Dave Hunt's new book ignites controversy...

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Monergist, May 24, 2002.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    Dave Hunt has attempted to debunk Calvinism with his new book What Love is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God. In advertising the book he mentions Jonathan Edwards, John MacArthur, John Piper and Charles Spurgeon as having promoted this false teaching. (HIS comments, not mine.) Says Berean Call director T.A. McMahon in a recent newsletter concerning the immediate reaction to the book:
    Those who've endorsed the book include Tim LaHaye and Chuck Smith. One endorsement reads:
    The ploy used by Berean call must have worked as The Discerning Reader has stated:
    I'm interested in seeing what Mr. Hunt has to say, but I think I'll wait until I can see it in a bookstore before I decide if it's worth plunking down 15 bucks for.

    See also:

    James White’s response to the book: http://aomin.org/DHOpenLetter.html
    Dave Hunt’s reply: http://www.thebereancall.org/calbook.htm

    edited for clarification

    [ May 24, 2002, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: TimothyW ]
     
  2. Helen

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    Thank you, Timothy. Dave Hunt tends to be very careful in his exegesis, his explanations, and his accusations. He is a brilliant man and a devout Christian brother. I have his book on order and am looking forward to reading it. His statement regarding Spurgeon denying limited atonement is one I had not read before. That is very interesting!
     
  3. connieman

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    TimothyW...when will true believers recognize and face up to the fact that Arminians are "Christians" like Mormons are "Christians"?

    They each have a "Christ" which is a product of imagination, and not according to scripture. Arminianism was clearly seen as a damnable heresy centuries ago.

    Of course, those so deceived cannot be expected to see their error, any more than the committed Aetheist can do so, except by a revelation from God, as He wills. "The way of every man is right in his own eyes."

    The true Christ has saved all of His chosen people by His death alone; these false Christs only seek, or try, to save as many as possible, and are still trying to save all who will decide to be saved. These false christs are also wholly mythical.

    In the Name of Him who changes men's hearts, and causes His people to come to Him, as He will.

    connieman

    [ May 24, 2002, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: connieman ]
     
  4. Monergist

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    Connieman,
    I strongly disagree with Arminianism and eagerly embrace Biblical Calvinism, but I think that statement goes too far.
     
  5. KenH

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    Unfortunately, Dave Hunt twists and takes totally out of context Spurgeon's views on particular redemption. This has been clearly pointed out to Mr. Hunt and he refuses to recant. Therefore, he is now lying about Spurgeon. For Spurgeon's views on particular redemption, go to www.spurgeon.org and find his sermon entitled "Particular Redemption" under the alphabetical listing. Mr. Hunt has absolutely no excuse for lying about Spurgeon. He lied about this matter, what else might he have lied about in his new book?

    Also, a website has been set up to refute the false teaching in Dave Hunt's new book at www.whatloveisthis.com. This site will be growing over time as more join the battle to defend Biblical truth. I highly recommend this site for those interested in Biblical truth.

    [ May 24, 2002, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Ing ]
     
  6. Monergist

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    Ing,
    Thank you for giving us the whatloveisthis.com link. I tried to put it in the post, but couldn't get it to work.
     
  7. KenH

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    TimothyW,

    I'm not sure how it showed up as a link but I'm glad it did. I have not learned how to use the bells and whistles on this board yet.

    I think its a bit of a hoot that a group opposing Dave Hunt's teaching were able to acquire "whatloveisthis" in their URL. :cool:

    Ing
     
  8. DocCas

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    Here http://aomin.org/DHOpenLetter.html is James White's response to Dave Hunt's book. Note where White deals with Hunt's "quote" of Spurgeon. White gives the entire quote, which Hunt edited. It is clear the entire quote has Spurgeon saying the exact opposite of what Hunt says he was saying.

