A Reply To A Reply to Jared Moore Regarding SBC’s Seminaries and the BFM | Obscurantism At SBC Today

Reply to Jared Moore Regarding Southern Seminary and the BFM, Part 1 | SBC Today.

Your committee respects and celebrates the heritage of the Baptist Faith and Message, and affirms the decision of the Convention in 1925 to adopt the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, “revised at certain points and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs . . . .” We also respect the important contributions of the 1925 and 1963 editions of the Baptist Faith and Message… The 1963 committee rightly sought to identify and affirm “certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.” Our living faith is established upon eternal truths. “Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.” BFM2k

The 1925 Statement recommended “the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, revised at certain points, and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs . . . .” Your present committee has adopted the same pattern. It has sought to build upon the structure of the 1925 Statement, keeping in mind the “certain needs” of our generation. At times it has reproduced sections of that Statement without change. In other instances it has substituted words for clarity or added sentences for emphasis. At certain points it has combined articles, with minor changes in wording, to endeavor to relate certain doctrines to each other. In still others — e.g., “God” and “Salvation” — it has sought to bring together certain truths contained throughout the 1925 Statement in order to relate them more clearly and concisely. In no case has it sought to delete from or to add to the basic contents of the 1925 Statement

…Such statements have never been regarded as complete, infallible statements of faith, nor as official creeds carrying mandatory authority. Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.
Preamble ’63

In pursuance of the instructions of the Convention, and in consideration of the general denominational situation, your committee have decided to recommend the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, revised at certain points, and with some additional articles growing out of present needs, for approval by the Convention, in the event a statement of the Baptist faith and message is deemed necessary at this time. Preamble ’25

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse. The New Hampshire Baptist Confession, 1833

He was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors. ’25

In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation. ’63

In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. BFM2K

As can be seen, even though the wording has been changed, by the BFM’s own declaration the intent has not, nothing has been deleted.

It is not Jared Moore who is wrong. It is Harwood. Harwood rejects the BFM’s formulation of its heritage. Not only can some who disagree with Harwood’s interpretation of the BFM at Southern Baptist seminaries affirm it, they are compelled by the logic of the document and their faith to do so.

I believe there was a reason for the obscurantism of the BFM’s rewording of the ’25 and the New Hampshire, but a discussion of that would be a digression. The fact is that the “and” clause does not stipulate a result, merely the condition. Reading it as such, with the view of the NCF and the ’25 in mind, nothing has changed. All mankind has inherited a nature which will lead to sin and they are under condemnation. The sentence could well read, Therefore, (they)are under condemnation, without violating any intent of what is causal, namely, that they in the federal headship of Adam transgressed and lost their innocence. Notice, that man is the parallax. Though Adam is at first in view, the focus shifts to the whole as his posterity inheriting what he had become.  It’s precisely that which allows for the orthodox Christian, anti-semi-pelagian, position of inherited guilt in the BFM.

Try as he might, Harwood cannot extricate the they from the man who fell from his original innocence into guilt. Free choice is indeed exercised, but it is concluded that each freely chose in Adam who in the BFM is called man, which is to say, as the NCF’s shift of focus concludes, mankind. It is not that we are guilty for Adam’s choice. To the contrary, the construction of the BFM concludes we all chose individually in Adam. That being the case, each is guilty prior to rational moral choice in actual time. The declarative judgement is seen in what will happen. It is not what comes after which incurs guilt, but the guilty condition which secures action.

So, the BFM concludes that mankind (each individual) fell from his original holiness and righteousness. Innocence in the ’63 and 2000 has been substituted for that. No matter how you slice it, all inherit unrighteousness and unholiness prior to capability of moral action. As the BFM heritage unequivocally states, mankind, the whole posterity, fell in Adam from that innocence inheriting a nature contrary- unholy, unrighteous- and guilty as charged, having freely chosen in Adam. Mankind is not neutral, but lacking the former state of innocence, he is guilty.

By its own admission the BFM has not deleted or change the original intent of:

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.

Update: Harwood misreads the BFM and misrepresents its intent.  One respondent accurately notes the double-speak Harwood engages in to avoid the clear teaching of the BFM and of Scripture:

I do not understand your comments above. I understand that you are saying that an infant who has never became a transgressor is not guilty and thus not under condemnation.

But then you state “I am aware of no biblical text in which God states, “You are judged guilty and condemned due to the sin of Adam.” Of course we’re all in sin, condemnation, and death due to Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-21).”

This is confusing. Are we ALL under condemnation or not? It appears to me that according to your theology that some of us are not condemned until we actually become transgressors. Or maybe we are under condemnation with no guilt. But then can you flesh out how one can be under condemnation but have no guilt?

Carl is right, Harwood is confused and so speaks with a double mind, redefining as he goes. The result is semi-pelagianism and patently against the tradition of the BFM and the orthodoxy of Christianity. Harwood is astounded in this second part that many call him what he is, a false teacher, a teacher of heresy. In the first part he took umbrage at being addressed publically for making a public statement. In the modern tongue, “Well duh!”

It is astounding that Harwood has a PhD. Condemnation is the sentencing for guilt. It is simply amazing that the SBC is being led by such fools thinking themselves wise.

Prayer and the Power of Contrary Choice – Sam Storms: The Problem With SBC Traditionalists

There is no such thing as a non-Calvinist prayer.

Biblical Doctrine Of Reprobation | SBC Today’s Traditionalist Ron Hale Overthrows Scripture

Ron Hale is another anti-Calvinist whose doctrine runs into its own contradictions.

Reprobation is the clear and unequivocal teaching of Scripture.

Proof from Scripture

This is admittedly an unpleasant doctrine. It is not taught to gain favor with men, but only because it is the plain teaching of the Scriptures and the logical counterpart of the doctrine of Election. We shall find that some Scripture passages do teach the doctrine with unmistakable clearness. These should be sufficient for any one who accepts the Bible as the word of God. “Jehovah hath made everything for its own end; Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil,” Prov. 16:4. Christ is said to be to the wicked, “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed,” I Peter 2:8. “For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Jude 4. “But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,” II Peter 2:12. “For God did put in their heart to do His mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the word of God should be accomplished,” Rev. 17:17. Concerning the beast of St. John’s vision it is said, “All that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb that hath been slain,” Rev. 13:8; and we may contrast these with the disciples whom Jesus told to rejoice because their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20), and with Paul’s fellow-workers, “whose names are in the book of life,” Phil. 4:3.

