Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Eastern Orthodoxy's gospel

Let's recap a brief conversation with DavidW, unofficial representative of Eastern Orthodox and official biblical errantist.

Me: 2) DavidW, if we don't hold to the same Gospel, how is it that you've said that I'm not headed for Hell (if my current trajectory holds)? Did you change your mind on that, or is your Gospel not all that central to how one escapes damnation?

DavidW: I trust in the loving mercy of our good God and Father.

Me: God's loving mercy unto relief from damnation (ie, salvation) is granted outside of the Gospel?

DavidW: "With God all things are possible." - Matthew 19:26.

Me: You don't think quoting Matt 19:26 in reply to that question is just a tad out of context?

DavidW: I trust in the loving mercy of our God and Father, with whom all things are possible -- and I leave it at that.

Maybe it would be helpful if we could define "Gospel". I assume you'd agree that from its Greek root, it means "good news".

What is the good news offered? Isn't it that Jesus Christ has come to take away sin, forgive sin, and give eternal life? What could be better news than that? "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?"

Why is that good news? Because we're sinners! What's the problem with that? Why does it matter that we're sinners? B/c God is angry with sin AND sinners, no?

Lk 3:7 So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness

Rom 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

Rom 4:14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

Rom 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Col 2: 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Col 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

1 John 5:11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Rev 6:16they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Rev 14:10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

What is the remedy for this? Jesus Christ!
What does Jn 3:36 mean?
--If one believes in Christ --> eternal life.
--If one does not believe in Christ --> not eternal life. Wrath.

And you want to tell me that Matthew 19:26's "all things are possible with God" means "self-contradiction is possible with God"?
I guess since you're an errantist, you're free to do whatever you want in this case. Do you really think that Jesus forgot His discussion with Nicodemus when He said Matthew 19:26, or vice versa? Or maybe your grand inclusivity is wrongheaded and exhibits postmodern politically correct inclusivism? I expect that from someone like Billy Graham, not from a representative of "the ancient Church".
When I was considering conversion to EOC, this is one of the things that bothered me greatly - your theology doesn't make a very big deal out of sin. It's only gotten worse and more obvious in the years since I stopped considering it.


Matt said...

Gal 1:8-9 seems quite relevant to this discussion. If you are proclaiming a different Gospel, then you are under Paul's anathema. God must deny His Word (and thus Himself - cf. 2 Tim. 2:13) if His "loving mercy" is to negate the force of this anathema.

Lucian said...

Luke 4:25  But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26  But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

Luke 7:9  When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him [the pagan Roman centurion], and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.


It's not your redemption that I'm worried about, Rho, it's mine, because:

Luke 12:48  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Unknown said...


If there's one thing you've proven yourself apt at during our discussions with each other, it's taking words of context. I should be honored that you do it to me, alongside Scripture and the Fathers, but, honestly, it's kind of irritating.

For the illumination of all reading: The original context of the conversation was the Manhattan Declaration. I posted about it at my blog. Rhology replied to that post asking why he would sign the same document as I did, as we have different Gospels.

And then the portions of the conversation with he quotes in this post ensued. The problem here is that he never defined what he meant by "Gospel" in the original discussion. He does, though, define it in this post here, thus:

that Jesus Christ has come to take away sin, forgive sin, and give eternal life

If this is what the Gospel consists of then we have exactly the same Gospel, so Rhology's whole argument is pointless.

And, as to me being a "biblical errantist" -- Rhology continually takes my comments about Biblical inerrancy out of context, though I've corrected him on it several times previously. Rhology, apparently, finds it easier to continually create straw-man arguments than to actually address a single point I actually raise or a single belief I actually hold. I haven't yet figured out whether he does this on purpose as a form of mockery or whether he really doesn't, or perhaps refuses to, understand what I'm saying. Either way, this tends to make pretty much all of our conversations absolutely pointless.

Rhology, I'm sorry to have to inform you that your post here argues against a figment of your own imagination.

Darlene said...

Dear Rho,

Once several months ago you cautioned me to do a heart check, and you were spot on. I was being triumphalistic. Now I caution you to do the same.

