<<I came across your website as I was doing research on an unrelated topic. I began reading your articles.>>
I praise God that He caused you to find our web site. It is an odor of death unto death for those being lose an odor of life unto life for those being saved (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Let's see which one it was for you.
<<My reaction to it is that it reminds me of the story of Roger Williams, who got to the point that the only person he felt was pure enough to worship with him was his wife, and he wasn't always sure about her.>>
I have no idea who Roger Williams is. My standing with God to be able to worship Him has nothing to do at all with my own personal purity in my character and conduct; it has to do with the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to me. And I love to worship with everyone to whom the righteousness of Christ has been imputed, although none of them are perfectly pure. In fact, I don't even come close to perfect purity. I continually fall short of the perfect righteousness of God. I am a sinful, impure man. I continually cry out, "O wretched man that I am!" (Romans 7:24). If I based my standing before God in worship on my own character and conduct, I would never be pure enough to worship Him. And if I based my fellowship with others on the perfect purity that God requires, I not only would not fellowship with anyone else, but I'd also be a hypocrite if I considered myself pure enough in my own character and conduct to come before God in worship.
I fellowship with everyone who confesses belief in the true gospel, which manifests itself in many ways, including evidence of true repentance from idolatry and dead works. Is that the "purity" about which you were writing? If so, then with whom do you fellowship? Do you fellowship with those who confess belief in a false gospel? Do you fellowship with those who believe that Christ died for everyone without exception? Do you fellowship with those who speak peace to believe that Christ died for everyone without exception? Such persons do not believe the gospel (see www.outsidethecamp.org/gospatone.htm).
<<You have managed to condemn to hell the members of every reformed denomination (OPC, PCA, etc.), as well as all the great theologians of the past and present (even John Calvin).>>
I have never condemned anyone to hell. It is not my or any Christian's place to judge whether an unregenerate person is elect (who will eventually be saved and go to heaven) or reprobate (who will never be saved and is condemned to hell). It is my and every Christian's place to judge whether or not someone is regenerate. For example, when Charles Spurgeon spoke peace to John Wesley, I judge that Spurgeon was an unregenerate man at the time he spoke peace to John Wesley. But I do not know if God regenerated Spurgeon later in his life; thus, I do not know if Spurgeon is in heaven or hell. I have thus not condemned Spurgeon to hell. Please see www.outsidethecamp.org/fte34.htm and www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm .
You talk about "every reformed denomination"; I doubt I even know "every reformed denomination." You talk about "all the great theologians of the past and present." I haven't even mentioned "all the great theologians of the past and present" on our site. You speak in quite sweeping terms, don't you think? It is interesting how people latch on to the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame and are quick to say, "how dare you" without even thinking about WHY I have put these people in the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame. Calvin, for example, espoused universal atonement. Yet just because I've said that the "great" John Calvin was unregenerate when he espoused this damnable heresy, there's the immediate "how dare you" reaction, showing that you are a respecter of persons. Just because Calvin was a famous "theologian" does not make him immune to a Christian judging him to be unregenerate. He's just as unregenerate as Joe Blow from Idaho who espouses universal atonement. There's no difference.
<<Evidently heaven is a pretty empty place right now, as based on your view there have been only a handful of true believers over the millennia of human history.>>
Alright - please give me a single quote from the web site that says that I believe that "there have been only a handful of true believers over the millennia of human history." Go ahead. Of course, you won't find any such evidence for your false accusation, because there isn't any.
<<Indeed, how many people on earth today hold to your view? I would be surprised if the number is over a thousand. Are you saying that of the 6 billion people on the face of the earth, God has chosen such a tiny number for salvation?>>
I have no idea how many people on earth today believe the true gospel. But I am finding more and more, thank God. Our web site has been used to find other believers all over the world. And, of course, there are more people without computers than there are with computers, so we haven't even reached most of the people in the world.
