As most of the readers of Outside the Camp know, we at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly have promoted and endorsed the materials of The Trinity Foundation on many occasions, both publicly and privately, over the years. In Vol. 1, No. 3 (Aug. 1997) of this newsletter we featured The Trinity Foundation in our Ministry Feature and included a book review of Gordon Clark's The Johannine Logos. In Vol. 2, No. 3 (Aug. 1998), we included The Trinity Foundation in our list of Christian Ministries on the back page. I wrote a series of four articles The Trinity Review. We considered the articles in The Trinity Review and the books we had read by Gordon Clark to be excellent.
This is why the turn of events that began at the end of last year has been such a shock to us.
By the grace of God, I was notified of some things that Gordon Clark said in some of his books that I had not read. After the first time I was notified, other quotes from Clark came in. The most shocking was the following quote, which goes into the
HETERODOXY HALL OF SHAME
"An Arminian may be a truly regenerate Christian; in fact, if he is truly an Arminian and not a Pelagian who happens to belong to an Arminian church, he must be a saved man. But he is not usually, and cannot consistently be assured of his salvation. The places in which his creed differs from our Confession confuse the mind, dilute the Gospel, and impair its proclamation.
"The Arminian system holds (1) that God elects persons to eternal life on the condition of their reception of grace and their perseverance as foreseen; (2) 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; (3) that all men have the same influence of the Holy Ghost operating on them, so that some are saved because they cooperate, and others are lost because they resist, thus in effect making salvation depend on the will of man; and (4) 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." (What Do Presbyterians Believe?, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co, 1965, pp. 174-175)
In this statement, Gordon Clark showed that he believed that if one is TRULY an Arminian, he MUST be a saved man. So as to eliminate all doubt as to what he meant by a TRUE ARMINIAN, Clark said in the very next paragraph that a TRUE ARMINIAN believes that election is conditioned on the sinner's reception of grace and perseverance, believes that the atonement did not assume the penalty for anyone, believes that his salvation is dependent on the will of man, and believes that he can unregenerate himself. Yet Gordon Clark believed that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who TRULY believes Arminianism (salvation conditioned on the sinner) is MOST DEFINITELY SAVED. This means that Clark believed that EVERY TRUE ARMINIAN believes the true gospel. Obviously, Gordon Clark did not believe the true gospel himself. He was lost when he wrote these words.
I had never, ever heard a professing Calvinist say that if someone is truly an Arminian, he MUST be a saved man until I saw this quote from Clark. Even the most tolerant of the tolerant "Calvinists" have not said this, to my knowledge. This is blatantly satanic.
The quotes I had previously received from Clark are right in line with the above quote:
"Not all Christians are Calvinists; some do not believe that 'all things come to pass immutably and infallibly'; they wish to reserve some sphere in which man can be independent of God. It must not be supposed that these people are therefore lacking in sincerity and devotion or that they are outside the fold of Christ. But such is the clarity of the Bible in its teachings on God's sovereignty that Presbyterians cannot convince themselves that such people have a sufficient understanding to discharge the responsibilities of an ecclesiastical office. They stand in need of further instruction. ...
"Now it was a bit strange that this gentleman should have requested this hymn and should have sung it with such praise and devotion. For he did not like Calvinism; all his life he had been an Arminian; he did not believe in 'eternal security,' as he called it; and he had been telling his friends so for years. Even now he would have disowned the name of Calvinism. But could it be that without realizing it he had now come to believe, and that his earlier Arminian views had changed with the color of his hair?
"If it is strange that this lovely Arminian saint could become at least somewhat of a Calvinist without knowing it ...
"What should be particularly noted in this section is how the doctrine of perseverance fits in with all the other doctrines. God is not irrational or insane. What he says hangs together; it forms a logical system. Election, total depravity, effectual calling, sovereign grace, and perseverance are mutually consistent. God does not contradict himself. But Arminian saints do." (What Do Presbyterians Believe?, pp. 61-62, 169-171)
"Note, however, that Nicodemus, a ruler in Israel, did not easily understand. The early Gentile Christians could hardly understand. Even the Church Fathers were seriously deficient. For three hundred years or more they could not understand the Person of Christ; they learned the Trinity a little faster; but their soteriology, the significance of Christ's death, escaped them for centuries. Justin Martyr, for example, was of course a martyr; he probably was a Christian; but with his view of the Atonement I would not have voted to receive him as a communicant member of our congregation" (Today's Evangelism: Counterfeit or Genuine?, The Trinity Foundation, 1990, p. 100)
When I approached John Robbins (the founder of The Trinity Foundation and publisher of Gordon Clark's books) about these and other quotes, Robbins defended Clark:
"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."
Does this sound like the John Robbins you have read? It certainly didn't sound like the John Robbins I had read; I was floored. It sounded like Van Til! Further on in the correspondence, I asked him this question: "Are all those who believe in universal atonement unregenerate?" Robbins replied: "No, all those individuals who believe in universal atonement are not necessarily unregenerate. To assert that they are necessarily unregenerate implies that one can believe all the rest of Christian theology and still go to Hell. The doctrine of the extent of the atonement does not occupy the central position that justification by faith alone does."
We Christians can see that anyone who believes in universal atonement does not believe imputation, substitution, and the alien righteousness of Christ!
It is obvious to you now why we cannot endorse The Trinity Foundation. Its founder, John Robbins, says that it is possible for one who believes the false gospel of Arminianism to be regenerate, and the man who for whom this Foundation was created, Gordon Clark, said that all true Arminians must be saved.
This is a sad time for us. I thought The Trinity Foundation was one of the ministries that was standing firm for the true gospel. I was wrong. I repent of endorsing The Trinity Foundation, The Trinity Review, and the writings of Gordon Clark and John Robbins. This should show us all how incredibly deceptive and subtle Satan is. Satan can put forth so much truth - and then he combines it with the lie of tolerating the false gospel. This should make us shudder. And it should make us even more wary. May God give us the grace to have our spiritual senses heightened to a keen awareness of the subtleties of Satan. Just because someone says Arminianism is a false gospel does not necessarily mean that he believes that Arminians are unregenerate. And just because someone says Arminianism is a false gospel does not necessarily mean that he believes that Christians CANNOT sin the sin of confessing a false gospel. Beware of sheep-clothed wolves!