I've noticed that you have been on a rant lately, sarcastically correcting people with an acerbic edge that tends toward an overkill. Such conduct appears to manifest itself as self-righteousness. Now granted, cyberspace can be misleading at times, and it is possible to misinterpret the meaning and message others are delivering. Nonetheless, from the manner in which you respond to others in this limited forum of the Internet, your approach and method is not one of drawing others to Christ, but rather, alienation.

Could it be that in your mission to see others saved, by the very MANNER in which you present that which you believe has the ability to save, you hinder others and build walls rather than open clear lines of communication?

Right words and right doctrines are meaningless if the spirit of Christ and His love is not empowering you. "If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels and have not love, I am a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing...So faith, hope, love abide. But the greatest of these is love." And I preach this to myself as well, a sinner always in need of God's correction and MERCY.

Christ be with you and may His love inspire all that you do.


John said...

Err... which part of the MD makes you sign up for a different gospel R.?

And which part of the Good News as you have just defined it, do you accuse EO of not believing?

Fr. David said...

I used to overreact to the wrath talk of calvinism by going to the opposite extreme of "God doesn't have wrath; it's just love experienced negatively" (River of Fire and all that mess). But, while I think Rho is right to point out where the Bible explicitly tells us that, yes, our heavenly Father does get angry with us, his children, the anger is not of the same type that continually gets trotted out by calvinists, namely, that God is wrathful because of his offended honor or out of some desire to take vengeance on his besmirched Name. Rather, God is asking us, angrily, "What have you DONE to yourselves?! I will and must fix this, for I am good." He will fix us whether we want Him to or not, and the fixing, imposed on us by a righteous God, will be hell to those of us who don't want it, but there will be nothing we can do to stop it. The attitude of the Father, however, is one of a Father whose anger is provoked by seeing what's become of His child, not a selfish, "How could you DO this to me?! I'll teach YOU...!" type of anger.

I'd invite everyone to listen to these two talks, given by an extremely well-respected priest and former dean of my current place of studies, who I think does a masterful job of allowing the Bible to speak of the wrath it does indeed speak of, in the way of which it is meant to be spoken. They are the following:

The Wrath of God


The Wrath of God - Part 2

They show extremely well how Christ takes away the wrath, not because He Himself "took our beating," but because He is already fixed, and stands as the One who is fixed before the Father and can, thus, fix us so that we, too can stand before the Father.

Salvation from the wrathful righteousness of the Father, through the becoming sin for us of Him Who knew no sin. It is the gospel, Rho; you're right...but I do not think we mean what you want us to mean.

Lucian said...

God's anger is obviously not the same as ours, otherwise James 1:20 would not make any sense:

James 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Or Isaiah 55:8 for that matter:

Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Rhology said...


I'm sorry you find my statements out of context, but I find your accusation amusing b/c I linked to the very post and comments. It's not like I have something to hide here. Anyone can read the entire convo.

And we apparently DON'T have the same Gospel, I repeat. I crafted my post to draw you in, and voilà, it worked. I knew you'd agree about that definition of the Gospel, and yet you can't find it within yourself to repudiate your own thrice-repeated "Well, I don't want to limit God to the Gospel!" It's as if you want to be more tolerant than God or something. Let me be frank - it's a vein I see all thru EO dogma, that God's a big meanie. You won't ever admit it to anyone else, but I ask you to look in your own heart. Why then act like this, if you don't really think God's a cosmic ogre Whom you find it difficult to love? Why then pray to mere mortals when you (claim to) have the God of the very universe at your disposal to worship and make requests of? Just some thoughts I pray you'll chew on.

And you never answered the question. What about my post doesn't answer your "God is more merciful than the Gospel" assertion and misapplication of Matthew 19?

Finally, wrt errancy, you've not yet given me any consistent basis by which you can judge errant biblical text from inerrant, so I keep harping on it, hoping you'll someday man up and answer the question. I suspect you won't b/c the answer is actually that you decide it based on your human reason and human judgment, but are too embarrassed to say it out loud. Is it so wrong to call you to consistency? It's a high calling, you know.


I think ppl can easily confuse conviction of a given position with self-righteousness, and I think that's an absolutely damnable thought, one that's certainly out of line with the Apostles Peter, Paul, and John, the prophets of the OT and Jude and others. "This is true, thank God" is not even all that similar to "I'm the man."