Paul declares that the “vessels of wrath” which by the Lord were “fitted unto destruction,” were “endured with much long suffering” in order that He might “show His wrath, and make His power known”; and with these are contrasted the “vessels of mercy, which He afore prepared unto glory” in order “that He might make known the riches of His glory” upon them (Rom. 9:22, 23). Concerning the heathen it is said that “God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting,” Rom. 1:28; and the wicked, “after his hardness and impenitent heart treasures up for himself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” Rom. 2:5.

In regard to those who perish Paul says, “God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie,” II Thess. 2:11. They are called upon to behold these things in an external way, to wonder at them, and to go on perishing in their sins. Hear the words of Paul in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia: “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you,” Acts 13:41.

The apostle John, after narrating that the people still disbelieved although Jesus had done so many signs before them, adds, “For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them,” John 12:39, 40.
Christ’s command to the wicked in the final judgment, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the Devil and his angels,” Matt. 25:41, is the strongest possible decree of reprobation; and it is the same in principle whether issued in time or eternity. What is right for God to do in time it is not wrong for Him to include in His eternal plan.

On one occasion Jesus Himself declared: “For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind,” John 9:39. On another occasion He said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes,” Matt. 11:25. It is hard for us to realize that the adorable Redeemer and only Savior of men is, to some, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; yet that is what the Scriptures declare Him to be. Even before His birth it was said that He was set (that is, appointed) for the falling, as well as for the rising, of many in Israel (Luke 2:84). And when, in His intercessory prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, He said, “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me,” the non-elect were repudiated in so many words.

Jesus Himself declared that one of the reasons why He spoke in parables was that the truth might be concealed from those for whom it was not intended. We shall let the sacred history speak for itself: “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? And He answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. Therefore speak I unto them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith,

“By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive; For this people’s heart is waxed gross. And their ears are dull of hearing. And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.” Matt. 13:10-15; Is. 6:9, 10.

In these words we have an application of Jesus’ words, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine,” Matt. 7:6. He who affirms that Christ designed to give His saving truth to every one flatly contradicts Christ Himself. To the non-elect, the Bible is a sealed book; and only to the true Christian is it “given” to see and understand these things. So important is this truth that the Holy Spirit has been pleased to repeat six times over in the New Testament this passage from Isaiah (Matt. 13:14, 15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:27: Rom. 11:9, 10). Paul tells us that through grace the “election” received salvation, and that the rest were hardened; then he adds, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear.” And further, he quotes the words of David to the same effect:

“Let their table be made a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them; Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, And bow down their backs always,” Rom. 11:8-10.

Hence as regards some, the evangelical proclamations were designed to harden, and not to heal.

This same doctrine finds expression in numerous other parts of Scripture. Moses said to the children of Israel, “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let you pass by him; for Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand, as at this day,” Deut. 2:30. In regard to the Canaanitish tribes who came against Joshua it is written, “For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:20. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, when reproved for their wickedness, “hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because Jehovah was minded to slay them,” I Sam. 2:25. Though Pharaoh acted very arrogantly and wickedly toward the Israelites, Paul assigns no other reason than that he was one of the reprobate whose evil actions were to be overruled for good: “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth,” Rom. 9:17 (see also Ex. 9:16). In all the reprobate there is a blindness and an obstinate hardness of heart; and when any, like Pharaoh, are said to have been hardened of God we may be sure that they were already in themselves worthy of being delivered over to Satan. The hearts of the wicked are, of course, never hardened by the direct influence of God, — He simply permits some men to follow out the evil impulses which are already in their hearts, so that, as a result of their own choices, they become more and more calloused and obstinate. And while it is said, for instance, that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, it is also said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15; 8:32; 9:34). One description is given from the divine viewpoint, the other is given from the human viewpoint. God is ultimately responsible for the hardening of the heart in that He permits it to occur, and the inspired writer in graphic language simply says that God does it; but never are we to understand that God is the immediate and efficient cause.

Although this doctrine is harsh, it is, nevertheless, Scriptural. And since it is so plainly taught in Scripture, we can assign no reason for the opposition which it has met other than the pure ignorance and unreasoned prejudice with which men’s minds have been filled when they come to study it. How applicable here are the words of Rice: —

Happily would it be for the Church of Christ and for the world, if Christian ministers and Christian people could be contented to be disciples, — LEARNERS; if, conscious of their limited faculties, their ignorance of divine things, and their proneness to err through depravity and prejudice, they could be induced to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him. The Church has been corrupted and cursed in almost every age by the undue confidence of men in their reasoning powers. They have undertaken to pronounce upon the reasonableness or unreasonableness of doctrines infinitely above their reason, which are necessarily matters of pure revelation. In their presumption they have sought to comprehend ‘the deep things of God,’ and have interpreted the Scriptures, not according to their obvious meaning, but according to the decisions of the finite reason.

And again he says,

No one ever studied the works of Nature or the Book of Revelation without finding himself encompassed on every side by difficulties he could not solve. The philosopher is obliged to be satisfied with facts; and the theologian must content himself with God’s declarations.7

Strange to say many of those who insist that when people come to study the doctrine of the Trinity they should put aside all preconceived notions and should not rely simply upon the unaided human reason to decide what can or cannot be true of God, and who insist that the Scriptures should be accepted here as the unquestioned and authoritative guide, are not willing to follow those rules in the study of the doctrine of Predestination.

Another article you should read concerns the result of taking positions that eviscerate God’s knowledge of futurity. Without election and its complimentary doctrine of reprobation one is left with a unknowing God.

The Scripture proofs above leave no doubt that God not only knows all future events, he predestined them. Short of that, the SBC Traditionalists substitute human reason and tradition in the place of Scripture.

