Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email: cfpc@esatclear.ie

DAVE HUNT'S ATTACK ON CALVIN AND CALVINISM ENDORSED BY DAVID CLOUD

ANSWERED BY COLIN MAXWELL

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/davehunt-calvinrefutation.html

I became a Calvinist somewhere around 1981-82 just a few years after I was saved. It was not an easy decision, but I studied carefully both sides of the Calvinist/Arminian debate and came to the conclusion that the Doctrines of Grace best express the teaching of the Bible regarding salvation. I have continued to study the debate. I am no stranger to anti Calvinist literature and anti Calvinist websites! Or to corresponding with those who take the opposite view. I quite happily fellowship and preach with those who disagree with my position. Both groups believe we can do this because fundamentally we are both preaching salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone…even if we differ in some details. I rejoice in the many conversions John Wesley saw…they rejoice in the many conversions of George Whitefield etc., I appreciate when some of my non Calvinist friends bring to my attention those verses which seem to vindicate the non Calvinist position. It is always good to be forced back again and again to the Bible to rethink our position. Truth never fears examination. What I don't appreciate, however, is when my Calvinist faith is caricatured and misrepresented. It is one thing to disagree with something - it is an entirely different matter to grossly misrepresent it. The first is built on honest principles…the latter is simply built either on ignorance or worst still…the deceitful lie. Early on in my Christian experience, I determined never to use the caricature method to promote my view. It is a despicable method, unworthy of the Christian faith.

Both Hunt and Cloud have resorted to the use of the caricature. For example, I emailed Cloud nearly a year ago (around January 2002) to point out that on his site where he attacks Calvinism, he wrongly accuses Calvin of "denouncing the free offer of the gospel" I refute this misrepresentation elsewhere. However, Cloud refuses to remove it from his site…although (I notice) that he is quite happy to quote Hunt quoting Calvin from 1 John 2:2 when he (Calvin) says "Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world and in the goodness of God is offered to all men without distinction…" Either Calvin did believe in the free offer or he didn't. Cloud wants to have it both ways. We are left wondering which page on Cloud's site do we take seriously? Hunt is pretty fond of the misrepresentation also. He calmly tried to sell the idea that Spurgeon rejected the Doctrine of Limited Atonement and actually persists in this line. This too is pretty easy to refute. One of the allegations he tries to sell us (and is peddled again here by Cloud) is that "There is no escaping the fact that in Calvin's entire Institutes of the Christian Religion there is not one mention of God's love for the lost!" (p. 151) I refute this weird allegation below.

What makes these men do these things? Is it ignorance just waiting to be instructed? Is there another agenda? I will let the reader - both Calvinist and non Calvinist - judge for themselves. One thing is true though…misrepresenting Calvinism doesn't work. It didn't work when I started to research it for myself and it won't work now when others are doing also. For those who want to examine this in depth, I suggest that you read this page first and then you will see why we say that Hunt is so confused in his understanding of what Calvinism does teach.

"The most infamous allegations have been brought against us, and sometimes, I must fear, by men who knew them to be utterly untrue: and, to this day, there are many of our opponents, who, when they run short of matter, invent and make for themselves a man of straw, call that John Calvin and then shoot all their arrows at it. We are not come here to defend your man of straw — shoot at it or burn it as you will, and, if it suit your convenience, still oppose doctrines which were never taught, and rail at fictions which, save in your own brain, were never in existence." (C.H. Spurgeon Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: 7:550)

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Hunt as quoted by Cloud

My response

"Most of those today, including evangelical leaders, who hold Calvin in great esteem, are not aware that they have been captivated by the writings of a devout Roman Catholic newly converted to Luther's Protestantism only two years previously (in the early part of 1533). Oddly, in spite of its paramount importance and his voluminous writings, we have no clear testimony in Calvin's own words concerning his salvation. He refers only to 'a sudden conversion' which subdued his 'over-much hardened' heart, but gives no description of how or what happened. By any standard, this young man, though unusually bright, was far from mature in the Christian faith. Unquestionably, his Institutes could not possibly have come from a deep and fully developed evangelical understanding of Scripture. Instead, they came from the energetic enthusiasm of a recent law graduate and fervent student of philosophy and religion, a young genius devoted to Augustine and a newly adopted cause. At the time of writing his Institutes Calvin, far from being an apostle like Paul, was a brand-new convert to the faith who had scarcely begun to walk with the Lord. Therefore, it could not have been spiritual maturity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that brought forth the Institutes, but the power of Calvin's brilliant legal mind." (pp. 38, 39, 40).