Rdr David,

I don't see how any of the citations in the post speak about God's children. Rather, this is wrath against the stubbornly rebellious and unrepentant. I can only point you back to John 3:36 for the best contrast. "Believes in the Son" = born again, God's child.
"Does not obey the Son" = not born again, recipient of wrath, NOT God's child.

Unknown said...

I crafted my post to draw you in, and voilà, it worked. I knew you'd agree about that definition of the Gospel, and yet you can't find it within yourself to repudiate your own thrice-repeated "Well, I don't want to limit God to the Gospel!"

No, you misled me; you were being deceptive. You began by saying that you have a different Gospel than me and then you intentionally define said Gospel in terms I will agree with after I agree with your first statement. You led me to believe that you were using the word "Gospel" all-inclusively to mean your Gospel=the entirety of Calvinism and my Gospel=the entirety of Orthodoxy. I never said that anyone can be saved apart from Jesus Christ -- in fact, my point was that, in spite of not being Orthodox, you can still be saved through your Faith, however distorted your understanding and/or expressions thereof, in Jesus Christ, because of his mercy.

Now, let me be frank -- your need to constantly distort, misquote, and strawman my statements (as well as those of other Orthodox and of the Fathers and even the Scriptures [your eisegesis of James 2]) is telling. When you continually confuse Orthodox for Roman Catholics (as in our discussions of faith & works and of the intercession of the Virgin Mary), it's also telling. And what all of this tells me is either that you don't understand Orthodoxy (or perhaps refuse to understand it) or that you can't actually find anything in Orthodoxy to argue against but you're afraid to admit you're wrong.

that God's a big meanie.

No; I say again: God is our loving and merciful Father. The pseudo-pagan deity that Calvinism makes of the True God, though, is simply disgusting.

Why then pray to mere mortals when you (claim to) have the God of the very universe at your disposal to worship and make requests of?

And again, as I've said before: why ask for anybody to pray to you if you can just pray to God yourself anyway?
you've not yet given me any consistent basis by which you can judge errant biblical text from inerrant,

1. My Faith doesn't hinge on whether Christ's robe was red, purple, or aqua-green, as a Sola Scripturist's does. So the errancy vs. inerrancy debate you keep trying to draw me into has no point for me.

2. Scripture is absolutely never not once in error on any matter concerning our salvation.

Darlene said...

"I think ppl can easily confuse conviction of a given position with self-righteousness."

Acknowledged. But I'm not merely speaking of conviction of a given position. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Two people may say the same thing, and yet say it very differently. One may very well get through to his audience, while the other pushes them further away.

In my zealous days of street witnessing a few decades ago, I sought to present my convictions of the gospel to all who would listen. My husband was even more zealous in his convictions of presenting the gospel than I. When ppl walked away from him, or made snide remarks, he would retort back, "Go ahead, snub your nose at Jesus!" Often, we sought to trap and ensnare people by their words so that they would be "trapped by the Truth." (our words)

As our parachurch group became more well-known, ppl would cross the street when they saw us coming, just to get away. We interpreted their actions as conviction for having heard the truth and then seeking to avoid it, or being rebellious sinners running away from representatives of the gospel of Christ.

Looking back, I can now say our approach was one of triumphalism and self-righteousness. It mattered not how firm we were in our convictions. One of our tracts began by saying, "We are into doing what the churches should be doing but aren't." We lacked humility and compassion. "Blessed are the merciful" was not even on our radar screen.

Again, I reiterate, right words and right doctrines are meaningless if the Spirit of Christ and His love are not empowering you (me). We might as well be presenting dirty dish water.

In Christ's Immeasurable Love,


Matt said...


I find your remarks interesting. Do you mind defining what you mean by "triumphalism"? Is that merely having the attitude of victory in Christ? After all, Paul says that we are "hyper-conquerors" through Christ (Rom. 8:37). Is it triumphalism to assert that God's Word is "like fire" and "like a hammer which shatters a rock" (Jer 23:29)? Is it triumphalism to use the Word of God to smash false teaching into smithereens, as Paul describes in 2 Cor. 10:5, destroying strongholds that are raised against the knowledge of Christ? In our spiritual battle, we fight from victory, to victory - from triumph, to triumph, in Christ. Christ's victory at the Cross ensures our progressive victory here on earth and finally at the end of the age, as a Church. Is there something wrong with this mindset?