    This is not unique for Hunt's "quotes." He takes quotes and definitions out of context all too often for it to be an honest error. :(
     
  9. Chet

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    I have read nearly all of Dave Hunt's book. I should be able to finish it by this weekend. Naturally this book has caused Calvinist, such as White, to go on the defense. What is not surprising in the least is the way James White responded to Hunt, and the content thereof. The "I am smart" and "you are ignorant" ideology is prevalent thought out White's letter And not to mention the ever so non-neglected mention that Dave Hunt has “misrepresented” the reformed position. (A claim ever so dominant here) Not that the letter had to have rebuttals on every theological issue, but come on - who is giving the ad hominem attacks here? White even had to take up space to mention his supposed superior theology than Norm Geisler. Seems he is a bit puffed up? Reading Dave Hunt’s book, I can say that Dave treated White with respect, but respectably disagreeing with White's conclusions. I can’t help but think of how fitting it is that now James White is the one who “was taken to the Theological woodshed”, a phrase that describes what he supposedly did of Norm Geisler’s book Chosen but Free. I will admit I was a bit disappointed with Chosen but Free. But only in that I have rathered Geisler go into more detail on certain passages. And Geisler's attempt to maintain the label of Calvinist was a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, Norm Geisler’s book was so much better exegeticaly than the highly proclaimed The Potters Freedom A book full of bad exegesis and “elitism”. So, how fitting that now White is the one of whom the focus is upon, being examined with the conclusion of his theology being in the negative. At least Dave Hunt’s book was not written for the soul purpose of White. But I do get the feeling White likes the attention, feeling he is being persecuted for the intellectual Calvinistic cause.

    For those interested in Dave Hunt’s response to the charge of White on Spurgeon “limited atonement” here it is:

    I do praise God for the book Dave Hunt has wonderfully written. It is an answer to my prayers in more ways than anyone will understand. Because I so dislike the portrayal of the God Calvinist paint. And it seems that this man made system known as TULIP is penetrating nearly every kind of teaching. Dave Hunt has a voice that I will probably never have, and let that voice go out! I ask those who are wondering if God chose them for salvation or not to read this book to clear up any misunderstandings you might have. God loves you and died and rose again for you.
     
  10. Helen

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    I was hoping you would come on for this one, Chet, because I knew you were reading the book. A number of years ago Dave Hunt spent quite a bit of time at the end of one of his lectures answering at least a dozen questions I had. He is the one responsible -- or the one used by God, if you like -- for giving me answers straight from the bible that my own minister had basically thrown me out of the church I was attending for asking (he didn't know what the Bible had to say about it) -- they were a lot of New Age problems I had because my mom is deep into New Age and I was very confused. That was about thirty years ago. My respect for the man has only increased since then, watching him consistently go to the Bible for answers rather than any theologian. And yet I also think he has just about read them all.

    Despite what his detractors above have said, he is as honest a man as I have ever known and is extraordinarily careful about the references he uses. He has to be. He is attacked by so many that he would be caught in a second if he did otherwise.

    He is one of two or three authors that I know I can trust where Bible is concerned. I will be very eager to read this book.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Will you compare his quotes and citations? James White apparently has. It is no secret that with you, Hunt would be preaching to the choir. The only question is probably, Will you read this as critically as you do materials dealing with creation and origins?

    Have you read White's response and interacted with his remarks on Hunt's book?

    I think it is vital (and way past time) to start wrestling through someo of the misrepresentations that are so prevalent and start dealing with straightforward exegesis of the relavant passages rather than redefining them to say what we would like them to.

    I found White's comments on Acts 13:48 very interesting. Many have done exactly what Hunt apparently does ... argue for "disposed" or some such translation. It was most interesting to find that the only major translation that follows that rendering is the NWT (Jehovah's Witnesses). As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows.
     
  12. KenH

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    Chet,

    Since you have read the book will you be honest and, despite your great admiration for anti-Calvinstic teaching, admit that Dave Hunt had lied about Spurgeon's teaching on particular redemption?

