It's always sad to me when I see a man of God (or so I think) from a different theological perspective whom I believed to be above this kind of intra-Christian exclusivist language to charge full steam ahead into the abyss of ignorance, or worse, the territory of theological lies.
Recently, John Piper, well known Baptist Calvinist Pastor from Minnesota and popular author, spoke at the "Resurgence Conference." The title of his message was, How I Distinguish Between the Gospel and False Gospels. Already, if you're like me, you're expecting trouble. The series of quotes below are from that message. I'll at least initially leave extensive commentary to others, and only note points of interest. But to check the context and accuracy, you may see Piper's blog or the Resurgence blog, where outlines or transcripts are located:
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibr ... e_Gospels/
http://www.theresurgence.com/national_r ... nd_context
In part of his opening statement he said, "My working out of my salvation tonight is in the defense and confirmation of the gospel."
Piper lays out "Six Aspects of the Gospel Without Which There Is No Gospel." These include:
1. The gospel was planned by God beforehand
2. The gospel is an objective physical event in history
3. The gospel is an objective accomplishment—the purchase or obtaining of redemption for all who would believe
4. The gospel is an offer to be made to all that what Christ accomplished is free and may be had only by faith in him
5. The gospel is an application through faith to specific people of what Christ accomplished
6. The gospel is an eternal and infinitely happy future destiny
NOTE: Does any of this, so far, sound like something Arminians DON'T believe?!
He continued, "There are many today, as in every day, who bring to the Bible the presupposition that sinful man must have the power of self-determination in order to be held accountable by God. This is not a biblical presupposition."
NOTE: What Piper describes is not Arminianism, but Semi-Pelagianism. But do you think HE knows the difference? Do you?
But then he adds, "We don't usually think about Arminianism as a threat to the atonement. It usually comes in at the point of the accomplishment of the gospel and the offer of the gospel, not the point of the plan of the events of the gospel. But here we see that there is an intrinsic incompatibility between the basic Arminian presupposition and the gospel as including a set of planned sins against the Son of God. That presupposition is that for humans to be morally accountable agents they must have the ultimate power of self-determination at all those points where they are found blameworthy or praiseworthy."
It's downhill from here. He continutes, "That presupposition pushes people away from believing that God has the right and power in righteousness and wisdom to infallibly plan the death of his Son through the sinful acts of morally accountable men. But the Bible teaches that he did. There is no atonement and no gospel without God-planned sins against the Son of God. He died at the hands of sinful men by God's design. That is an essential part of the gospel."
He continued, "This is typical Arminian teaching. It diminishes the glory of the cross and encourages people to take into their own hands what belongs to the work of the cross, namely the purchase of their own rescue from unbelief."
NOTE: This is not only wrong, but it is blatantly false, and a man like John Piper should know that. NO Arminian worth his salt would EVER say such a thing, and for Piper to make this charge he is either: (1) completely ignorant of Arminian teaching, or (2) lying through his teeth willfully.
He further charged that "God is allowed to rescue them from the guilt of sin by the cross, but not from the bondage of unbelief by the cross. The cross does not obtain or accomplish that. I must provide the decisive impetus for overcoming my unbelief, the cross did not accomplish that. In that way part of the gospel is undone."
NOTE: If any of you actually understand this twisted logic, let me know...?
Piper further said: "The accomplishment of the cross is offered freely to be received by faith alone apart from works of the law, meaning, any work of the heart or hand at all, anything other than faith."
NOTE: But, that's what Arminians believe, right...?
He says, "Arminianism (Wesleyanism) teaches that God helps all people overcome their deadness of soul and leaves to the decisive will of man whether to follow that grace and trust Christ and as a consequence be born again. In other words regeneration does not cause faith; faith, in an act of ultimate self-termination, chooses to agree with God's grace and believe and thus be born again."
NOTE: Wait -- is he defending the Gospel -- or CALVINISM?! Insisting regeneration precedes faith is CALVINISM, not the gospel....
Piper continued, "How serious is this? Must one believe that faith is decisively caused by God through regeneration? Or can one be saved believing that faith causes regeneration?"
NOTE: Indeed, how serious is this? If Arminians reject regeneration preceding faith, does that mean we believe and preach a "false gospel?"
His summary goes something like this: "The issue comes down to this: Is the heart relationship to God one of utter reliance on God's grace in Spirit-wrought humility, such that God gets the glory for all of my salvation, both accomplishment and application?"
NOTE: Uh, yeah -- Arminians BELIEVE that John -- but Semi-Pelagians DON'T. LEARN from someone other than Calvin.
He asks, "Can the heart be truly humble and reliant in this way while the mind espouses a theology that claims that the human will is taking credit for what the humble heart is really depending on God to provide?"
NOTE: Again, not what Arminians teach....
AND, ""Arminianism in its popular form (most of evangelicalism) says we are unable without divine assistance to believe, because we are dead in trespasses and sins, but God gives assistance to all, making it possible for us to believe but not bringing us to believe. That is left for our decisive determination. At that point we are ultimately self-determining."
NOTE: No, that's what most Evangelicals believe -- but that's the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism, NOT Arminianism...
FINALLY he charges, "Arminianism/Wesleyanism recognizes more truth about our sinful and helpless condition apart from grace, and gives more credit to grace, but stumbles intellectually over the implications of sovereign grace. It cannot bring itself to embrace the apparent implications of faith as a gift of God, namely, unconditional election. It appears to them unjust and unloving. Historically, a charitable view of a good heart behind this mistaken theology have been encouraged."
Okay -- what say ye all??
J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.