You talk of "my view," as if it's some view that is foreign to the majority of Christians. Well, I didn't come up with this view; it's not mine. It's the Word of God. The gospel is not something I invented; belief of the gospel as the immediate fruit of regeneration is not something I invented -- this is God's Word. You're not arguing with me; you're arguing with God. How many people in the world believe like me when it comes to the gospel? Every single true Christian in the world. Every single true Christian in the world believes the same gospel.
<<Is that the gracious God you worship?>>
Very interesting. So you equate numbers to God's grace. Thus, if there are fewer numbers of the elect (both currently and down through history) than you think there should be, then you must think that God is not gracious. Very interesting. So all the billions of Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus in the world show that God is not a gracious God? Perhaps you believe, like Robert Schuller and Billy Graham, that "there is a wideness to God's mercy" -- so wide that some of the heathen who've never heard of Christ are still saved (www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy52.htm). Is that the "gracious god" that you worship?
<<What is your eschatology? Mine is a belief that the knowledge of the glory of God will one day cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. The church will continue to grow and expand until the second coming of Christ. My perception of your view is that God is failing because tens of millions have been led astray by the "false gospel" (evidently your God is too weak to stop this) and only a handful have true faith. Your God must be either too weak to lead men to the truth or so stingy with his grace that he has decided only to save the tiny remnant of those that believe precisely as you do. That's not the God I worship.>>
I most definitely agree with you that you and I do not worship the same God. One of us worships a false god.
It is very interesting how your eschatology fits into all this. I assume, from your comments, that you have a postmillenial eschatology. I have an amillenial eschatology. Yet one's eschatology in and of itself is not evidence of lostness (unless it includes the dispensational viewpoint that there were and will be different ways of salvation). But you use your eschatology to justify your speaking peace to those who do not believe the true gospel and to justify your hatred of the only true way of salvation as put forth on our web site.
You say that you perceive my view to be one of God as a failing and weak God because tens of millions have been led astray by the false gospel. To the contrary -- my God is absolutely, totally STRONG and POWERFUL to do EVERYTHING that He has decreed, making Him absolutely, totally SUCCESSFUL in His purpose. Millions upon millions have been, are being, and will be led astray by false gospels because GOD DECREED that this would happen and GOD ACTIVELY CAUSES this to happen. This is no weak, failing god who wishes that every single person, or even the majority of people, would repent and believe. This is no Arminian or free-offer Calvinist god who is eternally disappointed and sad that His desire is not fulfilled. This is the SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE UNIVERSE who SENDS PEOPLE A STRONG DELUSION so that THEY SHOULD BELIEVE A LIE (2 Thessalonians 2:11). That's MY God. How about yours?
So is your god failing because there are so many Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists on the earth? Must be. Unless, of course, you believe that your god is not so "stingy" with his "grace," making it so such people are still going to heaven even though they do not believe the true gospel. And what about the universal atonement advocates? Is your god not "stingy" with his "grace" so that those who trample the blood of Christ by believing that His blood did not demand and ensure the salvation of all whom He represented are regenerate people? Is your god not "stingy" with his "grace" so that those who treat the work of Christ as nothing by believing that His work does not make the only difference between salvation and damnation are regenerate people? Is your god so weak that he is unable to glorify himself in the hearts of every single person whom he saves by giving them a knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6)? Is your god such a weak failure that when he saves someone, he does not cause them to count all their former self-righteous religion to be loss and dung because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord (Philippians 3:8)? Is your god so weak and so much a failure that there are millions upon millions of Christians who do not give God all the glory for their salvation but reserve some of it for themselves, who boast and glory in their own efforts as what makes the difference between salvation and damnation?
Oh, yes, there is certainly a "wideness" to your god's "mercy." Your god is not "stingy" with his "grace." But your god is not a just God and a Savior. Your god is not Just and Justifier. Your god is not able to cause belief in the gospel.