The only reason why Calvinists hold Calvin in great esteem is that we judge his writings to conform to the teaching of the word of God. Otherwise he probably would have been forgotten long ago.

Calvin clearly testifies to his conversion experience for us in his last will. Whether this satisfies a man who can hardly speak peaceably of him remains to be seen.

Although a young believer when he first wrote the Institutes - let no man despise thy youth comes to mind here - Calvin revised and added to the Institutes several times over the years. During these years, his counsel was sought by many Church leaders over the whole of Europe.

"Calvin's almost complete agreement with Augustine is nothing short of astounding. Calvin called himself 'an Augustinian theologian.' Of Augustine he said, 'whom we quote frequently, as being the best and most faithful witness of all antiquity.' It is Calvinists themselves who insist upon the connection between Calvin and Augustine. McGrath writes, 'Above all, Calvin regarded his thought as a faithful exposition of the leading ideas of Augustine of Hippo.' How could one of the principal leaders of the Reformation embrace so fully the doctrines of one who has been called 'the first real Roman Catholic' and the 'principal theological creator of the Latin-Catholic system as distinct from evangelical Protestantism&Mac183;'?" (p. 51)

Augustine is a very complex character, mainly due to his voluminous writings. Calvin quotes him when he agrees with him and refutes him in other places. A lot of Augustine's theology is anti RC and is actually anathematised by the RC Council of Trent. However, it is worth noting that when it comes to their cherished doctrine of freewill, Rome, Cloud and Hunt make wonderful bed-fellows indeed.

"Calvinism offers a special definition of human depravity: that depravity equals inability -- and this special definition necessitates both Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. There is not a verse in the Bible, however, which presents Calvinism's radical idea that the sinner is incapable of believing the very gospel which offers him forgiveness and salvation and yet he is condemned by God for failing to believe. To say that God commands men to do what they cannot do without His grace, then withholds the grace they need and punishes them eternally for failing to obey, is to make a mockery of God's Word, of His mercy and love, and is to libel His character." (pp. 93, 94, 96)

This charge is easily answered. God commands men to keep the moral law of God perfectly and eternally condemns them for not doing so (Galatians 3:10) Does Hunt or Cloud say that God gives grace to men to keep perfectly His law? If so…where in the Bible does it say so? If not…is this a mockery etc., A consistent interpretation would go a long way here.

"Why does God waste His time and effort and the time and effort of His many prophets pleading with those who, allegedly, cannot hear Him and who, even if they could, being totally depraved, would never respond to His appeal by believing and obeying Him? Why create this elaborate fiction of mourning and weeping over multitudes who God knows will not only refuse to repent but who, unless He regenerates them, cannot repent because of their total inability to do so?" (p. 107)

God does not waste the time and efforts of prophets pleading etc., with dead sinners. Through such means, God brings His elect to life and leaves the non elect in their sin without excuse. The effort of the soulwinner is never in vain if in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58) This is not a charade…no more so than God creating men, pleading with them, when He knows perfectly well they won't heed it. The non Calvinist faces the same overall problem…if indeed, it be a problem.

"Take a human understanding of 'dead,' mix it together with the young John Calvin's immature understanding of God's Word, tainted by Augustinian philosophy, stir it up and out comes the theory of Total Depravity." (p. 119)

Here obviously we have got to differ. Sufficient to say that Calvinism alone does justice to the fact that the sinner is actually lost. (Luke 19:10) The Partial Depravity view suggests rather that he has just missed his turning a little . Or to keep with the similitude: The sinner is not really dead at all…there's life in the old man yet!

"Yes, man is totally unable to contribute one iota to his salvation. It does not then follow, however, that he therefore cannot receive the salvation freely offered in Christ." (p. 121)

Man can only receive the salvation freely offered when He is enabled to do so by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:3) To different extent, both Calvinists and non Calvinists both agree on this. I wonder what Hunt is getting at here and/or why Cloud thinks it is worth repeating?