Bob Hadley Makes Jesus A Liar | SBC Today

Instantaneous or Progressive Regeneration? | SBC Today.

Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary, contends that everyone can hear the Gospel.

He says:

It is crystal clear; the Bible does not speak of nor even support a salvific possibility of God regenerating an individual outside of the work of the Word of God and its proclamation. It is the proclamation of the gospel that causes lost men to see their sin and their need of a Savior and to hear God’s promise to save those who believe. Calvinism errantly seeks to establish new birth as the sole result of God’s predestined will and subsequent effectual calling, which is not contingent at all upon the proclamation of the gospel because prior to that effectual calling, the gospel has no effect at all on the lost, unregenerate person.

We could ask, if it is the Gospel that causes one to see, why do not all men who hear the Gospel see their sin and repent? Isn’t it the power of the Gospel to those who believe, not the power of the Gospel to make one believe? No Calvinist makes the new birth to be caused by God’s will. It is the Holy Spirit who causes one to be born again. The subsequent effectual calling is two parts. One the equipping of an individual to hear with understanding, and second, the hearing of the Gospel with an enabled understanding.

Hadley misuses Romans 1:16, if indeed it is the Gospel which is the power of God for salvation to those who believe, as he makes the power of God to salvation to those who do not believe. Believing does not follow the Gospel in Romans 1:16, but must precede it if it is the power of God to those who believe, and not to those who do not believe. After all, the Gospel is received by those who have been born again, John 1:12-13, not by those who are not.

Faith has many nuances in Scripture. The substance of faith is what is believed, but the power of faith is something else. Faith and all it entails, being a gift, it is operated in all by the Holy Spirit. And it is bestowed to whom he chooses. Faith is knowledge, conviction and trust, but all three are not effectual without power, that is enablement. There is not just the noticia, assentia, and fiducia, but the potentia of faith. In the Greek potentia is dunamis. It is the power of God which works all things in all which causes us to work, energeo, out our salvation according to his good pleasure. All of which Hadley denies. For Hadley, it is the Word which works all these things.

Hadley mixes and matches terms to satisfy the moment. There are varying uses of born again, salvation, faith, conversion, sanctification, throughout Scripture and in Reformed literature. Regeneration is not conversion, necessarily. Salvation is not conversion, necessarily, either. Neither is sanctification faith, and so on. Yet, they are all involved in the salvific process of those for whom Christ died, those who are a chosen generation. So often we see the terms used interchangeably and sometimes not when they have a limited scope of meaning.

Generation, by the way, can mean creation. It also means an inheritance, or offspring. It can mean dispensation. To say we are a chosen generation is to say that those outside it are not chosen. Choseness is a necessary component of salvation, then, as Jesus said to the disciples, that they and not others were privy to the Gospel’s power to make them hear, understand and be converted. Only the chosen can offer up the sacrifice of praise to God. Hadley would even deny the priesthood of the believer, then, and make it a priesthood of unbelievers, if the Gospel (what he means by Gospel is only the preached word and not Gospel in all its biblical nuance) is power of God for salvation of the generation of unbelievers. Instead Scripture speaks of the chosen generation as a new creation, anagennao, or anothen gennao, a recreation. Jesus specifies that it is necessary that one is recreated a new generation to be able to hear, see, understand and so enter the kingdom of God.

According to Hadley, no child who has not heard and accepted the Gospel can be saved. We need not remind Hadley that it is the synergists who condemn Calvinists for Biblically allowing the possibility that some unregenerate infants might not be regenerated and saved. Though that is a Biblical possibility, no Calvinist contends that they know the estate of infants. But here, Hadley condemns all infants as if he knows, It is crystal clear; the Bible does not speak of nor even support a salvific possibility of God regenerating an individual outside of the work of the Word of God and its proclamation. We need to remind Hadley of John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb, without the preaching of the Word. We must ask him, when did he hear the Gospel? Could he understand it? At the moment of conception? During gestation? When? This is not just the testimony of Scripture to John, but to Jeremiah, David, and even Paul.

Saddest is Hadley’s blasphemy of Jesus. John has Jesus saying:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 ESV)

The word see comes from the root eido. It means to perceive with the eyes,
to perceive by any of the senses, to perceive, notice, discern, discover, to see
i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything, to pay attention, observe, to see about something, i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it
to inspect, examine, to look at, behold, to experience any state or condition, to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit, to know, to know of anything, to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive, of any fact, the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning, to know how, to be skilled in
to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to…

To complement this John will later say:

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” (John 12:37-40 ESV)

John testifies by way of the Isaiah: who has believed what he heard from us…

John understood what eido meant. The hearing of the spiritual ear, as far as the Gospel is concerned, must be regenerated before one can enter the kingdom, for one must first be enabled to understand, that is to hear and comprehend the things of the kingdom before one can turn (repent) and believe and be converted and enter in. Who can believe the report, John utilizes Isaiah to ask? Only those who can hear, and who can hear? Only those who have been born again, Jesus says.

We find this elsewhere when Jesus is instructing on the parables and explaining why the Word is not effectual on everyone:

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:10-15 ESV)

Again we have definitive proof that hearing in a spiritual sense is not the common property of all people. It is a gift given to some, not all. Hadley has Jesus saying, “Except that one can hear he cannot be born again.” He makes Jesus a liar and opposed to the Scripture which is supposed to testify of Jesus, not against him.

A Critique of Calvinism Is Just Another Attack On Calvinism | SBC Today

A Biblical Critique of Calvinism Part 2a: Old Testament Scriptures Teaching the Optional Nature of the Gospel Invitation | SBC Today.

There is so much wrong with Dr. Michael A. Cox’s piece I could go on for ten thousand words, so I will only touch upon a couple of the egregious errors.

In Lam 3:33 Jeremiah says:

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.

Cox failed to notice the parameter by which God does not afflict willingly… so as to crush, deny justice, subvert… these are things of which… the Lord does not approve.

But God does willingly afflict to discipline and bring a man to repentance. So Elihu says:

Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend against him, saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man;
he keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.

Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones, so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out. His soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death.