My God is the sovereign God of the universe who has mercy on whom He pleases and hardens whom He pleases (Romans 9:18). My God is the God who conditioned all of His people's salvation on the work of Jesus Christ alone (Psalm 103:2-12; Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 53:1-12; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Matthew 1:21; John 3:16; Acts 13:32-39; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 3:20-28; Romans 4:5-8,13-25; Romans 10:4,15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:3-2:22; Ephesians 3:6; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:1,9-10; Hebrews 10:4-17) and, upon regeneration, causes them to BELIEVE that their salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone (Isaiah 45:20-21; Mark 16:15-16; John 6:29; John 8:24,32; John 16:8-11; John 17:3, John 20:31; Acts 16:31-32; Romans 6:17-18; Romans 10:1-15, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Philippians 3:8; Hebrews 11:6). Amen.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
I recently watched the end of an old Billy Graham crusade. Graham talked about Jesus loving and dying for everyone in the stadium and gave his invitation. It was something like, "If you want Jesus to change your life, then you need to come down front and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior." As the choir was singing "Just As I Am," hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people streamed into the aisles and headed down to the front. From a numbers standpoint, it was an awesome sight. But these hundreds upon hundreds of poor deceived people were coming down to "accept" a false jesus who died for everyone without exception and who was waiting for them to do their part.
I can see you rejoicing because of these hundreds and hundreds of people coming down. You see this as the church continuing to grow and expand. You see this as evidence that God's grace isn't "stingy." You would say that I believe that God failed in that crusade because I believe these hundreds and hundreds of people were being led astray by the false gospel, which God was too weak to stop. What dung.
And just today a brother in Christ (my brother, not yours) posted a transcript of Larry King's interview with Joel Osteen to our e-mail discussion list. I have attached the transcript. Osteen is the non-judgmental pastor who won't judge Muslims or Jews to be unregenerate, and because of his "positive message" of non-judgmentalism, he has the largest church in the country -- about 30,000 people attend every weekend. Osteen preaches a free-will gospel and has never used the word "sinners."
I can see you rejoicing because of the tens of thousands of people at Osteen's church. You see this as the church continuing to grow and expand. You would agree with Osteen that these numbers are a confirmation of God's blessing:
KING: "Many evangelists feel that the church, the church itself, the religion, has failed. You share that view?"
OSTEEN: "Well, I think in a sense when you see certain things in society you would think that. But in another sense I see faith in America. Faith in the world. At an all-time high today. When I was growing up it was a big deal to have a church of 1,000. Now there's churches of 10,000. So many of them. So I think in one sense I can agree with that point. But in another sense I see a real spiritual awakening taking place."
CALLER: "My second question would be -- I don't know -- I heard him talking a little bit ago about how he sees faith getting stronger in America and across the world, and I believe that it's the opposite, that -- we're seeing higher rates of divorce, higher rates of drug and alcohol use among young people, and old, and with abductions, and things like that getting worse and worse."
OSTEEN: "As far as the other we kind of talked about, I can see his point, but I think there's another point. How can we be moving our church into our basketball arena that seats 16,000 people? I mean, people are hungry for hope and encouragement."
KING: "You're a glass-half-full, right?"
OSTEEN: "I am. I see, like I said, you look back 10 years ago, there was, you know, not that many churches that had over 1,000 or 5,000 people. It's a different day today."
Sounds just like you, David. When Osteen was growing up, a church of 1,000 was a big deal, and now there are churches with tens of thousands. According to you, this must be evidence that the church is continuing to grow and expand. You must love those 10,000 and 30,000 member churches. You must love Willow Creek Church. You see these mega-churches as confirmation that God's grace isn't "stingy." And if I say that the false gospel is being preached at these churches and that tens of thousands of people are being led astray by the false gospel in these churches, you'd say that I believe God has failed in these churches and is too weak to stop the false gospel in these churches. What dung.
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. Then we could be part of that grand expansion of the "church" that you love so much.
Well, I want no part of that. Why? Because I'm a Christian.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they cut you off, and will reproach you, and will cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man; rejoice in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is much in Heaven! For their fathers did according to these things to the prophets. But woe to you, rich ones, for you have your comfort! Woe to you, those having been filled, for you will hunger! Woe to you, those laughing now, for you will mourn and lament! Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers did according to these things to the false prophets." (Luke 6:22-26)
E-mails, Forums, and Letters