Dear Dorwin:

Thank you for your letter of March 23.

It sounds as if you believe that this pastor friend of yours is saved even though he rejects the efficacy of the atonement, which is the heart of the gospel. You said that "he is a '4 pointer' but learning." However, anyone who does not believe the gospel (the good news of salvation conditioned totally on the blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ) doesn't merely need to learn some more -- he needs to be saved!! You said that you were "inquiring to see if we can accomplish the task of this person being brought to the knowledge of the complete truth." In order for this man to be brought to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel (which he obviously does not have), he will have to be regenerated. I have no problem contacting him and talking with him, just as long as you know that I would be witnessing to him and telling him that all his efforts at religion and morality before God are dead works, idolatry, and fruit unto death because he does not believe the gospel.

I am enclosing some materials for you to show you where we stand.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter


Dear Dorwin,

Thank you for your letter of May 1. You're right -- "experiences do not necessarily reveal truth." In fact, experiences are many times used to avoid or to nullify truth. The truth is that those who believe the gospel are saved, and those who do not believe the gospel are lost. The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. New-born Christians can be confused about many things, but they are not confused about the gospel. If a person can be a Christian without belief of the gospel, then the Word of God is a big lie!

You said, "I have long ago departed from going around trying to figure out just who is who." However, God's Word commands that we "figure out who is who"!! I would submit that even you judge saved and lost. If you see a woman who is a practicing harlot, would you say, "Well, I can't really judge her heart"? Of course not. You would judge her to be lost. What standard do you use to judge saved and lost? It must be the Word of God. And the Word of God says that those who do not believe the gospel are lost. We must judge saved and lost. We are commanded to judge saved and lost. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers." How can you obey this commandment if you do not judge who are believers and who are unbelievers? How can you witness to unbelievers if you do not judge who the unbelievers are? Judgment is a necessity if we are true Christians.

You said, "For it follows that if I'm able to place a man in Hell I can also place him in Heaven. THAT'S NOT MY JOB NOR MY CALLING -- IT'S GOD'S!" It is true that God is the only one who condemns to hell. I do not condemn anyone to hell, because I do not know who among the lost people are God's elect. But it is my job and every Christian's job to judge saved and lost.

You said, "Why then would I ever want to criticize a person for what they DIDN'T know?" Please read this passage very, very carefully:

"For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:2-3)

These lost Jews DID NOT KNOW about God's righteousness and were thus trying to establish a righteousness of their own. Would you count these Jews lost, or would you say, "Why then would I ever want to criticize a person for what they DIDN'T know?" Anyone who is IGNORANT of God's righteousness is LOST. There is no way to get around this passage. Those who DO NOT KNOW are LOST. In light of this passage, how can you justify your calling those ignorant of God's righteousness saved?

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter


Dear Dorwin,

I'm finally getting around to responding to your letter of May 25. It's been quite busy, as I have put the Outside the Camp site on the World Wide Web and have prepared the latest issue of Outside the Camp. I think that your issues have all been addressed by others who have written to you, but I'll briefly go over some of your points. If things still aren't clear, let me know. However, I don't think the problem is that you don't understand what we're saying; I think your problem is that you understand all too well what we are saying and dislike the implications of it.

You said, "I want you to send me your interpretation of what you believe the gospel to be." Well, this isn't my interpretation, as I believe it to be the biblical definition: The gospel is the good news of salvation based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone.

You said, "For all Arminians are not lost no more than all 'Calvinists' are 'saved.' ... You say all Arminians are lost, I say in this conclusion you are in error!" It is true that not all who profess to believe the doctrines of grace (i.e., professing Calvinists) are saved. In fact, I believe that most professing Calvinists are lost because they tolerate the false gospel (i.e., they say that Arminianism is just a "less consistent" version of the true gospel). There are very, very few Calvinists who believe in the exclusive gospel of salvation conditioned solely on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ. The reason all Arminians are lost is that they believe in a "gospel" of salvation conditioned on the sinner. You said that your 4-pointer friend was not lost; however, the true gospel shows that the difference between saved and lost is the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ. If one believes that Christ's blood does not make the difference between saved and lost (which is what 4-pointers believe when they talk of universal atonement), then that person is lost, because he does not believe the gospel.

I don't know how I can be more clear. I am not saying that one needs to be able to articulate and systematize the doctrines of grace in order to be saved. I am saying that the Bible says that those who are ignorant of the righteousness of God and do not abide in the doctrine of Christ are lost (Romans 10:3 and 2 John 9).

You asked what "Soli Deo Gloria" means -- it means "to God Alone be Glory."

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc D. Carpenter


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