Monday, November 12, 2007

Nelson Price and Fisher Humphreys Proved to be Erroneous - IV

Continuing our response to Nelson Price, who still refuses to reply to our e-mails, or to correct that which he now knows to be falsehood.

"Southern Baptists in general believe that to hold the Calvinistic view would result in their loss of evangelism and soul winning missions efforts."

Our response: Funny, then, that William Carey, the faither of Baptist missions, was a Calvinist, and that John Calvin himself sent out missionaries to Catholic Europe (and even to Brazil). Historically the Particular Baptists have done far more for missions than the General Baptists ever have. We would also note that, with the exception of the Wesleys and their organisation, all of the leaders of the 18th century revivals were Calvinists. It was the Calvinistic Methodists that, under God, transformed Wales from a barren semi-heathen land into the 'garden of the Lord'. We are frankly tired of this old canard that 'Calvinism would destroy missions'. The facts say otherwise.
Of course, if you define Evangelism in a narrow, free-will fashion, then Calvinism IS destructive of such human inventions as the 'Altar Call', decision card, high-pressure evangelism, etc. But 'Evangelism' means just the preaching of the Gospel, and Calvinists have always believed in that. Look at Spurgeon, for example. A Calvinist, a Baptist, and an evangelist. We would argue that Calvinism is the only logical underpinning for the sort of sustained local church-based work that C.H. Spurgeon engaged in. Free-willism, on the other hand, has given us a crusade evangelism that works by spasmodic excitements and tries to 'get up' revivals rather than pray them down. We would contend that in fact this sort of reliance on periodic excitements and emotional manipulation is FAR more destructive of evangelism in the long run than Calvinistic teaching.
Think of it this way. William Carey went into India and faithfully preached for years before seeing any converts. Now the Calvinist says 'God is sovereign, He is the one who opens hearts' and keeps on working and faithfully preaching. The Free-willer, on the other hand, says 'I am not doing the right thing', and is more easily tempted to illicit means to gain supposed converts. Free-will methods, which are largely driven by numbers, tend to produce 'converts' who quickly fall away and bring disgrace on the Church. Charles Grandison Finney, the darling of American Free-willers, admitted this fact himself in later life. Indeed it was the disgraceful behaviour of some of his converts that led him into the strange perfectionist teachings that characterised his later life.
What of John Wesley? Well, for all his free-will teaching, Wesley depended on the power of God, not the persuasive power of his preaching. Reading Wesley's sermons we find no rhetoric, but rather Christ Crucified.
We would further add that consistent Free-willers, who believe in the possibility of the truly saved falling from grace, have a better motive for discipling converts than those like Price who believe in 'once saved always saved'. That is, if 'saved' simply means 'come forward'.

God willing, next time we shall have something to say about Limited Atonement and Penal Substitution.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nelson Price and Fisher Humphreys Proved to be Erroneous - III

"In general Baptists believe God chose to save those who would of their own free will put their faith in Christ. They do not believe God in His sovereignty arbitrarily decided who would be saved and who damned. They believe God wants all people to be saved but will not override their free will given them by God."

The term 'Free Will', so beloved of those we call Free-willers (as Free Will is their great Diana of the Ephesians), is never used in Scripture in the manner that Nelson Price uses it here. The philosophical concept of free will as a freedom of indifference (or the freedom of contrary choice) is simply not Biblical at all, but a creation of man's imagination. Now, if free will is defined simply as the freedom to choose according to our own wills, we affirm it. If it is used to mean that we make real choices, again, we have no problem with it. It is this great idol of free-will that is exalted above God and made sovereign in the universe that we abhor. We know this is strong langauge, but feel it to be justified when this figment of 'Free Will has bound the very hands of the Omnipotent God Himself, so that man's 'own free will' is sovereign in salvation. That every man is able of his own free will to choose Christ we utterly deny, and would point our readers to Psalm 14 and Romans 3 for Scriptural confirmation.
Note that it is not the TERM free will that we reprobate, but the concept inserted into it by the Free-willers. The Rev. John Brown of Haddington notes: "Freedom of will is either NATURAL, when we are not invincibly determined in our choise towards this or that particular thing; or EXTERNAL, when no forcible restraint put on our body or mind hinders our choice; or PHILOSOPHICAL, when we have a prevalent disposition to act according to the dictates of our reason; or MORAL, when no superior, by his forbidding or commanding authority, interferes in the regulation of our acts." (Systematic Theology, P. 4). Freedom of choice we affirm, freedom to choose contrary to our nature, we deny, particularly as GOD HIMSELF cannot act contrary to His own nature.

