Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dishonest and Deceptive Christians

If you are going to speak against or debate a position different from your own, you need to represent that position honestly and convey it truthfully with integrity. In other words, you need to study that position to make sure you understand correctly what it is they teach and believe in order to ensure you represent their position truthfully and honestly. If you are merely going to make statements that condemn a position based on your dislike thereof, and make those statements in ignorance and dishonesty, misrepresenting the other position, then you are merely lying to your hearers and leading them astray by your deceptions. I will give you an example:
"A hyper-Calvinist believes that everything is predestined and thus God, they have no problem saying, is the author of sin. A hyper-Calvinist believes that predestination and foreknowledge are the same thing; what God predestines He divinely decrees and thus they believe in what we call double predestination. That God has elect and chosen some to be saved, and others He has chosen to be damned, and God gets the glory. A hyper-Calvinist believes that invitations are an insult to God. That predestination is the highest of all doctrine."
—Ergun Caner
This is typical of how cults and most Arminianist-based faiths debate, how they attack positions different from their own. Without a correct and proper understanding of what the other position believes, they just make up a bunch of absurd nonsense in order to deceive their hearers into thinking they are teaching the truth. They demonize the other positions without dealing with them fairly, justly, honestly, or truthfully. Cults are well known for doing this so that they can keep their numbers up and their members confused. The above quote is chock full of fallacious statements deliberately meant to misrepresent his concept of Calvinism or hyper-Calvinism.

Not only is everything Mr. Caner says above incorrect, proving he knows nothing about hyper-Calvinism and could not be bothered to study it, but he interchanges Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism throughout his entire sermon. Not only that, but his attempts at explaining the Greek deliberately avoid and ignore the context as well as other passages of Scripture that use the same words. He attempts the typical ignorance in explaining the word "all," the word "world," and the word "whosoever," all the while making fallacious accusations in regard to those who exegete and interpret these words correctly according to their contexts. Dave Hunt plays the same fast and loose games with the texts, making the same fallacious accusations.

People like Ergun Caner and Dave Hunt would do well to educate themselves by reading this blog entry and this blog entry, two letters to two different groups of people.

Arminianists and non-Reformed (people who do not fit the full definition of Arminianism) like to camp out on certain verses that use "all," "world," and "whosoever." If they were true students of the Word, they would look those words up in their original Greek to see what precisely they mean, while also looking up their occurrence elsewhere in Scripture. These people like to say that "all means all and that's all that all means," and that the word "world" is inclusive of "each and every individual without exclusion." What do these people do with Romans 5:18? "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." Unless you are a Universalist, the second "all" cannot mean "each and every individual without exception."

Let us look at some other problems for these people. Romans 7:8a: "But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness." There is a limitation on the word "all." Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Does this mean God is going to give us divine powers? I mean, if all means all... Romans 11:32: "For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all." Again, unless you are a Universalist, all cannot mean "each and every individual without exception." Romans 14:2: "One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only." Can he eat a rock? 1 Timothy 4:10: "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." A very Arminianist commentary, by I. Howard Marshall and Philip H. Towner, had this to say: "Adoption of the traditional translation of malista (μαλιστα) as 'especially' leads to some strange exegesis. These problems disappear if we accept the other possible translation: 'to be precise, namely, I mean.' 'All' is thus limited here to believers."1 1 Timothy 4:15: "Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all." Did each and every individual on this planet without exception see Timothy's progress? Of course not!

Emotional ignorance is no excuse for poor exegesis and bad study habits. In fact, villainizing the other position as Ergun Caner has done, and as Dispensationalists frequently do, whether intentionally through deception or out of sheer ignorance and laziness, is not only dishonest but cowardly. Whatever our presuppositions, we need to approach Scripture openly, honestly, and with great humility, so that if it teaches something contrary to what we believe we might humble ourselves and conform our beliefs to the truth of the text. If one says, "Yeah, that's what the text teaches, but I don't accept it," that is fine. At least they are being honest. But when they purposefully ignore what the text says and lie about it, that is an entirely other matter. Misrepresenting the other position by setting them up so you can easily knock them down is dishonest. Unfortunately, and sadly, there are many professing Christians who will deliberately lie about certain information in order to try and make their case. If you have to be dishonest, then you have won nothing and proven nothing. You have only proven you are a liar who cannot play fair. I do not like it when professing atheists do it, and I like it even less coming from those who profess to know Christ Jesus.

1 This quote was not copied directly from the book, but written down by my own hand from hearing the reading of the quote from the book by James R. White. Exact rendition thereof may appear entirely different.