Exonerated Ergun Caner’s Co-creator Elmer Towns To Execute Caner’s Punishment? For What?

LU co-founder Towns named seminary dean | The News & Advance.

Turretinfan writes:

According to the News & Advance:

“The punishment was commensurate with the problem, so we’re ready to move on,” Towns said about Caner. “I really don’t want to talk about him. I want to look toward the future.”

(source)
Those who were previously touting the way Liberty handled the Caner situation as “exonerating” Caner – are they going to stick with that?

Some times you just want to scream.

What I cannot figure out is why LU cannot find a more suitable replacement. My guess is that they weren’t looking. My guess also is that the officials included Elmer Towns in appointing Elmer Towns and most likely the Board was directed by Elmer Towns to appoint Elmer Towns. I have a feeling that there was no candidate search and Elmer’s large frame is merely meant to hold the seat open until Caner is fully restored to it. Otherwise, why not someone from LU’s teaching staff? Was there no assistant dean? No one in the wings? No one else qualified? Then why not go outside? The whole thing stinks.

Yes, the slip of the tongue is telling. It was punishment, at least that is what it appears to be, plain and simple, for lying. But they never thought he would get caught in the first place. As a supposed erudite scholar, are we to believe that Towns knew nothing of the falsehoods? He had no knowledge of Islam, none? He could not discern the discrepancies? By what fiat did he hire Ergun, then? The proponents of exoneration will remain silent, because to comment on the decision as punishment would expose their sycophantic support of Ergun as fact.

Elmer Towns has been for decades one of the leaders in the Church Growth Movement, allied with everything that is abhorrent in it, e.g., his friend and partner in crime in that realm, C. Peter Wagner, et cetera. His dabbling in the mysticism of that movement is well documented, by Towns’ own publications. He even published his own spiritual gifts survey to be used in relationship to it. Of his necessary compliments to growth is the visionary leader, ergo, Ergun. Charismatic leadership, not necessarily qualified leadership, is foundational to the CGM. Accountability is secondary, growth is the main thing, to parrot a title by Elmer.

What most characterizes Elmer is his methodological pragmatism, certainly not his exegetical expertise. Which accounts for his own form of Methodism’s perfectionism. But judging the size of Caner, Falwell and even Towns, his books on fasting weren’t their favorite reads. Manipulation of God through techniques for personal gain has been Elmer’s calling card all along. The reality, profits from books and publications has been his meal ticket. All this accounts for Ergun’s appearance as a revivalist and the compromise of Scripture in pursuit of the value in increasing the numbers of givers and buyers. There is no way that Elmer is going to sacrifice his child, LU, for his step-child Ergun. It pays too well. But the fact remains, Ergun is a large factor in the center-ring antics of the exploitive methods championed by Towns and Falwell. To turn Ergun out without at least the appearance of some form of reconciliation would be an admission that the whole scheme behind LU is a fraud. We can look for one of two outcomes: the silent slipping out the back door in a voluntary change of career venue, which is highly unlikely since Ergun was hand-picked by his mentor Jerry Sr., and because Caner holds the goods on LU’s knowledge of his history and methods- nothing more vengeful than a lover scorned; or, we will eventually see the concocted story that Caner has been through a restorative reconciliation process and upon its completion was fully forgiven. Then “punishment” will take on the a new nuance in the by-line as restoration. Caner will be presented as remorseful, contrite, repentant and even more humble than before. And the peeps will eat the cotton candy with relish without regard to the previous rot caused by it.

I think Dr. White puts it well… let the punishment fit the…

Just imagine if Caner came out and told the whole truth…

Or, as natallmc intimates, what if he was to make things up about LU’s complicity in the same vein as he represented himself or Islam, whoa… unholy jihad, Liberty Man. How might they defend conversations that took place off record, behind closed doors? I mean, he said, she said, and Caner’s the top draw, not Falwell Jr., or Towns. His currency, as we noticed with his defenders, far exceeds theirs. That’s the problem when you create a monster, he might just destroy the lab.

In other words, they better not pull the choke chain too tight.

Albert Mohler Addresses The Anti-Intellectualism Of Professor Giberson In “On Darwin and Darwinism”

I stand by my address in full, and only wish I had been able to address these issues at even greater length in that context. I plan to do that over the next few months. I greatly regret that you have committed yourself to a cause that I can see as incompatible with the Scripture and destructive to the Christian faith.

This was in response to to Giberson’s obscurantist, malicious accusations:

“Of course, Mohler may simply have made a mistake. He is, after all, a theologian and not a historian. He could have gotten this wrong idea from any number of his fellow anti-Darwinians. However, I don’t think so. In his address he read from my book Saving Darwin, in which I took some pains to correct the all-too-common misrepresentation of Darwin he presented. So, unless he was just cherry-picking ideas from my book that he wanted to assault, he should have known better. But let us bend over backwards here and give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps his only real encounter with Saving Darwin was an instruction to an assistant to ‘find something in Giberson’s book that I can ridicule in my speech.’”