I agree that there are good and bad ways to say things. I also agree that ganging up on people on the street and spiritually clobbering them is not generally a good idea. Yet, when we speak of love, we have to remember first and foremost who we should love. The first commandment is to love God with all of our mind, and this entails an ultimate commitment to the truth. The second commandment is to love our neighbor - yet, if false teaching vexes my brethren in Christ, tossing them here and there (Eph. 4:14), is it more loving for me, for their sake - to demolish that false teaching with the truth, or to try to be "nice" and have a polite dialogue with the false teachers? Our love for God and for our brothers in Christ demands that we contend for the truth.

But as for using sarcasm, I would only point out Christ and Paul make good use of it in their writings. They even make use of name-calling on several occasions. Were they unloving to do this? Or were their priorities to God and His flock, as opposed to keeping the feathers of false teachers unruffled? Christ sets our example - for those who were ignorant of the truth, He taught them gently, correcting their errors and instructing them in the truth. For those who were well-versed in the Scriptures, who should have known better, and who refused to listed to Scriptural rebuke, He used the harshest of verbal stilettos. So also Paul. So also should we.

I think we live in an age that is overly obsessed with making sure that no one is offended, and as such, we tend to interpret sarcasm and the like as an indicator of pride. Pride certainly produces sarcasm, but to say that sarcasm is the result of pride is to commit the logical fallacy of asserting the consequent. As we have seen, there are many godly uses of sarcasm as well. The issue is why is the person using it, and what is his desired effect? If he merely wishes to puff himself up by making others look bad, then certainly this is speaking in an unloving way. But, if his love for God, His Word, and His Church is His motivation, then perhaps he is using sarcasm silence those whose persistent error vexes the brethren (Titus 1:10-11), or perhaps he is simply answering the fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:5). Even amongst those that are not hardened false teachers, sarcasm and such can be used to stir people to thought.

So, I agree with what I think you're trying to say (in some respects) - our theological dialogue should not simply be about "me being right." Yet, I also believe that it is a real danger that, under the pretense of being "humble and loving," that we shirk our responsibility to contend for the faith, as well as all of the means that are available to us to do so. Though I wish to offend no one, I would rather offend some, and in the process build up the Church in the knowledge of the Truth (Eph. 4:13, Jn. 14:6) so that they are no longer tossed about, than leave none offended and the Church unstable in its foundation of Truth. I know Rho personally, and believe that he feels the same way. Is this being unloving?

Grace and peace,

Unknown said...


As one of the individuals whom Darlene is correcting here: she's right on the money. I can't speak for Rhology, but I know that I often speak much more out of offended pride or frustration or even malice than any kind of concern for the Gospel.

There's not two ways here; there's three:
1. Speaking from pride and "triumphalism"
2. Being "nice" to the point where you possibly compromise the Gospel
3. Being zealous for Faith.

Obviously, the third is the one which we seek to achieve, and the one which both Christ and St. Paul exemplified in perfection. I, however, am not Christ or St. Paul -- I am not God as Christ is; and by no means can I say in all truth that Christ God lives in me as did St. Paul.

I am a sinner, and should be so humbled -- though my humility should not stop me from defending the Faith when need be.

I speak only for myself here, and no one else.

Matt said...


I agree with you - we should indeed strive for the third. Though we may not get to where Paul was in spiritual life, we are commanded to follow his example nonetheless: "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). The more we come to know, the more humble we will become (partially because we learn that we have that much more ignorance). Yet, it's been my experience that many people (not necessarily anyone here) try to use "humility" as a guise for glorifying ignorance, treating growth in the knowledge of the truth as something less than pious. Such an idea is blatantly anti-Christian. Rather, I contend that the humblest man is the one who not only knows, but knows the limits of what he can know - those things that he can assert dogmatically upon the basis of Scripture, things that are probable, and those things about which he can say nothing at all. Such a man stands squarely and fully upon the revelation of God, the divine Logos, and not upon himself, in matters of truth. Such is the epitome of epistemological humility, as far as I'm concerned. Such a man can indeed speak forcefully and with conviction, because he speaks from the basis of the revealed mind of God. Forcefulness of speech and conviction of truth are not antithetical to humility, but rather are the fruits of a fully-developed humble mind.

