is able to systematize and articulate the doctrines of grace. I AM saying that a newborn Christian believes the gospel, he will not believe anything contrary to the doctrines of grace.

<<Undoubtedly, the new born babe will have many false beliefs.>>

And one of those false beliefs, according to Jim, is the belief in a false gospel.

<<Consider this Marc: If someone believes ANY SINGLE false proposition in theology, then that belief technically must lead to the contradiction of the whole system. Then, the concept you are espousing entails that, for one to be saved, he must be perfect in his beliefs. This is utterly absurd, and ludicrous. It means that no one can be saved, for surely we are all in error at one point or another. (Would you grant yourself an exception from this????????)>>

I am not saying that Christians are infallible. I am saying that God causes all Christians to believe the gospel. Those who believe the gospel are regenerate; those who do not believe the gospel are unregenerate.

Michael said:

<<He must believe this *if he is consistent.* But many people are not consistent. Your argument operates on the assumption that people hold to all the implications of their beliefs. This is in point of the logic of believings incorrect. So your argument is unsound.>>

No, I am not assuming that people hold to *all* the implications of their beliefs. I AM saying that those who believe in universal atonement (and who believe that some will go to hell) AUTOMATICALLY believe that their salvation is not solely conditioned on that atonement. They AUTOMATICALLY believe that the difference between saved and lost, between heaven and hell, is NOT the atonement. This is a NECESSARY implication.

Now I challenge you and all others who are reading this to go to someone you know who believes universal atonement and ask him if the difference between saved and lost, between heaven and hell, is what Christ's atonement did. And -- Michael and Jim especially -- when this person continues to believe universal atonement after being confronted with its implications, will you judge him to be lost? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter

Jim said:

> Of course. But you haven't shown that _no_ Arminian
> believes this gospel. Of course they do claim to believe
> it. But they also believe other things which are not
> consistent with it.

I. Ask an Arminian what makes the difference between saved and lost, between heaven and hell.

A. He might just come right out and say that the difference is faith.
1. If he does come right out and say the difference is faith, would you judge him to be lost?

B. He might say that it is Christ's work that makes the difference.
2. Confront him this way: "But isn't Christ's work for everyone without exception?"
a. The Arminian will answer, "Yes, but a person has to BELIEVE it in order for it to be effectual."
i. Have you ever heard an Arminian answer the question in a fundamentally different way than 2a?
ii. Would you judge the Arminian to be lost on the basis of what he said in 2a?

> And you didn't address much of my argument. Anyone who
> reads my post and then your response will probably wonder
> why.
> Why does Paul call the Galatians "brethren"? Is he also
> a son of Satan?

Those brethren to whom Paul is referring believe that salvation is conditioned solely on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ.

> This is a fine example of Scripture twisting! What is the
> doctrine that John is referring to? "Many deceivers have
> gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as
> coming in the flesh" (2 John 7). You can't just use the
> following warning and instructions (e.g. 2 John 11) contra
> Arminians without ripping the Scripture from its context.

Is "confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh" merely saying, "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh"? If that were the case, then you would have to let the Mormons and the Moonies and even the Jehovah's Witnesses into your fellowship. You would say, "But they don't believe the truth about Jesus. But ... But ..." And this would support my point. Confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh means to confess the TRUTH about the PERSON and WORK of Jesus. Arminians, although they have a god called "Jesus," do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to establish that righteousness that demands the salvation of all whim Jesus represented. This is a denial of the true Christ.

> Arminians *do* believe the gospel. They just don't understand
> every aspect of the gospel.
> Consider this Marc: Arminians CONFESS to believe that they
> are saved by the death of the historic Christ of Scripture.
> They believe that His death saves them from their sins. It
> also happens that they are confused about the nature of that
> death, and don't see the implications of a general atonement.
> Hence, their is a distinct lack of mental clarity in seeing
> the implications of one belief for another. They may not
> ACTUALLY believe in a general atonement, but they SAY they
> do.
> You come along and say that anyone who SAYS they believe in a
> general atonement is unsaved. You ignore the fact that the
> Arminian also SAYS he is saved solely by the work of Christ.
> Thus you **DO** make mental clarity a condition of salvation,
> and hence, by your own words, you are lost. I'm not saying
> you ARE lost, but your argument has been reduced to absurdity.