As I presented in my last post, Giberson’s own liberal, anti-creationist fellows sustain Mohler’s view of Darwin’s Darwinism. More often than not we are more familiar with the obscurantism of reactionary Fundamentalism in Christian circles where facts are hidden from the view of observers so as to present a false view of subject matter. We are more familiar with it because liberals are all too willing to point it out, and because the MSM (mainstream media) does not wish to point out that the same reactionary obscurantism as a mode of propaganda is rife among anti-conservative anti-intellectuals of which Giberson is a prime example.

We, along with Mohler, give thanks for Giberson’s providing an opportunity to better educate him, or to at least call him to repentance for obscuring the facts that he should, based upon his claim to erudition, have known. We also look forward to Albert Mohler’s further treatment of the broader subject of the wholesale attack upon Christianity by liberal, ivory tower elites of the modern anti-intellectual fundamentalist cultus that dominates secular higher education.

BioLogos’ Attack On Albert Mohler Unfounded

Pyromaniacs: “Evangelicals” and Atheists Together.

David, a commenter at Pyro said:

I have no idea what you are going on about here. What on earth do you mean by Darwinism? I know about a theory of evolution by natural selection that Darwin researched, formulated and presented to the world, but I don’t understand the rest of this.

Darwin was just Darwin. He wasn’t and isn’t an -ism, at least not in the sense that you seem to mean when you say “Darwinism”. He had a theory about how the natural world works, just like other scientists have theories about how the natural world works. I don’t understand about the “tragic end”, and there is zero evidence that Darwin was trying to hoodwink and deceive anyone. Zero evidence. Darwin thought species shared a common ancestor, he gathered evidence to support his theory, he said this is how he thought the world works. I don’t remember reading about any evil plan. As far as I can tell, Darwin was a rather gentle and retiring fellow and rather uninterested in leading an ungodly and evil movement.

That Darwin’s mindset at the time was anti-miraculous is unquestionable. And that put him at odds with the world in which he lived. That he was hell-bent on proving the world wrong, is also unquestionable. Was it a conscious evil intent, who knows? Was it evil? That is also unquestionable for what Darwin sought to do was to challenge and exalt his own knowledge of the origins of the cosmos above the knowledge of God. It was not merely the mechanics of the cosmos that Darwin challenged, but its purpose.

What is fascinating about David, if he is not just a shill for BioLogos, is how he goes on and on until he reveals his uninformed view is just bias-filled talking points. Darwin did set out to prove creationism wrong, he did set out to prove what would come to be known as evolutionary theory correct. That is unquestionable, also. It is true that Darwinism is a genre within the larger category known as evolutionary biology. It is still evolutionary theory.

Dr. Mohler’s presentation can be found here. Please check out Phil Johnson’s posts on Biologos. BioLogos is just one of many pseudo-Christian/Scientific organizations that have been erected to undermine the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Its sole purpose, as Phil Johnson has pointed out, is to destroy the foundations of the Christian faith. What prompted the latest outrage was BioLogos’ article in the Huffington Post attacking what Mohler had to say about nine and a half minutes into his presentation. Here is what the Stanford Encyclopedia has to say concerning the subject of Darwinism:

Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates ‘Darwin’s Darwinism’ in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change. Both Darwin and his critics recognized that his approach to evolution was distinctive on each of these topics, and it remains true that, though Darwinism has developed in many ways unforeseen by Darwin, its proponents and critics continue to differentiate it from other approaches in evolutionary biology by focusing on these themes. This point is illustrated in the second half of the entry by looking at current debates in the philosophy of evolutionary biology on these five themes, with a special focus on Stephen Jay Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory… “During my last year at Cambridge, I read with care and profound interest Humboldt’s Personal Narrative. This work, and Sir J. Herschel’s Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy,[4] stirred up in me a burning zeal to add even the most humble contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science. No one or a dozen other books influenced me nearly so much as these two.” …This vision influenced Darwin profoundly, as he freely admitted. While he became convinced by his observations and reading that the fossil record and current distribution of species could only be due to the gradual transformation of one species into another, he was determined to articulate a theory that measured up to Lyell’s principles. The crucial event in convincing him that this was to be his life’s work was likely a visit to Cape Town, South Africa on the Beagle’s return to England. John F. W. Herschel was in Cape Town on a mission to do for the southern hemisphere what his father William had done for the northern, namely to develop a comprehensive star map with the new powerful telescopes developed by his father and aunt. As noted earlier, Darwin had been deeply impressed by Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy when it first appeared a year before the Beagle set sail, and in his private journal he referred to his meetings with Herschel during its week long stop in Cape Town in June of 1836 as among the most profound events of the entire voyage. Just five months before meeting Darwin, Herschel had finished reading the 2nd edition of Lyell’s Principles. He sent Lyell a long letter filled with detailed constructive commentary. The letter opens by praising Lyell for facing the issue of the ‘introduction of new species’ — which Herschel calls ‘that mystery of mysteries’ — scientifically, and for advocating that we search for ‘intermediate causes’ to explain these ‘introductions’—code for natural, as opposed to ‘miraculous’, causes.[5] This part of the letter was quoted in Charles Babbage’s Bridgewater Treatise, published in 1837 while Darwin was struggling to develop just such a theory. Upon reading the Herschel quotation in Babbage, Darwin wrote in his private ‘species’ notebooks:

Babbage 2d Edit, p. 226.—Herschel calls the appearance of new species. the mystery of mysteries. & has grand passage upon problem.! Hurrah.—“intermediate causes”. (Barrett et al., 1987, 413;original punctuation)

First published Fri Aug 13, 2004; substantive revision Tue Jan 19, 2010; Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy

As noted by the Standford article, Darwin was out to prove his mentors’ theories correct. Darwin’s goal included the working definition of evolution. His findings resulted in the formal area of study called Darwinism of which his evolution is a subset. The article concludes clearly that Darwinism is not just a scientific theory, it is a theory of cosmology with an anti-miraculous cosmogony. Darwin’s aspirations were anything but unbiased. Darwinism is the proper name for the religion he founded, not just a scientific theory. But it is a proper name for that, too.

It would appear that Stanford’s publication, while maintaining its own rejection of special creation, concurs with Dr. Mohler.

And that’s the rub. You will not find the pro-Darwin pundits admitting they are wrong about Darwin’s purpose. You will not find HP or Biologos apologizing for blackening Dr. Mohler’s character. Their sole aim is to undermine the credibility of YEC and yes, the reliability of Scripture as an inerrant revelation of God. Just as Darwin, their goals are not just unbiased reporting of so-called unbiased scientific inquiry. It is to establish for all men the measure of all truth and usurp the place of the God who created them. From that they will never back down. That is also unquestionable.

Why Baptism Is Not About Us

We must be careful, my friends, of subtly removing Christ and His work in favor of our own experiences, thus drawing the attention to us rather than pointing to Him. What happened at Calvary and the grave 2000 years ago is the gospel which carries with it the power of salvation; what happened to you at some certain date in your life is really not that important at all –it is a footnote in the greater drama of HIS-story of redemption. Even the baptism, at which point you are united to Christ, is a baptism chiefly into HIS death, not just a newer and better ‘you’.

So strive to speak of His work, not your own, and you will decrease, and He will increase. Don’t worry about specific dates and experiences. Instead, shun the idea of talking about them, making it clear that HE is the real story worth discussing, and that you are actually just a pretty boring (and sinful) character caught up in the midst of a much greater redemptive drama.

Well, not really boring. As anyone who has been regenerated knows, this is the beginning of a really exciting ride. True enough, we are caught up in it. We have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s own dear Son. Though I disagree that baptism is when our vital union with Christ begins, there is a rigid unmoving truth in all of this. Just as in Genesis, where man is created, in the Kingdom, man is made anew. And just as in the Garden, it takes the breath of life, it takes the quickening of the Holy Spirit in the new creation, to open up the eyes and ears of man’s understanding so that he becomes again, raised from the dead, a living soul, knowing face to face the God who made him so.

The parable of the sower informs us that a precondition exists before we see, i.e. experience, the fruit of what is already. The Word declares what God has done. As Nathan speaks to, all this was done outside our participation. Paul rejoices in his bit part in proclamation of the Gospel. But it is not the Gospel which precedes the life. Rather it is the life which must come before that precedes the receiving of the Word proclaimed over the new creation. What marks off the difference in the fruitfulness of the seed is the condition of the soil, not the seed. It remains the same throughout the parables. There is a manifold work done by the Holy Spirit, in which he graciously makes us part of the redemption story. That is very exciting. But his work begins before we are ever aware.

What happens to us in regeneration takes place in secret. But, it does not remain unknown. It is followed by conversion, a point-in-time, experiential reality in which the Holy Spirit enlightens the mind to embrace the Word preached. It is this that Nathan reflected upon. That part of the story we are very familiar with, yet still, it is not about us. By his work, we become convinced of the truth of the propositions it presents. Namely, that Christ was put to death on our behalf so that we might not just have the forgiveness of sin, but life eternal. It is this later thing that people call being born again, but it isn’t. And this is important. What we in Scripture is the experience of seeing the resurrected Lord. What we don’t see is his being resurrected. It is the second which is when Christ was known to have risen from the dead, not the first. But it is the first which must have preceded the second. The reality is that we don’t know the moment of our regeneration, our being born again, in just in that fashion. Christ was first raised from the dead by the power of God and then came up from the grave. The mystery of that protects the monergistic reality of God’s work in our salvation as a work done in the secret place before the stone is rolled away, before we come into the light. It is the Holy Spirit who goes before the preaching of the Word who creates the new heart, who gives new life, causes lame legs to walk and eyes to see. Because the soil has been prepared, we experience the fruit which the good soil will cause the Word to infallibly produce. It is what we don’t see in the parable of the soils that is important to regeneration. We do not see the preparation of the essential conditions that must precede the planting for there to be a harvest. Someone went before and prepared the soil, that some one was the Holy Spirit and it is at that point we are regenerated. It is the word which is preached that makes that known, Titus 1:1-3.

Nathan is correct. The emphasis in baptism is not us. We are the fruit that is produced by all the work that went before. Even the seed comes down out of Heaven. A truly Christ centered baptism exalts God’s redemptive work first to last. Our part of the story really is a small footnote. Before that, the whole of the story is his exaltation.