However, another matter which my remarks address is the issue of "triumphalism." What is the definition of this term, in the way it is being used here? Does it simply mean an unshakable confidence in the power and triumph of Christ and His Word, or does it refer to something else? And if it is the former, why must that be grouped with pride?

John said...

Looked again at the MD, and still not seeing anything about whether we do or don't hold the same gospel. Which paragraph claims that? Or are you just in a combative mood, and don't want to talk yall t'em her'tics t'day?

Rhology said...

Well, I actually was in a bad mood a few days ago, to be honest. Gotta work on the whole "blog less when you're cranky" thing.

From my perspective, the biblical Gospel and the EO gospel are very different. DavidW agrees that our 2 gospels are different, so that's sufficient.

John said...

That is sufficient not to sign the MD? Why?

Darlene said...

"Well, I actually was in a bad mood a few days ago, to be honest."

I'd say it's been quite evident by the manner in which you respond to others who disagree with you.

Truthfully, I pray that you learn to respond respectfully in kindness and charity here and elsewhere, and moreover, to treat others in a manner that you desire to be treated. "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them, for this is the law and the prophets."

May Christ bless you this day.

Rhology said...


B/c it links us together in common cause in the Gospel. Which we don't share in common.


Easy there. I'd ask you to take another look at how Jesus dealt with the religious hypocrites of His day, and how Paul with those of his, the Judaisers, and how each dealt with false teachers. Let's not take this Tone Police thing too far.

John said...

Well we're back to the original accusation. I fight the Nazis. Do you have to ask me first if I'm fighting them because I believe the Gospel (or at least, supposedly my version thereof), and if so, refrain from fighting the Nazis with me?

Rhology said...

I don't stop to ask you, but if we do stop to prepare a document that says "B/c we hold to the same gospel, we fight Nazis", then we have a problem.

Tell you what, if you're curious, these guys say it better than I could.

Darlene said...


You said, "I'd ask you to take another look at how Jesus dealt with the religious hypocrites of His day."

So, are you saying that all who do not hold to the Reformed faith as you hold to (Calvinism/5 points/doctrines of grace/monergism) are hypocrites? Are all Orthodox hypocrites because they believe differently than you? Would Methodists, Wesleyans, Mennonites, Brethren, Church of Christ, Lutherans, Anglicans, and a host of others who call themselves Christians but do not hold to the Reformed faith be hypocrites?

I understand you disagree with your interlocutors here on your blog, but can you read their hearts? Can you say they don't love the Lord Jesus and desire to be obedient to Him? Can you emphatically say that the grace and mercy of God is not working in their lives? How do you know these folks with whom you respond so sharply are hypocrites?

Or am I misunderstanding you altogether? You see, because even though I disagree with your faith tradition, I still think it is incumbent upon me as a Christian, one who is in Christ and He in me, that I treat you (one who is created in the image of God) as I would want to be treated...= with respect, kindness, and charity. I can still do that with you and not compromise one bit on my convictions.

"Let's not take this Tone Police thing too far."

It must be the teacher and mother in me. :) Please forgive if I have offended you, for truly I am a sinner saved by grace and often must repent of the wrong ways I have treated others. (esp. my husband)

Rhology said...


Not necessarily hypocrites, but that's not all Jesus said to them. Rather, He called them out as vipers, whitewashed sepulchres, and don't forget, making proselytes twice the son of Hell that they were. Such a warning should strike fear into everyone who is not Christ's.

Yes, I can say with certainty that if someone does not hold to the Gospel that they do not love the Lord Jesus. They are in fact a rebel sinner, engaged in stubborn worship of an idolatrous religious system. So once was I, and God mercifully saved me b/c He's so generous and good. He calls to you too to repent.

I can still do that with you and not compromise one bit on my convictions.