If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness.

He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’

Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.

Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have any words, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”(Job 33:12-33 ESV)

And notice, it is after mercy has been shown that man prays the prayer of repentance. God in mercy had rebuked Job’s sin, revealed himself to Job, and only then does he make the confession of faith that he had only heard of God but now saw him as he was. We all know this. We all have experienced the opening of our eyes to the Holiness of God displayed and our sin exposed before we pray, so that we know of his mercy granted before we do anything. It is precisely in his mercy in which he shows himself to some, for when he does, they always repent. Beside, we have the testimony of Hebrews 12 that we are scourged by our Father for our good. If we are not disciplined, we are not sons. We have the testimony of Thomas and of all the apostles. Especially in the salvation of Paul do we see that Paul doesn’t know who it is that speaks until Christ reveals himself. Only then, and in every case it is the same, do men repent when given the salvific knowledge of the God who saves. And they always do.

No, God does not willy-nilly abuse, or for some arbitrary sensual pleasure afflict man. He does so out of justice and mercy, willingly. For the saints, it because he is unwilling that any should perish but that all would come to repentance. We see this in Jeremiah. In fact the whole of the OT’s design it is God’s kindness that through judgement there is mercy which leads to repentance. In Jeremiah only those who pass through judgement are spared. And it is a mercy granted from Eternity as is testified to as Paul’s testimony about the Gospel reserved for those who would believe. Indeed, judgement must precede mercy. Mercy must precede the contrite heart of thankful repentance. As is demonstrated in the Ezekiel quote below, one must be condemned before mercy is bestowed. So what of the little children? Without judgement and condemnation and then mercy, there is no eternal life for them. For the saint it means that God has purposed from Eternity past that through many trials, yes even death of the flesh, we will enter into eternal life. And this is his mercy.

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the LORD.”

Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north disaster shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the LORD, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands. But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”(Jeremiah 1 ESV)

One of the things that cannot be said about Jeremiah is that his life was a choice he made. Neither was his ministry, nor were any other events he would experience, nor were any of the events which had and were about to happen to Israel a matter of their choice.

First we must recognize something of this decline into captivity and subsequent deliverance. It was prophesied by through Moses it would happen, just as Moses’ captivity was foreordained by God through Abraham. Second, we must recognize the similarity between Moses and Jeremiah. They were both called from the womb to be deliverers as Prophets of God. Jeremiah begins with the his own words voicing the word of God to him about his origins. Exodus tells the story of God’s call on Moses from birth. In both cases the afflictions the people of God suffer were according to the decree of his will prophetically spoken.

God’s knowledge of Jeremiah was before he was formed in the womb (we can have confidence that God’s knowledge of each of us is the same). It is a declaration of God’s decreedal purposes which cannot fail, vs 12. The Eternal Word, that is the decree, knows Jeremiah intimately before he is formed, before he curses the day of his birth, before he prophesies, before he ever makes any choices, every day of his life and therefore every word is written in God’s book, as was the case with David who made the same claim about himself being the product of God’s foreordination. Jeremiah’s ministry cannot fail because the prophecies which were spoken before him and those he would speak were the decreedal will of God, the Eternal Word in the heavens which goes forth from the mouth of God and cannot return to him void.

Cox denies this fundamental of the faith, namely that God is omniscient. His omniscience, necessarily derived from his decree, is clearly portrayed in Jeremiah who God had appointed before he was formed to carry out the will of God. God knows because he has foreordained all that will pass including the evil which he will bring upon Israel with all its carnage, rape, pillaging, murder and infanticide.

It is right here in the first chapter. So why did Cox resort to obscurantist tactics by going to Jeremiah 18? There is no doubt that choices will be made. The point of Chapter 1, however, is that it is God who has determined those choices or the prophecies would fail. It is God who is watching over his word to perform it, not man.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

Both plans and purpose are from the same Hebrew root which means to set ones mind to do, to plan or purpose. That is, freewill choice in man always is the result of what God has chosen. It must be that way or the prophetic value of Scripture falls to ashes.

Jonah is another of the clearest examples of how man’s will is never done except that it is God’s will that it is so. Jonah is again, a prophet. And if we have learned anything about prophets it is that their calling came before they were born. Such was the case with Paul by his own testimony. So also John the Baptist, and David, and Jesus himself. The thrones in heaven, as Jesus reminded his disciples, are established by the Father’s own determination, not by any choice a man might make, not even the Son of Man. So he also tells Peter that when he is old he would go where Peter would not will to go. Peter often was that way, saying he would do one thing and being unable to. Only when made to do does Peter do. That sounds familiar, for it is exactly what happened to Jonah.

Jonah is a type of Christ. Yet, he could not have been if it were the case that he might not rise in three days. Try that take on Jesus claim. “As Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish and might not have raised again, I might not raise again, either.” The types and shadows of the old testament cannot hold any prophetic value if they are not true to the prophecies that they hold. From the first word to Eve that the Seed would crush the serpent’s head, each progressive prophecy unfolds a Word which cannot be broken. Each prophecy building on the prior leads to the final fulfillment. If the chain is broken, so is God’s Word.

Jonah was the reluctant prophet. So was Jeremiah, and Isaiah, and Moses. Jeremiah’s words about his speech are almost an exact match to Moses. Even Isaiah was a man of unclean lips. All three were given by the Spirit’s power the means to speak. And speak they did as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit and not under their own power or will. Their words were not words that they made up, or that they chose to speak, but the testimony is that they could not speak anything other than what God had spoken. God had put his words in Jeremiah’s mouth. Jonah fights his assignment all the way. Again, that is a familiar theme in the testaments to those chosen to be prophets. Jonah, just as Moses ran, runs but cannot do anything other than what God has set before him to do. His story is necessary. It exalts God’s sovereign control over man’s moral responsibility. He has to be tossed overboard for the prophecy to come from the story’s example out of Christ’s mouth. Jesus spoke only as he heard from the Father. Jonah is dragged, eaten and stinking so as to speak, and forced against his will to do the will of God. God caused the storm and prepared the fish, not Jonah. Jonah would rather die drowned in the ocean than fulfill his task. His repentance is forced by the circumstances which swallow him up. Though he would rather die, God ensures his life just as he did with Jeremiah so that the mission of God is fulfilled.

