In the last 2 weeks I have been exchanging emails with Mark. It started with my sending him an email requesting any information that he may have on a possible DVD he was to create concerning the Catholic Church.
He had responded that “The man who has the footage of the talk still has not given it to me. it is a crazy situation.”
And he closed his email to me with, “I saw the ‘reformed’ in your email. You aren’t into the false teachings of calvinism are you Michael?”
My email signature is as follows:
Remember... the Gospel is ours to Proclaim, not to edit!"
The chief reason I am a Reformed Christian...
is not a heartfelt devotion to the Magisterial Reformers like Martin Luther or John Calvin.
Although God used these men mightily, they are not the reason!
The main reason is...
That the Reformed message, thunders out from the pages of Scripture...
when the principles of hermeneutics (the science of biblical interpretation) are applied.
When the text is left to speak for itself, within its own context, the truth is clearly seen.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
“But His Word was in my heart like a
BURNING FIRE shut up in my bones...”
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
(Jeremiah 20:9 - 1 Corinthians 9:16)
May the Grace, peace and Love of Christ be upon you...
So I responded that I hoped that he would get the footage he needed for the DVD he wold like to put together. And then I responded that I was NOT surprised by his question about Calvinism.
I have clearly see an Arminian flare in his talks and writings, but as stated from another Brother...in another post.
“That, in itself, does not have to be an issue as far as we are concerned, although we do steadfastly believe in these doctrines. We have never regarded adherence to these doctrines as a test of fellowship if:
1) we can focus on the gospel when we are on the streets and
2) those who differ from us have not slipped into some outright heresy (denial of original sin, openness of God theology, etc.), in which case we would have to break fellowship.”
And I did respond “But I am surprised that someone who quotes CH Spurgeon as much as you have, would think that the Doctrines of Grace are false.” I then quoted “"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again." —C.H. Spurgeon
I explained in my response to Mark, that I never set out to be referred to as a Calvinist, but “after reading the Bible, and then learning from men who put what I read and learned into words so much better than myself, like Spurgeon, Luther, Bunyan, Edwards, Calvin, MacArthur, Comfort, Whitefield etc... I grew from milk to meat, is the only way I can explain it.”
And I ended writing “Calvinism vs Arminianism can be compared to Monergism vs Synergism or Regeneration vs Decision-ism. May I ask (in Love) what part of Monergism it is that you feel is false, or what merits Synergism has over Monergism, or Decision-ism has over Regeneration? (Question not meant to be loaded, but direct) “ And I attached a PDF of Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism.
His reply to my response startled me...
He stated “I put Spurgeon in my books not knowing he made false statements like “calvinism is the gospel.’ That is not even close to being Biblically correct. The good news is that spurgeon is no longer a Calvinist. That all changed when he died.”
And he also stated in his letter...
“And remember since people are dead in their sins, and they example used by Calvinists is a dead person, your preaching is in vain. They desire nothing of the God that you talk about. funny though how I find people all the time, an atheist named Kyle the other day, very interested in the topic of God and eternity. I guess he wasn’t a dead person was he Michael? Calvinism is wrong on so many fronts.
If you choose to believe that, that is your choice. Just please don’t lead anyone else into that false doctrine.”
After my shock and prayer, I wrote back that I was responding not to debate, but to converse with him as a much respected teacher. Then I wrote in detail some of the things that did thunder in the Scriptures proving the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism).
His response was disappointing, not that I was seeking approval, but simply gave a “Shot-Gun” answer.
“Interesting email Michael. It looks like the deception is complete in you. Sorry to hear that.”
“Anyone out there tonight can repent of their sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Period. The Bible teaches that and Calvinists do not believe that. Get away from this false doctrine as soon as you can Michael.”
I had at this point decided to let it go for the time, but was saddened.
Then about 5 days later he sent me some John Calvin quotes, so I read through them, and responded, “Brother Mark, I am so glad you took the time and thought to write...”
“I have seen some of these before. But I must caution you on something you may already know. John Calvin did not write Calvinism or the 5 points. And being a man who Loved God and His Holy Word as you and I do, he was still human, and like all of us, had flaws in his understandings as do you and I, as also do CH Spurgeon, Martin Luther, Whitefield, Newton, Bunyan, etc...
You may know that the 5 points were not just drafted up, but they were a result of establishing what was already doctrine, from the attack of new doctrines being introduced (again), into the Church. They were in response to the 5 points of Arminianism, which was not a result of Jacobus Arminius either. But rather his followers pushing forth upon his work.”
I then went on to explain to him that I did not find the Doctrines of Grace through Calvin's writings directly, but rather through 1st Reading the Bible from cover to cover, then by the teachings of men such as Luther, MacArthur, Bunyan, AW Pink, Paul Washer, Thomas Watson, Mark Kielar, John Newton, and even from the teachings of Ray Comfort, although I never heard him take a position, but I can see through his teachings he is on the same page.
I also exclaimed also that I have heard from “Arminian preachers. Some include Rick Warren (before I was Regenerated I had taken his purpose driven class 3 times, I was really misled by much of what he teaches) Charles Stanley ( I really got lost in his teachings that the "outer darkness and gnashing of teeth" is NOT Hell, but rather an outer part of Heaven), Dave Hunt (he has many mis-quotes, and I am not talking about mis speaks we all can have, but rather a pattern of them, he follows a close second to Stanley in re-defining terms as in no flames in Hell), Joel Osteen (Your best life now, I did not read much of it as I seen right away this was not Scriptural) And a few others...”
So I gave a rather detailed outline of the Path God has placed before me. And I included a PDF from the “Calvin 500” explaining that perhaps he has been thinking Hyper Calvinists were all Calvinists, and explained that the PDF gave a good clear teaching on Calvinism.
And I thanked him again.
I did not hear from him for several days and came across a Fox News Article “ Survey: Many Americans Know Little About Religion”, This had nothing to do with our previous discussions, but as he preached in the streets so often, I though he may enjoy it.
But his response was directly to my signature, and the links were ignored, “Reformed theology does not thunder out from the pages of Scripture, Michael. You are taking your preconceived notions to the text.
Man has the right and responsibility to choose. Yes, choose. That thunders from the garden of eden all the way to Revelation.”
I replied one last time:
“Brother, I only meant to share with you the news article that reflects much of what you probably already find on the street.
Although it may appear (from mans perspective) that he has a choice to make, and a some passages may seem to reflect that.
Back in the 1500's Martin Luther had the same debate with Roman Catholic Apologetic Desiderius Erasmus.
Luther referenced over 300 Scriptures, when in context, prove that Salvation is of the Lord, and is of the Lords doing, and is of the Lords will, and reflect to a "T" what God said and recorded through John: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John 1:12-13 ESV)
That is thunder, and it is everywhere in Scripture.
If I send you something in the future, since I know that doctrine offends you, I will leave off my signature so as not to offend.
Or if you request, I will just not email you if you are offended.
It is not my intention to offend you. I have a high regard for you, and share your books with others.
But will respect it if you request that I not contact you.
Thank you for your time. “
And his last reply to me was:
“Thanks Michael. I am on enough forwards.
“But as many as received him…” It is man’s responsibility to receive. It is not irresistible grace that never is mentioned or shows up in the bible.”
I was saddened greatly by a complete lack of hermeneutics and a ripping out of context by ignoring the entire sentence, let alone passage. The I came across that the same thing has happened to others by MarkCahill.
*** The entire email is here http://5-pointer.blogspot.com/2010/10/entire-email.html