Jesus defines love and truth operating together. Following His example is the best anyone could do. I urge you to repent of your sin and your idolatry and turn to Him - it's what He commanded you to do. The most loving thing I could do is to reiterate that command, from the Lord, not from myself.

John said...

"but if we do stop to prepare a document that says "B/c we hold to the same gospel, we fight Nazis", then we have a problem."

But the document does NOT say that, as previously discussed.

And even if per se, we have differences about the gospel, we do at least agree that the Gospel condemns the things outlined in the MD right? So when the MD says that the gospel compels us to reject abortion, we are in full agreement, are we not? Whatever disagreements we have about the gospel, we can agree that the gospel compels us both the same to condemn those things.

Rhology said...

Yes, it does say that. Read it again.

The Gospel compels me to repent of my sin and trust Christ and Him alone for salvation, by His grace alone thru faith alone. The Gospel doesn't say anythg about the morality of baby murder. That's the Law's arena.

John said...

The MD says we hold the same gospel? Where, because I couldn't find it. Give me a quote.

As for what the Gospel compels us to do, Paul said "according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men". Baby murder seems like a secret of men, don't you think?

In fact, Paul said "I do all things for the sake of the gospel". If he does all things compelled by the Gospel, why wouldn't stopping baby murder be a good candidate?

Rhology said...

Hmm, that other link didn't have all I thought it would, under it. It was a bloglabel.
Here's two more that explain it better.

John said...

The only objection I see at these links is use of the term "Christian". Everything else is a general whine that they don't agree with us, but which has nothing to do with the MD.

So you strenuously dislike us being called Christians? Of course, it was the Pagans who coined the term Christian in Antioch. It occurs 3 times in the bible, 2 of them in the context of pagans applying it (and you could probably make a good case that the 3rd one is used in that context too).

Is it really worth getting upset over a word, which is not even biblically defined, other than a term that pagans use to describe self-described followers of Christ?

And do you really think we are not Christians? Aren't we saved by faith in Christ, and not faith in Luther's theological system?

Rhology said...

Yes, I strenuously object. Christian refers to the biblical faith. You have a ways to go to get biblical.

Aren't we saved by faith in Christ, and not faith in Luther's theological system?

One wonders why even talk to someone who spouts such nonsense.

John said...

"Yes, I strenuously object. Christian refers to the biblical faith. You have a ways to go to get biblical."

Never does the bible use it to refer to a faith. It always refers to persons who profess to follow Christ. Usually by Pagans who are in no position to assess their orthodoxy.

"One wonders why even talk to someone who spouts such nonsense."

Looks like we've found a hyper calvinist. We are saved by our faith in faith alone, not by faith in Christ.

Rhology said...

...said the guy who apparently doesn't know what hyper-Calvinism is.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

Fair enough. Many thanks.

Matt said...


Looks like we've found a hyper calvinist. We are saved by our faith in faith alone, not by faith in Christ.

Where has Rho ever said this? I haven't seen this in any of Rho's statements. If he hasn't said it, why are you putting words in his mouth? Would you like someone to do the same to you (Matt. 7:12)?


There are problems with the posted definition of hyper-Calvinism. This is a much better definition. The problem is that Johnson's definition is simply arbitrary, and inconsistent with the historical meaning of the term. It seems to me that X makes someone a hyper-Calvinist. Therefore, if one believes X, one is a hyper-Calvinist. I contend that there is a non-arbitrary, logical explanation for what makes someone a hyper-Calvinist, and it is an anthropocentric view of the relation of man's duty to man's responsibility. Thus, hyper-Calvinism is really the flip-side of Arminianism (but on the other side of Calvinism, hence the "hyper" part), in the way that view works itself out. This is consistent with the historic writings of so-called hyper-Calvinists, and explains their distinctive views.

Thus, only the first two points of Johnson's definition are relevant. The other three are ancillary issues, and have nothing to do with the anthropocentricity or theocentricity of the relation of man's duty to his responsibility. Asserting these latter three points as essential to the definition lands one in a logical problem, as there have been many Calvinists through the years who have held to them, without holding to the distinctive views of the historic hyper-Calvinists. Thus, Johnson is caught in a logical problem, saying that Arthur Pink was a hyper-Calvinist (by his definition), but not REALLY a hyper-Calvinist, because he fought against even more hyper hyper-Calvinists. Such is sufficient to demonstrate the unsatisfactory nature of his definition.