Once humbled into repentance through God’s kindness, broken by God, he reluctantly completes the task. Reluctance is a familiar theme with the prophets it appears, even to the end. For we see Jonah even at last stubbornly not liking what God had done. He was bitter, even. The finale captures one of the themes of the book, God’s sovereign election to salvation of people from the nations, including gentiles. Notice what God says. They are a people who cannot tell their right hand from their left. In other words good from evil. They are, the text says, as much as cattle, not knowing what to choose. God provides the plant and the worm, the comfort and the pain, for Jonah just as he does for all. Jonah can have compassion for such little signs of God’s providence, but is angry that God controls the future state of everyman, even those Jonah loathes.

For some unknown reason these unreasoning people repent. What can be said? A foreigner shows up and preaches repentance and they just acquiesce? They’re pagans who worship their idols, and all the sudden a revelation of their personal condemnation and they see the salvation of God? Somewhere in what is not said is that secret power of the Holy Spirit working upon the hearts of the Ninevites, we must presume. What changes their hearts and minds? Mere words?

This sovereign display of God’s electing love Cox calls God raping people’s wills. And he doesn’t mean in the sense of the term helkuo, the NT word for draw, that it to say, to drag away, to take as ones own possession, which is another definition of rape. He means it in the most disgusting of nuances so as to paint the darkest picture he can of Calvinism. The fact is though, as demonstrated above, Cox is not blaspheming Calvinists, he is blaspheming God. He is also saying that the promises of God can fail making the Holy Spirit a liar.

God’s sovereign election is the story of the OT. How, then, does Cox come up with the idea that it is not? Even in the story of Jonah, we not only have the revelation of the Jews but the understanding that God is electing a people from all nations. We must recall the words of Isaiah to know that even the disobedience of his people is the sovereign work of God:

O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage. (Isaiah 63:17 ESV)

If their disobedience is his work, then what of their obedience:

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:22-32 ESV)

Double Predestination | The Poisoned SBC Table | SBC Voices | Hobbs And The Lost Soul Of The SBC

At SBC Voices the author of the following piece points out the poisoning of the well and the name calling of the Traditionalists whose sanctimonious attitudes are all so evident. One commenter’s response was

Adam and Eve were given the choice to obey or disobey God.

via Double Predestination and My Seat at the SBC Table | SBC Voices.

Just one of the many blasphemies found in the Traditionalist’s defense of their heresy in the SBC is the claim that God tempted Adam and Eve with choice. Where in Genesis 2-3 is man given choice? To the contrary the choice of evil is forbidden, not given. And more than just forbidden, it is condemned. To make a matter of free choice those good choices which God provided was the very evil Satan introduced. Free will choice is the opposite of the intention of creation. Now, some might think that choosing life for doing good or death for doing evil is a choice. But only the depraved would think of death for doing evil a rational choice. Adam and Eve were created rational, not irrational, righteous not depraved, or a mixture. They were not created with the propensity to evil in them, rather the propensity to do good. Not only that, they were created perfect in knowledge in as much as God had endowed them, as is demonstrated by Adam’s ability to name all the animals of the Garden. To say that mankind was created in the image of God with the ability within themselves to choose evil is to say that the image of God is both good and evil. God created them in his image to choose good. It was Satan that deceived Eve placing before her choice. She in turn, placed before Adam evil as a free will choice.

The following, along with additional comments, is an edited old post of mine on the heresy of H.H.Hobbs:

Only of man is it said that he was made in God’s image. Since God is Spirit, this image relates to man’s spiritual nature. This divine image means that God created man with a rational, emotional, and moral nature. He possesses a will with the freedom of choice. In his original creation, man was in a state of innocence with the possibility that he might choose righteousness or sinfulness, pg.51 TBFAM, c. 1971.

[In the current controversy you can see that Hobbsian influence is at work. Hobbs' statement about innocence rules out man created in God's image as righteous. Hobbs' view is Pelagian.)

It cannot be mistaken that Hobbs intends in this quote to establish that God's image is being described. Hobbs states three times that it is. He then defines it. So, it is that definition that we will look at. It is actually a single thought. God is moral with will; free to choose good or evil. As I discussed before, the innocence of God in Hobbs finds its establishment in the "first choice" that God made.

[Prior to that, God is neither good, nor evil, and afterward good but with the capability of evil within, as we shall see]

Hobbs defined virtue as that which must proceed from choice. Innocence is neutrality then; having done neither good nor evil. It was discovered [according to Hobbs] that the first action of God was to establish laws outside himself that he could possibly violate.

It is here that we encounter a problem with Hobbs’ Theology. God is transcendent, not just timeless. Time has no reference in God who is eternal. The problem then is how does it eventuate in God that an action happens? Time is bound in creation. In God, time is seen as complete just as all that is God is a divine simplicity and impassable. Each attribute and characteristic of Deity is at once and One, not without the others. He is not a complexity; he is undivided perfection of perfections. Time is complete in the mind of God just as a line does not proceed from point A to point B but is AB. It conjoins logical order. At the same time, however, God does not comprehend it in process moving from A to B. The result of process is time, and as I said time is within creation, bound by it, and more specifically, the resultant of an object’s (created matter) motion in space.

Then we can see the dilemma. If God is a moral agent in the same way that man is, then God is not Spirit, but has a body which traverses distances experiencing change and therefore time. That is not the case as Hobbs himself admits, “God is Spirit.” God cannot change and so there never was a “time” when God was merely innocent and by action chose the good, gained virtue and became righteous. But, this is the moral agency that Hobbs has introduced in God’s image in man. And one that is necessitated by God will to choose to obey his own laws.