    Also, since Calvinism is the minority view among the shallow evangelicalism of postmodern America, any exposure, criticism or defense, will help to spread the Calvinistic, Biblical message of the love of God in doing all of the work in saving His people from their sins. God is already doing a mighty work in spreading the doctrines of His wonderful, sovereign grace among Southern Baptists as they return to the roots from which Southern Baptist theology sprung. I am very prayerful, and hopeful, that He will do the same among other denominations as well. Man cannot stop God from acting according to His will.

    Ing
     
  13. DocCas

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    What has not been dealt with, I couldn't help but notice, is that no one seems to want to deal with Hunt's assertion, supported by his edited (mis)quote of Spurgeon, that Spurgeon did not believe in particular redemption (limited atonement). It is patently clear from the complete (unedited) quote that Spurgeon did, without question, believe in particular redemption. He said so in the (mis)quoted paragraph, and over and over again in his writings and sermons.
     
  14. connieman

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    Well, TimothyW, as you "eagerly embrace Biblical Calvinism" (I use the term "Calvinism" only as a form of verbal "shorthand", not being a follower of Calvin), just how far would you go in defending the doctrines of Sovereign Grace, and Biblical truth?

    Are you Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold for Divine Salvation based only upon the Death and Righteousness of Christ, without contribution from sinners?


    In the Name of Him whom we love only because He first loved us,

    connieman

    [ May 25, 2002, 01:01 AM: Message edited by: connieman ]
     
  15. Nelson

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    I have personally attended two debates between White and a Catholic. The first debate was on the question if justification is by faith alone and the second was on the the teaching of the existence of purgatury.

    As I tallied it, White lost the first debate but won the second.

    I thought the Catholic theologian's argument was more logical and consistent with the Scriptural texts presented. White was very impressive in the extent of his knowledge, but he seemed, in my assessment, to add more meaning to what the Scriptural texts were stating.

    On Purgatory, White won hands down. The Catholic priest was totally unprepared and inept in his argument. I felt White got cheated of a fair victory over a formidable foe. It seemed like the Catholics sent Father Bambi to take down King Kong.

    Anyway, I thought White was, on the whole, a gentlemen at both debates.

    All that is just to demonstrate that I have had personal interactions with James White and respect him as a Christian brother though I too disagree with his Reformed/Calvinistic persuasion.

    I have never met Dave Hunt; neither am I familiar with his teachings or read any of his books (though, would you believe I have had his "seduction" books in my bookshelf for, at least, twenty years!).

    However, I must agree with Hunt's assertion that the Reformed/Calvinistic tradition is made "seemingly so complex and so esoteric that only after many years of study can one comprehend it. One can only conclude that the multitudes of ordinary Calvinists [or, non-Calvinists] do not properly grasp Calvinism, because like me they lack the expertise in the original languages and the years of academic study which you [White] say is essential."

    I am aware Larry is not directing his question to me but allow me to respond.

    I have only read the two letters cited on this board. In reviewing both White's remark concerning Hunt's reference made to Spurgeon and the context, which he asserts Hunt ignored, I believe Hunt is correct and fair to state, "Spurgeon clearly rejects the thought of any 'limit' to 'the merit of the blood of Jesus.' But in the same breath he also just as clearly denies that the unlimited merit of Christ’s blood is available to all mankind...though [White] will deny any contradiction..."

    But the question is, whose "exegesis" should we trust in?

    I think the problem with the Reformed teaching is that too much reliance is given to "exegesis" and not enough to common sense and the communications of the Holy Spirit as we exercise faith in Christ. We forget that Jesus - in God's good pleasure - hid himself from the professedly wise and showed himself to children.

    I agree. His argument here has proved very effective regarding his translation comparisons (though the NIV is, to me, a terrible translation) and especially his "final thrust" - the NWT.

    However, as effective as White's parry was, in none of the other verses is the Greek word in question used in a way that requires the meaning of "preordination" or "predetermination," especially in terms of the Reformed/Calvinistic tradition (cf. The New Englishman's Greek Concordance and Lexicon).

    Notwithstanding the distaste I hold for the NWT, with respect to Acts 13:48, their translation here may be in the right.

