Archive for April, 2015

Dr. James Ach and J/A

While perusing the Twitter page of Leighton Flowers of Soteriology 101, I viewed this interesting exchange between Flowers and James White wherein White asks Flowers if he believes that the apostle Paul could have resisted his salvation during that infamous event in Acts 9 on Paul’s way to Damascus. One of White’s responses is actually a little shocking for a Calvinist, and is a tacit admission that grace is not irresistible as Calvinists claim. But I’ll get to that in a minute!

First, let’s address whether or not Paul’s conversion in Acts 9 was an example of irresistible grace (“IG”). When Calvinists can prove that God saves everyone the way they claim he saved Paul, only THEN should Acts 9 be used as a proof text for IG.

There are several things to notice about the experience Paul had in Acts 9:

*Lord what will you have me to do?” Acts 9:6

If grace was irresistible, why would it be necessary for Paul to ask what he must DO? Shouldn’t that have already been taken care of through irresistible grace?

*”Who art thou Lord?” Acts 9:5

Since when does a person who is irresistibly converted need to ask who Christ is? Yes, Paul said “Lord”, but “there are lords many” (1 Cor 8:5) and Paul had not YET understood that it was THE Lord or lords that he was talking to (Phil 2:9-11, Rev 19:16). It is even arguable whether Paul was even saved at all during this particular exchange, and was not technically saved until later considering the context of Acts 22:16. Now granted, it wouldn’t make sense for God to call someone if He knew they weren’t going to be eventually saved, but one must understand the importance that “ordo salutis” (order of salvation) plays in Calvinism. (Calvinists themselves often use this exact same logic when explaining the calling of Cornelius in Acts 10.) The timing of Paul’s salvation means quite a lot considering this is used as a proof text for IG. It also shows that God actually DOES elect those for service those whom He knows will choose Him (1 Peter 1:2), something the Westminster and London Confessions reject (* See notes below).

*It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” Acts 9:5

Notice Jesus said it is hardbut not impossible for Paul to kick against the pricks. If IG were true, this statement from Christ would be false because it WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE for Paul to kick against the pricks. (Kicking against the pricks was a farmer’s term for describing the resistance of a goat or cow when trying to milk them.) This is where we now arrive at James White’s surprising statement about this event.

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A heart of stone will endure anything if its love of self and its desires is strong enough. [Emphasis Added]

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So James White’s response to Flowers’ explanation that sinners rebel and become hardened in their rebellion , not because of arbitrary reprobation, was to assert that those with a heart of stone, like Paul, will ENDURE ANYTHING if their sinful self wants to kick at God bad enough.

WAIT A MINUTE!! HOLD THE HORSES! Did you catch that!

First of all, Since when has a Calvinist ever shown the Bible offers a DEGREE OF RESISTANCE? Either you are hardened from eternity from ever choosing God (whether by deliberate choice of God or “passing over”, the results are the same) or you have absolute freedom to choose. But in this case, we are talking about someone whom Calvinists claim was elected unto salvation. How then can it be said that Paul’s heart of stone caused his resistance if grace is irresistible? If grace can not be resisted, does it really matter HOW HARD Paul’s heart was? If grace was as irresistible as White claims, then Paul wouldn’t have and couldn’t have “endured” in a Jacob vs Angel of the LORD (Genesis 32) style battle. If Paul truly fought until he couldn’t fight anymore, THAT’S EVIDENCE OF HIS RESISTANCE. White’s response has just earned him a trip to the ER to repair his foot from a self-inflicted bullet wound.

Paul’s Testimony

There is also Paul’s own testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26:19 “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”. Paul’s own version of his testimony shows that he very well could have disobeyed Christ, otherwise claiming that he was not DISobedient would be meaningless.

Some Calvinists rely on Galatians 1:15 where Paul utters that he was separated from his mother’s womb and called by God’s grace as proof of irresistible grace, but Paul is not describing his salvation experience but what God called him for, which was to be a light to the Gentiles: “To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” Galatians 1:16.

