It doesn’t matter how often he is refuted. It doesn’t matter how often he is challenged. Dave Hunt seems utterly unconcerned about such minor things as truth, accuracy, consistency, or any related issues. When it comes to his most recent crusade, Mr. Hunt’s ears are closed. Evidently, he assumes he has already lost any Reformed readers or supporters he once had, so why worry about it anymore? Credibility is a commodity, and evidently he thinks that with his particular audience, the chances they will even care about his errors should they encounter the documentation of them are pretty small.
Back at the beginning of September Hunt wrote a rambling response to a “question” in his newsletter regarding Calvinism (yes, the same subject he repeatedly refuses to debate against meaningful opponents). It was quite clear he was saying that a person who had only been exposed to the “gospel of Calvinism” could not, in fact, be saved. The only saved Calvinists are those who were saved by believing in Dave’s anti-Lordship gospel first, and then became Calvinists. As soon as folks began responding to this absurdity, TBC began spinning his article by saying all he was talking about was his (utterly absurd) claim that Calvin believed in a gross form of baptismal regeneration. But this was self-evidently not his point in his article.
Well, in the December, 2005 issue of The Berean Call newsletter, two portions directly relate to the issue of Calvinism. First, Hunt attempts to address the storm he created in September with another brief article, and then, a little later, Hunt attempts to make it look like he can actually deal with 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (he doesn’t even start to do so, as we will see). The irony of his first response is that while he begins by making the same argument TBC presented in defense of his September comments, he simply can’t hold the line for very long, and immediately gives evidence of his true convictions. After misrepresenting Calvin once again (Lord willing, we will be providing a full response to his errors on this point in the near future) Hunt says,
Am I denying that Calvin was saved? No, only God knew his heart. But if all he believed was (as he taught) that Christ died only for the elect, and that his infant baptism into the Roman Catholic Church proved that he was one of the elect, then he never got saved no matter how eloquently he wrote about Christ’s sufferings on the Cross for our sins.
Hunt’s dogged ignorance is indeed tremendously frustrating (is there no one in his inner circle to stop him?). Anyone who has read even a small amount of Calvin knows Hunt isn’t even in the ballpark, so who is he trying to convince, anyway? Only the most bigoted can find this kind of rhetoric at all compelling. But note, it is not only Calvin’s views on baptism that are in view. Calvin’s doctrine of atonement is in view as well, for he writes, “if all he believed was (as he taught) that Christ died only for the elect….” So, if you believe in substitutionary atonement, and that Christ’s death actually saves, you are not saved? Or, since Hunt holds a grossly unbiblical view of the nature of faith (he holds the Wilkin view that precludes the existence of false faith), if you were raised at my church, like my children, and have been taught the gospel consistently, including the perfection of the work of Christ on behalf of His people, then would it follow my children cannot be saved since this is the only gospel they know? But one’s view of the atonement isn’t the only possible source of a false gospel according to Hunt:
If all one believes is that one has no choice-that it is God who causes some to believe and not others, and that one must be unwittingly regenerated by Him and only then given faith to believe the gospel-how can such a person make a genuine choice to believe in Christ? How could that person, consistent with this Calvinist belief, ever have the assurance offered in 1 John 5:13? No matter how simple and strong his faith in Christ might seem to be, how could he be certain that such “faith in Christ” was truly given to him by God after He had regenerated him?
One is again left almost breathless as Hunt’s insistence upon using straw men, especially since it is obvious he knows better. Such dishonesty on the part of an ostensible “Christian writer” is simply reprehensible (behold the power of slavery to false tradition!). Everyone has choice—and the unregenerate consistently choose to suppress the knowledge of God unless that heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh. Hunt’s abysmal failure to provide an even semi-coherent response to John 6:44 only makes this kind of rhetoric more frustrating. Next, we are not “unwittingly regenerated.” Sovereign regeneration has results, resulting in a person coming to, and continuing to come to, Christ as the source of one’s salvation. How can such a person “make a genuine choice to believe in Christ”? How can he or she not? The question to ask of Hunt (and this is why he refuses to debate–he knows he has no response so he refuses to put himself in a position of having to do so) is how a person enslaved to sin, suppressing the knowledge of God, spiritually dead, incapable of doing what is pleasing to God (Rom. 3:10-11, 8:5-6, etc.) can allegedly make a “genuine” choice when the soul regenerated and changed by the Spirit of God cannot? What kind of reasoning is this? Hunt’s synergism, which he shares fully with Rome, despite his unwillingness to recognize this, is incapable of meaningful defense.
Hunt’s Wilkinism does not provide any thinking person with a meaningful response to the issue of assurance. Simply denying the reality of the existence of false faith is hardly a sound response. I John 5:13 is another passage mangled by Hunt/Hodges/Wilkin (for an excellent handling of the text, may I suggest my fellow elder’s recent sermons on the text, here [listen / download] and here [listen / download]. What an amazing thing that Hunt’s human-centered “faith” would be considered more “valid” or “real” than the gift of faith given by the Holy Spirit of God as a part of the sovereign decree of the Triune God to bring about His own glory in the salvation of His people!
I will continue, as I have time this weekend (and since I’m speaking in St. Louis, that means while waiting at the gate for my return flight or if I can’t sleep at night!), responding to these statements, and also to Hunt’s man-handling of the glorious text of Scripture at 2 Thessalonians 2:13, a text he utterly ignored in What Love is This? until I pointed it out in our debate book. I am also pleased to note my dear friend, David King, a PCA pastor from Georgia, will be refuting Hunt’s attacks upon Calvin over the next week or so as well. Stay tuned!