I will digress a short bit to examine man in the original creation. If in God there was no time in which he was not righteous, and he being the perfection of perfections, created man in his image, then man was not innocent at any time. Here again I remind the reader what Hobbs’ definition of innocence is:

Created in a state of innocence, man was neither righteous nor sinful. Before becoming either he must exercise the right of choice, hence the temptation experience… pg. 51-52

Of God Hobbs states:

Thus the “righteousness of God” is not an attribute of God, but an activity… pg. 59; This is God’s self-affirmation…connotes what God is in his nature, pg. 37; …God has placed certain limitations upon himself…to act as he wills in keeping with his own laws and accordance to his nature as righteousness… pg. 66.

This may seem confusing, and I agree, Hobbs was confused. As I have discussed elsewhere on this subject and furthered here, Hobbs proffers libertarian freewill in God and by doing so confuses the eternal righteous nature of God with action. He said:

He is active, progressive, free to choose… pg 36.

When put together, eternality becomes something quite different in Hobbs than in Scripture. His image is of a changing God, whose methods change. Thus God is seen in reference to time, viewing the creation as an externality, progressive, because the nature of God is itself internally progressive and time bound in some unexplained way such that God has the power of contrary choice so that he might attain virtue (righteousness). Hobbs’ said, “Created in a state” and we do not have to look far in Scripture to see that the “state” was the image of God and is exactly what Hobbs meant.

But, is that the way man was created? Scripture reveals that man was created good and in the image of God who is eternally blessed; the perfection of perfections, the Highest Good. Created with rationality and able to understand right from wrong, man was created without the power of contrary choice, if what is meant by that is that man was free to choose evil. He was created with a nature that was good (righteous). In the creation each kind produces only after its own kind. His mind was perfect in order that he might bring glory to God. Genesis three tells us that man was deceived. How could that be?

Unlike God, who is Good and the perfection of perfections, man is a created being and all that does not apply to God, applies to man. That is, man is time bound, progressive and changeable. He is changeable by the very nature of what it means to be created. The confessions of the past say things like malleable, unstable and so forth, to express the idea that man can change. Being a rational creature, Satan did not approach with contrary choice. He did not present “evil” to Eve, but good. He did contradict God and challenged the veracity of God’s Goodness. That is the whole point. What first appeared as right became wrong and wrong became right. Satan presented good and accused God of evil. Eve chose what she saw to be good, perfectly in keeping with what God had created her to do. In opposition to what libertarian free will would postulate, Eve’s will was bound to choose the good. The natural liberty of the will inheres in the very nature of will, but not in the nature of the mind, for it was founded rationally sound not both rational and irrational. Natural liberty of the will is not of the righteous nature of man’s spirit into which he was created, either. For what fellowship has unrighteousness with righteousness. Will is the act of choice and is result, not the cause of its action. Understanding, then as Edwards did, the will is the mind choosing. Eve saw that the fruit was good and choose according to her nature with a rational mind. She did not choose thinking that what she was doing was evil and that it would kill her. Scripture testifies she saw the fruit as good for gain, not loss.

[In other words, the freedom of the will is not due to a mixed nature of good and evil within as if the nature is at both at once. Nor is the will. Indeed, the will is the action of the nature not the nature itself.]

The power of contrary choice does not enter in until the fall, being the very nature of Satan to contradict what is good by lies. When I say that contrary choice was introduced the proper subject here is evil versus good. Man was not given a contrary choice. He was forbidden to choose. It was Satan that deceived Eve not God. Satan provided the choice. Evil entered into man in the temptation, meaning that an out of order desire was introduced. Namely, that Eve saw the fruit as good when it was in truth evil.

In the new creation, man’s will is fixed, not by the inherent nature of the will which naturally is free but by man’s new spiritual nature and mind. And more, those who have been sealed by union with Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit and are incorruptible. Even the new abode of man is free of any corrupting influence. It was the mind that Satan attacked proposing “good” from without. The spiritual nature of man in the creation was righteous. I was it, and Eve’s perfect mind which bent the will to choose to eat of that knowledge of the fruit of good and evil when she was convinced that it was good to do so.

[Scripture clearly defines the fall as the result of deception. Deception by its very definition is the withholding of free choice, anyway.]

Following what Hobbs has said, it is logical. But it is against what Scripture says. Hobbs says on page 52:

In her innocence the woman showed her tendency toward righteousness by protesting on behalf of God’s purpose.

Now this would be fine if indeed Hobbs believed that righteousness was the eternal nature of God and that man had been created after that image so that only good flows from it. But, Hobbs furthers his thesis on page 53:

It is when man through selfish ambition seeks to be God in his own life and will that he sins. It was this very thing which snared Eve, which shows that she also had a tendency toward sin. And this tendency overcame her tendency toward righteousness.

[Remember, Hobbs doesn't define man as righteous in the creation, rather as neutral.]

There we have it. The image of God in man according to H.H. Hobbs is man created with a nature that possessed innocence and the tendency to do either good or evil. This neutrality is necessary for the preservation of libertarian free will of which H.H. Hobbs was a proponent, solidly; Pelagian in his creation scenario, semi-Pelagian in his post-fall view of man. And, like most Arminians, he contended of necessity that Christ died for all to restore to man that ability to choose righteousness or unrighteousness. Which in effect, through prevenient grace, balances the scales as if to make man innocent once more- the Pelagian man, needing only to choose Christ to be righteous. As before, this inverts the image, placing righteousness as the outcome of choice rather than the cause of it.

According to H.H. Hobbs, God created man in God’s image, both good and evil. Such is the basis of the Arminianism among the Southern Baptists. As a Southern Baptist, I studied Hobbs twenty years ago and had no idea what it really meant. Where were those who did, or should have, and should have taught me? It has been nearly two generations, fifty years, since his book was printed. That is not all of it. For a century this theology has dominated the SBC landscape. To wit, my former pastor and his assistant both held that God was both good and evil, or at least capable of it, for with God all things are possible and you don’t want to put God in a box… Adults who sat in Sunday School with me were convinced that Adam and Eve both were endowed in the creation with pride-filled lust as Hobbs describes. When challenged, many Southern Baptists will see this as offensive to their own knowledge. The repugnance of the concept of God being anything but Good is revolted against by the Spirit in them. Still, the scope of the influence of Hobbsianism is vast. Try mentioning that a heretical view has been taught in the SBC for one hundred years, that a former President wrote the systematic Sunday School materials that indoctrinated tens of millions, and you’ll be anathematized as a heretic yourself. None one touches the icons in the SBC, be they men or myth.

