I just did a “blog run.” This might be a bit longer if l0g0s’ blog even worked anymore, but this was more than enough to remind us that there is never any end to the zaniness you find on the web…
First, David Cloud, the KJV Only anti-Calvinist Fundamentalist Baptist writer (who had the guts to criticize Gail Riplinger, at least) sent out his “review” of Debating Calvinism. As you read this, ponder for just a second how on earth David Cloud would defend the doctrine of the Trinity:
James White wanted to debate Hunt on this topic, and this new book is the result. With the volume before me, I must say that White has more than met his match. Hunt calmly but enthusiastically answers every point that White makes, while White, in his rebuttals to Hunt, does a lot of huffing and puffing and dodging the issue and pretending that Hunt does not know what he is talking about; but “at the end of the day,” he simply cannot refute Hunt’s doctrine with the Scripture.
White’s arguments are complicated, arcane, and “scholarly” and lack the ring of that “simplicity that is in Christ” that we find in sound Bible doctrine (2 Cor. 11:3). White’s statements are filled with things like “compatibalism,” “monergism versus synergism,” “electing grace” vs. “irresistible grace,” “effectual calling” vs. “general calling,” “effective atonement” vs. “hypothetical atonement,” “libertarian free will” vs. “the bondage of the will,” etc. His theology is so complicated that he repeatedly claims that Hunt does not understand him even though the man is of sound intelligence and has studied his topic diligently. If Calvinistic theology is that complicated, it is not the truth. Instead it is a form of arcane Gnosticism that only the rare individual can master.
Hunt’s arguments, on the other hand, are knowledgeable and wise but uncomplicated and faithful to the testimony of the Scripture taken as a whole (rather than taken in isolated segments); and his statements do bear the hallmark of “the simplicity that is in Christ.” The average Christian can easily understand and follow Hunt’s reasoning.
I have invited David Cloud to join me on the DL. All our invitations in the past have been declined.
Next, it seems Tim Enloe was bored, or feeling left out, or something, so, he missed the context and background of the 10/27 piece (possibly the color stuff escaped him?) and launched into this long diatribe about his in-depth analysis of my very shallow thinking, combined with some wonderfully ironic revisionist recollections about the past. I’m glad I still have that massive file of his rants from earlier in this year to remind me (with actual documentation) of what really transpired. In vintage Enloe style he begins:
So anyway, in one week alone, a certain tradition-bound non-traditionalist from the Reformed Baptist side of the fence, who in just a few days will be debating Doug Wilson on the topic “Is the Roman Catholic My Brother?”, has twice accused his various opponents of simply not liking the gloriously plain truths of Scripture, but preferring the muck of man-made traditions instead because of aforementioned dislike of The Truth (which, of course, is a quality that ordinarily stands in stark antithesis to “tradition”).
Actually, the statement that has grown legendary in Mr. Enloe’s mind is my musing, a year ago, about the wide spectrum of odd, confusing, non-edifying movements in the church, and my conclusion that if you love the truth, you don’t go looking for something “new’; hence, one reason for the proliferation of such movements is that their proponents have become dissatisfied with the truth. What a shocking thing to say! What’s worse, it actually seems Mr. Enloe is scandalized by the very idea that I might actually think that in a debate I believe I am right and my opponent is wrong! What a silly, tradition-bound man I am! The article went on from there, of course. But we hasten on to the next great quote straight off that beacon of orthodoxy and edification, reformedcatholicism.com:
So when God declares us to be righteous because of Christ, that declaration is in effect a declaration of freedom to weary slaves, telling them that they no longer belong to their harsh master–they now belong to God. And because they belong to God, they now have new obligations (6:16). The fulfillment of those new obligations is what Paul calls sanctification, which is a righteousness producing process that extends over the course of the entire life (5:19; 6:16).
A couple of additional points: 1) N.T. Wright is correct is saying that justification is not what saves us properly speaking. Justification is a forensic declaration of our new identity. It does not cause that identity, but rather acknowledges it. This is why justification is subsequent to calling in Romans 8:30. Those who are called (i.e. regenerated), are acknowledged by God as his people in justification. 2) Baptism is the justifying event, because it is in the waters of baptism that believers are set free from sin (Rom. 6:1-7). In other words, a person cannot normally be justified prior to baptism, because it is in baptism that the liberating union with Christ which is the cause of our justification is effected. So justification must not be separated from its sacramental context, as is so often the case in American evangelical and even quasi-“Reformed” Christianity.
Quick points: 1) sanctification is a righteousness producing process? Might that righteousness then be relevant to eschatological justification, even, possibly, determining if we will experience that verdict? Is this “righteousness” added to the righteousness of Christ in some fashion? We aren’t told. 2) Isn’t the NP comforting? You are correct, it isn’t. Notice the missing word “imputation”? Yes, definitely MIA. 3) “A person cannot normally be justified prior to baptism, because it is in baptism that the liberating union with Christ which is the cause of our justification is effected.” And you thought NPism and its offspring were just oddities that theologians wrangled over.
Well, thankfully, there are still reasons to rejoice, and not all of the net has fallen of the wagon. If you haven’t started taking advantage of this service, you might want to: one of our channel folks, TEXPresby, runs a Jonathan Edwards blog. You can view it here.
Finally, just to help you decompress with a little humor, check out this awesome Ninja flick. Where is ENielsen when you need him?