"It is clear that Calvinism rests upon a mistaken view of what it means for God to be sovereign. The basic problem for the Calvinist is a failure to see that God could sovereignly give to man the power of genuine choice. Giving man the power to make a genuine, independent choice need not diminish God's control over His universe. Being omnipotent and omniscient, God can so arrange circumstances as to keep man's rebellion from frustrating His purposes. In fact, God can and even does use man's free will to help fulfill His own plans and thus be even more glorified." (pp. 128, 129)

The Bible teaches that [1] God is sovereign working all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11) Click here for verses which teach God's absolute sovereignty. [2] Men is absolutely free to follow the dictates of his own heart and is totally responsible for his actions. We believe, however, that when men follows his own heart, he does wickedly (since the heart is desperately wicked: Jeremiah 17:9) His will is (to quote the Bible) "free from righteousness" (Romans 6:20) This is not a problem for Calvinists at all.

"Suggesting that God would be lacking in 'power' (and thus His sovereignty would be denied) if He made a genuine offer of salvation, and some rejected it, is to frame the proposition wrongly. Power has no relationship to grace and love, which provide salvation. In fact, as we shall see, there are many things which God cannot do, and a lack of 'power' is not the reason for any of them, nor is His sovereignty mitigated in the least." (p. 136)

I would need to see the whole quote to see what Hunt is getting at here. Suffice to say that it seems strange to say that power has no relationship to grace and love. Are grace and love powerless then? Is grace sovereign i.e. does it reign? (Romans 5:21) which denotes power. Furthermore, Calvinists believe that God does make a genuine offer of salvation and some do reject it. Failure to understand the basics of Irresistible Grace leads our critics to think otherwise.

"There is no escaping the fact that in Calvin's entire Institutes of the Christian Religion there is not one mention of God's love for the lost!" (p. 151)

 

 

CLICK HERE SO THAT YOU CAN CHECK THE TRUTHFULNESS OF THIS STATEMENT REGARDING THE INSTITUTES FOR YOURSELF:

 

 

No less than three quarters of Calvin's Institutes treat us to: The Knowledge of Christ the Redeemer (Book 2) The way we receive grace from Christ (Book 3) and The external means or aids by which God invites us into the society of Christ and holds us therein (Book 4) I looked up the Scripture index in my copy and I find that John 3:16 is quoted or referred to no less than 7 times. Likewise Romans 5:8 (6 times) John 1:29 (6 times) etc., I forbear to quote more. No Escaping? Not one mention? Hunt is either illiterate or a liar. Cloud should have checked his facts before repeating an allegation which is untrue.

"So once again, rather than looking to men, no matter how great their reputations, we are driven to come to our own conclusions on the basis of Scripture alone." (p. 162)

Amen. Calvin rightly taught: "All who mingle their own inventions with the word of God, or who advance anything that does not belong to it, must be rejected, how honourable soever may be their rank." (Synoptic Gospels 2:284)

"Of course salvation is not our doing; but that we cannot earn salvation does not prove that we cannot freely choose to receive salvation as a gift of God's love." (p. 182)

Actually Calvinists believe we "freely choose to receive salvation" once our otherwise depraved and wicked wills are renewed by divine grace and power. This enables us to give God the glory even for the faith that saves. Something the non Calvinist can hold unto for himself.

"The Calvinist insists, however, that salvation cannot be conditioned upon any act or belief on man's part This declaration is made repeatedly: 'To reject [Calvinistic] election is to reject salvation by grace and promote salvation by works.' Yet if anything is clear in Scripture it is the undisputable fact that faith is not work but its very antithesis. 'By grace are ye saved, through faith not of works' (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nothing could be clearer than the fact that, by believing, one is doing no work. In fact, faith and work are contrasted." (pp. 190, 191)

Actually Calvinists do believe that salvation is conditioned upon faith. John 3:16/18/36 make this clear. Where we differ from the non Calvinist is that we believe that the source of salvation i.e. election is not conditional upon faith, but rather faith is unconditional upon election hence "the faith of God's elect" (Titus 1:l) Faith is the channel of salvation…if we make it the basis of salvation, then we turn it into a Saviour instead of Christ.