Comparing Terms: Qualifying Deacons As Overseers

There are several categories of qualifications that Paul mentions beginning with the person in the view of others, then his demeanor, a description of his desire, and finally, the relational proof of the experiential in terms of family relationships. The first will not exist if the second is not true, if the desire is not rightly placed then the second will not exist, and if those first things are not in line, then it should be obvious by observing the closest of relationships. Two other major categories are both also observable, one being in charity, the other in the indispensable talent of teaching. To be an elder, one must be able to teach. Indeed, Teacher, and Elder are interchangeable terms.

In this portion of this series of posts I want to take a look at the synonymic relationship of the terms that describe the demeanor of the candidates for the offices of overseer and deacon. It will begin, I think, to become clearer as to why I believe that the diaconate is the undergraduate school for eldership.

…Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money…Deacons likewise…not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

Let’s look at some of the terms for the overseer:

sober-minded, nēphalios: sober, temperate, dispassionate, abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use of things free from all wine, as vessels, offerings

self-controlled, sōphrōn: of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses, curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate

respectable, kosmios: well-arranged, seemly, modest

(not a) drunkard, paroinos: (not) given to wine, drunken

not violent but gentle, plēktēs: bruiser, ready for a blow, a pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome person

gentle, epieikēs: seemingly, suitable, equitable, fair, mild, gentle

not quarrelsome, amachos: not to be withstood, invincible, not contentious, abstaining from fighting

And for the deacon:

not double-tongued, dilogos: saying the same thing twice, repeating
double tongued, double in speech, saying one thing with one person another with another (with the intent to deceive)

I will not parallel everything. What I am attempting to demonstrate is that the primary attribute is consistency, a balanced life that is without compromise, reflecting if you will, the very Gospel that the officers are charged to defend. Let me take this a bit further. The deacon is charged with the completion of the thought by Paul:

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

The ESV has this alternative: Deacons likewise must be…, not devious in speech.

The parallels I think are like hand-in-glove. A deacon, like an Elder must be able to teach. Notice the emphasis on the clarity of the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience and the fact that he must be able to speak without contradiction- not double-tongued.

My case, though, really rests upon another word that is common in this discourse.

Repeatedly we find Paul saying hōsautōs – likewise, or in like manner. And definitely, manners, demeanor, deportment are the central focus of the passage. Then what is being said? Even when reviewing the requirements of wives of the officers we find this term. Indeed the term for wives indicates women, but it is embedded in the discourse as having direct significance to the officers. In other words, it is speaking of their wives. Then what we find is that there is a literal equality description of the persons qualified. Men are qualified by their own attributes, but that not alone. It must be noted that the wives must share these qualifications. They are in fact necessarily fundamental to the officers qualification. The wives must qualify right along side of the elders and deacons. We might relate this to Proverbs and the emphasis upon the complementary, supportive role of the wife. If any thing describes best the role of an officer’s wife it is Proverbs 31. Her industry, her consistency and dedication to the matters of the family business, is paramount to her husband taking his place:

Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

Likewise is the key term in saying that the diaconate is the undergraduate school of elders. But let me go to one more verse out of this mix:

For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

We might say, they earned their degree.

There is in this a sense that the high standing is a level of expertise or accreditation fitting the deacon for a position where great confidence is required. What I have tried to show is that the diaconate is a training ground. The attributes are shared. It is not that all will graduate. Not all become expert in their secular vocations, likewise not all deacons progress to become expertly qualified to be elder. Regressing we find the appeal:

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.

The word for aspire sounds like origami. It does not mean to fold. To the contrary. It essentially means to stretch oneself toward a goal. We kind of get the hint of what it means when Paul says, “I press on so that I may lay hold.” The work itself is good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends. Or we might say, that the work and the man are one thing. And because they are, there are not many who will find themselves having served well enough in the diaconate to qualify. Indeed, one of the marks would be that the person is self-critical, honest in evaluating himself as fit, or not. Then, those who do the qualifying also recognize the qualities. So there is in the mouths of two witness the fact established. And if we add to that the testimony of outsiders and others who are familiar with the candidate, his family and friends, our evaluation reaches, or should, a certainty of impeccability.

It is a fine work, much like a masterpiece well crafted by the hands of experts. The training is often grueling and filled with hazards. In the diaconate, a man will face individuals in all the rawness of their sin. In that arena, he will be confronted with his ability or inability to handle with the patience and gentleness that will be required of the higher calling. I could go further, but I think the reader will get the gist. Our churches are disciplining centers, kindergarten through graduate school, with the final end, a few good men. Not all who are called to the body are called to the ministry just as Jesus did not call all to be beside him alone. They are few, then again, theirs is a great calling that carries with it the greatest of costs for a disciple. For in their hands are the souls of sheep put in their charge for oversight. And with that comes the highest of all accountability, one of which they will have to give an accounting to the Great Overseer and guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ our Elder brother.

Calvinism vs Non-Calvinism: Peter Lumpkins Admits Jesus Christ Is A Failure

Calvinism vs Non-Calvinism: A Parable by Peter Lumpkins – peter lumpkins.