Those involved in this conversation raised the issue of Jonah as similar to Paul’s conversion. However, Jonah was already a saved man. Thus God did not have Jonah swallowed to saved Jonah, but to save Ninevah (an entire article can also be written on how the story of Jonah completely debunks Calvinist compatibilism and election from Jonah chapter 3:7-11 alone). God imposed a COMPELLING action upon Jonah FOR SERVICE (Matt 12:41, Luke 11:32), not an IRRESISTIBLE one for salvation. God imposed a COMPELLING action upon Paul FOR SERVICE, not an IRRESISTIBLE one for salvation.

Paul’s encounter with Christ was certainly unique. Nevertheless, something should be kept in mind. Such unique encounters are the exceptions, not the normal means God uses on a regular basis. That is an important fact to remember when attempting to use exceptions to include an entire class. In other words, you can’t use Paul’s exceptional encounter as the example of how God saves everyone even if Paul was converted the instant he was blinded (which again, the evidence shows that he WASN’T..not yet). I have yet to encounter any honest Calvinist who has testified that their conversion included bright lights followed by 3 days of blindness and a visible sighting (1 Cor 15:8) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

James White asked “So God would have had to go to Plan B or C”. Well James…YES! That’s exactly what He DID do when Jerusalem as a whole rejected Him (Matthew 23:27-29), He went to plan B and SENT IT TO THE GENTILES TO PROVOKE THE JEWS TO JEALOUSY! Romans 11:11-14.

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* “II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions;yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.” Westminster Confession, Of God’s Eternal Decree, Chapter III, Section II.

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Was Jack Hyles a Calvinist?

Posted: April 10, 2015 in Calvinism

 James A. ThM

Jack Hyles a Calvinist? LOL: Colin Maxwell Does It Again #oldpaths

Recently we exposed Colin Maxwell’s lying attempts to turn historically popular revivalists into Calvinists, and this week, he went one step further; trying to make JACK HYLES into a Calvinist!

Now those who’ve known me for a while know that I am not the biggest fan of Jack Hyles. Some of my greatest friends still love Brother Hyles and we just agree to disagree on some issues. I *am* however a fan of John Wilkerson and am thankful how God has used him at FBC of Hammond. But whatever faux pas Hyles had (whether proven or UNPROVEN gossip), he most certainly was no fan of Calvinism. In fact, he has entire sermons dedicated to labeling Calvinism as “the ENEMY OF SOUL WINNING” That’s hardly the way a person who is supposed to have a love for John Calvin would describe Calvinism.

So what then did Jack Hyles mean by the out-of-context quote offered by Maxwell?

“The Presbyterian Seminaries say ‘The Bible isn’t the word of God’, but John Calvin believed it, and they had the fire! John Knox and others believed it”.

Is this evidence that Jack Hyles supported John Calvin?

First of all, Jack Hyles never preached a sermon called “The King James Bible Defended” so right off the bat, Maxwell is quoting someone else who is quoting Hyles out of context. One thing about Maxwell is he OFTEN takes quotes out of context, and never deals with the views of the person he quotes that clearly show the opposite. For example, to prove DL Moody was a Calvinist, Maxwell will quote another Calvinist who claimed Moody was a Calvinist without dealing with what Moody himself actually said about Calvinism. It’s a very disingenuous cherry picking method. It’s one thing to show an inconsistency in what someone claims or believes, quite another to take an apparent contradiction and turn it into a proof text for your own propaganda.