"in contrast to the literally hundreds of places where God's love is clearly expressed for all of Israel (most of whom rejected Him) and for the whole world (most of whom also reject Him), nowhere does the Bible declare that God doesn't love and desire the salvation of all." (p. 206)

True. What no-one can say, however, is that God has purposed to save every last man. If He has then His purposes have been frustrated. I take this matter up elsewhere.

"God's sovereignty would no more be undermined if some accepted the offer of salvation and others rejected it than for billions of humans continually to disobey the Ten Commandments." (p. 206)

Hunt here misses the point that there is a difference as far as we are concerned between the preceptive will of God (which is revealed in the Bible e.g. the Ten Commandments) and the secretive will of God i.e. His hidden decrees. Failure to note this leads to all kinds of error.

"Furthermore, would it not be a misrepresentation of the worst sort to offer salvation to whosoever will, when in fact it was only intended for a select few? to claim that 'all' means only a select group called the elect does violence to the plain meaning of language and impugns the character of God; and it does this in order to force upon the Word of God a system of religion which cannot be derived from it." (p. 208)

The invitations of Scripture are to be offered indiscriminately to each and every man. A wicked heart prevents some from benefiting of it - grace intervenes and applies it to the hearts of the elect. The sincerity of the offer cannot be impugned by the fact that some do not avail of it. Calvinists limit the all in the application of salvation…not in its offer. All in the Bible often means all kinds of as opposed to all without exception e.g. 1 Timothy 6:10

"One of the sad features of Calvin's Institutes is the demeaning language he continually employs (much like Luther) to vilify all who disagree with him." (p. 233)

Looking round a few anti Calvinist sites, I see quite a few examples of demeaning language flowing freely from the other side. Both are to be condemned.

"There is no way that Christ's death could be limited to paying only for the elect's sins. To deliver even one person from eternal punishment, no matter how few or many the sins he may have committed, Christ had to pay the penalty demanded by His infinite justice for sin. By very definition, then, the death of Christ on the cross paid the penalty for sin itself which hangs over the heads of the entire human race." (p. 251)

Then I assume that Christ died for the fallen angels who likewise sinned? Or is His death limited only to the human race and those poor demons who are going to be tormented forever in hell itself left in their sins? Sounds very Calvinistic to me.

"At times, Calvin himself seemed to be ambivalent on this subject. He made statements both supporting unlimited atonement and at other times in favor of limited atonement. Referring to Isaiah 53:12 he said, 'on Him was laid the guilt of the whole world.' Concerning Mark 14:24, 'This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many,' Calvin said, 'The word many does not mean a part of the world, but the whole human race.' On 1 John 2:2, Calvin declared, 'Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without distinction, his blood being shed for the whole human race.' Calvin is quoted as the authority when it suits today's Calvinists, and at other times he is ignored. Yet this confusing doctrine [limited atonement] upon which its adherents do not agree among themselves or even with Calvin is still called 'Calvinism' by everyone." (p. 262, 263)

Calvin believed in a definite atonement…something which the non Calvinist's cannot claim. Their view of the Atonement admits of failure. The sins of the non elect having been "taken away" (John 1:29) comes back and is punished all over again. As Spurgeon observes, That seems to me a thousand times more frightful than any of those horrors, which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of particular redemption. (4:553) When Calvin speaks of the whole human race, he is drawn the distinction from the Jews only and bringing in the Gentiles. Cp. John 12:19-20

"As we shall see when we come to Perseverance of the Saints, a major problem for Calvinists is how to be certain that one is among that select group for whom alone Christ allegedly died. We see this uncertainty in Calvin himself. In his will, drawn up shortly before his death. Calvin wrote, "I humbly seek from God to be washed and purified by the great Redeemer's blood, shed for the sins of the human race&Mac183;' How is it that this greatest of exegetes seemed uncertain in spite of Scripture's promise of absolute assurance: 'these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life&Mac183;' (1 John 5:13)? Such assurance comes not by a special revelation that one is among the elect, but by simple faith in Christ." (p. 253)

 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL COPY OF CALVIN'S WILL SO THAT YOU CAN READ IT FOR YOURSELF.