In this, ahem, parable, Peter Lumpkins not only makes a caricature of Calvinism, he denies what all Christians believe. Predestination. That is, Peter not only puts himself at odds with Calvinism, but in his nonism, he puts himself outside of all historic orthodoxy. Though Peter is correct to point out that his nonism teaches that Christ is a failure, his phony parable also paints the picture that God has no clue as to who will and will not be saved. In that Peter takes the leap into the abyss of heresy by making God progressive in knowledge in time. Not at all the way Hubmaier saw it. In other words, Peter makes God no different from a mere man, becoming by experience what he knows of himself. But, he does even worse:

Bob would not listen, however. He rebuked the officer even more. He told him to leave and that he’d rather sink in the boat than to be carried to safety by the officer. Again, the officer pleaded with Bob: “Bob, there is not much time, now. The boat is sinking; the sharks are coming; and you will not be spared. Trust me, Bob. Just trust me.”

Upon this, Bob’s countenance began to change. He calmed down a bit. In fact, he said to the officer: “What do you want me to do? I am willing to do anything to get out of this boat and be spared.”

As you will notice here, Peter misleads his readers. For in the “plea,” is the embedded command, “Trust me.” In other words, Peter makes the Policeman (God) a liar when in the following passage he says that Bob asked “What do you want me to do?” To which God responds, “Nothing Bob. Not a thing.” That directly denies Scripture, and it denies what Calvinism teaches. For we teach that we must surely do something. Peter does another thing. What men never realize is the danger that they’re in. As with Isaiah, when the reality of the danger is truly known, the man perceiving it, is saved. And as Jesus pointed out in referring to Isaiah, only those who have been given eyes to see will see and seeing they will turn and be saved.

We understand that Peter just doesn’t get it. That he believes that believing is not something that we do. That in his delusional state, he believes that he hasn’t lied, nor made God a liar. But there it is. In his own words. And the thrust Peter’s parable is that God is impotent, incompetent, beside being a liar. Man is left to his own device, his own “trust strength” inherent in him, to save himself by the prevenient grace given, the rope, the officer, the helicopter, et cetera, rather than being save by God outside of man’s merits, even the merit of faith.

With that Peter needs to repent of his blasphemy.

But let’s continue. Peter placed in his post this picture:

It might be said that Hubmaier was the father of Arminius’ Arminianism, or perhaps a definitive influence on Molina. Both, most likely. An excellent article on the comparison of Arminius and Molina can be found here. Hubmaier preceded both men by nearly a century. The discussion was the currency of Scholasticism of the time. Of the commonality, is the fact that theirs, Hubmaier, Arminius, Molina, was a philosophical system, not a biblical one.

Let me quote at length Kirk R. MacGregor:

Thus Hubmaier begins by drawing the typical Scholastic distinction between voluntas absoluta (the “absolute will” of God comprising his power to do whatever he chooses, unconstrained by any law above himself) and voluntas ordinata (the “ordained will” of God amounting to his merciful choice to act toward humanity according to precepts he has freely instituted). Then Hubmaier employs these dialectics of the voluntas Dei to address the question de ratione praedestinationis (concerning the basis of predestination). For Hubmaier, God may choose to gratuitously elect a few to salvation apart from any foreknown faith on their part, for whom the ratio praedestinationis is God’s voluntas absoluta. However, God operates according to his voluntas ordinata in electing the vast majority based upon his foreknowledge of their free response to the gospel, which selection principle he has revealed in Scripture. Hubmaier highlights Mark 16:15; John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 2:2; and Revelation 3:20 as examples.

It should be emphasized at this point that Hubmaier’s formulation of voluntas ordinata depends upon the assumption that God possesses counterfactual knowledge, or cognizance of the truth-value of conditional propositions in the subjunctive mood, i.e., propositions taking the following form: if something were the case (when in fact it may or may not be the case), then something else would be the case. Thus God, in Hubmaier’s view, has foreknowledge of future contingents, including the decisions reached and actions performed by free creatures. Significant in Hubmaier’s use of the two wills is his refusal to speculate concerning the voluntas absoluta; while he makes a number of allusions to God’s absolute power, they are brief and tangential to his arguments. Although Hubmaier is, on the whole, preoccupied with the voluntas ordinata and the principles according to which God agreed to typically act, it appears that the voluntas absoluta is not merely the realm of unactualized possibility, as the reformer recognizes that God “can be merciful to whomever he wants without any injustice.” This is evident elsewhere in his treatment of a select number of people, such as Balaam and Cyrus, whom (in his exegesis of Num. 22:21-35 and Isa. 45:4-5) he believes are known to have been saved without reference to their foreseen response to grace.

But Hubmaier tends to circumscribe such anomalous occurrences within narrow limits, such that the operationes Dei externae are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, knowable. In the redemptive realm, for example, the sinner can rest assured that it is impossible for God, given the eternal order freely established by his will, not to predestine someone whom he foreknows will respond to his grace.