In the long running debate between the Arminians [Traditionalists, now] and Calvinism, this is where the Arminian perspective leads. Libertarian free will will create the Force, but it cannot reveal the God of Creation. It destroys any hope of a righteousness which is revealed from heaven, and given to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Of Unity and Heresy: Can Southern Baptists Be Unified In The Face Of Contradictory Truths?

Of Unity and Heresy | SBC Voices.

The real problems is if unity is to be achieved it must be achieved upon the basis of biblical truth. The SBC cannot stand being in disagreement with itself, can it? Can any house? In stark opposition to the SBC big tent ecumenism is the biblical mandate that what is not truth is to be silenced. There is a cancer eating at the heart of the SBC which is about to explode in its chest. Denial will not heal it. Leaders of the Traditionalist movement have called Calvinism heresy, false teaching, prestidigitation, doctrines of demons. And the reverse has been said of the anti-Calvinist’s Traditionalist doctrines. Whether one side is right and the other is wrong is one issue, but as the title of the piece at SBC Voices indicates, the real issue is what is truth and can there be any unity when opinions stand it truth’s place. There cannot be such unsureness found in Scripture, can there? The Scripture clearly forbids the teaching of the opinions of men as doctrine. Where there is opinion, there is no assurance of the faith and there cannot be.

Paul said to Titus in speaking of ministers of the truth:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. (Titus 1:9-11 ESV)

He not only recognizes that there is untruth, he commands that it be silenced. And he admonishes Titus:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1 ESV)

Doctrine! He leaves no doubt that there is sound and unsound doctrine. He allows for no in-between where oppositional truths can stand and both be sound. Things to be taught and not taught are either right or wrong, not both right. One is to be silenced. The two cannot stand as one. No unity is found where there is not sound doctrine. So, no unity can be found where there is an agreement to let stand those things which are opposed to one another. That agreement itself is an unsound doctrine.

Paul in Corinthians, directly addressing teachers in the church denounces their oppositional doctrine and insists that they do not deviate from the sound doctrine they were delivered, saying do not go beyond what is written and what do you have more than anyone else that you have not received? They received it from Paul, not their own private interpretations of the writings, but his inspired interpretation of them, and they were not to deviate from the one foundation.

Paul goes on:

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:15 ESV)

This is what he says to Timothy in regard to not letting any despise him because Paul had personally taught him. Paul doesn’t teach Titus to let alone and let live, can’t we all just get alongism, you have your truth I have mine. No! Instead, he commands Titus to let no one disregard his teaching. He is speaking to his true child in the faith, just as he was to Timothy. That faith in this context is not the act of believing, rather, it is the corpus of the truth of God’s word.

Is this any different than what he taught Timothy? Let’s see.

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:14-19 ESV)

What things? Paul is speaking of the doctrines of the faith. He charges Timothy just as he did Titus not to engage in foolish babble, rather to study so that the truths Timothy is to teach are supported without shame. He is not to allow disregard or engagement with dissenters, rather he is to silence them. Just as Paul started, a faithful minister without shame in the knowledge of God whom he serves, so he commits Timothy to the same charge.

Paul gives an example of the gangrenous nature of false teaching, and here it is not dealing with the more important soteriological questions, but eschatological ones. If you want to talk of theological triage, Paul knew nothing of the sort. He treats false teaching as heresy, not as freedom of opinion, but the upsetting of the faith. If you don’t get what he is saying then it needs to be emphasized again, he says that what they are doing is iniquity, sin, and being in contradiction of the truth make themselves to be enemies of God and not His (children). Paul’s insistence is that it is only truth which builds up and is commanded to be taught, but that which is not truth ruins the hearers and is forbidden teaching.

What else:

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 ESV)

Again, the admonition is not to engage dissention, but to silence it. There seems in Paul’s commands a required separation. I used to think of these two as being Christians. And they may well have been, though they were acting as servants of Satan. Let us not forget Peter and the anathema Paul attached to his falsehood and with what gentleness he approached him. Even saints can serve the Devil and when they do it is whips of chords to drive them out of the temple. The devil is powerful, even to the devouring of apostles, but we are not unaware of his devices, nor the remedy. He is to be resisted, adamantly and forcefully. Here we see patience required, but no philedelphian spirit. Disturbers of the brethren are not to be treated as brothers but set apart as divisive, that is heretics, as enemies of the cross.

These two which Paul is making an example of may be the same two persons Paul is dealing with in 1 Timothy. The point remains, those who teach contrary to the message that was delivered by Paul and the apostles are to be silenced and if they will not be, then they are to be put out of the communion. There is no unity in falsehood. There can be no convention with error. To allow it to remain breeds dissensions. We can only understand “kindness” within the setting of the Gospel. Jesus took up whips to drive the falsehoods out. Kindness requires integrity in the message and clarity in purpose with the purity and health of the flock as their intended goal. All things which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God are to be demolished. It would be unkind to both the flock and the disruptive to not take strong, definitive action with patience which endures evil by the faithful testimony to the truth. But that requires truth.

 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV)

People have often credited this as an admonition to Timothy to personal holiness. However, since the portion is about the administration of the church, it assigns itself to the cleansing of it of all leaven of false teaching which can corrupt it. This great house we should presume as nothing other than the Church. This does, of course, mean that the ministers entrusted with the charge of overseers, themselves be cleansed of opinions, able to defend the truth without shame.

More exacting Paul tells Timothy:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Paul has the good work of the church and of the ministers of it in mind.

What presumption and impudence is there when someone speaks in the name of God and yet can only affirm that it is a matter of opinion that they are speaking, and then to be so bold as to justify those opinions with Scripture? Scripture doesn’t teach opinion, nor does it allow them. Surely, to assign to God’s breath double-mindedness, if not heresy, is incredible blasphemy.