So much for the great Diana of the Free-willers. Now to their figment of Prescient election, neatly defined by Dr. Price himself above. This false doctrine is based on such texts as 1 Peter 1.2 'Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father', and Romans 8.29, 'Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate.'
The relevant Greek words here are 'Proginosko' and 'Prognosis'. The Romans 8 passage is Proginosko and the I Peter 1 passage Prognosis. These two words occur only seven times in the New Testament, Proginosko five times and Prognosis twice (information Courtesy of Moulton and Geden's 'Concordance to the Greek New Testament', Third Edition [Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1926] P. 851). The first occurence of Proginosko is in Acts 26.5, where it is translated 'knew from the beginning'. Paul is speaking of his friends and close acquaintances in Jerusalem who would be able to testify that he had lived 'after the most straitest sect of our religion.' The second occurance is in the Romans 8.29 passage, the third in Romans 11.2, 'God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." Next we have I Peter 1.20, 'Who [Christ] was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world.', and finally 2 Peter 3.17, where it is simply rendered 'seeing ye know'.
Prognosis is found only in Acts 2.23 and 1 Peter 1.2. We have already given the 1 Peter 1.2 quotation. Acts 2.23 reads 'Him [Christ] being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and with wicked hands have crucified and slain.'
The Acts 26.5 and 2 Peter 3.17 passages refer to the knowledge of men, of course, and we should not construct a theory of God's knowledge based on ours. Some Free-willers have, and we call them open theists and heretics who have denied the faith.
That leaves us with, in addition to the two disputed passages, three (!!!) passages in which eith Proginosko or Prognosis is used. Acts 2.23 and 1 Peter 1.20 are most instructive in this connection. Surely the Free-willers do not say that the Father merely knew in advance that the Son would go to the cross? No, as the Open Theistic heretics have rightly realised, God's foreknowledge is never simply passive. In all of it there is an element of foreordination! God did not just passively know that Christ would be crucified, but He ordained that it would be so.
So yes, God's election is based on foreknowledge. But no-where is that foreknowledge said to be foreseen faith, rather 'WHOM He did foreknow, He also did predestinate.' It was the person He foreknew, not actions of that person.

Thus we see that Nelson Price's Arminian doctrine is not based on an unstable fondation, but on no foundation at all! General Baptists may believe such nonsense, but Particular Baptists do not and cannot.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nelson Price and Fisher Humphreys Proved to be Erroneous - II

Continuing our point-by-point answer to a particularly silly post by Nelson Price, who will not respond to our e-mails informing him that he is in error.

"The five Canons of Dort are summarized by the acronym TULIP standing for:"

Our Comment: The synod of Dort was called to ANSWER the Arminians, so that its five points are simply a mirror-image of the five points of Arminianism. If Nelson Price disagrees with four of the five points of Calvinism, then he is an ARMINIAN, whether he likes it or not.

"Total depravity
Unconditional grace
Limited atonement
Irresistible grace and the
Preservation of the saints.

The last of these is the primary one with which the original Baptists agreed as do most present day Baptists. The other four tenants are held by a vocal minority of Baptists."

Our comment: More begging the question. In fact the majority of the old Anabaptists and General Baptists were far more coherent in their theology and reasoned that as free will was so important a man should be able to damn himself by his free will as well as be saved by his free will choice, so they held that true saints could nevertheless finally fall away. The modern belief in an 'eternal security' unrelated to God's unconditional election or efficacious saving grace would be ridiculed, and rightly so, by these Arminians. As we have noted, some of the Anabaptists opposed the doctrine of salvation by grace alone as antinomian. They would say that the modern doctrine of once saved, always saved is an evil, antinomian doctrine. As indeed it is.
We assume 'Tenants' to be simply a mis-print for 'Tenets'.

"Calvinists point out various Christian leaders who adhered to their beliefs. A far larger number can be noted who disagree with them. It is not a matter of who believes what but the validity of what is believed that matters. These held by an articulate minority of Baptists are presented with viable objectivity."

Our response: Not hardly. We find presented here nothing but the same stale objections we read in Wesley and Adam Clarke. Only Wesley and Adam Clarke were more consistent. Of course numbers are not important, but truth is very often in a minority. The question is not, how many people in Church history agree with this teaching, but, is it Biblical?


This is a sweet truth of the Word, for if God had not unconditionally elected some, then all would have perished in their sins.

"Calvinists believe in what is known as “double predestination,” that is God predestined how people would respond to Him and foreknew they would respond. Baptists cannot reconcile this idea with such texts as II Peter 3:9 “the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…” and I Timothy 2:4 stating God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”"

Our Comment: We note that Price falsely claims that his views are 'Baptist'. In fact historically most Baptists would have rejected his interpretation of these texts and affirmed that which he says Baptists cannot accept. We would point him to 1 Thessalonians 5.9: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." From this text we see (and no Arminian Bible commentator that we have consulted disagrees) that God has appointed some to wrath and some to obtain salvation. Now what is this but double predestination, in the Word of God? Furthermore, in verse 10 we read of those who are appointed to obtain salvation that Jesus died for THEM. So there is Limited Atonement as well. And in the ninth chapter of Romans we see the sovereign freedom of God set out in all its glory. Now Dr. Price will say that Jacob and Esau refer to nations, but will he please tell us where the chapter switches from individuals to nations and back again?
Dr. Price has his 'Arminian texts', he thinks. What he fails to realise is that there are no Arminian texts in the Bible. Take 2 Peter 3.9. Dr. Price quotes it as “the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…”, but in fact it reads, "“the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Now who are the 'us' here? They are those to whom Peter was writing, namely 'them that have obtained like precious faith with us', that is, to Christians. To those, as he says in his first letter, 'Elect according to the foreknowledge of God'. Now we see that this verse actually speaks of God's love to the elect, that He is not willing that any of the elect should perish.

"In general Baptists believe God chose to save those who would of their own free will put their faith in Christ. They do not believe God in His sovereignty arbitrarily decided who would be saved and who damned. They believe God wants all people to be saved but will not override their free will given them by God."

Our comment: This belief is directly contrary to the Biblical declaration that God is no respecter of persons. It exalts the will of the creature above the will of the creator and declares that those who were saved can thank themselves for it. No Free-willer can sing 'Amazing Grace' consistently. The Scripture says that we love Him because He first loved us, but the Free-willer says that He loved us because He first saw that we would love Him. This figment of prescient election is based on a highly dubious interpretation of the term 'foreknowledge' as applied to God. Now is not the time for a detailed study of the term in Scripture, but we commend such a study to our readers. God willing, next time we shall look into the meaning of this word in the Bible, and see that Nelson Price and his free-will brethren are guilty of textual abuse.