Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sidenote: "maki"

Introduction
At the outset of this post, I would like to emphasize that this is NOT the beginning of the "mini-series" that I mentioned in my last post.

But if you read in the comment threads of the previous two posts, you should realize that comments left by an individual called Maki require some formal response.

Maki has asserted- basically- that all Arminians are outside the true, biblical Christian faith and are thus in a spiritually dead condition and bound for Hell. He has furthermore asserted that any Calvinist who even admits the possibility that an Arminian could be a brother in Christ is likewise unsaved and unregenerate.

How does Maki reach these unusual conclusions?

Examination
1. First, Maki wrongly and unreasonably imputes to anyone from an Arminian tradition all of the logical consequences of their beliefs rather than taking their beliefs themselves at face value. For I would agree that logically the Arminian position would yield the belief that individual salvation is somehow dependent upon a human work- as Maki asserts- and thus Arminianism logically leads to rank heresies such as Open Theism, and this is why we oppose Arminianism so vigorously. But every Arminian with whom I have ever spoken firmly denies that salvation is in any way dependent upon any human work and they affirm that God receives all glory in our salvation. So what can we conclude from the realization that the facts of Arminianism seem to point in one direction, while the beliefs of actual Arminians seem to point in the opposite direction? Well, in the words of Stan Reeves, an elder of my congregation, Grace Heritage Church, "people aren't logically consistent, so we can't assume that they always see the implications of what they believe." When the Lord saves us from our sins, He does not turn us into the Vulcans from Star Trek- we do not immediately see all of the logical inconsistencies of our beliefs or in the traditions handed down to us, we still must have our minds "renewed" (cf. Eph. 4:23).

2. But Maki argues that "God gives the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ upon regeneration" and by this, he means to indicate that all the doctrines of soteriology, including unconditional election and limited atonement, are supernaturally and perfectly communicated to a person when they are "born again". In order to make this claim, Maki abuses the text of II Corinthians 4:3-6.

This passage reads:

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (NKJV)

As Nathan White pointed out in the comment thread of my last post, Maki's "misunderstanding [of this passage] lies in what exactly is being veiled, and what exactly is being revealed to those who believe". These verses do NOT declare that God reveals every facet of systematic soteriology to every believer upon their "regeneration", but, as Nathan points out, what IS being supernaturally revealed is the deity of Christ. This fact is directly indicated by verse 4, which speaks of the "light of the gospel [that is, the "Good News"] of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God". This "light" is the same as the "knowledge" proclaimed in verse 6. This supernaturally-imparted knowledge is the revelation that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ- the anointed one of God, who fulfills all Old Testament prophesy- and that He is divine- as the "image of God".

Just compare II Corinthians 4:3-6 to the Gospel account of Matthew 16:15-17-

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:15-17, NKJV)

As in the II Corinthians passage, specific knowledge is here declared to be given by God and this knowledge is, again, that Jesus is the Christ and that He is divine- "the Son of the living God".

Trying to read the knowledge of "limited atonement" into II Corinthians 4:3-6 is just that- reading into the text a concept that is not present in the text itself nor demanded by the immediate context.

3. Based upon these first two faulty premises- that Arminians in particular and people in general carry all their beliefs to their logical conclusions and that perfect soteriological knowledge is supernaturally imparted to the elect upon regeneration- Maki procedes to conclude that Arminians are not Christians at all. Then, assuming all Arminians to be unsaved, Maki asserts that anyone who would admit the possibility that an Arminian could be saved is themself unregenerate.

How does Maki substantiate this leap in logic?

Maki abuses the text of II John 9-11.

This passage reads:

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (NKJV)

Maki takes this passage to mean that anyone who would call any Arminian a Christian is sharing in the evil deeds of an unregenerate person and is thus proven to be unregenerate as well.

But Nathan pointed out how faulty Maki's use of this passage is as well, commenting,

"Maki,
Your quotation of 2 John 9, which seems to be your ‘life verse’, is sadly taken out of context. Who is John referring to when he commands us not to share in the evil deeds? Look two verses back: For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. [II John 7]

Interesting enough, the extent of the atonement, and the origin of faith is not mentioned here or anywhere else in scripture as a primary doctrine. John is actually commanding us to refrain from associating with those who deny Jesus as the Christ (ie: the doctrine of Christ)."

Conclusion
As the brief examination above is meant to illustrate, Maki is a highly unreliable guide when it comes to the Holy Word of God. I would like to also add that Maki is associated with a group that hosts the "Heterodoxy Hall of Shame", which labels ministers of the gospel such as Charles Spurgeon as "unregenerate God-haters". For these reasons, Maki is permanently banned from posting comments on this blog.