Not all who say "Christ" believe in the true Christ. There are false Christs. Not all who say they believe the "gospel" believe the true gospel. There are false gospels. This is a fundamental concept in the epistles. We are not to believe every spirit, because there are many false prophets.

Romans 10:9 says that all who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead are saved. Yet Jesus said that many who confess "Lord, Lord" to Him on the last day will be damned (Matthew 7:21-23). Is it because they just didn't believe that God raised Christ from the dead? Of course not. It was because they did not TRULY believe that Jesus is Lord.

The atonement is one of the BASIC ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS of the gospel. It is not some "higher theology" that only intellectuals can grasp. You said that Arminians "are confused about the nature of that death." In this area, CONFUSION IS DEADLY. If one does not understand the atonement, he does not understand the true Christ. He is ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel, and he is going about to establish a righteousness of his own. He is lost.

Let's also talk about the Arminian who believes in conditional perseverance. You are saying (in agreement with Clark), that a true Arminian MUST be a saved man. Clark, in the paragraph that follows that quote, says that one thing a true Arminian believes is "that since salvation is not made certain by God's decree nor by Christ's sacrifice, and since man's will is free or independent of God's control, a regenerate man can unregenerate himself and ultimately be lost." Clark here is obviously saying that the true Arminian is one who believes that his continuing in a state of salvation is based on his works and not on the work of Christ. Now -- do you believe that one who believes in conditional perseverance is saved? After all, he is just "mentally unclear" about salvation by the sacrifice of Christ.

> This is reply is so far wide of the mark it's hardly worth
> addressing. But, here goes: No! Arminians CLAIM to believe
> in justification by faith alone, by the finished work of Christ
> alone, by the imputation of Christ's righteousness alone. Those
> other folks explicity deny it. Muslims, et al., are explicitly
> Pelagian.

Okay. So you do believe that all who explicitly deny justification by faith alone, by the finished work of Christ alone, by the imputation of Christ's righteousness alone are lost. Correct?

Well, here's what Clark says about what Arminians believe and what they deny (Michael should also pay close attention to these, as he, too, espouses the view that Arminians do not necessarily deny the atonement and do not necessarily believe that at least some of their salvation is conditioned on them):

"that Christ died, not as the substitute for certain men, definitely to assume their penalty, but to render a chance of salvation indifferently possible to all men ... that ... salvation is not made certain ... by Christ's sacrifice." (What Do Presbyterians Believe?, pp. 174-175)

"The Lutherans as well as the Arminians teach that a regenerated person can nullify his regeneration. ... The Arminians must deny that God is omnipotent, assert that he changes his mind, or that he did not purpose to save anyone in particular. They must also deny omniscience, for if he really knew that Peter would be saved and that Judas would be lost, free will could never alter their destinies. Omniscience allows no alternate possibilities. To conclude this subhead on perseverance, it is well to note -- though the idea can hardly have been missed through the discussion -- that perseverance is inseparably conjoined with the eternal decree, unconditional election, and the covenant of grace. Each is supported severally by various Scriptural passages, but logically they form an indestructible, systematic whole. Any other theory of sanctification is simply not Christianity." (Sanctification, pp. 19, 45)

"This is all the more necessary because the Arminians (early Methodists and present-day Nazarenes) reject the penal theory of the atonement. ... The main idea of Arminianism in connection with what Calvinist's call Christ's Satisfaction is that Christ died in order, not to save some, but simply to make salvation possible to all. According to the theory, Christ died for all men alike and not 'specially of those who believe.' The Father did not give to Christ a 'peculiar people' or a 'promised possession.' Christ never procured reconciliation for anyone. ... At any rate, according to the Arminians, Christ never actually procured the reconciliation of anyone: He merely removed the obstacle of divine justice so as to make all mankind salvable. The Atonement has no efficacy in itself so far as application goes. For that matter, on their theory, the ransom might not have released anyone. In other words, Christ did not intend to save anybody, nor did his death insure [sic] the salvation of anybody. Salvation is an additional work of man's free will. One man is more spiritual than another, or more clever, or more determined; and so of his own natural ability he takes advantage of the chance that Christ offered equally to all. If any person wishes to be reconciled to God, the man himself must do something of his own free will to produce the reconciliation. He must apply the redemption to himself. Arminianism, as noted above, contradicts Calvinism at every point; and here we see it contradicting the obviously Biblical teaching that man is dead in sin. His will is not totally depraved; without regeneration he can exercise faith. Though no one accuses the Arminians of being Roman Catholics, the two agree on one point at least -- a fatal point; namely, that while Christ's sacrifice was necessary for salvation, it is not sufficient. Man must add some meritorious work of his own." (The Atonement, pp. 57, 139-140)

Now tell me, Jim and Michael -- do Arminians deny that salvation is based solely on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ?