    I respect both White and Hunt, however, I must agree with Hunt when, near his final statements, he asserts the fundamental problem with Reformed theology: "As a critic of Roman Catholicism, would you [White] not agree that the vast majority of the world’s one billion Catholics are not saved, that the vast majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims, the vast majority of the 400 million Eastern Orthodox, the hundreds of millions of Buddhists, communists, Shintoists, etc., etc., are not saved – a condition to which they were predestined by God who simply didn’t want them in heaven? Indeed, all of your erudition and careful exegesis using the original languages and grammatical rules is calculated to prove one thing: that God who 'is love' does not love everyone, does not want everyone in heaven, has predestined to eternal suffering the unsaved who clearly number in the billions – and even takes pleasure in damning them. I do not believe that is the God of the Bible...and that is the major difference between our two positions" (Emphasis mine).

    In studying the problem of God and evil, I came across a statement that "One could argue that God's full glory would not be displayed unless he exercises his justice. And for his justice to be exercised, there must be moral evil which God consequently punishes. Thus, God must determine some to do evil so he can punish them. Otherwise, there would be the great injustice that God would not receive the full glory that is due Him. Arguments like this have in fact been advanced by those who hold the view that God predestines some persons for damnation. The question now is whether such an argument could be used as a possible account for why God could not create a world with moral good but without moral evil. Even if one did not think it was true, or even plausible, could he not use it as a possible defense of his belief that our world was created by a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good? The answer to this question depends upon whether such an account is consistent with the claim that God is perfectly good...It is clear to me, however, that such an account, far from being consistent with the claim that God is perfectly good, is a total distortion of anything resembling perfect goodness" (The Problem of Evil: Selected Readings, edited by Michael Peterson, p. 333. Emphasis mine).
     
  16. KenH

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    "In reviewing both White's remark concerning Hunt's reference made to Spurgeon and the context, which he asserts Hunt ignored, I believe Hunt is correct and fair to state, "Spurgeon clearly rejects the thought of any 'limit' to 'the merit of the blood of Jesus.'"

    Ing replies: Calvinists, including Spurgeon, do not limit the merit of Christ's atonement. We claim the Bible teaches a limit on the intent - whom was Christ paying the penalty for. It is the general atonement advocates who limit the efficacy of Christ's atonement - they claim it is only effective if man does something to "activate" it. Therefore, if anyone comes close to limiting the merit of Christ's blood, it is the general atonement advocates.

    "I think the problem with the Reformed teaching is that too much reliance is given to "exegesis" and not enough to common sense and the communications of the Holy Spirit as we exercise faith in Christ. We forget that Jesus - in God's good pleasure - hid himself from the professedly wise and showed himself to children."

    Ing replies: I am a Calvinist and I am not in the upper echelon of the IQ scale. When Calvinism was the majority view among Protestants that included people with all levels of IQs. Perhaps we common Calvinists have erred by allowing the best and brightest among us to write the books and make the major assaults on false teaching.

    "Indeed, all of your erudition and careful exegesis using the original languages and grammatical rules is calculated to prove one thing: that God who 'is love' does not love everyone, does not want everyone in heaven, has predestined to eternal suffering the unsaved who clearly number in the billions – and even takes pleasure in damning them. I do not believe that is the God of the Bible...and that is the major difference between our two positions" (Emphasis mine)."

    Ing replies: God is love, and the Scriptures also say that God hates - please read Psalm 5:5.

    Let's see, Dave Hunt claims God wants everyone in Heaven. I thought even Arminians believe that God is omnipotent. So just who is it that is equal to or more powerful than God and can thwart what God wants?

    The vast, vast majority of Calvinists advocate single predestination, not double predestination. Election in the Bible is always unto salvation and damnation is the result of sin. We come into the world lost. God doesn't have to predestinate anyone to Hell.

    Also, Arminians have to deal with the problem of God foreknowing that He is creating people whom He knows will not repent and believe and will end up in Hell. So to go after double predestination Calvinists is rather silly on their part, anyway.