What is the subject Hyles is dealing with here? It’s BIBLE VERSIONS. Even Maxwell’s own church claims to be KJVO and we don’t fault them for that 🙂 John Calvin and John Knox at least had the sense to discriminate between MOST of the corrupted manuscripts back then although they were often hit and miss when it came to occasionally reverting to the LXX or an Alexandrian variant. That fact would not likely be known to Jack Hyles because he was not really a textual scholar. There are many Baptists and KJVOs who know THAT they believe the KJV is the right version without actually having the exhaustive textual background to know WHY. But,that also applies to those who criticize the KJVO as well position for the modern version only view. They may quote James White on anything anti KJVO, but when attempting to argue with someone knowledgeable about White’s inconsistencies and the arguments against the Alexandrian family of mss, would fall flat on their face. Thus while Jack Hyles had a sound logical approach to the KJVO position (which he expounded on in “Logic Must Prove The King James Bible”), and some workable knowledge of textual issues,he probably wasn’t aware of the areas where Calvin deviated from the TR. Issues like that are usually known only by those who spend a great deal of time studying that subject almost exclusively.

However, Hyles was expressing a belief that Calvin believed in the TR as opposed to the alternative Roman Catholic manuscripts (which at that time was prior to the “discovery”- or rather forgery- of Sinaiticus which would have been the Latin mss used by the RCC. Calvin used Luther’s translation, the Olivetan and Erasmus’ texts, all based on the Majority Text).

Now here’s the point of Hyles comment: Hyles was showing the Calvinists inconsistency in rejecting the word of God when their own “forefathers” from the Presbyterian church accepted it. In other words, “Why are you Presbyterian Calvinists rejecting the very same book that your own founders claimed was the word of God? Why are you today accepting translations based on manuscripts that your Presbyterian brothers rejected?” Hyles’ comment was a critique of the modern Presbyterian’s view of Scripture by showing the disparity between the traditional and modern view held by Presbyterians, not an endorsement of their Calvinism.

However, just because someone has enough sense to recognize the right Bible doesn’t mean they will automatically be theologically sound. Benjamin Wilkerson was a defender of the KJV and was a Seventh Day Adventist. In fact, many anti KJVO play the guilt by association game claiming that if you are KJVO you must by default also accept the views of the 7DA. That’s really what Maxwell is doing here: playing the association game: if Jack Hyles said that John Calvin believed the KJV ( the versions and mss that preceded it that were used by the Reformers), then that means Jack Hyles also espoused John Calvin’s theology regardless of any other of Hyles’ own statements to the contrary.

Would Colin Maxwell endorse the “LGBT affirming” Presbyterians of the PCUSA as bona fide Calvinists? I doubt it. So you see how association with these kind of critics goes only one way.

Of course, KJVOs are accused of also playing this game with Westcott & Hort, but they had blatant occultic beliefs and did NOT believe that the Scriptures were infallible. They believed that the Textus Receptus  made from the Majority Text used for 1800 years by the churches that was “vile”. Also a worthy note to keep in mind is that it was the scribes who conspired against Christ that kept the OT Scriptures. Did their unbelief nullify the OT? Of course not, but they kept extra care because they actually believed they had the Scriptures. The promise of preservation is still God’s, and He does work through human agents, but He works through those who believe that the Scripture is His word as opposed using someone who would look for any opportunity to corrupt the Scriptures. 2 Cor 2:17. Organizing their theology is a completely different matter than using the agent to copy the Scriptures and preserve it. The Jews from the BC era up to the Masoretic Text (which underlies to some extant all Bible versions with the KJV using the Ben Chayim, and the modern versions using the Ben Asher mixed with the so-called LXX), still believed the sacredness of the OT despite their unbelief in Christ as Messiah; it did not affect their faithful translation of the Scriptures [of course they added to it, the Mishna, Gemara, Talmud (both, Talmud Yerushalmi and Talmud Bavli, but they never tampered with the actual text of the OT, they were terrified to do so].

Clearly, Jack Hyles was not a Calvinist, nor was Jack Hyles a fan of Calvinism. When you have to be as dishonest as Colin Maxwell is to support your beliefs, you probably should examine why you have to try so hard to defend them. Again, why Calvinists like Maxwell shouldn’t have Twitter accounts, and another reason why I have continued to lose what little respect I had left for some Calvinists.