So, Hubmaier declares that while God might consign Judas or Caiaphas to heaven, no injustice would be involved in this display of unrestrained mercy so long as he is forbidden by his voluntas ordinata from driving away Jacob, who wrestled for his blessing, or refusing to grant forgiveness to the repentant David. Taken together, the function of Hubmaier’s appeal to voluntas absoluta is to devise a coherent justification for a limited set of clearly (in his mind) substantiated peculiarities inexplicable from the standard order, which special pleading serves to heighten not God’s capriciousness but his mercy, as every proposed exercise of voluntas dei absoluta yields salvation and not damnation.

Turning at this point to the voluntas ordinata, Hubmaier formulates two new categories into which God’s ordained will may be subdivided, namely, “the conversive will concerning the one to be converted (voluntas conversiva a convertendo) [and] the aversive will concerning the one to be turned away from (voluntas aversive ab avertendo).” The reformer defines the voluntas conversiva as God’s desire (without taking human free decisions into account) for all persons to be saved, as well as God’s decision to elect all who believe in Christ:

He turns himself toward all human beings with the offer of his grace and mercy, not sparing even his only begotten Son, but giving him up to death for us all so that we might not be lost but receive eternal life.
Hubmaier insists that the voluntas conversiva in no way restricts human freedom to accept or reject salvation: “The choice lies with [humanity], for God wants them, unforced, sober, and without compulsion.” Hence the voluntas conversiva is God’s revealed desire to show mercy to humanity.

By contrast, Hubmaier defines the voluntas aversiva as God’s will to abandon in time and to reprobate from eternity persons whom (outside of those specially saved by the voluntas absoluta) he discerns through his foreknowledge would freely choose to reject his offer of prevenient grace. It should be noted that there is no contradiction between the voluntas conversiva and aversiva, since God, in his temporal dealings with all humans—including those whom he had already reprobated from eternity based on his foreknowledge that such persons would ultimately reject Christ—gives sufficient grace for salvation to each person, in keeping with his voluntas conversiva and through the Holy Spirit, up to the moment in time when that person decides to irrevocably reject such prevenient grace.

Hence the voluntas aversiva is God’s revealed decision, as an all-righteous being, to justly dispense punishment to the unrepentant in time and eternity. So for those who would “not accept, hear, or follow after God, he himself turns away from them, withdraws from them, and allows them to stay as they themselves would want to be.” These two categories provide Hubmaier a rubric for interpreting scriptural passages concerning God’s eternal intentions for humankind. On the one hand, texts affirming God’s universal salvific will as well as his promise to save those who place faith in Christ, such as 1 Timothy 2:4 and John 3:16, refer to the voluntas conversiva; on the other hand, those teaching “that God wants to harden the godless and damn them” allude to the voluntas aversiva. Hubmaier summarizes his overall categorization of the various aspects to the divine will as follows:

God’s voluntas absoluta yet remains upright and omnipotent, according to which he can do whatever he desires and no one should question, “Why are you doing that?” His voluntas conversiva is a will of mercy. His voluntas aversiva is a will of his justice and retribution, of which we are guilty with our immoralities, and not God….

…At this juncture, the full scope of Hubmaier’s schema comes into play, as God, through his voluntas absoluta, elects a few individuals to salvation despite his counterfactual knowledge that they would fail to respond to his prevenient grace. According to Hubmaier’s twofold split of the voluntas ordinata, moreover, God elects all whom he discerned would freely appropriate his grace in line with the voluntas conversiva, and he both reprobates all whom (apart from the handful of persons specially saved through his voluntas absoluta) he discerned would freely spurn his grace and decides to stop supplying such grace to them in time, starting at the moment when they would irrevocably reject him. Finally, God completes the act of predestination by choosing to create the world, which decision has typically been called by theologians spanning back to Augustine the “divine creative decree.”

And thus, Hubmaier did not agree with Peter, in the least. Hubmaier was a predestinationist, meaning that the helicopter was sent to save only Bob. He was not a laissez-faire, volunteerist like Peter. True enough, Hubmaier’s two wills theory and his appeal to counterfactuals is just as much heresy because as it is with all who deny God’s absolute knowledge, Hubmaier’s god could never truly know the identity of the elect from eternity even though he claimed so. Just like Peter, he makes God not God by stripping him of most of the attributes that make him God. At least Hubmaier held the True God in the highest respect, rather than making him a Policeman, though he may not have recognized himself as demeaning Him. At last Hubmaier was a philosopher, not an exegete, using “special pleading,” to establish his case, not Scripture. One thing is for sure, Hubmaier was no non-Calvinist. He was a pre-Arminian, perhaps, a pre-Molinist, for sure, but definitely did not take to being known by his nonism.

Nonism I have pointed out before is just a spineless attempt to avoid any culpability for ones traditions and beliefs. It is no wonder then that Peter is such a fan of Ergun Caner. Perhaps Christian is something Peter should add to the list of his self-descriptive nonisms.

On Infant Salvation: Spinning Truth w/Tim Guthrie

Anti-Calvinist/Arminian Tim Guthrie says in:

Reading over many thoughts pertaining to the ideas of “elect” and how one would relate those ideas and theological thoughts/doctrines pertaining to babies as led me to some interesting questions to ask of those of the Reformed movement. Beyond the questions are some clear contradictions that highlight how the Reformed/Calvinist doctrines are limited, as they should be being formed by a man and not the Word of God.