    And yes, I reckon Dave Hunt and I do worship different Gods. My God is omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent, and always accomplishes His purposes; Dave Hunt's isn't and doesn't.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ing


    [ May 25, 2002, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: Ing ]
     
  17. DocCas

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    There is no contradiction! The statement is straight out of the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1619) which systematized the 5 points of Augustinian theology! "Sufficient for all, efficient only for the elect!" It is not the quality of the atonement that is at issue, but the application of the atonement. Hunt has proven (as have you) by that assertion that he doesn't understand what Calvinism is talking about when it says "Limited Atonement."

    [ May 25, 2002, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: DocCas ]
     
  18. Kiffin

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    Doc Cassidy said,

    Amen! Here is the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1619) that Mr. Hunt if he wishes to attack Calvinism needs to read

    Article 2: The Satisfaction Made by Christ Since, however, we ourselves cannot give this satisfaction or deliver ourselves from God's anger, God in boundless mercy has given us as a guarantee the only begotten Son, who was made to be sin and a curse for us, in our place, on the cross, in order that he might give satisfaction for us.

    Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ's Death

    This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

    Article 4: Reasons for This Infinite Value

    This death is of such great value and worth for the reason that the person who suffered it is, in order for Christ to be our Savior, not only a true and perfectly holy human, but also the only begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Another reason is that this death was accompanied by the experience of God's wrath and curse, which we by our sins had fully deserved.

    Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

    Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in good pleasure sends the gospel.

    Article 6: Unbelief, a Human Responsibility

    However, though many who have been called through the gospel do not repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief, this is not because the sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient, but because they themselves are at fault.

    Article 7: Faith, a Gift of God

    But all who genuinely believe and are delivered and saved by Christ's death from their sins and from destruction receive this favor solely from God's grace--which God owes to no one--given to them in Christ from eternity.

    Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death

    For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of the Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which Christ confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that God should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit's other saving gifts, Christ acquired for them by his death). It was God's will that Christ should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle.

    Article 9: The Fulfillment of God's Plan

    This plan, arising out of God's eternal love for the chosen ones, from the beginning of the world to the present time has been powerfully carried out and will also be carried out in the future, the gates of hell seeking vainly to prevail against it. As a result, the chosen are gathered into one, all in their own time, and there is always a church of believers founded on the blood of Christ, who is the Savior of the church, and as the bridegroom of the bride laid down his life on the cross that the church might steadfastly love, faithfully worship, and praise him here and in all eternity.



    [ May 25, 2002, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  19. Lorelei

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    I am half way through Hunt's book and I think it is an excellent read.

    I find it interesting that the only thing you are so upset about is what you consider a misrepresentation of Spurgeon's quote. You are all so busy defending Spurgeon, White and Calvin, you are forgetting what you are supposedly standing for and that is Christ.

    Hunt not only shows how Calvanists are faulty in thier belief, but he shows biblically how their doctrine is a poor misrepresentation of God. The Book, for that reason, is accurately titled, What Love is This. You can all believe in Calvin, I will believe in my God as the Bible portrays Him.

    ~Lorelei
     
  20. KenH

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    "Hunt not only shows how Calvanists are faulty in thier belief, but he shows biblically how their doctrine is a poor misrepresentation of God. The Book, for that reason, is accurately titled, What Love is This. You can all believe in Calvin, I will believe in my God as the Bible portrays Him.

    ~Lorelei"

    Ing replies: The problem with Dave Hunt and those I have seen viciously attack the doctrines of God's wonderful grace is that they can't deal with the text of Scripture in an exegetical way. They attack Calvin and his character, build straw men of Calvinistic doctrines, and throw Scripture verses around like they are silly putty to get an emotional kick so they can feel good about themselves.

    God is love. And He has other attributes as well - like justice and holiness.

    You can have Dave Hunt's distorted version of the God of the Bible. My God actually saves His people. He doesn't simply make them salvable so they can pull themselves up out of the mire of sin by their own bootstraps.

    My God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscience. How about yours?

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ing


    [ May 25, 2002, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: Ing ]
     

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