I don't know any Calvinist who ever claimed that we get assurance of salvation by special revelation that we are among the elect. A little bit of research would help Hunt's cause more and make his book less wearisome to read. As to Calvin's will, Hunt's quote (assuming that Cloud was fair in his editing) omits the vital word "so" and then guillotines the last part of the sentence. Calvin wished to be "so washed" etc., "… that I may be permitted to stand before his tribunal in the image of the Redeemer himself." Either Hunt is incompetent or he is willing to pervert the words of a dying saint to further his own ends.

"Tragically, Calvinism's misrepresentation of God has caused many to turn away from the God of the Bible as from a monster." (p. 287)

Men turn away from God because they love their sin. Many turn away from God because they despise His dealings with the Canaanites of old etc., Some turn away from God because they believe the non Calvinist misrepresentations of what Calvinism actually believes. And let's face it…Hunt hasn't done too much to keep the record straight.

"Indeed, just as God himself cannot force anyone to love Him (a coerced response is the opposite of love), so it would be the very opposite of grace to force any gift or benefit of 'grace' upon anyone who did not want to receive it." (p. 291)

True. Since Calvinist's believe in "Irresistible Grace" and not "Irresistible Violence" I can't quite see the relevance of this comment.

"God truly and powerfully works within the believer and we can do nothing but by the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, however, we must give ourselves willingly to the work of God through us. Most Calvinists admit this co-operative effort when it comes to living the Christian life, but insist that there can be no such willingness in believing the gospel and accepting Christ." (p. 298)

Another wrong statement. Although Calvinists do believe that men are passive in regeneration, we believe that men are most active in conversion to God. The sinner (enabled by divine grace) repents and believes. God gives him faith etc., but does not believe for him. It may help the reader to see that there is a difference between regeneration and conversion. The former leads to the latter.

Surely the continual disobedience both of unbelievers and believers proves that God's grace is not 'irresistible.' Nor does man's disobedience diminish God's sovereignty in the least. Obviously, freedom of choice itself is part of God's plan!" (p. 299)

Hunt here trips over his bootlaces by confusing justification (as relating to the unbeliever) and sanctification (relating to the believer) It doesn't help either that (as above) he fails to distinguish between the preceptive will and His decretive will of God.

"If Paul did not want a single Jew to go to hell and was in continual agony of soul for their salvation, willing even to be accursed of God if that would save his 'kinsmen according to the flesh' (Romans 9:1-3), would God, who surely put this selfless love in Paul's heart, be any less loving and concerned for lost humanity on its way to hell? Surely not the God of the Bible! Could Paul have been wrong in his continual agony over the lost sheep of the house of Israel (and indeed all men), and Calvin right in his lack of concern for the lost?" (pp. 301, 302)

Paul was rightly guided by the word of God which teaches us to weep over souls. Romans 9:1-3/Jeremiah 9:1 etc., Christ Himself did (Luke 19:41) and so God is not unconcerned for lost humanity and Calvinists do not claim that He is. Part of the problem with Hunt and those of like mind is that they believe their own propaganda. I mean, how does Hunt actually know that Calvin had no concern for the lost? Click here for our page on Calvin the Soulwinner.

"my firm disagreement with Calvinism is not over God's sovereignty, which I fully embrace and to which I submit. The issue is whether God loves all without partiality and desires all to be saved. Unquestionably, Calvinism denies such love; but the Bible, in the clearest language repeatedly declares God's love to all and His desire that all should be saved and none should be lost." (pp. 301, 302)

It's maybe about time the non Calvinists were put on the defensive. While Calvinists quite happily say that God loves all men - elect or not - see Psalm 145:9 etc., yet we can see that He loves some men more than others. Why has God afforded some men in some parts of the world to hear the gospel over and over again and yet not so arranged in His sovereignty that others elsewhere would never hear the gospel at all? Did God love the Canaanites with the same impartial love with which He loved the Israelites?

"We consider TULIP to be a libel against our loving and merciful God as He reveals himself both in His Word and in human conscience." (p. 304)

That of course is Hunt's opinion for which he must one day give account to God. I, on the other hand, consider TULIP to be in essence a clear statement of the gospel. I also will give an account of my statement.