Babies are ELECT
If one holds to the idea that all babies are born elect and thus if die young do indeed inherit heaven, then one needs to ask how does one lose the status of being elect and what stage, age, or ??? would should occur? This is a logical thought process that must be addressed. Much confusion is found when reading the aged works of those Reformed thinkers. I think anyone who would, as a Calvinist, hold to this idea would also have a tough time explaining this idea.

Why?

If all are born elect, then all should be saved – according to this teaching.

Babies are born some elect and others destined for hell
If you hold to this idea, you must say that there are indeed children who die young that go to hell. In saying this, one would also be forced to admit that there is NO human way to know which it is for a specific child and family.

The above two areas are being ignored greatly in the discussion pertaining to the reformed movement. It is a sad thought when one realizes that a whole system of doctrine cannot explain the simple of the above scenario and actually is proven as incomplete and lacking.

How would you answer the above two positions? Can you back them up with scripture alone?

Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved; but they are silent or practically so in regard to those of the heathens. The Westminster Confession does not pass judgment on the children of heathens who die before coming to years of accountability. Where the Scriptures are silent, the Confession, too, preserves silence. Our outstanding theologians, however, mindful of the fact that God’s “tender mercies are over all His works,” and depending on His mercy widened as broadly as possible, have entertained a charitable hope that since these infants have never committed any actual sin themselves, their inherited sin would be pardoned and they would be saved on wholly evangelical principles.

Such, for instance, was the position held by Charles Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd, and B. B. Warfield. Concerning those who die in infancy, Dr. Warfield says: “Their destiny is determined irrespective of their choice, by an unconditional decree of God, suspended for its execution on no act of their own; and their salvation is wrought by an unconditional application of the grace of Christ to their souls, through the immediate and irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit prior to and apart from any action of their own proper wills . . . And if death in infancy does depend on God’s providence, it is assuredly God in His providence who selects this vast multitude to be made participants of His unconditional salvation . . . This is but to say that they are unconditionally predestinated to salvation from the foundation of the world. If only a single infant dying in irresponsible infancy be saved, the whole Arminian principle is traversed. If all infants dying such are saved, not only the majority of the saved, but doubtless the majority of the human race hitherto, have entered into life by a non-Arminian pathway.”1

What can be said? Notorious for his mischaracterizations and caricatures, Tim wastes no time in keeping in tact his image of being a reactionary obscurantist. It’s apparent that Tim Guthrie was informed by a fellow in ignorance, Peter Lumpkins

First of all, no Reformed or Calvinistic believer holds that all infants are elect. Judas wasn’t elect. What election entails is predestination to salvation. Reprobation is God’s passing over some. No Christian, Calvinistic, or Arminian, claims otherwise, or they’re just not Christian at all. As one will note in the link to Boettner’s commentary on the subject, there is a wide array of opinions concerning the subject. Some do indeed include all infants who die in infancy as elect, but not all. Others view only those who proceed to actual sin as being among the reprobate. And no Calvinistic thinker would believe, ever, that the elect could ever lose their status. Though some do indeed infer an age of accountability, that is not even close to being universal among Calvinists. And when it does appear, it is in reference to reprobation, not election.

Let me explain. Since all who are not heretical confess that all are born under wrath with original sin, both the nature and its guilt, we must recognize that all who are elect and all who are reprobate will die. That all begin life at conception under wrath and deserving of sin’s full penalty is demonstrated by death. Since Scripture is nearly silent on the disposition of infants in death, we have mostly in the Scripture testimony concerning only those who grow up and go on to personally sin thereby confirming their status as depraved in nature and under God’s wrath. Of those, some came to a saving knowledge of the faith, while others we are told either remain uninformed about Christ and yet were condemned because of their sin and guilt, or heard the testimony to Christ and him crucified and rejected it. Only by some is it viewed that infants dying in infancy are reprobate. Many, if not most Calvinists hold that reprobation is confirmed by the actions of the individuals. Though election and reprobation are indeed part of the decrees of God, what Calvin called horrible, the manifestation of reprobation occurs only in those whose consciences condemn, i.e., at the point at which their actions make them aware of their sinfulness. There is no age attached to it.

But as I said, the Scripture is nearly silent when addressing the status of infants who die in infancy. But Calvinistic thought is not and typically seeks to showcase God’s gracious mercy rather than his wrath. Guthrie’s apparent ignorance of the subject astounds. I suppose he only availed himself of the selected quotes at Peter Lumpkins site. Surely he did not go beyond them. If he had he would have noticed that the discussion that he says is badly neglected has had hundreds of years of serious review and is broadly discussed among Calvinists contemporaneously. If he, being a leader of sorts of others, would take the time he could find a great resource in John MacArthur’s treatment of the subject. As a fellow SBC’er with MacArthur, Guthrie will have to admit that he is not just wrong and badly ill-informed about Calvinistic thought on the subject outside Baptist circles, but is also myopic in regard to the historic beliefs of Southern Baptists and the knowledge and discussion in his own ranks.

