Dear Hugh,

You said:

> If you teach that a man
> dead in sin must first believe the five points of Calvinism before he can
> repent of his sin and believe in Christ's death and resurrection you have
> added to it.


I do not teach this and have never taught this. There are NO prerequisites to faith and repentance.

But what does it mean to REPENT and BELIEVE? What specifically is to be repented of? What specifically is to be believed? How does one know he is believing in the true God and the true Christ and the true gospel rather than a false god and a false christ and a false gospel?

What I proclaim and what every true preacher of the gospel proclaims is the GOSPEL -- the good news of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. The true preacher proclaims Christ's person (God-Man Mediator) and Christ's work (establishing a righteousness that demands and ensures the salvation of all whom He represented). He calls his hearers to believe this gospel and to repent of ever thinking that salvation was conditioned on himself. He clearly proclaims the truth that any who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel -- the very imputed righteousness of Christ as the ground of salvation -- are lost, and their deeds are evil. He clearly proclaims that any who believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner -- which includes everyone who believes in universal atonement -- are lost, and their deeds are evil. Is this what you proclaim?

When God saves one of His elect, He gives them knowledge of the person and work of Christ. This knowledge is not a prerequisite to salvation; it is the inevitable result of salvation. A newborn believer might not be able to systematize and articulate the doctrines of grace, but since he believes the gospel, he will never believe the antithesis to any of these doctrines. He will never believe in any of the blasphemous doctrines of Arminianism. He may have never heard of the word "Calvinism," but he knows that he is saved by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, which demanded and ensured his salvation.

Is this what you believe?

> If you believe that God cannot use an Arminian who preaches
> repentance and faith in order to draw His elect unto Himself then
> you do not
> believe in an absolute Sovereign God.


This is like saying that "If you believe that God cannot use a Jehovah's Witness who preaches repentance and faith in order to draw His elect unto Himself then you do not believe in an absolute Sovereign God." Or you could even put in there Mormons or Moonies or whatever. To say that God uses His gospel to draw His elect unto Himself is not denying God's sovereignty; in fact, it is affirming that God sovereignly appoints the means by which He saves His people. And the Bible is very clear that it is only through the gospel that He saves His people. The Arminian does not preach the gospel. If you think the Arminian does preach the gospel, then you have no idea what the gospel is.

> All men will stand or fall before God who judges the heart -
> which I cannot
> do, and unless you can present the Lambs Book of Life and show that an
> individuals name is not written in it be careful who you so quickly label
> unregenerate.


All believers are COMMANDED to judge. See

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/rightjudg.htm. If a person does not judge, then he has no idea how to obey the command not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. He disobeys the command to test the spirits. He cannot obey the command not to receive into his house a person who comes with a false gospel. So, Hugh, do you judge any atheists, homosexuals, pro-abortionists, Muslims, etc., lost? If so, how can you say that you do not judge the heart? And BY WHAT STANDARD do you judge them lost?

I am open to further discussion of these issues.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc


> Dear Marc,
> You have done it again - skirted the issue - what I would like
> to hear from
> you is the answer to the question asked by the Philippian jailor - "Sirs,
> what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).


I would answer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (v. 31) and I would then explain what this means to him and to all that are in his house (v. 32).

What does "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" mean to YOU, Hugh? Is it some mystical belief in an undefinable Jesus? Is it a warm feeling that makes one's spine tingle and makes one say, "Oh, how I love Jesus! I don't know who he is or what he did, but I just know I love him! I love him soooooo much!"? Or is there some KNOWLEDGE involved in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ? If there is some KNOWLEDGE, what is this KNOWLEDGE? Come on, Hugh, don't skirt the issue.

Marc

[By the way, to those of you who don't know, Hugh Diggins is an elder at Reformed Bible Church, a church that is about 25 miles away from us.]


Dear Hugh,

I am re-sending this message because I have added people to the cc list. If you choose to respond, please respond to this e-mail so those on the expanded cc list can get your response.

I was thinking some more about your contention that those who say that God doesn't use an Arminian gospel to save people are denying God's sovereignty. Consider this: What if you met a person who said that God sovereignly brings people to the worship service by transporting them on a cushion of air to the worship service? And what if he said that if you drive a car to the worship service, you're denying God's sovereignty? This is like what you're saying. Is it denying God's sovereignty to get in a car and go to a worship service rather than waiting for God to transport you on a cushion of air? Why is this not denying God's sovereignty? After all, can't God transport you on a cushion of air if he wants to? Are you limiting God by driving to the worship service?



And, on an even more serious note, what about Christ's atoning death? What if someone said that since God is sovereign, He didn't need to send Christ to die for people, He could have just saved them without using Christ as mediator? What do you think of that? Is it denying God's sovereignty to say that God used the means of Christ's work on the cross rather than saving them without the cross? Christ's accomplished work is the ULTIMATE means that God has ordained for the salvation of His people. If you deny this means, you deny the gospel; you deny that God's law and justice MUST be satisfied in order for a sinner to be saved. In the same way, if you deny that God has sovereignly purposed to save His people by means of the true gospel, then you are denying both God's sovereignty and the gospel; you are denying that God MUST be glorified as a just God and a Savior in the hearts of His people.

Marc


Dear Hugh,

I must respond to a false accusation that you put forth in your final letter.

You said:

> You ask me to pass judgment on the eternal state of the souls
> of others


and

> But God has not given
> me (nor any
> mere man) the authority nor the ability to determine the final
> salvation of
> another - it is before God and Him alone that all men must stand
> in judgment.


I have NEVER said that Christians must pass judgment on the eternal state of the souls of others.

I have NEVER said that Christian must determine the final salvation of another.

Christians are NOT to judge someone who does not believe the gospel to be reprobate. They are NOT to say that this person who does not believe the gospel will surely end up in hell. I have NEVER condemned someone to hell.

Christians ARE to judge someone who does not believe the gospel to be unregenerate. But in judging such a person to be unregenerate, Christians realize that this unregenerate person could be one of God's elect.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter
Sovereign Redeemer Assembly


Hugh Diggins, prolific letters-to-the-editor writer and elder at Reformed Bible Church about a half-hour from our house, said the following in a letter to the editor that got printed this past Sunday:

"Today, those who are in Christ are living under the New Covenant, the Old, with its laws and sacrifices, has been replaced through Jesus' one-time sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law and changed salvation from a system of works to a matter of faith alone in His perfect, atoning death."

Hugh's jesus changed the system of salvation; whereas in the Old Covenant, salvation was by works, now this jesus has made it salvation by faith. Just another example of why we are not part of that "church."

-- Marc


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