John said...

"said the guy who apparently doesn't know what hyper-Calvinism is."

I'm using the word as others use it:

"it says that only Calvinists are saved,"

"Where has Rho ever said this?"

Well, if he is going to respond in riddles, he's going to have to expect us to fill in the gaps. All self-proclaimed Christians have faith in Christ, so if we are saved by faith, then we are saved, unless R. wants to propose we are saved by faith in faith.

Rhology said...

All self-proclaimed Christians have faith in Christ,

This is a very, very bizarre and incorrect statement. Please explain yourself.

Well, if he is going to respond in riddles

So you admit that I never said what you attributed to me. An apology is in order for putting words in my mouth on such an important matter. At least an explicit retraction.

Matt said...


"it says that only Calvinists are saved,"

Maybe it says that, but that's not what hyper-Calvinism is. Besides, I haven't seen Rho assert this anywhere. I'd be interested to see where, though, if you could point it out to me.

Well, if he is going to respond in riddles, he's going to have to expect us to fill in the gaps.

Perhaps you could show me some of these riddles too. Everything Rho has said makes perfect sense to me. Then again, maybe I speak the language of riddles as a native tongue...

All self-proclaimed Christians have faith in Christ, so if we are saved by faith, then we are saved

Which Christ? The Christ of the Bible, or of one's own imagination? The Christ who propitiated the Father towards us, or the "Christ" who makes such propitiation possible, given our faith and deeds? It is meaningless to say that one has faith in Christ apart from defining (or being able to give a definition of) what one means by "Christ." And what one means by that makes all the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy.

John said...

"Maybe it says that, but that's not what hyper-Calvinism is."

And the governing authority of hyper-calvinism who says that this document is wrong, would be where?

"I'd be interested to see where, though, if you could point it out to me."

He said faith in Christ isn't enough. You've got to have a specifically reformed theology as well.

"The Christ who propitiated the Father towards us, or the "Christ" who makes such propitiation possible"

i.e. a specifically Reformed view of propitiation. Looks like we've uncovered another hyper calvinist.

Matt said...

And the governing authority of hyper-calvinism who says that this document is wrong, would be where?

The essential theological distinctives of historical hyper-Calvinists are the denial of the duty of the non-elect to the repent and believe the Gospel, and thus also the denial of the necessity of evangelism. I've given an argument for this as a good definition in my previous comment addressed to Rho, as well as in this post. As I've said before, this post gives a proper definition. If you don't believe me, or these sources, then read the Wikipedia article, and you'll see that it says the same thing. Notice especially the section titled "Informal and/or erroneous usage of the term 'Hyper-Calvinism'". If you disagree with these sources, upon what basis do you do so? Can you give a historical argument (that your faulty definition is actually a historical hyper-Calvinist distinctive) or a logical argument (that a principle explaining historical hyper-Calvinist distinctives also implies your definition)? If not, then I suggest that your asseverations are groundless.

He said faith in Christ isn't enough. You've got to have a specifically reformed theology as well.

Can you pinpoint this exact statement for me? It seems to me like you're putting words in his mouth again.

Looks like we've uncovered another hyper calvinist.

Looks to me like we've uncovered another theological mud-slinger. Your use of the hyper-Calvinist pejorative have been rebutted. Your continued use of this pejorative without serious interaction with our rebuttals amounts to nothing more than theological name-calling.

Darlene said...

Dear Rho,

You said to me,"I urge you to repent of your sin and idolatry and turn to Him - it's what He commanded you to do."

Thanks for the reminder. I repented of my sin, and embraced Christ by faith, putting my trust in Him when I was 18. Since that time He has demonstated His mercy toward me over and over again. Yet, I do not only cling to that past event, but rather long to please Him today, and each day henceforth imitating St. Paul the Apostle who said, "Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be thus minded, and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that to you also."

Having received the very life of God into my being, I cannot help but be thankful each and everyday. Thankful and sober - being ever mindful of the battle and the adversary who seeks to devour.

Christ be with you.