Here is a link to an MP3. It is a balanced approach, if you care to listen, even though Spry says that infants “might” have an excuse.

For my own opinion:

1. All are conceived in sin and are under the wrath of God

2. Scripture is nearly silent when considering those who die in infancy

3. All are sinners. Contrary to people like John MacArthur or Albert Mohler, who both, like Spry who tends toward universal election in infants dying in infancy, ground eternal punishment in the personal in time acts of individuals. Scripture teaches differently, however: Romans 5. Eternal damnation is the judgement. The chapter confirms that not just that are men under that condemnation because of the act of Adam, but concludes that all have sinned and are deserving of eternal punishment. It is not just that they are depraved from conception, that they have a sin nature, but that they have actually committed sin from conception forward:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

The word sinned is in the second aorist, indicative mood. And though it may be understood in some contexts as sin that will occur, in this instance the referent is Adam who had sinned in the past tense. So the term is juxtaposed to what was done by Adam. So Paul teaches that it is concluded that all have sinned, already acted, as if they had done so temporally. Beside, they all, infants included, are considered under judgement, not just having received a depraved nature, but as already judged for having it. But if the fact is if they are only judged for acts conscientiously done in the body then there can be no judgement. Also, all men are called sinners. Not just that they have the potential to sin, but that they do always actively sin. Here is a key: possession is an act, willful or not, whether only a state of being, and Scripture holds all responsible for that possession as if they acted themselves in Adam’s stead. There is no getting around the fact that judgement for the act of Adam spread to all men. The word krima is clear and is attached to the condemnation in all mankind as considered enemies of God. There could be no judgement for acts that did not occur, there could be no enmity when yet no cause was found in the objects of wrath. In all of Chapter 5 the connection is never severed. With the nature comes the act of possessing it, and with that the guilt possessing sin deserves, and with that the wrath which all sin deserves. It does not take some external manifestation of action, or even the internal action of thought. It merely takes the illicit possession of the forbidden fruit to incur guilt.

4. All final judgement by any reading Scripture should be withheld concerning this subject because of the dearth of information available. Scripture teaches us that we are accountable for what we hear. That being said, what each of us has to deal with is what Scripture holds individuals accountable for when we have knowledge of what is said. Therefore, each should look to his own accountability and let the Lord be the Lord over the disposition of the souls of others.

So we call to account Arminians such as Tim Guthrie and Peter Lumpkins, who must demonstrate how their own philosophically based beliefs square with Scripture. How do they say that infants are saved? Do they not all believe in corruption at conception? Do they not believe in original sin? Do they not at all believe in an age of accountability? On what basis do they place their assurance that infants are at all saved? Are all born innocent? Or, are they born guilty.

There are myriads of questions that the Arminian cannot answer concerning infants, or the mentally incapacitated, either. Then why the condemnation, and that of what is demonstrably something that the likes of Peter and Tim do not rightly understand, anyway. I am convinced it is just bitterness on their part. At least in Calvinistic thought there are logical outcomes of the several different proposals. But in the Arminian scheme, there is no such thing, just vitriol, mischaracterization, caricature, and out-and-out lies.

J. Gerald Harris: Editing The Truth About Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner: a needed voice in a troubled world.

Here’s another guy who joined the chorus of irrationals who cover up for Caner.

Harris claims Caner is a prophet? We’re supposed to turn a blind eye to lies in the name of Christ for the sake of:

Ergun Caner: a needed voice in a troubled world?

…puleeez, another editor of truth is not needed.

J. Gerald Harris thinks an apology is repentance? How sad that he would call his rag the Christian Index, then. Caner doesn’t just need to apologize, he needs to admit that he defrauded his audience, then work toward reconciliation and restoration, or bow out and fade into obscurity like dozens of other charlatans have. But under whose ecclesiastical authority would reconciliation and restoration be done? Liberty is not a church.

Harris misses the fact that Caner wasn’t the scholar that he claimed to be, even in print, and that his testimony is not at all what he claimed it was. Regardless of his conversion from some sort of Islam, the whole cloth of Caner’s testimony is filthy with only a smattering of fact. So Harris joins in the deception along with the rest of those who could care less for the truth by confirming Caner. By saying: “Caner’s integrity and testimony was fully substantiated by the committee,” Harris demonstrates a wholesale committment to obscurantism or is delusional. The reality is that they did nothing of the kind. The finding was critical, not favorable, anyway. He wasn’t exonerated, but he wasn’t filleted as he should have been, either. Liberty’s real problem is that they were not forthcoming enough nor requiring enough to prove their dispassion. Obviously, they have as much to lose as Caner. If they would have been honest, they wouldn’t have lost their credibility. What is curious is the likes of Harris. What is his dog in this fight? What is his payoff?

We can understand that those who support Obama are fanatics, blind subservients, only in the hunt for the sake of being on the same bandwagon… that is what populism is all about. What is not understandable is why anyone under the banner of Christ would turn the bind eye to the matters of fact except that it is the body politic- or perhaps a cause célèbre par folie à deux, a celebrated shared delusional cause.