Going on demonstrating the criticality of getting the message right:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (recall Corinthians) and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

The patience of Paul, who in the face of opposition ran the race with singularity of purpose is not patience with dissension, or contention or dissenters or contenders. It is the patience of the long race in never ceasing to command the brethren to adhere to sound doctrine and to silence those who oppose it. For in opposing sound doctrine they oppose Christ. Paul would not even let his fellow apostle get away with it. That is the patience of the long race, that even the members of ones own body could be enemies.

Notice here patience is not speaking of being patient with the hearer. Rather, it is in view of the Judgement. This is the never-ending calling of a pastor as long as he is in this world. Why is it necessary? Because there are always those seeking to destroy the church who will go on growing worse and worse unless they’re stopped. And it is because of sin in the flock, which is weak and turns to whom ever is tickling their fancy. Unless there is strong and definitive reproof, rebuke, and correction, they will fall to the devil’s schemes, and that from within. Paul calls those schemes myths. They are pits into which the sheep fall, dug by their own hooves. In short, falsehood. And so we have the admonishment to study to prove what is right and good and to stand in its defense so that there is no shame on that Day of Judgement.

Traditionalist SBC Lies: Adam Harwood Accuses God Of Evil

Inherited Sinful Nature:A View Permissible as both Biblical and Baptist | SBC Today.

Some people read Augustinian-Calvinism into Romans 5, insisting that every person will die because “all sinned,” adding these words that are not in the text: “in Adam.” They say Romans 5 means we’re all guilty because of Adam’s sin. But the text only states that “death spread to all men, because all sinned.” We need to be careful not to read a theological system into the text of Scripture…

…The Scriptures teach substitutionary atonement (Christ died in our place) not substitutionary guilt.

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… (Romans 5:12 ESV)

Sinned, hamarton (ham-ar-tan’), is a verb, an act. It is in the indicative mood, and in this case it is an act completed in the past as are all the verbs in the sentence. What then can Harwood mean when he says that the Scripture does not conclude that a child has committed an act of sin? In Romans 3, the same word is used and means precisely that all of mankind (anthropoi cannot mean only adults in this context) is concluded as having sinned, not just that they have a sin nature, but have acted in it.

The Scripture does say that all have not only a sin nature, but that all have acted and have inherited guilt in the act, for that is precisely what condemnation indicates: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:18 ESV). Notice the comparison: trespass = act. The word for condemnation is katakrima, meaning a damnatory sentence. Anyone reading that will, unless prejudiced against it by a philosophy contrary to the revelation of Scripture, conclude that the persons who are the objects of the condemnation were guilty. Harwood doesn’t discuss all of the Scripture. What he does he obscures. He dishonestly handled hamarton, if he were to discuss katakrima, wouldn’t he just do the same? Once you’ve obscured what one term means, isn’t it just as easy to do the same with another? The text doesn’t say that only “death” spread, but that death is the result of condemnation in all men and that because they are all guilty of the act of sinning. Romans 5 goes on, “so that, as sin reigned in death,” (Romans 5:21 ESV). Sin, hamartia, is a noun meaning the act of sin. Death reigned because all are sinners, having sinned a sin and are so judged, krima, guilty and are under condemnation, katakrima. If all infants are condemned to death without guilt, would that not be injustice? To follow Harwood’s conclusions accuses God of evil.

The men of The Statement are committed to their cause, there is no doubt. They really believe that what they are doing is holy when in fact it is the reasoning of a carnal mind. The carnal mind is an enemy of God, it cannot please God for it is impossible for it to do so. Indeed, it stands accusing God and His Holy One.

What Harwood professes is blasphemy. He is convinced he is led by the Holy Spirit even as he accuses God of putting to death those who do not deserve it.

Jesus, in confronting the teachers of the Law confirmed them in their vaunted knowledge of Scripture, though he contested their understanding of it. He accused them of being of the devil as they were liars by nature, regardless of whether they knew it or not. They were guilty of the blood of Christ while he was yet to be crucified. They did not know the truth because they were not of God. They sought to kill Jesus but denied that they did. They could not recognize either themselves or Messiah in Scripture. They wanted to kill the Holy One because they thought they were doing God’s work. He, after all, deserved death being guilty of sin. Death is the penalty for sin, but only if one is guilty. To put someone to death who is not guilty is sin.

What is it precisely that Harwood thinks is the reason that infants die? Because God knows they’re not guilty? God is not unjust, he is not evil, as Harwood concludes. God knows all are guilty and is just in doing whatever he determines to any who are called the race of Adam.

Addendum

Tom Ascol recently made available his critique of The Statement. Notice what he says about then injustice that would result if the sentence is executed upon the guiltless. Sem-Pelagianism was not declare heresy soley for its denial of the Biblical texts, rather what that denial does. The blasphemous result of denying the guilt of all men conceived by men is a God who is an unjust judge.

The key biblical text that must be considered at this point is Romans 5:12-19.
Five times in this passage (12, 15, 17, 18, 19) the universal judgment of
condemnation and death on all men is attributed to the one sin of the first man
Adam. There is an undeniable solidarity between the first Adam and his posterity.
Death is the penalty for sin and it has “spread to all men” (12) as an act of justice.
Unless the penalty has been unjustly executed it is inescapable that all men are
regarded guilty when the sentence is pronounced, which was at the point of
Adam’s sin. The last phrase of verse 12, when seen in the light of the whole
passage, forcefully makes this point. Death spread to all men “because all
19
sinned” (ep ho pantes hamarton). This raises the question, “How and when did
all men sin?” The context gives the answer.
In verse 18 Paul clearly joins the sin of Adam to the condemnation of all men.
Verse 19 identifies Adam’s disobedience as the cause of many being
“made” (katestarthesan) sinners. Adam’s sin is constitutive of the sinfulness and
condemnation of men. Universal judgment and death are inextricably bound to
the sin of the original man in verses 15-19. The thematic integrity of the pericope
indicates that Paul is dealing with the same issue in verse 12 that he con-siders in
verses 15-19, namely, the origin of death and con-demnation. In verse 12 he
charges the death of all men to the sin of all men. In verses 15–19 he attributes
death and condemnation to the sin of Adam.[1]