"The very fact that Paul, Apollos and the other early evangelists expended so much time and energy in persuading men to believe the gospel is completely contrary to the concept of both Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace." (p. 324)

Not really. Many Calvinists have expended so much time and energy in persuading men while holding very firmly to these doctrines. Speaking for myself, it actually fuels my evangelism when I think that it is not hit or miss when I evangelise, but that God's word will not return unto Him void but will accomplish the purpose whereto He has sent it (Isaiah 55:8-9)

the Calvinist has boldly changed 'world' to mean 'elect' in no fewer than twenty scriptures. He has changed 'whosoever' and 'all' into 'elect' at least sixteen times each. In addition, the phrase 'every man' has been turned into 'elect' six times and 'everyone' into 'elect' three times. In every instance where these changes have been made there is nothing in the text to justify 'elect' as the meaning of the word for which it must be substituted. The change has been made for one reason only: to accommodate Calvinism!" (p. 332)

I wonder how Hunt interprets the "every man" in Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Did Hitler press into the Kingdom of God? Or (whatever way we believe men become elect) is it only the elect? It is not so clear cut as non Calvinists would have us believe.

"No one naturally seeks the Lord; we all seek our own selfish desires, and no one can come to Christ except the Father draw him. But the Holy Spirit is in the world to convict all of their sin and need (John 16:8-11), the gospel is being preached, the Father is drawing everyone (even through the witness of creation and conscience)." (p. 339)

Although the witness of nature and conscience leaves men without excuse (Romans 1:20/Romans 2:14) yet it takes the actual preaching of the word of God to bring them to Christ (Romans 10:13-17)

"Rather than any natural brilliance, Calvin's arguments reflect a bias toward the sacramentalism he learned as a Roman Catholic from Augustine, which he elaborated upon and thereafter was compelled to defend. His logic often betrays a spiritual immaturity. Incredibly, Calvin argued: 'But if baptism was of God [referring to the Catholic infant baptism he received as a child], it certainly included in it the promise of forgiveness of sin, mortification of the flesh, quickening of the Spirit, and communion with Christ.' These astonishing statements reflect a sacramentalism which maintains that the physical act of baptism has spiritual power and imparts regeneration. To be baptized by Roman Catholic priests who were not even Christians but held to and promoted a false gospel, was perfectly acceptable to Calvin because they used the name of God when they administered it!" (p. 341)

The issue here is with the theology of Infant Baptism. Not Calvinism. I believe that Spurgeon was the greatest Baptist who ever lived and he would likewise would repudiate the theology of infant baptism...while, of course, affirming his staunch belief in Calvinism.

Why doesn't God's irresistible grace that is so powerful toward sinners create perfectly obedient lives after sinners are saved?" (p. 354)

Why indeed? Why doesn't He just take believers to Heaven when they come to Christ? Hunt's questions are no more an argument against irresistible grace than mine are against eternal security.

Who would say that man can come to God 'unassisted' by the Holy Spirit? Not even the rankest Arminian! But Calvinism makes that false charge against those who disagree with its extremism." (p. 369)

Our complaint is that often Arminians (your term) only pay lip service to the work of the Spirit of God. We deny that Calvinism is extremism.

Moreover, it is foolish to suggest that receiving a gift means we deserve it. A drowning man who yields himself into the hands of his rescuer has nothing to boast about, nor has he done any work to assist in his rescue. So it is with the lost sinner." (p. 370)

We touched on this above. Some portray their faith as if it was the basis of their salvation and subsequently boast. Calvinists keep faith as the channel of salvation and this helps keep it all in perspective.

"Before beginning what turned into an urgent and in-depth study of Calvinism, I had thought that I was at least a one-point Calvinist. Surely my belief in eternal security, the assurance of salvation eternally in God's presence, must be the same as Calvinism's Perseverance of the Saints. That turned out, however, not to be the case. Why? Biblical assurance of salvation does not depend upon one's performance but upon the gospel's declaration that Christ died for the sins of the world and upon His promise that whosoever believes in Him receives the gift of eternal life. In contrast, the Calvinist's assurance is in God having predestined him to eternal life as one of the elect -- and his performance plays a large part in helping him to know whether or not he is among that select group." (p. 377)

Perseverance of the Saints means that true Christians will ultimately overcome (1 John 5:4) Our evidence of being in Christ (i.e. our assurance) is on the basis that we have trusted the Lord and the evidence that we have trusted Christ is our change of heart (2 Corinthians 5:17) and good works in exactly the same way as it is propounded in Ephesians 2:8-10 and James 2 etc., If Hunt disagrees with this, then his problem is not with Calvinists in particular, but evangelical Christians in genera:, for this is a common belief.