7 Comments:

Blogger Nathan White said...

Wow. What a solid and timely defense of the Biblical position in this regard. Excellete post.

What saddens me the most is that Maki wasnt just abusing scripture, for obviously the Arminians do that too, but he wielded his grossly out of context interpretations to spread his message of superiority and essentially, hate. From the little I have read of him and the 'outside the camp' sect, I stand by my statements that this position has more in common with the Pharisees than with anyone else we would consider to have true saving faith.

SDG

10:42 AM  
Blogger Nathan White said...

P.S.

Further consideration of your point number 1 led to some thoughts on the atonement. As you know, if you go to ‘outside the camp’, the dominant theme is ‘Limited Atonement’, and how anyone who thinks Christ shed His blood for all is unregenerate.

In the case of someone actually believing that Christ died for all, I cannot think of any Arminian who honestly takes that to its logical end. That is, the brand of Arminianism that we would label as true believers do not believe or teach that all men will be saved without exception. Now, if an Arminian was actually going around preaching universalism, or, taking ‘Christ died for all’ to its logical end, then yes, that would be heresy. But, as you said, Arminians, thank God, do not consider consistency as anything real important. Thus, to label someone a heretic who confesses with their mouth that Jesus died for every single man, but obviously denies that truth with their living and teaching that some will go to hell, is very sad indeed.

SDG

1:41 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

It is kind of refreshing to see a Calvinist disagreeing with a hyper-Calvinst rather than with a non-Calvinist, for a change.

;~)

11:44 PM  
Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Ouch: You sure took Maki to task running over him like a Mac Truck.

To think that the Prince of Preachers is a heretic is really making yourself an elitist.

we do not immediately see all of the logical inconsistencies of our beliefs or in the traditions handed down to us, we still must have our minds "renewed"

I think when someone is born again. They have such a simple faith which they believe in their heart and mind and soul like this:
Jesus saved me. I believe in Him. He loves me and I love him and my sins are no more Praise the Lord. They may know nothing more then Jesus.

I think what happens often in the mega churches is that this gets taught out of them. They become members of churches that focus primarily on dressing up the christian in works rather then the natural outpouring of the Spirit and quickly revert back to the law. In other words they aren't taught to look to Christ who renews the knowledge of Him or his doctrines by His spirit in their mind.

To call our brothers who have a true testimony of Jesus Christ having been born again and taken on a new nature is certainly destroying your brother for such a feeble reason. (Great scripture about this I can't remember) Probably about eating meat or not.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Considering hypocrisy. The hypocrit sometimes struggles with what he sees as hypocrisy himself. PS, I am not the same mike though I notice my screen name is similar. Very interesting. I used to believe the way this miki did in some respects. But I am starting to come to grips with the reality that I was living in a different world. To even disobey God is to deny He is the savior. As a former pharasie I feel pretty bad about life. I find it difficult to see forgiveness in others because not many people are very pateint with who I was once. I ask, if they didn't love me then why would they love me now? Or did they truly love me? Why don't you evangelise to people like miki? You have baned him from your site. Are you still in touch with him? Show him love and he may change. We all sit in judgement of each other not realizing how little we each deserve our salvation. With what measure you meusure it will be measured to you again. If you do not forgive, neither will your father in heaven forgive you. So forgive miki. My sense have been slightly dulled by a lack of forgiveness from some people. The more forgiveness you have in America the less pharasies you will have like miki. Calvinism teaches unconditional love. SO LOVE MIKI UNCONDITIONALY !!!!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

THE LONGER YOU WAIT, THE MORE BITTER HE MAY BECOME. that will be my last message here.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

actualy I would like to say one more thing. It would probably a good educated guess to say that most people within a very bad false system are not Christians. Most but not all.
Where bad theology abounds I doubt that therin the Spirit abounds. But don't let that put you off though. there can yet be true believers who find themselves in such a system. I sympathisee with maki oon one point. The idea of 'free will' has given me needless greif. I am tired of being victimized by it and I am tired of seeing the visible church poisoned by it. Being upset, I am speaking to generaly here. But to cause a brother to stumble for bad theology of such a nature is cruel.
You don't think arminianism can cause someone to occasionaly throw up their hands in dispair wondering whether anyone really cares about the power and leadership of God? It certainly can and in unfortunate cases in history has. God save this nation from ruin.

3:19 AM  

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