> <sigh>You are not preaching to Arminians here. I have never
> seen you on any list teaching Calvinistic doctrines to those
> who claim to be Arminians. I'm subscribed to a bunch of lists,
> and I have been for years.

Yes, I know your reputation.

> (a) You're not helping Arminians to understand the
> implications of a general atonement

Anyone who knows me knows I have witnessed and am witnessing to Arminians. No need to defend myself here.

> (b) You're not being obedient to the commands we have
> been given. I don't see where we are commanded to go
> around preaching that some people are NOT saved. All
> I can see is the command to go and preach the gospel,
> and let God decided who is, and isn't saved.

Really? Christians are not to judge who is lost? And you are accusing ME of not knowing my Bible??

A little study on judgment:

In the same chapter in which Jesus forbade self-righteous judgment (Matthew 7), He said, "Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (v. 6), and "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (vv. 15-20). How are we to know who the swine, dogs, and false prophets are without judging? Notice that Jesus did not say, "Give not that which is holy unto those whom you think are probably dogs ... Beware of those whom you think are probably false prophets ... Ye shall have a pretty good chance of being right if you look at their fruits." No! He said, "Ye SHALL know them." We SHALL know who the dogs, swine, and false prophets are. We SHALL know the state of their hearts.

God commands us, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). How can we obey this commandment if we can never be sure whether or not someone has an unbelieving heart? Notice that God did not say, "Do not be bound together with those who you think have a high probability of being unbelievers." God is stating that we will know who the unbelievers are and that we are not to be bound together with them. He goes on to mention unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidels, and idols as those things with which the believer is to have no fellowship (vv. 14-16); judgment of what unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidels, and idols are is an absolute necessity for God's people in order for us to "come out from among them, and be ye separate" and to "touch not the unclean [thing]" (v. 17). If you will not judge saved and lost, then you will not come out not come out of Babylon (Revelation 18:4).

God commands us, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). It cannot be clearer. God's people are to judge between false and true prophets. And we SHALL be able to know whether they are from God.

How shall we know? After all, we can't read people's minds. We can't directly see people's hearts. No, but Jesus states that we can judge the heart by judging the direct channel that comes from the heart: the mouth. After stating that "every tree is known by his own fruit" (Luke 6:44), Jesus states what that fruit is: "for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (v. 45). We CAN judge the heart by what proceeds from the mouth. The words spoken are the fruit of the state of the heart.

But is this talking about just any words? Does this mean, for example, that if someone utters a vulgarity we are to judge the person unregenerate? Here is where judging righteous judgment comes in. The standard that the true believer uses to judge saved and lost is THE GOSPEL.

There are two types of speech by which we judge a person to be lost. The first is speech that confesses a false gospel. "If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:9). "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9). Confession of a false gospel is a confession that any part of salvation is conditioned on the sinner. It opposes the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. It is confessed by those who, "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). They "speak great swelling [words] of vanity" (2 Peter 2:18).

The second is speech that tolerates and endorses a false gospel by "saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). He speaks the lie of Satan, "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4), to those who believe a false gospel. God makes it very clear in 2 John 11 that he who speaks peace to one who confesses a false gospel "is partaker of his evil deeds." These are those who judge saved and lost not by doctrine but by outward appearance, sincerity, and reputation.

Are Christians then to judge that these people are reprobate (i.e., destined for hell)? By no means. We are not called to judge their eternal destiny; this is only known by God. We are only to judge that they are now unregenerate. God might save some of these lost people who believe, confess, and tolerate a false gospel; some of them might be among God's elect. One thing is sure -- if God saves them, they will no longer believe, confess, and tolerate a false gospel! Upon regeneration and conversion, God causes His people to believe and confess the one and only true gospel.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter


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