It’s so great to find various barbs cast your direction first thing in the morning, especially the morning after you teach for five hours straight (which, while tremendously enjoyable, is likewise very demanding). I get to go from the sublime (sitting with bright students reading directly from the text of Ignatius last evening, noting, for example, his tremendous description of the two natures of Christ in the epistle to the Ephesians, and that in the middle of a practical exhortation to avoid false teachers, and making application to ministry today) to the ridiculous with hardly any period of consciousness in between! To what do I refer? Well, though I haven’t even thought about Mark Shea for quite some time, I find the following on his blog:

 

James White: A Great and Brilliant Man

 

and he wants you to know it. Be sure to check out the modest cartoons and the heapin’ helpin’s of self-praise. “Pros Apologian”, by the way, is Greek for “I know Greek and you don’t.” Salvation by Knowing Greek is a common tenet in some circles of Christian thought.

 

I guess he doesn’t like Angel’s caricature of me or something (what, like I drew it? I can barely handle stick figures!). Self-praise? Oh, I understand: our chat channel’s name is a Greek phrase. That means we are saved by knowing Greek. (Ah the wonders of Roman logic: very same process that gets you such wonderful dogmas as the Bodily Assumption of Mary). I get the feeling someone is feeling a little under-prepared to actually deal with meaningful apologetic issues related to the text of Scripture, and this then provides an excuse for such nonsense?

Speaking of nonsense, Dave Hunt is not even waiting for the publication of Debating Calvinism to take his shots. The February, 2004 edition of his newsletter includes a few rounds lobbed my direction, but more importantly, it contains the following amazing criticism of Rick Warren:

 

Warren justifies this fatalistic view from The Living Bible: “You [God]… scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe” (Ps 139:16)-not even close to what that verse actually says! Is every sinful thought and deed exactly what God has planned?! Men are not sinners but puppets if everything is exactly what God has decreed.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of The Purpose Driven Life, but isn’t it amazing to see Dave Hunt criticizing the belief that God has ordained the length of our lives and the date of our death? Has Hunt moved into Open Theism? We know Open Theists do not believe God knows the day of our death, let alone does He ordain it. It is so desperately sad to see those who profess the name of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth expressing such disdain and even hatred for God’s sovereign decree! The same can be said of George Bryson and everyone else who would rather have the creature, man, in control of the future than the all-wise all-knowing God! Don’t expect any meaningful interaction, by the way, from Hunt regarding the many texts of Scripture that teach God’s unquestion-able sovereignty over human affairs in our upcoming book.

But, note as well Hunt’s assertion that the Living Bible is in error in its rendering of the text. The careful student of Open Theism has seen this before as well. Those of you who have listened to my debate against one
of the leading Open Theists, John Sanders, knows that this passage came up in cross-examination and, like Gregory Boyd, Sanders referred to the KJV’s translation of the text, which reads:

 

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

 

But compare the NASB:

 

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

 

The KJV is simply in error here. For some odd reason it ignores the Hebrew term yom, which is consistently translates as “day” elsewhere (I bet a quick scan of Hunt’s website would find a number of examples where he would defend that very translation) and leaves it untranslated, inserting the odd phrase “my members.” Compare ASV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, etc. I would love to have someone write to The Berean Call and ask him why he supports a translation that ignores the word “days”? In reality, the Living Bible is here more accurate and literal in the rendering of the Hebrew word than is the KJV! But, of course, it is “elitist” of us to even point this out. 🙂

So, after giving aid and comfort to the Open Theists, Hunt says:

 

Clearly, there were no “elect” within Israel who alone were chosen for salvation. Salvation was offered to every Israelite without exception. That is why Calvinists avoid the Old Testament pictures of Christ’s coming sacrifice (as James White does in my debate with him in book form: Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views – see offering list).

 

The irony is that Hunt does not see the problem in his own argument. He limits his scope to Israel and seemingly claims the sin offerings were for everyone, as if a person who lacked faith even in the Old Covenant was somehow “covered” by this hypothetical atonement. God had His remnant even amongst the godless people of Israel throughout her history. But he seems completely blind to the more obvious issue: the sin offerings were only for the people of God, not for the whole world! It is like Hunt and Bryson and others don’t remember that there were millions of other folks living outside the borders of Israel. The sacrifices, which pre-figured that of Christ, were not offered for them. How much more obvious can this be? Yet, as with so much else, tradition blinds the mind. Hunt also opined:

 

James White avoids 1 Corinthians 10:2-4, as does Boettner. None of the 13 contributors to Still Sovereign touches it, and both MacArthur’s Study Bible and Sproul’s Geneva Study Bible ignore the obvious problem for Calvinism.

 

Remind me from now on to say “Dave Hunt avoids ” each time I address any of the many, many passages or facts of biblical exegesis he missed in What Love is This? And you know what is so incredibly hypocritical here? There is no entry for 1 Corinthians 10 anywhere in the scripture index of his book! Does that mean he “avoided it” himself? “Ring. Hello? Mr. Kettle? Mr. Pot on line two.”

But beyond this, I get the impression Hunt’s dispensationalism is driving his hermeneutic yet once again. He will indeed get different responses from Reformed folks on this passage, since how one views the New Covenant will impact how they see this passage. As normal, Hunt doesn’t tell us what he believes, nor does he defend his position; he simply says the passage is contradictory to Calvinism (shades of George Bryson: “Question is asked of Bryson” “Well, you see, that’s the problem with Calvinism….”). Hunt has no answer to the question. I believe the mixed nature of the Old Covenant (elect with non-elect, regenerate with reprobate, Davids and Ahabs) is reflective of the fact that in the fellowship of the external church we have the same mixture, hence the constant exhortations and warnings addressed to those gathered in the public meetings. The point Paul is making is that though all Israel had seen the miracles and experienced the supernatural activities of God, the vast majority of them were cast down in the wilderness due to unbelief. Therefore, do not think mere association with the people of God is a substitute for belief. I did not “avoid” the text as the text is not relevant to the issue of my book.

Wouldn’t it be great for Dave Hunt to debate this issue publicly, so that questions like that can be answered directly in a period of cross-examination? We think so too. Hence our challenge to Mr. Hunt to debate stands.

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