Incorrigible. That’s the only term I can come up with. It does not matter how many times Dave Hunt does the theological and scholarly equivalent of a face-plant as he is refuted and shown to be in simple error over and over and over again. He just refuses to learn.
Hunt has now released a new book on Calvinism, A Calvinist’s Honest Doubts Resolved by Reason and God’s Amazing Grace. The e-book is already ready for download, which is how I have seen it. I am happy to say I am once again one of the main targets, as I am cited a number of times. Indeed, I have to wonder how the Calvinist pastor in this “fictional” conversation came to be named “Pastor Jim.” In any case, the book, barely 100 pages in length, is meant to be a “user friendly” work on Calvinism in the form of a dialogue. Of course, I find that format quite useful. I used it in my recent work on sola scriptura in fact.
Just a couple of quick notes, then a challenge for Mr. Hunt.
First, don’t worry about any new “Hebrew original of Acts 13:48” stuff. A quick search of the entire book reveals Acts 13:48 is not once cited or discussed. Not much of a shock there.
Hunt once again cites the same passage from Spurgeon that has been explained to him dozens of times before where Spurgeon, in defining and defending particular redemption (limited atonement) refers to the fact that Calvinists do not believe in any limitation on the merit of Christ’s sacrifice, only that He makes it with the intention of saving the elect alone. Hunt simply refuses to accept correction or learn from his previous widely publicized mistakes. He refuses to admit a mistake. In What Love is This? Hunt said that in this passage Spurgeon was “unequivocally” denying limited atonement. Now note how he introduces the passage:
Spurgeon himself, so often quoted by Calvinists to support their view, was torn between his evangelist’s heart, which desired the salvation of all, and his Calvinistic beliefs. At times he seemed to reject Limited Atonement, though he often firmly preached it. Sometimes he seemed to contradict himself almost within the same breath:
Once Spurgeon “unequivocally” denied limited atonement, now he “often firmly preached it.” And the error? Well, it was Spurgeon’s fault, see, not Hunt’s. The comparison of all the various changes Hunt has been forced to make over the course of his recent crusade against Reformed theology would be most interesting. You just won’t find him saying, “I was wrong.”
If you are expecting anything overly new here, you will be disappointed. This is just “What Love is This? lite—how to cram the highest proportion of blind traditionalism on the subject (despite numerous corrections that have fallen on deaf ears) into only one hundred pages.” The sad thing, for which Mr. Hunt will have to answer, I truly believe, is that the book is intended to present Hunt’s mish-mash of straw men on a “easy reading” level. That is, he’s trying to get the folks that would find What Love is This? too hard a read (they actually dared to call the work “scholarly” in their advertisements) to read this kind of book so as to imbibe his fallacious arguments and emotional appeals. What a lovely goal.
Hunt ends his book with the same level of egregious ignorance of Reformed theology with which he began our radio interview only a few years ago:
MY HEART HAS BEEN BROKEN by Calvinism’s misrepresentation of the God of the Bible, whom I love with all my heart, and for the excuse this has given atheists not to believe in Him. My sincere and earnest desire in writing this book has been to defend God’s character against the libel that denies His love for all and insists that He does not make salvation available to all because He does not want all to be saved. It is my prayer that readers will recognize that Christian authors and leaders, ancient or modern and no matter how well respected, are all fallible and that God’s Word is our only authority.
God’s Word declares that the gospel, which is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16), is “good tidings of great joy,” not just to certain elect, but “to all people” (Luke 2:10). Sadly, the insistence that only a select group have been elected to salvation is not “good tidings of great joy to all people”! How can such a doctrine be biblical?
It is my prayer that Calvinist readers who may have gotten this far have been fully persuaded to misrepresent no longer the God of love as having predestinated multitudes to eternal doom while withholding from them any opportunity to understand and believe the gospel. How many unbelievers have rejected God because of this deplorable distortion we do not know—but may that excuse be denied every reader from this time forth! And may believers, in confidence that the gospel is indeed glad tidings for all people, take God’s good news to the whole world!
Where do you start? Is there anything here that has not been fully refuted by myself and many others? I think not. Calvinists believe Romans 1:16 a whole lot more than Hunt seems to: the gospel is not God’s power that might, if allowed by man, be unto salvation, it is the power of God unto salvation for every single one who believes. Hunt, as he has been convicted of doing over and over again, reads the text with his thick tradition glasses firmly in place, and reads into “believes” libertarian freedom and human capacity, as if “every one that believeth” means “every human being has the capacity outside of grace and regeneration to believe.” Hunt remains one of the most glowing examples of slavery to tradition I have ever seen, and given his continued rampage against Reformed theology, he evidently intends to mar his entire ministry with this final campaign.
Likewise, the citation of Luke 2:10 once again shows how little Hunt worries about actually arguing in a way that would be convincing to a Calvinist. The gospel message is great tidings of joy to “all people,” Jews and Gentiles alike. Does Hunt seriously suggest the gospel is good news to those in hell? To those who die hating God? I am reminded once again of Paul’s words, “but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). There are no “called” in Hunt’s theology, not in the biblical sense of the elect. He has turned the entire doctrine on its head.
A Challenge Renewed
Dave Hunt markets the tape of our radio conversation on Calvinism on his website as if it is a debate. It wasn’t. I was hosting the program, not debating him. Surely, the encounter exhibits his ignorance of Reformed theology, but it was not a debate. As Hunt has admitted, he at one time agreed to debate me in person. He has “replaced” that debate with the book, Debating Calvinism. He thinks that is “enough.”
However, if that book was “enough,” why is he writing more books, and putting out CDs and mp3’s on the topic of Calvinism? If he has said all he needs to say, why keep going at it? If Mr. Hunt has the time to be continuing his campaign against Reformed theology, and if he actually believes he has defeated me in our encounters (something he has surely indicated to his audiences, even once falsely saying I would never want Debating Calvinism published), then why does he steadfastly refuse to debate me? Why, when Multnomah was attempting to promote Debating Calvinism did Hunt refuse to even appear on the radio with me, forcing stations to book us separately at different times? (One time we did end up on at the same time, and it was obvious Mr. Hunt was quite upset that this had taken place). I happen to know that right now a group is trying to get Hunt to debate me on the topic before a high school group that has sponsored a debate for a couple of years and has had more than 800 people show up! Will Hunt finally stop making excuses and defend his calumnies against Reformed theology against a prepared and ready debater, myself? I sure hope he will.