"Doubts even assail leading Calvinists. Zane C. Hodges points out that 'the result of this theology is disastrous. Since, according to Puritan belief, the genuineness of a man's faith can only be determined by the life that follows it, assurance of salvation becomes impossible at the moment of conversion.' And, one might add, at any time thereafter as well, for reasons we will show. No wonder, then, as R.T. Kendall has commented, that 'nearly all of the Puritan 'divines' went through great doubt and despair on their deathbeds as they realized their lives did not give perfect evidence that they were elect.' Arminius, on the other hand, contrary to the false label attached to him by his enemies, had perfect assurance and said that the believer can 'depart out of this life to appear before the throne of grace, without any anxious fear&Mac183;' Congdon writes, 'Absolute assurance of salvation is impossible in Classical Calvinism. Since works are an inevitable outcome of "true" salvation, one can only know he or she is saved by the presence of good works. But since no one is perfect any assurance is at best imperfect as well. Therefore, you may think you believed in Jesus Christ, may think you had saving faith, but be sadly mistaken and because unsaved, be totally blind to the fact you are unsaved&Mac183;'" (p. 378)

Personally I would like to see the full quote of Zane C. Hodges because (to be blunt) I trust neither Hunt nor Cloud who endorses him. They let their editing scissors follow the dictates of their agenda and I don't buy into that kind of mentality. Many saints, of all persuasions, fail to have perfect peace when they come to die and so this cannot be attributed to Calvinism. Many Calvinists die with great assurance so the argument falls flat. It is one thing to have works as an evidence of salvation, it is another thing to look to them for the basis of your salvation. As a Calvinist, I have always cautioned folk to look to the perfection of Christ alone as their only hope of salvation. Such is standard Calvinist practice.

 

So that's it. Cloud endorses Hunt's book "What love is this?" with the following words:

Dave Hunt of Berean Call Ministries has written a powerful refutation of Calvinism titled "What Love Is This?" and subtitled "Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God." (2002, Sisters, Oregon: Loyal Publishing, 436 pages).

Hunt deals with this controversial issue in a gracious yet bold-for-the-truth manner.

He has diligently researched his topic and has made a great effort to be fair to Calvinists and to represent them accurately.

I certainly would not let my name be associated with this book. There are non Calvinists out there who recognise that it is but a pretty crude hatchet job. As mentioned above, Hunt borders at times on the ridiculous. By endorsing this book, Cloud gives us an idea of what he means by the word fair and accurately. A standard English dictionary would not be much use here!

One place where Cloud does stand apart is where Hunt seeks to undermine the AV rendering of Acts 13:48 (And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed) by twisting it to mean that those disposed to eternal life believed.

Cloud's comments on this are all revealing...even if Cloud did not intend it to be so. Pointing out his dissatisfaction with Hunt on this issue of the KJV, Cloud writes:

In his attempt to refute Calvinism, Brother Hunt finds it necessary (on page 218) to claim that the King James Bible leaned on the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate in Acts 13:48. Acts 13:48 in the KJV reads: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Hunt admits that it is translated similarly "in the major translations," so we fail to understand why he finds it necessary to isolate the King James Bible. Did all of the other major versions also lean on the Catholic Vulgate in this passage? Hunt does not tell his readers that English versions predating the King James Bible had the same translation..."

We may comment here that there is quite a lot which Hunt does not tell his readers. He has pulled the wool over their eyes and indeed, judging from the comments of Mr Cloud above, over his eyes also. Cloud has swallowed Hunt's book, hook, line and sinker. It blackens Calvin and Calvinists and is therefore fit to be employed. Cloud rightly smells a rat in Hunt's methods when relating to the KJV. It is a pity that he fails to smell a whole nest of them when it comes to Hunt's critique of Calvinism which is the subject of the book itself.

Any comments may be emailed to me.

 A few other helpful points regarding what Calvinists believe on the following pages:

www.geocities.com/cfpchurch/calvinism

www.geocities.com/cfpchurch/criticisingcalvinism

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